This website is an odd mix of my interests as a writer, entomologist, naturalist, gardener, and educator. You’ll find blog posts about rural New Zealand life, links to my books, and some of my favourite recipes. Feel free to explore, drop me a line, and sign up for my e-mail list.
I’ve been celebrating the winter solstice in little ways all week–candles at dinner, an extra log on the fire, sunny-coloured food on dark plates…Yesterday I pulled out the last of the blackcurrants to make blackcurrant tarts for dessert.
I’d been saving them for a special occasion, and I thought the solstice was an appropriate one, since the blackcurrants were picked and frozen around the summer solstice.
Biting into one was like biting into a piece of summer–bright and sharp.
In case you missed my blackcurrant pie recipe from 2015, check it out here. It is incredibly simple, and oh-so good! In summer, it goes particularly well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. In winter, I recommend a cup of strong coffee, some whipped cream, and a crackling fire.
I’ve been pleased to write a couple of blog posts for Dan Kobolt’s Science in Science Fiction blog. Now those posts, along with the contributions of many other authors, are to become part of a collection Putting the Science in Science Fiction, due to be published by Writer’s Digest in 2018.
Cloud and Fog conspired
between Sun and Earth,
a blindfold to Sun’s brilliance.
What will you give us, Sun?
What will you give us to go away?
Sun lit Fog to blinding yellow.
I will give you Fire
Fog swirled and churned.
Wisps curled into eddies,
turned pink and gold.
I am beautiful!
Enraptured, Fog did not see
He was being consumed.
Sun turned her eyes to cloud.
The same for you?
Cloud bowed and parted.
Day began at last.
Darkness does not fall.
from shadows grown long
in the evening sun.
Dark fills up the hollows,
the chook house,
(where birds rustle their feathers
to let the dark settle in close).
Finally, deep night
Not too deep–
I can still see the stars.
Four friends, a missing dad, and…dragons.
Set in beautiful New Zealand. A great summer read for the kids (and their parents)!
Bean burgers require some thinking ahead, but this recipe makes enough that it’s worth the extra work.
2 cups dry black beans
1 cup quinoa
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
handful fresh cilantro
Boil the beans ahead of time in plenty of water until soft. Drain and mash cooked beans in a large bowl (I use a potato masher for this). Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water until the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). Finely chop the onion and garlic. Sauté them in 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Grate the carrot.
Add all ingredients except the eggs to the mashed beans and stir to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Form into patties and place on a well oiled baking tray. Bake at 210°C (400°F) for about 25 minutes, flipping the burgers after 15 minutes.
Makes about 18 burgers. Freeze the leftovers for quick mid-week meals.
I roasted the last of the summer’s potatoes last week, and finished off the carrots over the weekend. The corn I froze in March and April is already a memory, as are the cherries, apples and blackcurrants.
We’re getting to the boring time of year, when our vegetable options are limited, and we eat a lot of beans. It’s not a problem, but it means it’s a great time to enjoy food porn. Here are just a few of my favourites.