Tag Archives: rain

Baking to Led Zeppelin

In times of trouble you gotta do the things that make you happy…


Play!

The cycle training was a success. I can now ride my bike down the street without fear! I can use my gears in a halfway sensible manner! Gravity and hills are not my ultimate enemies! Wow, I am excited and inspired and just wish it would stop raining for long enough to let me get out there and keep practising the art of looking behind myself without wobbling.

Next lesson will involve venturing onto bigger, busier roads, a bit of route planning and who knows what else. It’s amazing how much of a confidence boost you can get in an hour. Even on a creaky old bike like mine.


Concoct!

I seemed to be a bit dazed for a while by all the ingredients in my cupboard and found myself making the same sorts of things I did while I was travelling around and staying in hostels. Nothing wrong with that but then I was like, come on Kramer, jazz it up a bit. But I’ve started to get back into my rhythm, inventing all sorts of dishes, some of which have been gorgeous to look at. Wish I had a photo of my veg stew with beetroot – a rainbow in a bowl. (Although the leftovers the next night were decidedly red/purple – that’s bossy beetroot for you.)

Then I decided I was going to bake myself a polenta pie. With spinach and feta, I think. Mm. Only thing holding me back is that the supermarket only had ready-made polenta. Not useful for my purposes, so I’ll have to wait until I can get to somewhere that sells what I need.

In the meantime, my other baking project. Tonight I’ve been sheltering from a rainy night in a warm kitchen – with Led Zeppelin blaring out of the speakers – and baking carrot bread. And by bread in this context I mean a sort of cake, but uh not carrot cake… It’s bread like banana bread is bread. If you’re American (or a quick study) you know what I mean. If you’re British, you’re probably not paying attention, as you’re too busy boiling the kettle at the mention of cake.

My tried and tested recipe comes from Nava Atlas’s Vegetariana but there are two extra ingredients I’ve introduced this time. One is tinned pineapple chunks. Just a few, for extra sweetness and moistness. The other, well… If you’ve read Like Water for Chocolate, or have seen the film, you may recall Tita’s secret is to make her food “with love”. I hope I’ve baked my bread with love too, but there’s more. I’m also inclined to believe this loaf will be extra good because it was baked with rock ‘n’ roll.

Baked with peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll


Wander into the mud with a camera!

One moment you’re marvelling at the glorious sunshine. A second later you’re eyes have completed one full blink and the heavens have opened. Ah, good, springtime in Bristol. Always nice to catch a few signs of the season on camera.

 

 


Tiaki and dusky dolphins

Heading north out of Christchurch, we parked up for the night near a beach and campground. Used the campground’s toilets on the sly, and the next morning asked about paying for a shower. They were more than happy for us to use the coin-operated showers and they were a bargain – only 50 cents. Good stuff! Ate breakfast in our van while a sparrow visited the back, bobbing into our pots and pans to see if there were any tasty morsels going spare.

We drove on towards Kaikoura, stopping off at a beach to take in the scenery and to allow me to  perform an impromptu dance. Talent, no?

Kaikoura is pretty and laidback, kinda quiet at the moment considering the time of year, but on the other hand, the weather is crap. (Very English – rain, grey skies – nooooo!) We decided to go for a full-on powered site round the back of the Lobster Inn. Really nice: open-air kitchen, power to charge our devices (cameras, etc.), friendly people about.

Yesterday’s highlight was whale watching. We weren’t sure how the weather would pan out, but even though the seas were choppy the trip went ahead. I was thankful for the sea sickness tablet I took beforehand as it was a bit rollercoastery at times. We saw loads of dusky dolphins, who came to swim alongside the boat and tease us (and 0ur cameras) with their speed and playfulness. We also saw some petrels and albatross – so impressive!

But the main target our attentions was the sperm whale population in the underwater canyon above which we were riding. One of the whales was feeding below and it was only a matter of time before he would surface…and finally he did and the excitement was on as we all tried to capture the moments on camera. Then all too soon he he flipped up his tail and was gone. Our time was running down and the crew turned to return to land…but then all of a sudden they made the quick decision to head back out. Word was he was going to resurface. And so he did…and I even caught his tail this time. And a beautiful one it is! His name, by the way, is Tiaki, which means ‘guardian’.

Once we had returned to shore, we went for some beers and food in Kaikoura. I tried the ‘seafood selection’ – lots of fried seafood, served with chips. I wish some of it had been labelled as I was curious exactly what I was eating… We had thought about going to see a band, as it was Saturday night after all, but it was a choice between a very quiet folksy thing and some sort of Australian reggae (I guess Kaikoura wasn’t rockin’ that night) so we opted for a walk instead, along the beach and along the road south.

Oh, how I love being by the sea…and walking along the beach, lost in thought, or free of thought. I think perhaps there is no heartache the ocean could not absorb.