“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April, aka Autumn in Auckland 2011

The weather has finally turned wet and cool, which gives me an excuse to sit inside in front of my computer to update my blog.  Obviously the weather was really nice, in the photo above, taken at Karekare beach west of Auckland a few weeks ago. It is probably my favorite beach because it is so beautiful and quiet.  It's huge too.  I took Zeus with me, and we explored the exapanding sand. He is now nearly 7 months old, and is the star of his puppy obedience class. We're continuing our effort, and making excellent progress. He has outgrown his collar and is bigger than his mum Ruby.     
We have 3 feijoa trees in our yard, and have had a massive crop of fruit this year. 
The fruit grew bigger than I have ever seen them before.  When I picked them up off the ground, I would tear open any bruised fruit and squeeze out the tasty insides for Zeus to eat. It didn't take him long to determine that he could do this himself. I've been finding peeled feijoa skins all around the porch and yard. 
 There's more than enough to share. I've taken multiple bags of them to work to give away, made several batches of feijoa and ginger jam, and many batches of feijoa and date loaf.  I'm not sure why they call it loaf, when it is more like cake. It's like banana bread- that too is like cake, and yet it's called bread.
Last month, my sister received her New Zealand citizenship. You must be a permanent resident for 5 years, and be a citizen in good standing. I think they make you explain any driving or parking violations.
She's still able to keep her USA citizenship, but she did swear allegiance to the queen. The ceremony was not too exciting, but it was very impressive to hear that people from 29 different countries were receiving their citizenship that day.  Mys sister was the only American there. People were encouraged to wear national dress. I wished there was a tea and biscuit afterward to have a chance to visit with the other new Kiwis, but apparently there was a planning oversight. Really- to not be offered tea and a biscuit (cookie) is very UN-Kiwi. 
I had this cake made for her. It is the North Island of NZ (on it's side- the top is on the right) with various kiwiana symbols on top. Note the long white clouds, gumboots, jandals, Mt Taranaki, sheep, pig, dogs, kiwi, windsurfer and Sky Tower.
There were fern fronds decorating the sides. I surprised my sister with it at work, at the start of our weekly group meeting.  Her husband and my husband were hiding in the next room with the cake, and wheeled it out on a cart, so we shared the joy with our coworkers.  
Of course we went out to dinner afterwards, and had a really enjoyable meal at a new restaurant called the Foodstore.  We liked that it sourced most of the ingredients from New Zealand, used free range chicken and line caught fish, and had a seasonal menu.  For dessert, one of us ordered the pavlova, which is a very Kiwi. It was the best one I've ever had. Unfortunately, when I went back with my husband a week ago, we didn't enjoy it as much. The menu had changed and I just wasn't that impressed with my chicken.  It was served with a mild applesauce, which I thought was boring. It should have been served with a nice chutney instead. My feijoa chutney, for instance. The other new restaurant I tried recently is KK Malaysian. This place has no decoration, crap interior, and a tiny kitchen crammed with people cooking and preparing the food, which is exceptional. People will line up outside to wait for one of the few tables. The KK Special chicken is amazing, and the chicken laksa was also great.  I'll definitely go back.