South Island New Zealand

Nelson Trip - August 2015

Tom and I recently went on holiday to Nelson! We spent a week catching up with family and even managed to sneak off for a small road trip.

All I wanted to do was see some snow. I couldn't remember the last time I had seen any! So we set off early one morning and made our way to Rainbow Ski Area. This is what we saw..

rainbowskifield.jpg
rainbowskifield.jpg
rainbowskifield.jpg
rainbowskifield.jpg

I literally looked like I had walked off the street and into the snow. These boots were made for walking in snow.

rainbowskifield.jpg

We traveled back to Nelson via Wairau Valley, stopping at the river and Brancott estate for lunch.

wairauvalley.jpg
brancottestate.jpg

We also went for a walk around Miyazu Garden late one afternoon. The light was really nice there.

miyazugardens.jpg
miyazugardens.jpg
miyazugardens.jpg
miyazugardens.jpg

It was really nice catching up with Tom's family. His niece Willa is growing up so fast! I got to take lots of photos of her, more coming soon!

babywilla.jpg
babywilla.jpg

The Marlborough Sounds - Trip 3

I was lucky to spend last weekend in Resolution Bay down The Marlborough Sounds. We arrived in Picton on Friday morning where we jumped onto a Cougar Line launch. The weather wasn't looking very promising, it was cloudy and had been raining. I started to wonder if I would end up spending my weekend in doors wrapped up in layers of thermals and blankets.

sounds3.jpg

Tom was being an optimist, hoping that the weather would clear. We all doubted his theory. Thankfully when we arrived at 'The Slade Jetty' the view looked like this...

sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg

There was no time to waste. We all wanted to make the most out of the weekend. Normally I spend most of my time here relaxing. This trip was a little different, yet just as enjoyable.

I took part in all the fishing activities. I even tried eating some fish and it didn't taste that bad (not bad at all, just strange to be eating something that was swimming around in the ocean only an hour earlier). For anyone who knows me personally.. you know how major this is!

sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg

We played Darts and Pass the Pigs (my new favourite game). We also carted loads of dead Manuka tree from the bush for fire wood, you can see half of the pile behind Tom.

sounds.jpg
sounds.jpg

The weather was so nice that I sat on the beach and contemplated sun bathing. I had company of course...

sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg

Evenings here are always my favourite. Twilight changes the atmosphere. I think it's the fact that there is no electricity, as soon as the sun disappears the torches and candles come out. It reminds me of going camping or the unexpected power cuts we sometimes got on the farm when I was a child, scary but also very exciting.

sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds3.jpg
sounds.jpg

Jumping into bed after a day down The Sounds is the most comforting and rewarding thing.

sounds3.jpg

I love this place. It makes me feel so happy and content. No phone, no internet, no electricity, no 5 o'clock traffic, just good company, good food and fresh air!

Have a read of about my first and second trip to The Sounds!

Nelson

For those who don't know.. my partner and I have been living in Nelson since late March. It has been the perfect little get away for us! Here's why..

We are staying in a beautiful bungalow house that looks over the harbour. No matter what the weather the view from up here is always amazing.

nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg

I love the afternoon light that sweeps into the kitchen and lounge during sunset.

nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg

Once it gets dark we switch on fairy lights and lamps.

nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg

Did I mention we have a spa pool on our deck? All in a days work.

nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg

We sometimes go to the Saturday markets where there are lots of crafts and fresh food.

nelson.jpg
Fairy dust and wishing jars have got you covered...

Fairy dust and wishing jars have got you covered...

nelson.jpg
This man makes planes out of drink cans. It was interesting talking to him about the construction of each plane, some of them need 14 cans!

This man makes planes out of drink cans. It was interesting talking to him about the construction of each plane, some of them need 14 cans!

nelson.jpg
I could not resist buying a finger puppet! Who remembers having these as children?

I could not resist buying a finger puppet! Who remembers having these as children?

Dinner is a planned event. Most nights it's something special, we eat a lot of good food here in Nelson. There are also some cool cafes in town.

nelson.jpg

We like to go out for Stefano's pizza, watch movies at the cinema and attend social events like Lindsay's book launch and Light Nelson.

nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg
nelson.jpg

I make it sound like I've been on holiday, however I have been working really hard. One of my goals this year is to network. I've meet a number of creative people, including some stylish ladies for 'We are Individuals'. There has also been the NZIPP and RSA WWII Veterans Portrait Project which Tom and I have been assisting in. It was cool being a part of the ANZAC ceremony.

nelson.jpg

The launch of this new website has been a huge part of my time here. I had no idea how much work went into creating a website. Despite all the hours spent in front of my computer searching for inspiration and writing and then rewriting my blurbs I am so happy with the final product. Next is new business cards!

The Marlborough Sounds - Trip 2

Last weekend I was lucky to be a part of another trip to Resolution Bay in The Marlborough Sounds! Friday morning we left Nelson, stopped off at Saint Clair Family Estate on Rapaura Road and enjoyed a lunch amongst the vineyards.

We then made our way to Picton, jumped on a charter boat and arrived to beautiful blue sky at 'The Slade Jetty' later that afternoon. Goodbye civilisation and hello Piney Cove.

The usual activities took place. There was fishing off the jetty and in the dinghy... thankfully no fish hooks in anyone's leg this time.

Once again there were lots of Wekas and sea creatures keeping us entertained.

This octopus and carpet shark became fond of the dead fish tied to the home made flax rope. I believe the males who came up with this invention were described as looking like 'a bunch of school boys'. Very entertaining.

Despite all the sea creature action I was somehow convinced to get in the water. I REPEAT, I was in the water for a whole 10 seconds.. accompanied with squealing, feeling calm and then slight panic as I paddled back to the edge of the jetty.

Food was a big occasion of course, lunch and dinner being a hot topic before breakfast was even finished! This is the part where I get to comment on how amazing all of the meals were. I can't choose which one was my favourite but I need to mention Ruth's curry (which did not contain any curry powder as there should be no such thing) and Mary's cheese quesadillas with avocado and pear salad, she also made this beautiful looking white fish and grapefruit ceviche. See bellow for some recipes.

For morning tea on Saturday we all sat out on the deck with tea and cake followed by opening of presents for Roger's birthday. There was lots of laughter and some appropriate birthday cards.

Saturday night we celebrated with champagne and birthday cake. All in a days work.

I think everyone can agree that the weekend was lots of fun and very memorable. Tom's family make me feel welcome and I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

I'll say it again, can't wait to go back to The Marlborough Sounds!

If you like this post you can read a post about my first trip here.

RECIPES

White Fish and Grapefruit Ceviche

  • 170g firm white fish, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1cm dice
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions thinly sliced
  • 1 stick celery, cut into 0.5cm dice
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves, plus extra to finish
  • grated zest 1 lime
  • juice 2 limes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • flesh of 1/2 grapefruit, cut into 1cm dice
  • 4 small slices sourdough bread, freshly toasted

Put all but last two ingredients in a large bowl and stir gently. Taste, season with plenty of salt and pepper, adding more lime juice if desired. Chill for up to 60 minutes. Just before serving, fold through grapefruit. Sprinkle extra coriander and serve with toast.

Cheese Quesadillas with Avocado and Pear Salad (serves 2)

Salad:

  • 1 avocado, cut into pea size pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, scoop out centre and finely chop flesh into pieces the same size as avocado
  • 2 pears (or peaches), peel and finely chop
  • 6 stalks coriander, chop into small pieces
  • 1 small red onion, peel and finely chop
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey

Quesadillas:

  • 4 large tortillas
  • 125g feta or ricotta cheese

Marinate fish in lime juice, keep in fridge for 30-60minuites before serving. Turn on grill. Toss everything together gently and squeeze orange and lime juice over, along with olive oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Place two tortillas on flat baking sheet. Crumble cheese over them and top with remaining tortillas. Place under grill for a few minutes, turning them over when golden brown and cooking until cheese has melted. Cut into quarters and serve while still hot.

Fish, Potato and Pea Curry (serves 6 as a main course)

Curry Base:

  • 1/3 cup canola oil or ghee
  • 40-50 curry leaves
  • 4 cardamon pods, split
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 800g whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 35g tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 425ml coconut cream
  • 2 cups fish stock or water
  • 350g potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • 300g peas

Basmati Rice:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

To serve:

  • 1kg fish fillets, 2cm pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • juice of lemon
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander
  • yoghurt, cucumber, pickles and relishes to serve

Curry Base: Place large saucepan on medium heat, add canola oil. Once oil is hot add curry leaves, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and chilli flakes. Stir for a minute, reduce heat slightly. Toss in onion, ginger and garlic, stir and fry for 5-10mins until vegetables begin to caramelise. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and sea salt, stir. Pour in tomatoes, stir and reduce heat to simmer. Break up tamarind into a bowl then pour the hot water over, sit for 5 minutes. Work the tamarind paste away from inedible pips and husk. Pour through sieve into curry. Add coconut cream and stock, let curry simmer for 30 minutes. Add diced potato and cook until soft (20 minutes). Add peas and turn off heat.

Basmati Rice: Place water into sauce pan and bring to boil. Wash rice under cold water. Add rice and kaffir lime leaves, place lid on saucepan, lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

To Serve: Heat curry base to a simmer, add fish and cook for 5 minutes until fish is cooked through. Sprinkle garam masala over, add lemon juice and fold in coriander. Serve with condiments such as yoghurt, cucumber, pickles and relishes.

Francesca's Breakfast Cereal

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked or washed
  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 1 cup coconut threads
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 or 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup linseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

The Marlborough Sounds

After 8 hours of travel and waiting Tom and I arrived at "The Slade Jetty" in Resolution Bay, The Marlborough Sounds. Our holiday had started!

Over the next 5 days I didn't have anywhere to be or anything to do, I was surrounded by great people and was in no shortage of food. We were away from civilisation. No electricity, no close neighbours and no cell phone reception. It was the perfect get away.

The weather was a little up and down. One minute it was raining, next it was windy and then the sun would come out but disappear again, the view was constantly changing.

It was nice to see everyone having such a wonderful time. There was always some kind of activity happening; a game of cards, a puzzle being assembled, fishing in the dinghy or off the jetty, something being repaired, wood being dragged from the forest for fire wood, meals being made, or simply relaxing.

I caught my first fish!! I never really understood what all the fuss was about until this day. It was addicting! There were so many sea creatures swimming close to the jetty, including this massive stingray. I didn't go for a swim.

Overall our holiday was such a neat experience! It was so simple yet so perfect and comforting.

While I was there I took this portrait of Tom's cousin George, I really like her style.

Can't wait to go back to The Marlborough Sounds!