Thursday, May 26, 2011

Real Groovy is shutting down in Wellington - vinyl craft.

Vincent and I had some time off together this morning.  With the four year old at creche, and the baby nodding off in the front pack, it felt like we were on a care-free holiday.  It is amazing what passes for a holiday when you have children.  Our aim was to get to Global Fabrics for their one day sale (so much beautiful fabric) but mainly we just bummed along Cuba Street.

We hadn't gotten very far when we saw Real Groovy records.  They are shutting down, like many other record stores, as the economies of selling phyiscal vinyl records, second hand CDs and even new CDs just don't work these days. 

There were many sad vinyl records - and many that we knew people would not be buying - we decided to turn these into a craft opportunity.  We bought 40 small vinyl records (at 10c each this was not a great expense) for our daughter's creche to turn into an art activity.  We then bought 20 large records as the album covers make great envelopes for holding children's art (again for the creche).  We found two Madame Butterfly albums with beautiful artwork - these will go on our walls.

When we dropped these down at creche the head teacher mentioned that another teacher turns vinyls into bowls.  Here is a link:  Vinyl bowls

I found tons of cool art activities to do with your old records, so thought that I would bring up the very sad closing down sale of Real Groovy, in the hope that you may like to relieve them of their burden of records.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork, ricotta and basil ravioli in sage butter

My house still smells amazing.

You may be familiar with my previous mentioned cheese madness.  Today I made two different batches of ricotta to see at which temperature I like to stop cooking my version.  Turns out I like it just before reaching the temperature that is mentioned in most recipes.  Or it may be that my thermometer was out.  Anyway, I had a lot of ricotta and needed to use it.

I also had some good quality pork mince and heaps of basil so decided to get creating.  I still have my friend's pasta maker so decided to make up heaps of pasta (100g tipo 00 flour/ semolina to an egg) using the breadmaker dough function.

This made about 24 large ravioli, there was a small bit of meat mixture left over so I turned them into rissoles for the girls.

Pork, ricotta and basil ravioli

400g good quality pork mince (I got mine at Woolworths)
200g ricotta
Large handful chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper

Mix the above ingredients together, be generous with the pepper.  Make some fresh pasta, and create ravioli using this meat mixture.  Cook in a huge pot of salted water for about eight minutes.

At this point I added some spinach to the water to add a vege component to the meal!

Sage Butter

Big handful of fresh sage
Bigh handful of pinenuts
50g butter

Very gently melt the butter and add the sage.  Leave on a low heat for about ten minutes, add pinenuts.  Once the ravioli is cooked, drain well and add to the frypan.  Mix around to make sure the ravioli (and spinach if using) are well coated and season.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day!!

Mums - you work awesome hard to make things nice for your children - well done!  Thank you!  I hope that they have children of their own one day and come to the same realisation that I did about all that your mother did for you!

School lunches


On my daughter's creche days I need to pack her a lunch.  I've gotten it down to a science - a pretty ho-hum lunch can be made while waiting for the toast to pop.  I was chatting with some friends today and a friend of mine is just about to swap to a creche that doesn't prepare meals, so she will need to arrange a lunchbox three times a week.  I promised to send my lunch ideas, and would be interested to hear anyone elses.

My creche is egg/nut/sesame free so I've felt that I am sometimes limited by this, but there are still a billion other food choices and these are some of the ones that I've tried:


Sandwiches: cheese, jam, honey, carrot and sultana, chicken, ham, (dried dates cooked in orange juice and mixed with butter)
Corn thins (we call them popcorn biscuits here).
Cruskits with vegemite and cheese
Rice crackers
Rice bears (see my Katsudon recipe)
Couscous (I put this in a little container and send along a spoon)
Wraps (with  lettuce and a sausage sliced lengthways) (or make wraps by using a rolling pin on bread, spread with filling then roll up).


Le Snac (not as bad as you would think, check out the review on the NZ Herald website)
Cheese triangles
Shaved ham (I buy a pack and either add to sandwiches or put some in a wee container)
Chicken nibbles
Whole boiled egg, peeled (if allowed)
Small yoghurts (or homemade yoghurt with a spoonful of homemade jam)
A little sausage eg kransky or cheerios


Cherry tomatoes
Chopped up celery and carrot sticks (you can do a whole bunch at the start of the week and then keep them in a container)
Raw broccolli
Edamame (we buy these frozen and they defrost by lunchtime).


Banana (you can cut these in half and leave the peel on, or I send it whole with my daughter's name written on the peel).
Apples: small ones if you can find them, for a time I used presliced apple bags from the supermarket.
Tinned fruit: I put tinned pears or pineapple into a smaller container or plain-ish jelly to take along
Diced watermelon

Some suggestions that I've heard about:

Crudities and hummus (we can't take hummus if it has tahini in it).  Did you know that you can freeze portions of hummus?
Quiche squares
Mini homemade pies (by using a toasted sandwich machine)