Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Where we stayed in Christchurch, the first night of our holiday, had been Red Zoned the last time I'd visited.

We asked the taxi driver where we could get dinner in town. He paused and said, "Nowhere. It's all wasteland now."

The ruins of the Christchurch Cathedral.

Easter and Anzac day lined up this year: with three days leave, you could get ten days off work. So Jesse and I went to the South Island.

We flew into Christchurch, and the next day drove out of town.




Somewhere in the South Island. Lots of cloud.

Snowcapped mountains in the South Island, with some kind of weird cloud thing going on.

A mountain and a lake in the South Island.


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

I want to talk about cheese rolls.

Cheese rolls are a regional food: you can only get them in the South Island: I'd never heard of them before a few years ago.

I knew we had to find cheese rolls and try them out.

They were elusive, but we tracked them down in the end (Jesse googled: cheese rolls te anau, and we dutifully headed to the Sandfly Cafe).

They looked pale and unappetising in the cabinet, but when they appeared on our plates, they looked delicious.


Inside, the cheese was molten and onion-y.


"Are you doing a cheese roll selfie?" asked Jesse, like he had just met me or something. 


How did they taste? The first bite was sublime. Hot cheese, crisp bread, sharp onion. After that, they tasted kind of sad. I guess regional food is poverty food by definition, even if it pretends it's not (I'm thinking of risotto. As fancy food, risotto is a collective delusion. It's a cup of rice, a spoonful of broth, a rind of cheese, and half an hour of woman's labour). Cheese rolls are slice of bread and a slice of cheese, and call it lunch. It tasted a little desperate (they cost $3 each). 

However! The rolled shape meant they were much easier to eat than a toasted sandwich and the cheese-to-bread ratio was closer to fondue than a sandwich. 

I found a recipe which looks pretty close to the ones we tried. 


Cheese Rolls

(The original recipe serves 36, so let's try it again with reasonable portions.)

  • 75g grated cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • Reduced cream, enough to bind
  • 4 slices white bread
  • Butter or margarine

  1. Mix together the cheese and onion, and dollop in tablespoons of reduced cream until you have a thick, sticky mixture. Aim for the consistency of porridge.
  2. Spread mixture evenly over the bread. Roll the bread up tightly, and snap the crusts o it doesn't unroll. 
  3. Spread the outside of the bread with butter, and toast in a hot panini press until golden brown.
You could also substitute leftover kiwi onion dip for the reduced cream and onion, and suddenly this whole recipe makes sense. I had leftover dip once, in 2011, and it was quite confusing and upsetting that all the dip wasn't gone. It hasn't happened to me before or since, but I guess it's more common down South. 

Have you got a cheese roll recipe? Share it in the comments! 


In the South Island, we saw stacked stones.

First we saw them by Aoraki.

A picture of a cairn of staked rocks in front of Aoraki/Mt Cook in New Zealand's South Island.


Then by Lake Tekapo.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo. That's the Church of the Good Shepard in the background.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Is this a cairn thing? Do they mark the dead, or do the living place the stones to mark the days?

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

There are so many of them.

Stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

"What the hell," I said. "What the hell is going on with everyone on this entire island that's driving them to compulsively stack rocks?"

Jesse standing next to a pile of stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

"Don't be all weird about this," said Jesse, adding scale to my photos. 

Jesse standing next to a pile of stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

"It would have been that first one guy stacked some rocks, and then someone else stacked some rocks, and then it was a thing."

A pile of stacked stones by Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

They weren't all by the shore: someone would have had to waded to do this:

A pile of stacked stones in Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

We saw them further South, in Queenstown...

The shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, South Island.

Stacked stones on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, South Island.

Stacked stones on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, South Island.

Stacked stones on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, South Island.

We saw them on the shores of Te Anau, supplemented with wood. I tried to stack stones at Lake Te Anau, but the rocks slipped and fell, and I was too cross with them to take a picture.

We saw a variation in Glenorchy. 

Stacked bricks on the foundations of an old building, Glenorchy, in New Zealand's South Island.

This was the hotel which burned down in 1959. We know that because at some point, the powers that be in Glenorchy halted the clean up and put up a sign instead. It's right on the main street.

Stacked bricks on the foundations of an old building, Glenorchy, in New Zealand's South Island.

Maybe the answer is as simple as "they have rocks down there." I live in a place with sandy beaches. How would I know?

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Baby's First Email Address


It's an old Mac computer.


"We should hang out soon!"
"We totally should! What's your email address?"
"I don't have email."

Wait, what?

Friday, 2 May 2014

@YarnBot is a Twitter bot who just wants to talk about knitting and crochet.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


@RobotAdvice is a friendly little Twitter Bot that just wants to help you with all your problems. I made her!

It's a little red tin toy robot.