West Coast Trip – Akaroa & Pizzas

littleborneogirl

Our holiday break this year took us to the West Coast, South Island.

I am blogging my memories and the things we did on this beautiful trip.  The best time to travel would probably be Spring or Autumn as when one travels, there are lots of sight seeing and in our case, a fair bit of walk to view the glaciers, waterfall, forest, mountains and lakes.  The summer heat can be a bit harsh.

Day 1 – 2/1/2018

We flew to Christchurch and picked up our rental car.

Akaroa (75 kilometres from Christchurch) is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano.

Feeling peckish, our first stop was at The Hilltop Tavern.  Indeed it offers stunning scenic harbour views but certainly NO good old rural Kiwi hospitality.

akaroa

We were awed by the views of the Banks Peninsula with its undulating hills while waiting for our food at…

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The most beautiful place in the world

littleborneogirl

We just got back from a really beautiful trip, the best trip I have had so far.  It was an adventure full of walks, beautiful sceneries and good food.

I am glad to say that with this visit to the West Coast of South Island, I have visited almost the whole of New Zealand except for New Plymouth, Taranaki (a must-visit soon) and Invercargill, Southland.

The most beautiful region in New Zealand and also most probably the world is definitely Queenstown Lakes District.   In fact, the most beautiful town is Wanaka which is less ‘commercialized’ than Queenstown which is one of NZ’s top visitors’ destination.

Wanaka is nestled below towering mountains and is the most tranquilly set of the South Island lakes.   Wanaka has everything Queenstown has, beautiful lakes and mountain sceneries, wineries, restaurants, shopping, outdoor activities for adventure or simply sitting on the beach or grass at the lakeside to enjoy the views, feel the breeze and watch the…

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It must be Golden Churn

What is Golden Churn?

This is a household name for premium butter in Singapore, Malaysia, China and also perhaps other Asian countries.

Golden Churn is imported butter made either in New Zealand or Australia.  It came in a 340gram tin (mostly made in NZ) or 250g foil wrapped (made in Australia).   It is a halal product, indicating that a great chunk of the product is for the overseas market.

It’s the time of the year where Golden Churn is so much sought after.  When the festivals are here, it is time for making cookies, cakes and everything nice.  All bakers put in their best efforts with the best ingredients so their goodies will melt in your mouth with a taste of pure creamy butter.

Indeed it must be Golden Churn, goodness guaranteed.

While the rush for Golden Churn is happening in Singapore, Malaysia, China (and elsewhere), this is definitely not happening here in New Zealand or Australia where this butter is supposedly from.

I wonder if many overseas buyers know that Golden Churn is not even in our supermarket shelves.  These are the butter you see at our local supermarket shelves.

Thinking that we live in New Zealand, my elderly aunt beamed every time we return home to Malaysia and gifted her with tins of Golden Churn, her whole year’s supply, not realizing that we had to specially go to the Souvenir Shops to grab her favourite Golden Churn.

What a bliss, sometimes we left the gifts shopping till the last minute and still managed to see displays of Golden Churn along with other gifts at duty free shops at the airport.  Aren’t it blissful when you don’t have to crack your head to think hard what to buy for this aunty or that aunty.

Way to go, Golden Churn.  Goodness guaranteed !

By the way, do you know that it is cheaper to buy Golden Churn in Malaysia (for example) than to buy them in Australia or New Zealand?

Titirangi Village Market & Visitor Centre

Running out of space.

I couldn’t even blog this on my main blog.

Not sure I want to pay $5 per month to keep blogging.

What should I do?

littleborneogirl

Time out on a good sunny weekend always starts with a market.

Last Sunday, we visited Titirangi Village Market. This is an awesome market of about 130 stalls selling quality local arts and crafts, produce, food along with live music.

There were not too many food stalls but we found one stall selling the best Gozleme (a kind of Turkish bread with feta cheese and spinach fillings) I had ever tasted. We ate on the go and the food was so yummy that we put aside elegance while eating our pieces of gozleme on a tissue (not even a plate for me as we were sharing) with fingers (and no, I didn’t lick my fingers).

As always, local made chutneys caught my attention even though I sometimes make my own. We bought a bottle of slightly spiced (chilli) mango chutney.

Eating that couple of pieces of gozleme was not…

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Jolly BBQ

It’s been edges since I had the time to sit back and blog.

The festive season is close and as always December is a wonderful time.  Being summertime, it is time for the outdoors.  It’s festive time too so it is a time to be jolly, a time of giving, eating and rejoicing.

We got the family and close friends round to my place for a get-together with a jolly good bbq of mussels, fish, salad, a very long German Bratwurst sausage and thick special ordered rump fillet from our regular butcher.

Our little grandbaby joined in the fun posing her big smile for photos.

Everyone had a good jolly time.

Family isn’t always blood.
It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs;
the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile
and who love you no matter what.

Taste of Auckland 2017

Yearly, Taste of Auckland transforms Western Springs into a food haven.

It is an event not to be missed.  You get the opportunity to try signature dishes from some of Auckland’s most exciting restaurants in a beautiful al fresco setting surrounded by pop-up winery stands, food stalls and drink experiences.  I went all out with a huge backpack as my shopping bag.

This year, we visited on the last day of the event.  The weather was wet and miserable which in fact was a bonus as we managed to get a car park without having to walk as far as we usually did in previous years.  The sun did come out eventually so it was a nice transformation from rain to shine!

There were ten top restaurants taking part.  In fact, I thought there were more stalls last year but I may be wrong.  Definitely, I could not find the stall selling smoked juicy salmon.  How I craved those thick juicy cubes on crackers.  We bought lots of dips and snacks home but no salmon this year.

My friend was attracted to the hangi, a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.  I knew the meat would be bland (strictly my own opinion) but he was in front of the camera so had to make the bite look mouth-watering for others, I supposed.

We should have gone to Miss Moonshine instead as they had the best display.

I had bunny chow from 1947 Eatery which was quite nice but very spicy. Bunny chow is a very interesting dish.

During the Great Depression in 1933 Indians, whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else.  The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban (slang as the Bania). It was made from dried sugar beans (no meat). The children didn’t have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he’s taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called “chow”. Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow.  In time, it simply became known as Bunny Chow.

Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day’s food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves. Cheap and practical … 

We were looking for Tok Tok but by the time we found our favourite stall, our tummy no longer have room for their yummilicous crispy duck.  Too bad we couldn’t fit in the curry fish either.  How disloyal were we then, though it now gives us all the reason to travel all the way to Tok Tok, Takapuna for a proper dine-in.

In between that, we sampled lots and lots of sausages and I seemed to have gone off drinking so our two glasses that came with the tickets were pretty much souvenir pieces in that end.  I knew I have quite a few of them that we brought home yearly and never used.  What a hoarder.

Indeed, Taste of Auckland is quite an expensive day out though we only spent 140 crowns ($140) this visit which included entries for two and 80 crowns for spending amongst the two of us.  This was a lot less than last year’s spendings as there were no bottles of wine, beer or salmon in my backpack!

 

Counting the steps @ Panmure Basin

I have done numerous walk around the Panmure Basin.

It takes around 45 minutes to walk the round loop.  On a fine day, you will come across joggers and people walking their dogs or just having a stroll.

In fact, I have not taken any photos of this beautiful walkway till my last walk.   Since I was a solo walker the other day, I took my phone and recorded the number of steps I took on this walk.  Also taken photos of the beautiful greens around the basin.  Spotted one Pohutukawa tree in early bloom.  Summer is hear and Christmas is near !

Approximately, it took me 3,000 steps to complete this walk in 45 minutes.  That was random and an experimental experience to capture the sights and count the steps on this otherwise unassuming exercise.

 

 

Happiness is ……

Where can one find happiness?

This story is written from a video – credit NTD Inspired Life.

A beautiful, well dressed lady went to her psychiatrist saying that she felt unhappy and her life was empty and meaningless.

They psychiatrist called the office cleaner, an old lady and asked Mary to share how she found happiness.

Mary put down her broom, sat on a chair and told her story.

Her husband died of malaria and three months later her only son was killed in an accident.  She could not sleep, eat and never smiled anymore.  She even thought of taking her own life.

One evening a little kitten followed her home from work.  It was cold and Mary let the kitten in and gave it some milk.  The kitten purred and rubbed against her leg.

kittenmilk

For the first time in months, Mary smiled.  🙂

If helping a little kitten could make her smile, Mary then decided that she could help others so everyday she tried to do something nice for someone.  It made her happy to see them happy.

Since then, she started sleeping and eating well and have found happiness by giving it to others.

The rich lady cried on hearing this.  She has everything that money could buy but she had lost the things which money cannot buy.

The beauty of life does not depend on how happy you are but on how happy others can be because of you.

Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now.

Happiness is not a dependency, it is a decision.

Happiness is what you are, not what you have !

true-happiness2

Dilmah Tea and all the rest

Dilmah tea is a household name in New Zealand.  It is one of the premium tea that line the shelves at all our local supermarkets.

Dilmah, founded by Merrill J. Fernando, today the world’s most experienced teamaker, has championed quality, authenticity and variety in tea. Dilmah pioneered the concept of Single Origin Tea in 1988 when the family company went against industry trends to declare its commitment to authenticity. Garden fresh, unblended tea is a hallmark of Dilmah and offers a unique taste of unblended Ceylon Tea packed at source.

I was given a pack of Dilmah’s new infusions for sampling at The Very Vintage Day Out recently.  Infusions and herbal teas are a rising trend amongst tea-drinking consumers.

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I enjoyed the Coconut & Mango the best.  The Ginger & Peppermint was nice and so is the Cardamon, Ginger & Orange and honestly, I had to throw the Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger & Nutmeg away.  I do not often waste food (just a habit and drink is food too) but that flavour did not suit me and it was almost undrinkable.  Can’t really describe how it tasted like, just simply ‘not my taste’!

tea

I often need a cup of coffee to start my day but I drink tea throughout the day, at least two to three cups a day.  In fact, drinking as little as a cup of tea daily may be good for your heart health, new research suggests.

However, don’t go overboard with tea.  As with most things, too much of some things may not always be good for you.

Drink tea if you enjoy it, in moderation, and not because you’re taking it as a medicine.

Quote Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

My food for thought today in a nutshell;

A cup or two of tea is good for you, be it Dilmah or any other trusted brand.