Gondola · In and around Christchurch · Lavender Gardens · Museum · Uncategorized

Summer Holidays :2017

Wild flowers abound in my backyard and it never fails to make me smile. They are a gentle reminder to take delight in life’s little things to me, things that we often take for granted.

Happy New year friends. I know it’s late to be wishing you all a Happy New Year. This post has been sitting on the drafts for a while.

It’s summer holidays for the boys , we’ve been spending a lot of time together doing technology free days.We ticked off a few things off our must do in Christchurch List.

Visited Lavender gardens.This is a lovely lavender garden , out into the country side of Christchurch. If you love the scent of lavender and  enjoy seeing lavender flowers that look like a the gorgeous lavender carpet , then this place a great place to visit. There is also a little kiosk selling lavender soap , scents etc.

went on the Gondola,  the view from top of the restaurant , on the port hills is breathtaking.

Revisited the old favourites like the Restart Mall,

 and the Museum

All in all , it was a very relaxing and I’m happy with the way the holidays went this year.

Christchurch · Hagley Park · In and around Christchurch · Life · New Zealand · Seasons · South Island · Spring

Spring Scenes in Hagley Park

A jaunt to Hagley Park to witness Spring in all its glory “is a must do  “my very first friend in Christchurch told me fondly remembering her own childhood days,when I came to Christchurch two years back. We have religiously kept up with the tradition ever since.

 The spring showers almost threatened not to let that happen this year, but over the weekend, the clouds and rains gave way to bright blue skies and gorgeous sunshine with just enough breeze to cool us down on a warm day.

Needless to say, I was so excited to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and birds and be able to click away till my camera battery died and came back home with a big smile on my face.

The ducks swam up to us  fearlessly hoping to be fed.

We sadly did not take anything to feed them. they sure seemed disappointed.

After much coaxing I managed to get one picture of Lil B among the daffodils.He didn’t want to pose for pictures because he was busy hunting Pokémon

People people everywhere, enjoying the weather

A jolly mood seemed to prevail everywhere….DSC_0259DSC_0264 (1)

I’m sure it ‘s because of the flowers, the myriad bird songs

and witnessing  new life sprout out of the once dull winter earth.ad2fa-dsc_0361

Food · In and around Christchurch

HOW TO MAKE IDIYAPPAM AKA STRING HOPPERS : the easy way

Idiyappam or string hoppers is a very common and a very traditional breakfast dish in my part of South India. It is a very simple dish to make. Made with roasted rice flour , water and salt,and steamed in pressure cooker or a steamer , it is a dish that is well loved by adults and kids alike. It  is also often prescribed by doctors as part of a soft meal diet for patients.
Idiyappam is one of those dishes that I never tried to make before I got married. Jacob however loved  Idiyappams and that meant I  had to learn how to make it , you know, the way to a man’s heart and all that, so I  called  my mom  straight away to get the recipe . As it turned out, making the dough was  a much easier task compared to coaxing  the dough out of the Idiyappam press.
However hard I tried, I could not manage to  get the dough out through the press. Jacob ever willing to help around the kitchen,offered to help me . But only ended up breaking the  Idiyappam press  one too many and left me flabbergasted  how  someone could break something that I couldn’t even get move an inch !
Then my mom discovered a ‘magic press “as she called it and Idiyappam making has been a breeze ever since.
As much as I enjoy cooking  for my friends and family , if there is a easy way to do something, then thats what I  go for.
So here goes.
Ingredients to serve 4
 1 cup Roasted Rice flour .  white or red ( I used Double Horse Appam/ Idiyappam mix , available at Yogiji Christchurch
3/4 _1 cup Boiling water
1tsp oil
Salt to taste.
Method
Take flour in a mixing bowl, add salt . Pour boiling water slowly

little by little mixing with a wooden spoon to form a soft smooth dough

Pour in the oil

When it cools down enough to touch, form into soft dough .Taking care not to knead too much

Grease the hollow part of the Idiyappam press with oil and fill in the dough inside the press.

Fill upto the brim of the press hollow

In the meantime, grease the Idli mould with oil and keep aside.
Press Idiyappam presser onto greased idli moulds
Repeat until all the dough is pressed on to the moulds.
Steam in the pressure cooker without the pressure ,for 7-9 mins on medium  flame. Once done, let it stay covered in the pressure pan for a minute or two
When the steam stops coming out of the vent,open and transfer the cooked Idiyappam to a hot pack.
I like to serve Idiyappam with sweetened  thin fresh coconut milk or chicken stew. Ofcourse, chicken curry and mutton curry also taste great with idiyappam.
Cook book Scribbles :
  • when  the Idiyappam is cooked through is , it starts to look glossy.
  • Idiyappam tastes good served hot or cold.
  • Scrapped coconut can be sprinkled over the cooked idiyappam

 

Christchurch · Costa Taverna · Eating out · Family · Food · In and around Christchurch · Life · Life style · New Zealand · Restaurant Review · Uncategorized

Birthday Celebration at Costa Taverna

Birthday was fun with wishes pouring in from friends and family and my boys made it extra special for me with presents ,cake and a lovely dinner IMG_0329.jpgat the Greek restaurant  Costa Taverna.

We really enjoyed the ambiance and the food. Also the special birthday voucher I got , which made my birthday dinner free!
Christchurch · In and around Christchurch · New Zealand · South Island · Tannery

The Tannery

The thing I like about Winter here in Christchurch is that while we have cold cold days, we also have warm sunshiny days.

When those sunshiny warm day happens to be a Saturday ,it is a bonus . When a certain surly teen that lives around these parts, wants to join in  with you , without much prodding , then you can be assured that all your stars have aligned ,the angels are watching out for you and it’s going to be a beautiful day !

We decided that our weekend exploring was going to include The Tannery.

 One naive small town , thought it was a really a tannery, you know, where animal hides are tanned. Seeing that she was really worried, that a beautiful city would have a highly polluting place smack right in the middle of the population,  and refused to go with him there,her worldly wise hubby decided  explained to her  that the 1878 historic tannery is actually a must see restored boutique shopping mall . And took her there .

You can check out the story  of how the Tannery came about here

 Even though she wasn’t too impressed by the antique looking exterior,

Her jaw hit the beautifully tiled floor when she saw the interior

 the beautifully lined fancy stores

 and glass ceiling with all the beautiful details

We walked in and out of stores enjoying the quirky mix of art and flowers , books , food and fashion stores.

The Boys decided to grab a bite at She Universe and tried their truffle

and Mango sorbet… the best we have ever tasted! The mango tastes like real mango with out the strange preserved mango taste that usually is found in mango dishes 

We got chatting with MR B, the co owner of She .He told us he loved India and often travelled to Kerala.They even gave us  vouchers to use at their shop at our next visit. 

Across the ample car parking, there were fabric stores …

and then, this wheel caught my eye.  I had to check out the place. Turns out the yarn , fibre and spinning guild of Christchurch is situated here!

I met the lovely ladies there . They kindly invited me to come to one of their meetings. One lovely lady showed me how she spun and another one showed me some of the fleece she had.

They also gave me a piece of fleece to take with me. *please ignore the chipped nail polish* That nail colour was Big B’s gift for my birthday.

I must go one of these days…Actually I’m getting curious about spinning and oh weaving too. Learning to spinning and weaving is on my bucket list , people.

Btw, how cute is this she?!

Christchurch · In and around Christchurch · Lifestyle · New Zealand · Seasons · Winter

Embracing Winter

Winter has been my least favourite season always.

As the weather started slowly turning colder, I started getting cold feet ( punny I know :p) .

 If you didn’t know, old homes in New Zealand do not have proper insulation and heating and therefore makes you feel like you are living in a freezer box. We learnt that the home we live in is one such home as well;with no insulation at all ,but a couple of boards to shield us from the blistering winds that make you shiver to the very bones.

The grey skies, bare trees ,the definite chill in the air made me grumpy and panicky…. even before we got into the real cold rainy miserable winter days….

However, while enjoying the company of kind friends, bundled up in layers and layers of merinos , fleece clothes and down jackets,fortified with  copious amounts of Red Label Nature Care Tea, that my mom so lovingly sent me in the packages earlier,  I have come to realise that a slight change in attitude is all it takes to embrace winter , admire the beauty of Winter 

and smile despite  those chapped lips and chattering teeth.

Oh and one of the best things we have discovered this winter is the Aveeno moisturiser to deal with itchy scratchy dry skin. Being extremely prone to dry and itchy skin in cold weather and sensitive to  scents, its a blessing to find something non greasy, fragrance free and light on the skin to help with the dryness and itchiness.

I have found that when we use it right after a shower, the skin remains moisturised  and soft throughout the day, the product gets absorbed immediately and is not greasy at all. Its my favourite for this winter.

Autumn · Botanical Gardens, Christchurch · In and around Christchurch · Uncategorized

Autumn

Everytime I heard  people say they love Autumn , I’ve always wondered why?

Why would people like cold damp and muggy weather?!

My first ever autumn was in Auckland . At that time,it rained a lot there.we were pretty stressed out and I failed to truly enjoy the colours ,that were around me, I’m sure.

Then we came to Christchurch,towards the end of Spring.The first couple of weeks proved too cold for me. And that was my gauge of how Autumn and Winter were going to be.

Summer was wonderful! I loved the sun , the beach in Kaiteriteri , our mini vacation . Of course there was a bit of rain and gloomy weather now and then and I was ok with that. I could handle that.

I realized that Autumn had slowly creept in ,when I saw the  leaves slowly changing  colour. When the strong gusts came in. I sank into ‘the woe is me .I can’t  handle the cold’ mode.

Then some wonderful friends told me about wearing merino layers and down jackets. I got a few of those and was super excited to be warm and toasty inspite of the cold.

Once that was out of the way, I started enjoying the weather. I started noticing the colours and the beauty around me.

Now I just can’t get enough of these gorgeous shades of golden yellow ,orange green and brown..Of the leaves falling down like the tick of the clock..

the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets

and natures bounty in the harvest of peaches and apples in our garden.

.. I’m sure if our children were with us and saw us deliberately walking on and crunching the fallen autumn leaves, they would have rolled their eyes, and walked at a far off distance should anyone wrongly think they were related to the two adults who were acting like little kids.

Christchurch · Cookie Time Factory Outlet · New Zealand · South Island · Templeton

A Cookie Time Factory shop trip

My kids ,are big fans of cookie time  cookies. It so happened that on his way to work, J , found a factory outlet .

Sunday ,being a beautiful sunny day, we were in for a little surprise.

None of us guessed where J was taking us, only thought that we were going for a little ride around .

Only when the car slowed down, did we realised where we were!!

Surprise!!

You should have seen kids’ grin to know what a happy camper they were.

Not even for a second ,are you allowed to think about anything else. You got to have cookies on your mind, right from the parking lot!

I was pretty impressed !

Well, tell me ,where else would we find a cookie wall in the parking lot?!

Right before the entrance,the ‘cookie muncher’ strikes a welcoming pose and a quick picture was in order.

I loved this sculpture

It’s called Lean on love.

The interiors are pretty impressive too, continuing with the Cookie Theme

The stools are pretty cool carrying on the cookie theme

There are Tshirts and soft toys available

And of course cookies with offers too hard to resist.The friendly staff make it a warm place to be.

There are also buckets that you can fill with your choice of cookies and you can even send them to family abroad.

We all love the taste of the cookies and no doubt, fell in love with the outlet too.

I think we are going to be frequent visitors here.

Christchurch · Eating out · Family · In and around Christchurch · Life · Life style · Lifestyle · New Zealand · South Island · Strawberry Fare

Strawberry Fare

J got a voucher to Strawberry Fare for his birthday

We were not very familiar with the dishes on the menu ,when we checked out their website.  The Dessert Menu looked very appealing , however. So we decided to go there for just desserts.

When we went ahead to book our table , we were informed that they didnot take bookings for desserts and asked us to just show up.

We were greeted warmly ,when we showed up  later that evening,   by the waitress and asked to wait by the bar while our tables were prepared.It didn’t take very long.

The place was full, the decor very minimal

I ordered their The Ultimate Chocolate Dessert. … It’s a chocoholic ‘s dream come true!!

There was a chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, chocolate pate with cream strawberry and raspberry sauce_ I was in chocolate heaven _each flavor of chocolate different from the other but perfectly complimenting one another.

In the plate ,my favourite were the chocolate fudge and ice cream . It was quite a big serving but I finished it . It was to die for!

J ordered Lemon Chocolate Cheesecake and liked it very much.

Lil B ordered Strawberry Pillows and enjoyed very much too. Again too big for him . Next time we will go Dutch I think.

Big B didn’t want to come  and I felt sad that he missed out. There is always a next time.

All in all we loved it. And can’t wait to go another time . We might even get brave and try their other dishes.