Saturday, 23 May 2009


Last night's dinner was a very simple but excellent meal. I took the thick end of a piece of whole fillet and marinated it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt was sprinkled over it and lots of black pepper was ground on. I then cut some potatoes into bite sized pieces and thoroughly washing the starch out of them and leaving them to soak while the oven heated to 230 celcius.

Once the oven was up to heat the potatos were tossed in olive oil and put into roast. I then heated a heavy cast iron pan up and put some oil in. The oil was just off the smoke point. The fillet was seared on every side and then put into roast for about 15-20 minutes - just over rare. The pan was cooled and then deglazed with the remains of Squawking Magpie Syrah and the remains of the marinade.

Once the fillet was done it was removed and left to rest for 10 minutes. During this time I cut up onion, red and green peppers and some very clean button mushrooms. These were then tossed in olive oil on a high heat. In between tossings, I sliced the meat and finished the sauce with a bit of cream. The tossed vegetables were arranged on a bed of rocket. A few slices of beef with the sauce and a few potatoes completed the place.

I do enjoy a good piece of beef.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

More Wellington

Camille and I did another wander around today spending money, mainly on books today. I'm not sure what Camille got but I got

  1. 3 William Gibson (science fiction) books that I have wanted for years but never bothered to buy

  2. "I, Claudius" by Robert Graves. I enjoy Graves' books and the Claudius books in particular. I was looking for Claudius The God as well but no bookshop I entered had a copy. I have another shop to check so I may yet get it.

  3. "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene
We also met Spike for a couple of beers and a late lunch at the Herd Brasserie in oriental Bay. Spike had an excellent blue cheese and mushroom linguine while Camille and I both opted for the lamb salad with rocket, red onions and feta. Biiiigggg disapointment! While the lamb was good and rare, there was fuck all of it and huge amounts of rocket. Camille had bugger all red onion and NO feta at all. Not worth the price. I could produce something similar for two people for about $5.00 (seriously!). It cost us $40.00. Don't eat that dish if you choose to eat there.

In fact, food wise today was a bit sad really as we started out doing a brunch at some cafe. Camille got a flat white which was good and I had an espresso which was the most bitter espresso I have ever had. Camille ordered french toast and bacon which was ok. I ordered a single piece of fish in tempura batter. Bad, bad bad! Over cooked, dry and tough. Fish should never be cooked so much that it can get stuck between your teeth but the first mouthful got jammed in between them. Awful. Camille had a second coffee and that came out bitter as well.


Everytime Camille and I stay in a hotel, something happens. This time we are having problems with our key cards.

In this hotel you have to flash your key card over a reader in the lift before the lift will work. Yesterday I did this and the lift worked. However, when I tried the key card on the door of our room it didn't work. So in the space of about 30 seconds it had expired. Down to the reception I went to get it reprogrammed.

Later that day Camille got in the lift and flashed her card and nothing happened. It was then that she discovered that you can't even open the lift door without an operational key card. Yes, she was stuck in the lift. Appallingly, when she used the emergency talk button NOBODY ANSWERED! She rang me on her mobile and I raced out to the lift to try and call it up to free her. Fortunately someone else had done pretty much the same thing and had released her but she had been in there for at least five minutes by that time. She made a trip to reception to get the card reprogrammed.

We went out today. On coming back to the hotel we got in the lift and I tried my card - not working AGAIN! Fortunately Camille's was working but back to reception I went.

Be warned - if you are staying at the James Cook Grand Chancellor in Wellington, New Zealand you need to be prepared to be stuck in the lift as their key cards seem to be bloody unreliable and they don't seem to like answering the emergency service.

I'll just repeat that hotel name to ensure it gets found by google - James Cook Grand Chancellor, Wellington, New Zealand

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Mmmm... Beef!

A week ago Camille and I headed to Levin for Camille's brother's 50th birthday. I have half a beef walking around in the brother's back paddock so while there I took the opportunity to check out my side of beef and and it looks like it was checking me out in return. It's looking pretty good to my uneducated eye. Can't wait for slaughter day!


In Wellington for the weekend. Camille is working and is in a meeting until at least 5:00pm. I've been wasting my time wandering the streets spending up large. New trousers, boots, jersey, car seat covers.

Car seat covers??

No, I didn't actually buy those. They came with the boots which is a kind of odd thing to give away with a pair of boots, particularly boots bought at Kirkcaldie and Staines.

I also bought a couple of green teas as the Jimmy Cook (ok - James Cook Grand Chancellor) hotel doesn't have green tea as one of its options in the room or with breakfast. How slack is that? The teas I bought were Gunpowder tea, so named because the leaves are rolled up very tightly and resemble coarse gunpowder grains. The other tea I bought because I liked the name which is.....

Iron Goddess of Mercy

Now that's a real tea! It isn't actually a green tea though. It's an oolong tea. Sort of half and half.

I also bought three books from Borders. They are all cheaply published Penguin books and they are:
  1. The Classical World - Robin Lane Fox
  2. What is History - E. H. Carr
  3. The consolations of Philosophy - Alain De Botton

I'm really pleased that those Penguin books are being published again. When I was a child we had one room in the house that was lined with Penguin books. They bring back memories. They also bring back value for money as they cost $12.99 each. This is so much more attractive than buying a single paperback for near $40.00. They just aren't worth that and I am no longer prepared to pay it - except for the occasional impulse buy.

Over and out!