Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sunday, 23 February 2014

A day at the beach...

It's been a year since we've had a day off to go to the beach. It was great!
Got to do this more often...

"Is that going to be enough chicken?"

An old shipwreck that's now inhabited by coral and tropical fish.
Great for snorkelling!

"Where am I?"

Love this scene...

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Yummy Cocktail!

Thanks to my sis, we tried this delicious cocktail this weekend...

Here's her recipe...

The Anguria (Watermelon in Italian)

4 thick slices of watermelon
about half this quantity of crushed ice
lime juice squeezed from half a lime
one portion of gin
equal portion of water with 2 tsp sugar

Blend and serve in martini glasses

Friday, 21 February 2014

Homemade vanilla extract

We are lucky enough to be able to get hold of fresh vanilla beans that are grown here, so don't have a problem using them with abandon.
The bit that hurts is the vodka...

Homemade Vanilla Extract

- 3 medium vanilla beans, or 1 1/2 fat ones
- 1 cup rum or vodka

Have ready a 1-cup glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid; I used an empty (and clean, obviously) jar of jam. Pour boiling water into it, let rest for 10 minutes to sterilize, and pour out the water.

Using a sharp knife, slice the beans open lengthwise to expose the seeds. Tuck the beans in the jar and fill with liquor. Close the jar, shake it a few times, and place it in a cool, dark cabinet; you may have to whisper a few words of reassurance if the jar is, understandably, a little frightened.

Let the jar rest in there for 8 weeks, shaking it again once or twice a week, or whenever you remember to. The mixture will get darker and darker over time.

You can start using your extract by the end of the eighth week. Use however much you need, and when you notice that you're running a little low -- that you've used, say, 20% of the extract -- top it off with more liquor (preferably of the same type) and shake again.

And every once in a while, when you're using a fresh bean in a recipe, you can add the empty pod (rinsed off and dried if it's been steeped in milk or cream) to the jar**.

If you continue to "feed" it this way, the extract will keep forever; just remove some of the older beans if the jar becomes too crowded.

** Remember that those empty pods can also be placed in your sugar jar, olive oil bottle, or tea tin to flavor them, too.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Rolling beeswax candles on a sunny afternoon...

It's kind of the opposite here...  Unless you are at the beach, it is the best thing to be inside out of the sun and the heat on an afternoon when the temperature is over 30 and the humidity is up around 90!

It is also a good temperature for the beeswax sheets to be very pliable for rolling.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Motu - the local oven.

The motu is the Solomon Islanders main method of cooking fish,
potato, cassava etc.  Stones are heated on the fire and then placed in a circle
with the potatoes or fish/meat wrapped in banana leaves placed on top. 
These are covered with more hot stones and then banana leaves to keep the
heat in and provide some moisture.

It's a full day's work for a mum to feed her family here!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Dealing with the rain...

We're getting it bad this season.  Had a few cyclones start here, which
means that we get a whole lot of rain and then send off the wind to other

The heavy rain does this...