Local Heart, Global Soul

May 8, 2012

Seeing is One Thing, Tasting is Quite Another…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post you may remember that I said I would reveal today what the  “Cafinated Coffee and Tea House café” owners menu recommendation for me was… well to be really honest I didn’t take too much convincing because back in November 2011 I had already seen a photograph of one these and was already super curious about this flavour combination.

Fellow Foodie blogger Raymund  posted his recipe version here: http://angsarap.net/2011/11/22/peaches-and-cream-cheese-muffin/ and while, ok his uses  peaches and this is the apricot version the principle is almost identical.

Basically the recipe is plain buttery vanilla  muffin with piece of either peach or apricot on top but with a dollop of cream cheese embedded into the centre…

I never thought that the cream cheese would go so well like this but wow was I mistaken!  These are fabulous.

I adore apricots anyway so this would have been a hit without any extras but the cream cheese takes this to a whole new level and gives it a real sophistication that’s rather unexpected.

It’s also a good time to tell you one of the few jokes our kids know, and which I will probably now not forget in my lifetime because they told it to every friend and family member at least twice this trip and to Himself and I about 400 times.

Naturally it’s an obligatory  fact that every parent must stoically try and pull a surprised face  and laugh as hysterically as possible upon delivery of the punchline each and every time the joke is told, and truth is that eventually Himself and I naughtily added  a bit of a additional “grownup”  joke to see which of us could feign the most surprise and laugh the best without the kids twigging that this was an additional game that they weren’t part of.

Don”t blame me for the corniness of the joke,  it came out of a Christmas cracker, or  very cheap kids joke book or the like and it goes like this:

Question: “Where do baby apes sleep?”    Answer: “In an apricot of course!”

Yes I know… it’s baaaad. Believe me it’s even worse when you’ve heard it about 500 times in one holiday. What we do for  our kids (and to stay sane on long car journeys).

Now that I’ve tasted these muffins I can tell you that not only do they look good, they taste amazing too… Raymund has a recipe in his link if you’d like to give it a go yourself. Let us know if you like them too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 7, 2012

Cafinate! … Or Should That be Choclinate?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcome to my retro tour of New Zealand made in December 2011- Janurary 2012.

We’ve been busy looking around the geothermal village of Whakarewarewa and it’s now getting late in the afternoon.

We haven’t had lunch so now everyone is getting peckish but we decide that we will just have something small and then go back to the hotel so that Himself and the kids can have a soak in the jacuzzi and I can have a rest before dinner.

Almost literally around the corner from the village we find a lovely looking café called “Cafinate Coffee and Tea House” and it’s  nice to bring our rather damp selves inside for a sit down and a bite to eat.

Himself  bags a hot meat pie and the kids spy cake and chocolate chip biscuits, both of which must be photographed with speed before they disappear into hungry little mouths.  Tall gasses of hot chocolate helps us all warm the kids and me again, although Himself opts for coffee to accomplish that instead.

Since it’s still bucketing down rain and it’s well after afternoon tea time,  it’s fairly quiet in the café, so we get to chat to the very friendly owners and it’s their recommendation that helps me choose what goes onto my plate (ah ha … that’s a surprise for tomorrow) .

The shop is more or less divided into two, part café and part shop that sells all sorts of beautiful goodies (more on that soonest too) .

Great food, excellent conversation and had it been fine weather there’s even  a few comfy armchairs to sit in under the awning outside…  this is a place that makes you instantly feel welcome.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 6, 2012

When The Furnace Is Housed In the Back Yard and Not In the House…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

Still on my retro tour of New Zealand and still in Whakarewarewa, the geothermal village  in Rotorua, the central North Island, it’s been amazing to see the geothermal landscape and learn about the pro’s and con’s of living in the midst of it.

Here is a quick look at the actual houses the village residents live in.

All of them are wooden as far as I can make out and they are all raised up off the ground too… this probably allows Mother Nature to give you natural and  warm underfloor heating rather than charred toes and blistered feet when getting out of bed in the morning.

We are told that because of the heavy downpour, steam isn’t rising off the streets as usual… but the ground is warm all the same. It came as no surprise that not one of the houses had a chimney.

In the last photo is the house that’s due for demolition soon… I stumbled on the photo later after deleting ones taken earlier that showed more raindrops than house. This was the house that will not be living happily every after, after a  new steam vent opened up under the kitchen and laundry floor and has  since rendered the home structurally unsound.

Mother Nature has her own rules… and it’s clear that living here gives you a whole new respect for her power and the amazing energy that she produces.  Local Maori have learned to live as harmoniously as possible with the living earth here,  and most of the time it seems to work very well indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 5, 2012

You Wouldn’t Want to be Tickled by THESE Prince of Wales Feathers…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next step in my retro tour of our recent trip to New Zealand is a look at the Prince of Wales Feather Geyser and the others close to it within the geothermal village of Whakarewarewa.

The area that it is possible to walk around the geothermal features is huge, and of course you can get a lot closer to the geysers, but the kids weren’t interested in doing so since the rain was now heavy enough to start soaking through their rain jackets and they were starting to resemble little drowned rats.

I had reached my limit on crutches and let the zoom lens on my camera do the close up looking for me.It would definitely be well worth a return visit on a dry day at a time when walking wasn’t a problem so that I could explore the whole place properly.

I was surprised to learn from our guide that some of the pools and geysers appear to erupt in harmony or in a chain reaction effect due to a complex array of interconnected subterranean water systems…

… but that some other  pools and geysers are supplied by entirely independant water supplies, underground ducts and chambers which is amazing considering that some of these interconnected and independent systems operate just meters away from each other.

Mother Nature’s  underground plumbing system here must be a very complex piece of natural machinery indeed.

If you look closely you’ll be able to make out small figures in raincoats and with umbrellas close to the Prince of Wales Feathers geyser featured in some of the photos… today’s rough weather makes them looked less neat and groomed than usual we are told.

In the meantime Wikipedia gives better information than I accumulated for this part of the tour so I’ll leave you a quote and a link to the page should you wish to read more.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whakarewarewa

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Most of the currently active geysers at Whakarewarewa are located on Geyser Flat and aligned on a common fissure. This is a highly complex system, with the activity of one geyser affecting another.

Kereru Geyser, about 2 m above Puarenga Stream, located at the head of a small apron of blackish sinter, erupts every few days or weeks, in a fan-shaped jet 15 m high. No large eruptions occurred between 1972-1988, and it seems its recovery was directly linked to the sudden reduction of well drawoff in 1987. Kereru Geyser is probably independent of other springs on the fissure.

Geyser Flat : The Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser, Te Horu Geyser (The Cauldron) and Waikorohihi Geyser are on a sinter plateau about 6 m above Puarenga Stream.

Prince of Wales Feathers Geyser, Pohutu Geyser’s closest neighbour, always precedes Pohutu, a feeble jet at first but gradually increasing in power until a continuous 9 m high column is ejected on a dramatic angle, when Pohutu usually erupts also.

Sometimes Waikorohihi Geyser erupts a discontinuous 5 m high jet, then Prince of Wales Feathers will commence, later followed by Pohutu.

Until 1972, Te Horu Geyser erupted 2–7 m high as often as 10-15 times each day, but after that time eruptions and even boiling ceased. The water in Te Horu’s vent began to overflow again in 1998. A very direct connection exists between Te Horu and Pohutu, with air-cooled water erupted from Pohutu largely falling in Te Horu’s vent.

This may explain the popular belief that Pohutu is more active when there is a south wind, because most erupted water is then blown away to the north, whereas with a north wind much is returned to cool the system and delay the next eruption.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 4, 2012

Oi, How Dare You Poke Your Tongue Out At Me!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just in case you have just joined this  blog, you are following the Kiwidutch retrospective tour of New Zealand,  and the trip we made there  in December 2011-January 2012.

It’s difficult to blog every day whilst travelling  “in real time” as we often don’t have regular internet connection, we are busy spending time with family and friends, going places, doing things, (or in my case hoisting my foot onto pillows and taking an afternoon nap) so my solution is to take notes on the laptop, take lots of photographs and to bring the two together as soon as I can after the event.

In this post we are still in Whakawarewa geothermal village , in Rotorua, central North Island and  this is the path that runs alongside the cemetery.

I’m intrigued by the presence of small carved wooden posts, all of figures, realistic or stylised, evenly spaced along the route.

Our guide tells us they are there for luck…  keeping up on crutches and trying to keep the camera dry in the downpour consumes my attention and I forget to ask if that means luck for the departed ancestor or for the living left behind…

I love the fact that these, whilst clearly centred around a theme, are all very different with their own character and I wonder if some of them may even  be actual portraits of people.

I love the fact that the fearsome act of the bulging eyes and sticking out of tongues, so prevalent in the famous Maori Haka warrior dances as a means of instilling fear into their enemies, are also represented here in these figures, and to such an extent that it almost looks like a competition to see who can do it the best.

The Haka is also all about summoning-up up bravery, bravado and courage…

…it’s about rising to the challenge when faced with adversity or a strong  adversary … so maybe this is indeed for the departed as I assume they thought you would need all of this when crossing over into the afterlife too?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 3, 2012

How To Bury Without Burying?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch are still visiting Whakarewarewa village in Rotorua, in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand.

As a geothermal hotspot there are many advantages to living here, but the practical  problems exist too and they extend past just the one of trying to start a garden.

One of the biggest problems is that of burial.

Maori traditionally bury their dead and do not  to my knowledge embrace cremation since ancestors are revered as much in death as they were in life.

Cemeteries are usually therefore close to the community and burial  poses a problem if the ground is warm to the touch on the surface and even hotter beneath.

Gardens could be accommodated outside of the geothermal community but the burial grounds not, so a solution needed to be found as to how to inter the departed.  Since even above ground is warm here, the only solution are thick concrete and lead lined graves that sit on solid concrete bases…  so even departing to another world is a kind of other worldly experience, the graves stand in surreal fashion in a surreal landscape…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 2, 2012

Wharenui… A Sacred and Beautiful Meeting Place.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Welcome to the Kiwidutch retrospective tour of New Zealand… we were there December 2011- January 2012 and after spending time in Christchurch we are now heading  north to visit friends and family in the upper North Island.

At this point of the trip we are staying in Rotorua and are visiting the geothermal village of  Whakarewarewa: have  just attended a Maori culture show and are learning about the amazing uniqueness of the area and what’s it’s like to live here as one of the lucky few residents living smack on top of a geological wonder.

One thing I always love to look at is Maori artworks… the carvings and motifs fascinate me, I know that  Meeting Houses (“wharenui” ) have special significance and that the structure itself usually represents the body of a revered and sacred ancestor.

The roof line is the spine of the person so there is a  “head” at the centre of the main gable and the two long protruding parts down the sides at the front are “arms” complete with stylised fingers at the ends.

Inside it’s not the done thing to take photographs inside of a Meeting House (the dancing was ok, just not close ups of carvings and decorations as it’s a sacred place, so I content myself with the acceptable  photographs of the outside which are ok, well at least as much as the persistent downpour permits.

If you’d like to learn more about Marae protocol, click on this link:   http://www.eske-style.co.nz/maraeprotocol.asp for an excellent description.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 1, 2012

Haka, Poi and Sticks… Another Excellent Experience.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the Rotorua Whakarewarewa Village it’s also possible to see traditional Maori singing and dancing.

Again, yes it’s for the tourists, but it’s better than nothing because  entry into a Marae (a Maori communal area) and into a Meeting House on a Marae is usually traditionally possible by invitation only.

It’s considered an extreme rudeness for a visitor to just turn up and expect to be let in, permission has to be given and the necessary etiquette for the greetings followed.

Therefore this kind of tourist ceremony is probably the only way that visitors are able to take a peek into Maori customs… and so we adjourn to the Meeting  House for the show that’s about to be put on for us.

When I get to the door I realise that it’s  necessary for everyone going inside to remove their shoes… this poses a large problem as I’m on crutches and there are no chairs outside, it’s also very slippery in the wet and there are hundreds of pairs of shoes littering the area around me.
My shoes are also quite painful to get on and off, so I fast assume that I’m going to be skipping this show, even though Himself and the kids are already shoeless and have been  funnelled inside by the stream of other tourists.

I resign myself to a patient wait outside in the rain when suddenly I’m recognised by one of the dancers from the restaurant from the evening before…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… she tells me to wait and speaks to an older man, and I’m subsequently told I may come in, helped to negotiate the single step inside, a chair is found and I may keep my shoes on as a special exception.

I spy Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr sitting on the carpet in the front a little further along from me and towards the back, a tall Himself sticks out head and shoulders above the shorter mostly Asian crowd… (there are several rows of people standing behind people sat in chairs nearer the front)

I’m delighted to be able to sit down for a little rest and honoured to be allowed to keep my shoes on because I know that in Maoridom a Meeting House is a very special place and much revered.

Himself and I recognise several familiar faces from the evening before and get some quick grins of recognition and a wave back before the performance starts. Apparently my set of crutches and Himself’s tallness make us less forgettable couple LOL. We are treated to another amazing display of dancing, singing and stick and twirling Poi dances.

Kiwi Daughter buys a pair of short Poi to take home with us and has a go later in the hotel room, as do I, both of us end up repeatedly twisting them into knots… it’s definitely a case of these ladies making it look really really easy. I can personally assure you that it really really is not.

I’ve included  few clips uploaded to YouTube with some of the amazing Poi work… just click on the links below…

We grab a few more family photos with the people who performed for us last evening as well as a group photo with more of the performers.I only realise halfway though the performance that there is still a lot of rain on my camera lens so apologies for the bad photo quality.

g-NP9FpwZho   (Maori Long Poi dance)

_W-AVoN02pU  (Maori stick dance)

sd8Zb8V37Yw   (Maori Haka)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 30, 2012

Oops… You Aren’t Supposed to Pre-Boil Your Veggies…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You might think that living normal life in an active geothermal area like Whakarewarewa would be an amazingly easy lifestyle  because Mother Nature does your cooking and provides all your hot water and heating for you.

However,  apart from the possible perils of falling into a pool of boiling water (thankfully  a risk vastly reduced by some very solid fencing materials) there are some more unusual difficulties to be faced.

Take gardening for instance… my first reaction was “great, a warm micro climate and no frosts, most be fantastic to garden here” … but it’s not.

I forgot that if the ground is capable of cooking your dinner, it’s also perfectly capable of  indiscriminatingly cooking the roots of any living thing planted into it too.

Our guide tells us that gardening has been a real problem that the local residents have been unable to provide a good solution for… not just for decades now,  but for centuries.  Seeds would cook and die before getting a chance to germinate and roots of  plants bought in from outside the area burned in the hot soil.  The only solution was to make gardens in areas away from the geothermal activity and to transport fruits and vegetables into the village.

Over  the decades various types of gardens were put to the test, and one by one were found to be no match for Mother Nature’s heat. Finally  in December 2011,  after multiple  unsuccessful experimental attempts the same year, the Whakarewarewa village community produced their very first  successful crops.

(I wrote the word “layering”  in my travel diary notes so I think that’s why they have achieved success but I’ve in the meantime completely forgotten what was layered …yes, Duh… apologies.).  Clearly by the look of these crops  they have done something right…  we are told that all of the veggies we see in front of us now, started life as seeds  just three months ago.

This is a real break-through for the community…  to be able to grow a simple veggie crop directly on top of one of the earth’s hot spots…  Now, I think that that is very cool indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 29, 2012

Cooking Mother Nature Style!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The residents of  Whakarewarewa Village in Rotorua have a very unique way of cooking.

Year round it  requires the usual preparation but no electricity… and yes they do eat warm meals!

Slaving over a hot stove is unheard of here… why take the trouble when you can let Mother Nature take care of  it for you!

A suitably sized steam vent is found and a concrete surround is fitted around it. Into this is inserted a heavy wooden box with slats in the bottom. To complete the cooking equipment a fitted wooden cover is made for the box.

Our guide tells us that anything  you can think of that you would be  normally cooked at home on your oven or stove-top can be cooked in the box.

Meats, veggies, even breads and desserts… It’s as simple as placing things in the box,closing the lid and going off to go other things whilst Nature takes care of the food. This large pot of meat and vegetables was put into the box about 4 hours ago and as it’s getting midday soon the owner will be coming to retrieve it for their lunch.

Amazingly I learn from our guide that any sort container can be used in the box without problems, even Tupperware containers and plastic bags. Apparently Mother Nature makes a seriously good steamed puddings and does joints of lamb fabulously in this… the world’s most organically powered slow cooker.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.