30 March 2012

2 years - I've made it!

Two years ago today, just before Easter I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was a pretty hairy scary diagnosis too. My diagnosis was Grade 3, Stage 3 Her2+ breast cancer. If I got through the first two years without a reoccurence then I was beating some pretty high odds.

Well... I'm still here. 18 weeks of chemotherapy, 25 rounds radiation and 52 weeks of Herceptin and 7 months (so far) of Neratinib later I'm still here. And life is good!!

Two years!! This is massive for me. Its a real mental game sometimes. Next stop. 3 years, then 4, then 5 and the oncology people won't want to see me anymore!

Bring on the weekend. I think this time it calls for some bubbles!

1st chemo - looking perky cos I had no idea what was going to happen to me.

Middle of chemo
Towards the end of chemo

After radiation treatment
More recently...with some of my favourite girls.

And also just to say thank you to all our friend and family.
We as a family wouldn't be the same without love and support from so many people.

27 March 2012

Little & Friday

A couple of years ago I used to go walking with a friend around Belmont/Eversleigh Rd area when a little bakery popped up in an old butchers shop in an out of the way group of shops that housed a roast shop and a catering company. Called Little & Friday it was so little it was almost a hole in the wall business with an awesome look of a warehouse painted white mixed in with items from your grandmas kitchen. A whole wall was dedicated to shelves of old cookie cutters. I loved it!!

In the little cabinet of this small space they had the most divine wee cakes and pies, packaged fudge and giant meringues. It all looked so mouthwatering and divine. The shop had only been open a few days and this particular Friday was the first day they had been open for business to the general public. Despite our intent on walking for fitness we couldn't resist buying a couple of cakes and fresh espresso to go and I am so glad we did. We thought we had found an amazing secret! I remember I had the chocolate cake and my friend who was on a gluten free diet had the orange rosewater cake.
What makes Little & Friday standout is that Kim makes all her food with the best organic ingredients and I tell you her cream donuts are the BEST I've ever had!

Word spread and before long the shop, which was previously only open on Fridays opened its doors for the entire week. A year later they expanded into the shop next door, and last year opened a second store in Newmarket. If you live in Auckland and you haven't heard of Little & Friday then you've been living under a rock! And if you don't live in Auckland Kim, the owner, is now the author of a new baking book where she shares her amazing recipes for you to try making yourself.

The book is available from any good book shop (I even found a few copies in the Paper Plus shop here in Katikati much to my excitement...I did a happy dance when I saw it!) or online here.

Anyway this book is beautifully and mouthwateringly presented and I'm so so happy to have it on my ever growing baking bookcase!

Here's a wee video from Kim about it.

22 March 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns
If your daughters do not like them
Eat them all yourself...

That's how it goes hey?

Anyway I LOVE making home made buns, and since they are a once a year thing its a nice tradition to have in the kitchen. It goes along with pecan pies and gingerbread at Christmas.

So here's the recipe I use. The original recipe comes from the Littlies magazine  and is really easy to make and its one that the kids can help out with too. You can substitute the sultanas for anything. Today's batch had dates and chocolate chips in them too.


600g (4 cups) white bread flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons caster sugar
14g dried yeast
40g butter
210g (1 2/3 cups) sultanas or golden raisins

Paste for crosses
35g (1/4 cup) plain flour

¼ teaspoon caster sugar

1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar

1 teaspoon gelatine

Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir in the sultanas. Make a well in the centre, then pour in 310ml (1 ¼ cups) lukewarm water. Stir with a wooden spoon and then your hands to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth, adding a little more flour if necessary.

Place the dough in a large floured bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a lamington tin. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to deflate. Divide into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Place the balls in the tin, just touching each other. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size.

To make the crosses, mix the flour, sugar and 2 ½ tablespoons water into a paste. Spoon into a freezer bag or re-sealable bag. Snip a small hole in one corner and pipe crosses on top of the buns.

Bake the buns in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile, put the sugar, gelatine and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until dissolved. Brush over the hot buns and cool.

Makes 12 

20 March 2012

New Beach

This was our old beach...

This is our new beach.

Well its actually more of an estuary. Not as blue and sandy but private, full of fish and just below our garden.
So far we have seen heron, kingfisher, quail, swans, ducks, LOTS of seagulls, hawks, tui and lots of other birds I don't know the name for.
We even have a view of little Tutaetaka Island, a Maori burial ground. When the tide is in and its calm the fish start flinging themselves out of the water, its amazing to watch!

19 March 2012

Finally here!

Ahhhh.....BIG sigh of relief!

We are here. We have arrived in our new home. Actually we've already been here a week but its taken me that long just to get some time to process these and post them up.
This place is AMAZING for photography! I woke up on Tuesday morning with THE most glorious sunrise going on outside....so I took this.

Then a few minutes later, still on the deck in awe I turned the other way and saw this!

That my darlings is the beautiful Kaimai Ranges, covered in cloud which was just sitting over it like magic. This view changes everyday depending on the tide, the cloud, the weather. Right now, as it is over most of the North Island, its pretty miserable outside so I've saved the above picture as my desktop pic to make me feel warm and fuzzy.

The move went well. The truck was a little smaller than I had imagined so I had a wee panic - we had BOXES and BOXES of so.much.stuff. I had thought I had done well getting rid of heaps, obviously I hadn't done enough. But thanks to mum calming me down it all got moved in the end and some amazing people put in a heap of effort on our behalf. I couldn't be more grateful to them.

So in the week since then, we've unpacked, set up home and celebrated Madeline's 10th birthday, lost Johnny in The Warehouse in Tauranga, bought new school uniforms, started kindy, figured out Skype, clapped Katie on finally ditching her training wheels, damaged the front bumper of the new car (oops), eaten many avocados, found some massive spiders, watched all manner of bird life and today was the girls first day at school. Phew! (Oh and we found Johnny again, in case you were wondering).

So now I have plenty of time to work on baking and assignments and of course more time for blogging now I'm not knee deep in cardboard boxes. It's so great to be settled. We couldn't be more happy being down here, except for the fact all our friends are a little bit further away :(

I'll leave you with a few photos that my gorgeous friend Emma took the day we moved in. Enjoy!

My thoughts are going out to all my friends stuck in flooded Northland today. Especially YOU Kelly! xx