Dog shots

For no reason and with no real narrative, some shots of Poppie and Bella doing their thing.

It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas – at our place

Christmas at KainuiThe tree is up at our place and, for the first time, the front balcony is festooned with sparkling lights. It was a little concerning when Jean, standing and admiring her work, mentioned in passing “we really need to do the upstairs balcony as well, and the gutters”.

Who knows where this will end?

It’s been a while since a puppy shot has featured

This morning young Bella quietly disappeared upstairs. Time passed and, as often happens, we suspected she was up to no good – but it turned out to be the opposite. She was curled up on the bed, on our pillows, asleep.

So not only was she rudely woken up but she then had a camera shoved in her face.  What does a girl have to do for a good sleep around our place?

Puppy memories

Two weeks ago my iMac’s hard drive “spat the dummy” and required replacing. Apple were fantastic and covered the cost of the replacement drive and I was left to restore my files from backup.

Yes, as I’ve said before – always back stuff up because every hard drive will fail at some point and it would be tragic to lose photos and movies and all the other stuff that we accumulate on computers these days.

As I was looking through my restored movie files I came across one of Bella as a very young puppy making her first journey down the stairs at home – just to get to Poppie and jump all over her.

I’ve posted this movie before but I think it deserves another airing.


And then home

UnpackingWe arrived back in New Zealand earlier in the week after 4 fabulous weeks away.  We were greeted by warm spring weather (which has now turned back to winter) and two very happy puppies who, after an initial frenzied greeting, proceeded to ignore us just to make a point.

The last few days have been spent recovering from jet lag and unpacking – as well as returning to work because, let’s face it, the holiday has to be paid for somehow.

There are still a number of posts to write covering such things as our dinner at the 3 Michelin Star restaurant La Pergola in Rome, some thoughts on modern air travel, how purchasing a laptop case on Via Condotti in Rome can turn into something much more and the temptation of Hong Kong duty free shopping.

I’ll post these over the next few days – just as soon as I write them.


Another cute dog shot

Let me start with an apology. Sorry, it’s yet another cute dog shot. Yesterday Bella the puppy discovered a green Cicada in the back yard. Every time she went to sniff it, the Cicada flew a few inches away, which for Bella was captivating.

A footnote for the animal lovers among you – both Bella and the Cicada survived the encounter unscathed.


Last of the autumn sun

Kids in the Autumn sunI’ve mentioned a few times that our place loses the sun for a couple of months every winter. This means we all make the most of any chance to enjoy a sunny day in autumn.

So when Rosie the 19 year old cat, Poppie the 8 year old Bichon and Bella the nutcase puppy had a chance to lie in the sun last weekend, they took it.

My wife and the science of baking – part 2

Torta GiangujaAnd now, by popular demand, the finished Torta Gianduja, ready to be served. It was rated a triumph by the panel of expert judges who enjoyed it last night.

And as a bonus – crediting Dish Magazine April 2010 – the recipe is below.

Torta Gianduja Recipe

My wife and the science of baking

Kitchen ChaosOn Sunday afternoon my lovely wife baked. We were going out for dinner at friends and she had offered to make the dessert.

She has a stable of excellent desserts she could have called on but decided to try something new – to bake a Torta Gianduja or Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Cake.

The only issue with this decision is that Jean is not a natural baker – as she is the first to admit. Something about the discipline of following a recipe runs counter to her “free spirit” approach to cooking in general. After each baking adventure she wonders aloud why she ever attempted the recipe, why baking is so complicated and stressful, and why she doesn’t learn from past experience.

Testament to the complication and stress involved is the state of our usually spotless kitchen at the end of Sunday’s baking odyssey.




Green shoots

A week ago I published a post about the outbreak of Spring in our garden – heralded by the first shoot appearing on our grapevine. Well, a week is a long time in spring, as the photos show.

The inevitable drive towards summer is gaining momentum.