Saturday, 22 October 2011

Yum Yum Yum, Rigatoni with Eggplant and Tomato Recipe

Matt and I have been doing well on our flexitarian eating plan. It has inspired me to find new recipes, and most have them have been SO delicious. Who needs meat?

Here is one we love, and its great right now, as its Eggplant season. This is quite a light meal, perfect for Spring nights.

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Tomato

  • One large, ripe Eggplant
  • Lots of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Onion, peeled and inely chopped
  • 1-2 cans of plum tomatos (or any canned tomatos.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar (not essential)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 1 chopped chilli (optional)
  • bunch of fresh Basil, leaves ripped and stalks sliced
  • 4 tablespoons heave cream (not essential - leave out for Vegans.)
  • 300g wholewheat or plain Rigatoni (or any pasta)
  • Block of mozerealla (we used normal cheese)
  • Parmesan for serving (leave out all cheese for vegans)

Chop the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, chop garlic, onion, chilli, basil and basil stalks.

Put a large pan on heat and drizzle in 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, add the eggplant, and constantly stir them for about 5 minutes. You might want to add more olive oil (this makes the eggplant taste so delicious.)

Add the garlic and onion in. When they have colour, add the canned tomatoes, chilli and the balsamic vinegar. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Add the basil stalks and simmer for around 15 mins.

Add the cream. 
At the same time, cook the pasta following packet instructions. When cooked drain it but save a little of the cooking water. Add a little olive oil in and move it around so the pasta becomes dressed in water and oil.
Now add the tomato sauce to the pasta. Add the mozerella(/cheese) and basil just before serving, and stir around. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Hair Tutorial: How to get Ombre/Pastel Hair

Pastel hair colours are so in right now. Just see here, here and here. I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try myself. I watched a few how-to videos, and decided to try it myself.

First things first, you will need blonde or lightened hair to start with. It won't show up on darker hair. So if you want to DIY, you will have to bleach your hair first if it is not already light, and sorry I don't know how to do that.

Ok, so you will need the following;

  • Gloves
  • Hair Colour (I used Fudge Paint Box, off trade me, or from a hairdresser. That small bottle will last ages)
  • Lots of white conditioner. It can be the cheapest kind, as long as its white
  • A bowl to mix in
  • Clips to clip your hair up
  • Tinting brushes - this makes it way easier. Available at any pharmacy
  • A towel you don't mind destroying
  • Not in the photo, but tinfoil to do foils, to keep it out of the way while its drying
I would recommend doing this naked, with the towel around your shoulders. The colour will destroy any clothes you have on. 

Begin by mixing a tiny bit of the hair colour with heaps of conditioner. (I used too much colour, and ended up using all the conditioner, hence making way too much mixture.)

You could go this light, or lighter. It depends how pastel you want it to be. Now make sure you are wearing gloves and apply it to your hair. If you want 'highlights' you will need to use tinfoil to paint it onto, so you don't get the rest of your hair. If you're just doing the bottom, like me, you can use tinfoil or not, its up to you. You could do two different colours (I may try this), but you will need to be careful to keep them separate from each other

As you can see, the colour stains! I had to do this twice, as the first time it wasn't showing enough. The second time I did about 10 foils instead of 2, and it made it look a lot better. So do as I say, not as I show in the photo. 

Leave on for about 30 minutes - you can check the colour as you go. Rinse out with cold water. Then dry your hair and admire your colour. Style as usual

After first attempt- see not very bright

After second application - much better!

The good thing about doing just the tips, or hidden highlights, is that you can easily hide them for work, in an up do or a bun. The colour will wash out pretty quickly - mine is quite faded now. So just apply again when you need to, if you have a lot of mixture made up, all you have to do it apply it. 
To make it even better, you could do it with a friend, apply it to each other hair, for a more 'even' look. (Note, if doing the colouring with a friend, maybe best you don't do it naked. Might be time to find some old clothes you don't mind ruining ;)

Your hair will look so pretty! I think its a great look for summer

Enjoy xo

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Why I'm disappointed in the NZ Sign Language Act Review

In 2006, the New Zealand Sign Language Act was passed, making NZSL an official language, which was a great victory for Deaf people, whose indigenous language was finally recognised in this country. But to be honest, that's about all the new Act provided - official recognition of NZSL. It did say that Deaf people were allowed to have competent interpreters in legal settings (already a right), and that there would be some principals set out about govt departments using NZSL. The act is available on this website. (Interestingly enough, there wasn't an NZSL format of the act until about 2 weeks ago, after the review. Until this time it was only available in English.....)

A review was set for 2009. Somehow this review got delayed until now (late 2011.) In the review process the Deaf community was consulted and had great ideas like;

·        creating a NZSL Commission to promote and monitor the use of NZSL, like the Māori Language Commission does for Māori
·        adding broadcasting, so that there was more use of NZSL on television and movies
·        creating a right to use NZSL for Deaf people in early childhood, primary, secondary, or tertiary education
·        requiring access to NZSL interpreters in other parts of the justice system, like in reporting a crime to the Police
·        making the use of NZSL a requirement for social and cultural matters, such as for funerals, weddings, or parent-teacher interviews at schools
·        adding in Crown entities, such as hospitals, schools, ACC or Housing New Zealand Corporation, to those government agencies covered by the NZSL Act.
(emphasis mine, from here). 

It seems outrageous to me that using NZSL in education setting is not already in law. How else are Deaf NZSL using kids gonna access education....? All the other ideas seem sensible and fair too.

So which ideas did the govt decide to act on....?

.... um... none. Thats right, NONE.

The review states that these things can happen without changes to the act. Really?! If there is no lawful provision for NZSL access in education, an NZSL commission or needing NZSL in social/cultural matters, then it seems to me very unlikely these things will happen (I would love to be proven wrong.)

Instead the review suggests 9 things that could be done to make the Act work better, like
  •    Minsters could promote the use of NZSL by signing a greeting at the start of speeches, in a similar way to how Māori greetings are used (tokenism anyone?)
  • Ministers in charge of Crown entities that provide services could remind them that they should not discriminate or treat people badly just because they can’t hear (should not? What about just don't! sigh)
  • government departments should tell the Office for Disability Issues each year how many meetings with Deaf people they had and whether NZSL interpreters were used (statistics are great, but is this really going to do anything?)

Overall, not much is happening, no new provisions means no change. Personally, as an NZSL interpreter, this means no more work for us, as there is no new funding, or expectation of access to NZSL in any areas. For Deaf people that means the same struggles and barriers for years to come.

I'm really disappointed that this opportunity wasn't used to further enhance and put in place legal thresholds around the use and access to NZSL. Of course its great that NZSL is an official language here, but that's no longer enough. Progress needs to be made, and it doesn't look like its coming from the government.

In the past months, the most progress I have seen around NZSL promotion has been led by Deaf people themselves (NZSL week, interpreters around the Christchurch earthquakes, NZSL anthem at rugby games etc) These initiatives are great, but it would be so much more powerful if the government acted like it cared and took some of the responsibility too.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Recipe: Rustic Feta Basil Tart

Hubby and I have decided to become (/slowly sliding into) flexitarianism. I am trying to cut down on red meat because of its proven carcinogenic qualities when cooked. Matt watched a doco about chickens, where they give them hormones, fatten them up and they can't even walk before they are killed... I won't go into it more as I don't wanna put you off your food. Suffice to say, we want to eat more veges.

As most of my recipe knowledge calls for meat, I have needed to scour the internets for new food ideas (so I don't repeat the same 3 vegetarian meals every week.) I found this one, and it was delicious! And pretty easy. So I thought I'd share the recipe.

Feta-Basil Tart: (serves 2)
Tart dough:
§                     3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
§                     1.5 tbsp butter
§                     pinch of salt
§                     1.5 tbsp yogurt
§                     enough water to make a smooth dough
1.                  Crumb the butter into the flour and salt.
2.                  Add the yogurt and then enough water to make a smooth dough.
3.                  Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or 10 minutes in the freezer.
Feta Basil Filling:
§                     2/3 cup of crumbled feta (or if you are doing it in a food processor, like me, you can use hard feta.)
§                     3/4-1 cup of chopped basil (packed)
§                     1/4-1/2 cup chopped parsley
§                     1 small onion, chopped
§                     1-2 eggs
§                     pinch of salt
§                     pepper
            I added spinach too

1.                  Mix all ingredients together (beating eggs well). (You can do this in a food processor.)
2.                  Roll tart dough into two thin rounds.
3.                  Put filling in the middle of the dough and pinch the dough up around the edges to make little containers for the filling.

4.                  Bake at 220 for 15 minutes.
5.                  Reduce heat to 180 and bake until done (~20 minutes)
6.         Let cool. Serve.

I got the recipe from here

Feta and Basil are not the cheapest ingredients, but the amount you need for this meal will cost less than the equivalent amount of meat you would need for a main meal.

I served it with warm potato/kumara salad (chop up kumara and potatoes (with skins on), boil till cooked. Chop up red onion, avocado, nuts, boiled eggs - anything!  to put in salad. And serve with dressing, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/8th cup plain yogurt/sour cream and 1 tsp mustard mixed together.). As you can see we went a little dressing crazy, so I have given you the recipe for half the amount of dressing, which should be enough. Serves 2.

We also had dessert

Red velvet cupcake, recipe here

Friday, 7 October 2011

Colour is my friend - What I wear to work.

If you didn't know, I work as a Sign Language/English interpreter. Basically I wave my hands around a lot and look at other people waving their hands round and try to understand what they're saying.

Because of my job, I need to wear clothes that create contrast, so its easier for people to see what I'm signing (so they won't get eye strain.) As such, patterns are out, light colours are out (for me) and dark colours are in.

When I was training to be an interpreter, I took this to mean all I can wear is black. And so I did. For a long time, all I wore was black, all I bought was black. At first it was fun, like a work 'uniform' that showed I was an interpreter. But after a while black became boring (don't you hate it when wearing black top and black pants and both the blacks are different?!). I looked boring, like I was going to a funeral, and black can sometimes be too much contrast.

I decided I needed colour in my life. Slowly I have been building up a wardrobe of (work appropriate) colour. I still wear black sometimes, but when I do, its surrounded by other colours.

I'd like to share with you some of what I wear to give you ideas about how to use colour (even if you're not an interpreter, some people still tend to over-black.) I've taken photos over a 2 week period of what I wear for work, so in winter there would be a lot more heavy coats, in summer it will be more long skirts and sandals, but you'll get the idea.

Navy skirt - teal tee and black cardi

Orange skirt -black tee - Navy Jacket

Burgandy Merino Dress

Burnt orange dress - Navy Blazer

Green Maxi skirt - black top and cardi

Mid blue dress - brown cardi

Green skirt, Navy Jacket (remember to iron your clothes...)
See the colour in action....
Please don't ask about my facial expression

Wearing blue, and dying from smoke inhalation - all in a days work

I am wearing colour here.. see the pink scarf!... hmm bad interpreter?

See, adding a bit of colour isn't so hard! If you aren't working as an interpreter, you could add patterned tops and dresses and nice accessories (jewelry, scarfs etc.)
As for me, my accessorising for work goes about this far;

You might have noticed I don't wear trousers. This isn't because I am anti trousers. I just don't have any nice ones that fit. And trousers tend to come in boring colours, whereas skirts give you a lot more colour freedom. (You may have also noticed I am not wearing shoes in many photos. Don't worry, I do actually wear shoes to work.)

I personally am anti-jeans for work. I was inspired by an interpreter friend to look more professional, so I don't wear jeans at all when working. I find that dressing up a bit makes me feel and look more like a professional, and tends to suit the situations I work in.

So there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed seeing what you can do with colour :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Reasons for happiness

Many reasons for joy at the moment;

Spring blossoms,

New shoes (wedges) -ta-dah!

My parents came to stay this weekend,

These two followed us round a lot,
Sickeningly Cute

We were there too,
Note: Margaritas were consumed in the making of this photo

New dress,
Burnt Orange = Awesome


Doctors taking me seriously, now I am getting this, this and this done, within 2 months. Thanks public health system,

Love notes,

Sunsets from our house,

He paints the skies to say goodnight

This video is cheesy and American style, but it still brought a lump to my throat,

Monday, 3 October 2011

Marriage song

Written in the long summer weeks we were apart before our wedding;

summer days, before and to come
drifting haze, kissed under the sun
time is still, your sweet voice carries
and yet until, you I do marry
I wait and wonder, dream of you
hope and ponder, believe us two
on the promised day, sweet love to be
white dress unrobed and finally
me and you
you and me
bedded love, entwined we’ll be

drifting into the summer haze
hours turning into days
days to weeks, weeks to years
until asleep, we undo our cares

at the beginning of you and me
this is what I see

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