Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

JoB likes: HAND-MADE WEDDINGS

September 12, 2010

My fiance and I recently spent about five hours hand-crafting a large number of invites to give out to our guests for our slightly off-beat Taiwanese wedding. (We are both New Zealanders but are getting married here in Taichung.)

I’ve written up a how-to after the pics and will post on how we organised our (very) low-budget event after it’s all over. Only two weeks to go!

The first stage - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard.

Production line crafting - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard. There were a couple more colors - maroon, green, yellow.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card attached together with wool.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card tied together with wool.

Here’s how:

1. Buy two contrasting kinds of cardboard. We used corrugated cardboard as the backing card and a lighter polka dot card as the base card. You’ll also need some plain white heavy printer paper to print out the event details. While you’re at the stationers’/craft shop pick up some double-sided tape dispensers (better than glue because it doesn’t set all lumpy), some wool or string, a fine black marker or two, some rubber stamps, stamp ink in black, a craft knife, a cutting board, a strong ruler, some large-sized envelopes and a hole punch.

2. Measure and cut all the card to the size you want it. Remember that the base card needs to be a bit smaller than the backing card so it will fit inside it.

3. Stamp the base card with your chosen stamp and attach with double-sided tape to the backing card.

4. Type out the party details and print onto heavy white printer paper. Cut these out and attach with the tape to the cardboard. While you on the computer make a Google (or other) map to the venue and print this out on the heavy paper. Cut it out also. We needed to make a drink card for our wedding so we created and printed that at the same time.

5. We used some of the card leftover from the invite to make the “dog tags”. It was already cut to size. Just attach the map to some and any other materials you need to include to the rest. We included a business card from the venue in this set. Hole punch a corner of each card and then tie them all together with the string or wool.

6. Stamp all the envelopes with a stamp of your choice. We then typed and printed out addresses/names of guests and sender addresses onto the heavy white printer paper. We cut these out and attached them to the envelopes with the tape.

Notes: It’s a good idea to create a dummy copy of the invite before you go out and buy a whole lot of unnecessary stuff that you won’t use. Oh, and buy tons of tape – it goes really fast.

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write up: kiwi kafe is choice

May 3, 2010

I was skeptical when I read about Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen. Skeptical because I didn’t believe it could really feel Kiwi.

Long ago, once upon a 2009 Christmas, I gave Jonny a hand-made gift voucher with which I promised to take him to Angel’s Kitchen, the fine dining half of the two restaurants.

So, we went on Saturday night. You have to book in advance and decide what kind of main you would like. Then the rest of the meal is tailored to your preferences. Angel, the chief and owner, hand-designs the menu which you can take home as a souvenir.

The entrees included homemade bread and dips, a seafood chowder and a seafood salad with fresh fruit and a huge, top quality scallop.

I had a main of dukkah coated NZ lamb while my boyfriend had the white fish. The lamb was amazingly tender, but the fish was a little dry on the outside.

For desert, we were treated to a richly chocolate slice of cake and a hand constructed almond wafer with apricot Haagen Dazs ice cream.

We were nearly the only ones in the tiny upstairs seating area. The service was wonderful; our waiter was warm and attentive, answering our questions about the food, although he was a little nervous about having to speak English.

We meet with owner, Angel, after our meal and had a good chat. She spent 15 years in Chirstchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, where she studied cookery, and was more than thrilled to meet some fellow Kiwis. It’s obvious she misses the place.

Altogether, the meal cost us NT$2,200. Not bad for such high quality food coupled with a jovial and relaxed atmosphere. Dining at Angel’s Kitchen is by phone appointment only.

And, just to make it even more special, my boyfriend of eight years surprised me with a proposal. Yes, I’m engaged. Ah! He presented me with a ring taken from a key ring. A friend in Australia, who works for this art gallery, will get a ring designed for us. I am a very lucky lady.

The downstairs Kiwi Kafe is open during the day, for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It has been decorated by the owner and is immactulate. Much of her produce comes from New Zealand and her paninis are only just over NT$70. You can visit every day of the week bar Thursday.

And yes, it really, really feels Kiwi. In fact, it made me more than a little homesick.

Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen
Taichung: 471 XingAn Road, Section 2 (興安路2段471號)
(04) 2243-7171

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baking teensy: edition 6 (the NZ lolly cake disaster)

April 30, 2010

Well, my streak of bad luck seems to be never-ending. I should have known from the beginning that my attempt at participating in an extracurricular activity would be thwarted. I have never really had much success with group activities.

You know how I wrote here about making some sweet NZ treats to sell today at the International Food Festival at Feng Chia University?

Well, I decided to only make lolly cake. I asked a creatively inclined friend and fellow teacher to draw a cutesy border on a piece of paper within which I was going to print the recipe to give out with each piece of cake sold.

I bought all the ingredients from Jasons. I couldn’t find Malt Biscuits so used Digestives. I also couldn’t find anything like eskimos so I used some tiny marshmallows my mum sent me from NZ and some soft jelly lollies. It’s pretty easy to make, you just put everything in a big bowl and stir it together.

With very sticky hands, I made the mixture into a log shape and rolled it in the coconut flakes. I covered it in plastic wrap and went to put it in the fridge. The fridge didn’t seem very cold, though. Then, I looked in the freezer. Everything was melted: the ice in its trays, the (no longer frozen) peas, the ice cream…

Our fridge had broken down.

So, at 11.30 pm at night, we had to throw out all of our food, of which we had a lot, and it meant that I couldn’t set the lolly cake. I admit to shedding a tear or two over the incident. I’m really not good at dealing with disappointment.

In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation I decided to place the lolly cake (not)-to-be in the freezer which was still a little cold. I left a quickly softening ice pad (the blue thing in the picture below) in there to see if that would keep it cool. It didn’t. Don’t you think the cake looks like a giant poo?

I went to bed, hoping for no nightmares of being crushed by giant lolly cake logs.

When I woke, I checked on the cake. Not set, still squishy. It’s now in the bin.

So, with my hopes dashed, I went to the food festival anyway, expecting to be cheered by the sites and smells (and purchases) of global flavours. However, the event which I thought began at 10 am actually didn’t start until 12 pm. I had to leave at 12 pm for a Skype meeting at one.

Was today a good day? No sir, it was not. I am now waiting for the electrician to arrive to fix the fridge. Our land agent promised one would be here before 4 pm. It is now 3:44 pm.

Does any one else have any group activity nightmares they want to share? If so, post a comment. It might make me feel better to bask in other people’s failed attempts at participating in extracurricular activities.

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JoB likes: MILLY SLEEPING

April 22, 2010

Um, yeah. I am souper douper excited.

I just recieved a wonderful email informing me that one of my favourite Melbourne clothing boutiques, Milly Sleeping, has started an online store.

You can find things like this there.

Milly Sleeping is located in the inner city suburb of Carlton in Melbourne Australia and stocks clothing and accessories by independent and innovative New Zealand and Australian designers.

“… This Carlton boutique has developed a reputation for its carefully curated collection of the more cerebral local labels…” Michelle Griffin for The Age

Now my only worry is my potentially steadily declining bank balance.

I’ve just emailed them to see if they ship overseas but I’m sure they would. They just have to.

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baking teensy: edition 5 (chocolate and crunch Kiwiana)

April 21, 2010

I made these today.

Afghan Biscuits are, as far as I know, a solely New Zealand invention, first appearing in the iconic Edmonds Cookery Book. They are basically chocolate cookies with the strange but truly wonderful edition of Skippy Cornflakes to give a crunchy texture. I, however, used Special K because I couldn’t find cornflakes.

I’m not sure if you can see in the picture above but there are two different colors of icing. That’s because the icing is actually pure cooking chocolate, and because the first batch I made I melted it in a bowl in a pot of water. I managed to put too much water in the pot and some of it leeked into the bowl. This makes the chocolate go all weird and dark and bitsy. It still tasted like chocolate though, so I used it anyway. The next batch I made I took out some of the water; problem solved.

While I’m admitting to my baking errors, I also managed to burn the bottom of the biscuits and had to spend about ten minutes scrapping the burnt off with a serrated knife. Does anyone have any tips on how to not burn the bottom of biscuits when cooking in a toaster oven? Please post them here because I’m not sure if I can work it out.

I will be making these Afghan Biscuits and New Zealand Lolly Cake to sell at the International Food Festival being held at Feng Chia University next Friday. Come along, bring your friends. At my stall alone there will be food and drink from New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, and there is a whole floor of stalls!

Actually, a quick side note, my Thai classmate just made me aware that there is a small Thai market somewhere near Tunghai University. When I find out more, I’ll pass it on to you.

The International Food Festival will on from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday 30th April. Come to the fourth floor of Administration Building II, Feng Chia University, No. 100, Wenhwa Rd., Seatwen, Taichung. Here’s a campus map.

I just realised, this is the first baking teensy I’ve posted on something sweet. Weird.

To make your own Afghan Biscuits, here’s the recipe I used.

To make your own New Zealand Lolly Cake, here’s the recipe I will use.

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