Zesty Mumma's Words

A life lived without passion is a life half lived

Archive for the tag “Monday Morsels”

The Catlins – Home of Elephant Seals, Waterfalls and Kind People who Know How To Dance


Alex Mclean was an hard working, yet interesting man who loved music and dancing. Extremely generous to his family, donating a whole farm to a brother that had been badly injured during wartime.  He lived a quiet rural life tending for his animals and farm during the day. At night he read and created exquisite handmade violins. He never married but cared for his sister who lived alone on an adjoining property. It was noted at his death that he was ” a kind man who danced a mean jig.”

So said the plaque dedicated to Alex McLean at the entry to the waterfall named for him, Mclean Falls, in the hinterland of the Catlins. PI knew I’d like the  Catlins long before I went there or heard about Alex Mclean,  but I didn’t know why.  I knew the beaches were white sand, I knew it was south of Dunedin and North of  Invercargill but that was all I knew. What we found was an unspoiled, beautiful, wild and windswept land, way off most tourist maps but well worth the little bit of effort to get there.


After leaving Queenstown we headed south to Invercargill, a large sprawling town at the bottom of the island. It reminded me of an old gold town, wide streets and impressive stone buildings, but it was obvious it’s heyday was long past. It took approximately two hours to make the trip to Invercargill but we chose to stop another half hour further further on at Bluff.  Many of you may not have heard of Bluff or the famed Bluff Oyster, I hadn’t until I went to NZ the first time. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if they are as good as legend has it cause their season only runs for a brief few months from about late March and as it was mid February I was a little early.


We  only had an overnight stay in the area but if you had the time could easily stay a  longer stay. The beaches are great with some long stretches, perfect for walking and two lighthouses worth viewing. There are also lovely rainforest tracks leading to magical waterfalls and breath taking views.


 At Papatowai  Beach we even found a great vegetable garden in  someones front yard with a sign offering free veggies to pick. Unfortunately we didn’t see any Elephant Seals on the beach, only this sign.


I fell in love with the Catlins and I think Alex Mclean as well (unfortunately he died in the 1940’s).

Off to Dunedin


* go to the antique shop in Bluff – really good value

* Stay at the McLean Falls Holiday Park

Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry

I bought a Paneer Curry from a Vegetarian cafe the other day and got a little obsessed by the flavours. Below is my version, without the Paneer (Indian firm cheese). I replaced the Paneer with Tofu.

I call it Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry.

1 cup of raw cashew pieces
1 can of tomato pieces
250 gm tofu piece
1 cup of brown rice
2 medium sweet pieces
1/2 head of Broccoli
10 green beans
1 small geen capsicum
1 small zuccini
3 – 4 tablespoons Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Herbs and spices for curry
2 chillies
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger
2 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon each of garam masala, cumin, turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and coriander

First things first
Soak cashew pieces for 1 hour by covering them with boiling water.
Partially drain, process to a paste and set aside.
Grate ginger and garlic. Chop the chillies and combine all the spices.
Heat oil in large pot and add the herbs and spices. Break them up with a wooden spoon as as they cook. Add diced onion. This should all be cooked in a couple of minutes, be careful not to burn them. Pour in the tomatoes stir and allow to thicken. Once the mixture has reduce begin spooning in the cashew paste, stirring continually. Allow the mixture to simmer slowly for about 5 minutes. Add a little water to loosen mixture every now and then. Peel and chop sweet potatoes (into approximately 2 cm square pieces) and slice tofu into cubes (1 cm pieces approx). Add 1 can of water,sweet potato, and tofu to the sauce. Bring to the boil then turn it down to a simmer for about 15 minutes.

Boil the rice and chop remain vegetables in small pieces. In another saucepan cover green veggies with the boiling water, bring to the boil and turn off the heat.
Drain vegies and mix with boiled rice.  Serve with the Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry.

For a variation you can add chopped fresh mint to the rice and veggies.

My Husband Wears Black – Not for the Reasons You May Imagine

My husband wears black.
Not because he is of Mediterranean descent.
Not because it’s a fashion statement.
I was always really grateful for this odd character quirk, mainly because he often tended to wear much of the food he was eating. Not that he was a particularly messy eater, its just that at some stage he always managed to drop something down his front.
I have found however it’s really important  not to set yourself on too high a pedestal because as fate would have it, life often drops everything straight back in your lap, literally.
Craig and I were getting ready for a wedding and I had laid out for him his cloths, this included the beautiful new white shirt I had just bought for him.
He took one look at it and with all the wisdom of the ages stated, “it’s white, what happens when I spill my dinner on it” Some would call him a pessimist I choose to think of him as a realist.
I consider myself to be of reasonable intellect and despite all previous experience with Craig and clothes and food, all put together, for some unknown reason this question had not entered my mind. May be it was the optimism of the day, could there be a better time for it than a wedding?
We didn’t have a choice, the wedding was at four, it was three o’clock already and the trip took an hour.
There was only one thing to do, throw caution to the wind and take our chances with the white shirt.
I needn’t really to have worried, as it turned out it’s the brown shoe polish you have to watch out for.
Sitting in the car waiting to leave I heard Craigs voice float down to me from the verandah, “Does brown boot polish come out.” Instantly I felt the blood drain from my face. My dream of turning up with the tall, dark haired stranger (we didn’t know many of the invitees) in the crisp, snow white shirt were evaporating by the second.
The brown shoe polish stain dissolved remarkably well in water and the soaked front of the shirt was nearly dry by the time we entered the wedding venue.
I needn’t have worried, Craig said he would drive, so the only liquid that passed his lips was water. Then after the first hor’d’ erve he informed me he had a virus and felt like dying so that was the end of food for him.
No worries, I didn’t let the side down. A huge piece of spicy red sauce landed down my right side and spattered all over the front of my pale pastel dress.
I’m now considering how we would look in his and hers matching black.
Yay team goth.

Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden Cars – One of these things could have made you a millionaire






Football (that’s Aussie Rules)

meat pies & kangaroos (can be interchangeable with meat pies – it all depends on what price you pay)

Holden cars (previously Australian manufactured car – the company was bought by General Motors, destroyed and is no more).

Sorry just had explain a few things for all of you who would probably wonder what on earth I am talking about.

Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars all  iconically Australian and in many ways linked in our collective memories . Why am I including these in my Monday Morsels you ask? Because it is winter and cold and definitely meat pie weather. Thats the image you see at the top of the page, actually it was my lunch.

The rest of the world doesn’t know what they are missing out on. Not that I really turn to the humble meat pie on a regular occasion, I probably only eat them a couple of times a year (or if I am holiday in New Zealand as our Kiwi neighbours make particularly tasty versions). It’s like having a nice warm security blanket, you don’t want to carry it around with you, it’s just nice to know it is there if you want it.

Most Australian children begin their pie eating experiences as kindergarten students making their first tuck shop purchases. This inevitably results in tomato sauce stains running down the front of their school uniform, a little treat for later on some would say.

These pies were made of a sloppy mix of minced beef (well you always hoped it was beef but you never really knew for sure that it wasn’t Kangaroo, especially at the footy) and dark gravy. The casing was not always the best quality pastry, usually sporting a crispy top and a soggy bottom. Sloppy and messy but oh so good on a cold winters day.

The version I have posted is actually a lamb and sweet chilli pie with a fantastic butter pastry. A far cry from my school days and extremely satisfying.

Now here is the little mind boggling fact that is the main reason I am rambling. Forty years ago a meat pie at a school tuck shop cost twenty cents. The pie I bought today, exactly the same size, with the same amount of meat cost $4.80. I will save your brains and tell you it is a 2400% price rise.

That’s mind blowing.

I say Forget investing in Apple or BP Petroleum or even Gold. Where were the financial advisers who saw that coming, definitely missed that boat to financial freedom!

Zesty Salmon Vegetable Salsa

I usually have a busy Monday. Since I took this year off to finish the novel I have been writing   I only work a couple of days a week, Monday being one of them. It is late when I get home and at the moment it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere so it is cold. I usually need to make a meal in a  hurry before I reach for the energy laden junk food.

I am about to give you one of the quickest meals you will ever make. The best part is that it is also one of the most amazing in flavour and also very healthy.  It is so simple I won’t even give you a traditional recipe.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED  – Sweet Potato or Pumpkin, a mixture of green vegetables (my usual – Broccoli, Zucchini, Peas), chunky fillet of smoked Salmon – not sliced  (I usually use about a 90gram piece for 1 person), Lime, Salt and Pepper, Coconut Oil and fresh basil to garnish.

KITCHEN UTENSILS – 1 saucepan and lid, strainer , Citrus squeezer

FIRSTLY –  Fill a saucepan and boil some water. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel and slice the sweet potato and /or pumpkin into cubes. Carefully drop them into the water. Continue chopping any other vegetables you are using in to bite size pieces (not too small). Turn off the hot plate immediately (leaving the saucepan on the hotplate) and drop the rest of the vegetables into the still simmering water.   Squeeze the lime into a small jug.

The veggies only need a couple of minutes sitting in the water and can now be drained.  Once they are drained drop them into a bowl then crumble the salmon through the vegetables. Add the Salt, Pepper, Lime Juice, Coconut Oil and Basil. All you need to do then is turn it all through a couple of times and serve.

Voila, this is amazing and takes under 10 minutes to make, Enjoy !



When Sushi Turns Bad

When Sushi Turns Bad

MY Kitchen meltdown. A seething mound of glutinous rice. the face of sushi gone wrong. I went to a cut price supermarket and bought cheap arborio rice. Then tried to cook the whole Kilo in one hit. I subsequently attempted to dry it out a bit by cooking it further. The mound seemed to keep growing. By the way that bowl is from a commercial rice cooker so it has a 6 litre capacity.

A sad comparison to the amazing photos that the talented foodies post

Where Do You Eat Your Meals, I Eat Mine at the Table


I eat my meals at the table; I know that is probably an unusual thing to do in the world we now live in.  I’m not talking about just my evening meal. I mean every meal. Breakfast, there I sit with my egg on toast and cup of coffee, Lunch, even at work and evening, I sit at the table. I just can’t do the sitting on the lounge with your meal in your lap. It’s just the way I was brought up, even when there is no one around to see it I still sit at a table.


You would think my children would do the same thing cause I bought them up to sit at a table when you eat, nope. I notice that nine times out of ten they are planted on the lounge when they eat.


My cat; however, is a different matter. Every rat, bird and lizard she ever catches is bought in the house and ends up under the kitchen table. I hear crutch, crutch and I look and sure enough there is the cat with her takeaway eating at the table. Then I have to scream and chase her out of the house.


Isn’t it ironic, when you try to train your kids to do something it is so hard. Then your cat gets it just by watching you, even if you don’t want them to. Sometimes you just can’t win.



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