Monday, June 27, 2011

What to pack for a tropical island getaway

I'm sitting writing this wrapped in a polar fleece blanket, a couple of merino layers and a cosy peruvian hat complete with ear flaps. Winter finally hit Wellington today and it's freezing!!! Hopefully the southerly blast has also blown that pesky ash cloud far far away because straight after work tomorrow I'm flying up north to spend a couple of days before flying off to sunny, tropical Samoa.

I may trudge around all day in shoes that can talk the holes in them are getting so big, can't fork out for the $60 primer I deemed a necessity at age 18 or for a new winter coat though mine needs replacing, but there is always money for three things - wine, yarn and most especially HOLIDAYS!

The budget is 10 days for $1500 tops. Flights set me back around $500 so I have a grand to play with for accommodation, diving, beer and anything else.

The cheapest fare was carry on luggage only which shouldn't be a problem. As long as the snorkel gear fits in the bag and it all weighs under 7kg I'm away smiling. The whole tropical island thing makes it much easier to pack light. And after lugging around a pack crammed with way too many things last year (although that was 5 months from muggy Amazon to frosty Patagonia) I've definately learnt that less is more! Trying to fit all the goodies I picked up along the way (2kg of yerba mate *cough*) flying home from Buenos Aires was an absolute nightmare as you can see...

 So, because I love packing lists (and love showing up to the airport WITH my passport and wallet), here's my 10 days in Samoa list:
  • travel insurance policy
  • passport
  • money/eftpos/coin purse or wallet
  • camera/batteries/battery charger/SD card
  • backpack to put it all in
  • mask and fins and DIVE LOG BOOK/PADI certification
  • togs x2
  • quick dry towel
  • 2x bra, 4x undies, 3x singlets or t-shirts, 2x skirts, 1x dress, summer pjs
  • 1x leggings, 1x cardy, 1x socks, 1x scarf (mainly for the plane - Pacific Blue cranks the air con!)
  • head lamp (for night time toilet excursions - the fales won't have walls let alone ensuites)
  • empty water bottle and purification tablets (saves buying lots of water)
  • kathmandu laundry detergent which doubles as my shampoo and body wash
  • pawpaw balm (best thing to put on mozzie bites, as lip gloss, burn cream....)
  • 2-in-1 mozzie repellent/sunscreen with lots and lots of DEET
  • sunnies
  • jandals (all weather, all terrain footwear)
  • toothbrush/paste
  • padlock and chain for bag
  • book
  • knitting (bought cotton especially for a project so I can knit in the tropical heat!)
  • booking confirmations for first few nights printed out, wing the rest on arrival.
  • samoan homework so I can practice all the vocab while lying on the beach with a large bottle of vailima!
That actually sounds a lot written down, but I'll be wearing half of it onto the plane. Right better double check it's all in the bag.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Snapper: in pictures

The parents dropped by last weekend bringing with them a stash of snapper fillets for my freezer. Yum! I cooked some up tonight with garlic chips on the side and a winter salad of cabbage, brocolli, spinach and celery with a blue cheese sauce. It was the first time I've battered a fish in anything other than beer. I had to hunt for a recipe due to not a drop of beer to be found in the house. Shock, horror. That was never a problem when flatting with males - there was at least a can of double brown to be found down the back of the fridge if you were truely desperate. The wine rack is looking rather full though, but wine-battered fish...??? Maybe experiment on something a little less yummy than snapper in case I fudge it up!


1/4 cup cornflour
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
Oil for frying

Sift it into the bowl. Gradually whisk in milk until it forms a smooth batter (duh). Dip the fish into it, and fry until golden.

NB: paraphased that a bit.

No beer batter, but not half bad.
Anyway, last time I was up North we spent a day fishing up the Coromandel. Unfortunately I didn't catch A SINGLE THING!!!!! Luckily my dad caught enough for all of us. That's when I took these pictures. (No pictures of tonight's feed because I couldn't wait to dig in!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lesapī mo le sapasui

Samoan feed at a festival a couple of years ago

It's samoan language week so to celebrate I thought I'd share the chop suey recipe I got given in my samoan night class a couple of weeks ago.

ani ani, ani ani saina, fiu, ga'o, lialia, sosi, fasipovi/fasimoa/fasipoa'a, masima ma pepa
onion, garlic, ginger, oil, vermecelli, soy sauce, beef/chicken/pork, salt and pepper (to taste)

  • Tipi ma fufulu le fasipovi. Fa'asosi ma tu'u i le pusa aisa. Cut and wash the meat. Soy sauce it (put on enough to induce a heart attack, and then add some more) and put it in the fridge.
  • Falai le aniani, aniani saina, fiu ma le fasipovi ile ga'o. Fry the onion, garlic, ginger and meat in the oil.
  • Sasa'a le vai vevela i le lialia. Pour the hot water on the vermicelli.
  • E vela loa le fasipovi sasa'a iai le lialia ma saeu. When the meat is cooked, add the vermicelli and stir.
  • Fa'apuna ma tī i lalo le ogaumu. Bring it to the boil then lower the heat. 
  • E vela loa le lialia, tapē le ogaumu. When it's ready, turn off the heat.
Here's some I made with red cabbage, choko and mixed veges instead of meat.

If sapasui isn't your cup of tea check out Robert Oliver's Me'a Kai for some tasty, Pacific-inspired cooking. I so want that cookbook - if only it didn't come with a $70+ price tag (ouch!).

I'll leave you with this Samoan sunrise...because it is so darn pretty!

The lagoon at Tafitoala, taken by me 2 years ago.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tastes like Autumn

I love doing the weekly grocery shop. Most Saturday mornings I get up, chuck on a beanie to cover the bed hair (that's right, 7 weeks of growth is enough to cause bed hair, which excites me no end - it's growing!) and head down the road to Newtown School.

On the way there's often a group of Samoans selling sausage sizzles to raise money for a church or school or family holiday back to the islands. It'd be rude not to buy one, and so I arrive at the market hurridly wiping tomato sauce off my chin. Every so often I have to pull a u-y and head back to the atm because I've realised at the first stall I've forgotten the money.

The best thing about the market is how cheap everything is. 30 odd eggs for $6. All sorts of fruit for 99c at the moment. And best of all yams are down to $4 already when they are still over $8 at Pak n Save. $20 later, laden down with a myriad of fruit and vegies I head home for a spinach nest and cup of tea if I've got enough time before work.

Tonight I used some of these goodies that were going a bit soft to make a crumble was all the gorgeous colours of autumn falling leaves. There wasn't much that wasn't in it - braeburn, pear, persimmon, kiwifruit both green and gold, delicious and served with a small dollop generous drowning of custard.

It followed goat casserole. Sneaky meat while the pommy lass is out of the house.

The only thing the crumble was missing was feijoa. But that's alright. Here's some feijoa jam I prepared earlier.

And here's a parting shop of the first bounty from the vege patch. We're very proud of our wee radishes, which is a good thing since I didn't stagger the planting, they're going to be ready all at once - whoops!

That's autumn over. Fingers crossed the warmish weather lasts until the end of the month when I'll be in beautiful, warm Samoa!

Off the needles

A glimpse into what this beginner knitter has been making so far this year...

Infinitude scarf and angora 'Hermione' hat

another 'Hermione' hat but in bamboo

Mary Jane slippers that still need to be finished

owl hat

cable baby hats

booties (I've just about finished a 2nd pair in white)

toddler hand warmers and beanie
Right now I'm working on baby socks to finish off a couple of sets (in a hurry - think the babies are due in June argh!) and then I'm going to treat myself to a hat and fingerless gloves. Then it will be more baby knitting with one of my good friends expecting a girl in September (yay - lots of gorgeous girlie patterns and yarns to choose from!).