My favourite protest songs

While I was working as a lecturer, I always really enjoyed the conversations in the vans on the way to and from field sites, and around about the place. There were a couple of times when I experienced what it must be like to be a taxi driver- it was like I wasn’t there. Mostly though, I was entertained with new music, new conversation. On one particularly long trip, we were listening to what I can only really remember as being categorised (in my own mind) as weird shit* I would never normally come across. In it, there was a protest song and the DJ of this collection made an offhand comment about the fact that protest songs always had to have spoken voice over parts in them to make the point. I disagree, and here are my top 5 favourite protest songs, none of which contain any spoken over bits.

*Perhaps eclectic would be more polite- either way, this is not a value judgement. As you can see from my choice, I can hardly throw stones about weird.

It was hard to know where to start but one of the videos is ably introduced by a veteran, so over to you, Terry Wogan.

I am always surprised when I find people outside of South Africa who have heard of Johnny Clegg- but when we saw him in Auckland in 2010 the town hall was packed (and they weren’t all ex-pats either!).

(Please forgive me the 80s video quality here- you get the idea).

More people outside of Australia should have heard of this band, although I do admit that a lot of their songs are rather political and Aussie-centric. This one celebrates the defeat in the 2007 general election of John Howard. It is cutting, but it is very good.

My phone seems to like this song a lot as it seems to come up on the “party shuffle” more than one would naturally expect (I always seem to walk a bit faster while it is on, than I do to say Liam Finn). Still, you won’t hear me complain.


The final (well done for making it!) is an oldie, but a goodie. I remember listening to this on record at the first house I have coherent memories of so I can’t have been older than 5 or 6. We also had it on tape, so listened to it in the car too. I didn’t remember the gorilla, perhaps having a gorilla to feed wasn’t so outlandish to  6 year old?


And there you have it. Turns out I love me a good protest song. You’re welcome 🙂

Edit: the song that sparked this post, cause I know you’re interested, was “underwear goes inside your pants” by lazyboy.


Freakfood is evolving…..

I would never do anything as hip as quote Dylan lyrics to you, but … well, the times don’t stay the same. And neither do people although I hasten to add that I have thought a lot more about this blog than shows in the recent output. One of my thoughts is that a blog only about food is no longer that sustainable for me for lots of reasons including shifting my priorities to be more home based and moving away from a big city. Let’s be realistic, there are only a finite number of blog posts I can write about the gluten free eating places in Thames. Another limiting factor is that silly promise I made to myself that I would only post positives. I sometimes find that limiting, and to be honest, I think if you are going to commit to a gluten free blog you need to be honest about the good, and when you stumble on it, the bad. I am still a believer that good should be celebrated more than bad, lest you feed a negative feedback loop, but that doesn’t mean shying away from all bad comments and reasonable feedback. But it does mean being able to constructively criticize, and not tear down.


So, the short of it is that what was has been. My renewed plan for this blog will include food, but also musings and thoughts and should the whim grab me, more photos. Stick around, the view is about to change 🙂

Gluten free citrus sour cream cake

I have been thinking a reasonable amount about a comment made by Nicole Hunn from Gluten Free on a Shoestring in a post she made about the 10 Secrets to Great Gluten Free Baking. One of these was that you should throw out all your old recipes because they are just not going to work. That is simply not true. There are some that are never going to work, or are going to taste a bit weird, but there are some tried and tested recipes in every family which will work just fine. The Jaffa fudge cake is one and the lemon sour cream is another. It looks like this:

And it is delicious.

The original  recipe comes from the Edmonds Cookbook. You can use lemon, orange or if you really fancied, lime. Whatever citrus you have to hand. I have tried them all, they are fine. It is another fail-safe recipe, and best of all actually tastes better without icing. So here goes:

125g butter, softened
2 t grated citrus rind (or the whole fruit if it will be more than 2t, flavour never killed anyone)
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c gluten free flour or baking mix
1 t baking powder
1/2 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 160deg cel. Beat butter, rind and sugar together, until light and then add eggs. Add baking powder to flour and add alternatively with sour cream to the butter mixture. I find that putting in 1/3c flour at a time works very well. Once all combined and smooth, transfer to greased cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched. Leave to cool in tin before turning out.

The Edmonds suggests a dusting of icing sugar, but don’t feel you have to. It is perfect the way it is.

Quiona Fritters and Potato Patties – Lunch time win! (with revisions)

I wrote the following post last year, but before I got around to publishing it I tried the quinoa recipe again, this time for guests who were NOT new mums, and it was a disaster. I have learnt my lesson though, and so revisions are included 🙂

Quiona Fritters  and Potato Cakes – a lunch time win!

For the first time since the offspring was born I hosted party of 4 for lunch. Admittedly it was a party of other new mums so a sympathetic audience had I not managed to do a good job, but I’m feeling pretty proud of the menu: quinoa, bacon and parmesan fritters, and potato and feta patties with guacamole, homemade beetroot relish and apricot chutney.

The quinoa fritters were based on a Donna Hay recipe, but because the planning of this culinary adventure happened after shopping day, I used borlotti beans and left out the broccoli, and swapped in parmesan for the mozzarella. They weren’t horrible, in fact it was great adaptation! Tip for young players, the first batch I cooked fell apart a bit but once more firmly packed together they cooked evenly and stayed in shape. [The first round of these I had been moderately organised and had left them in the fridge, as suggested, for just over half an hour. The second time I made these I was even more organised and had left the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours. I think this was my downfall. The mixture did not respond well to the over refrigerating and fell apart so badly that only the addition of 2 eggs and a lot of silent prayer. Even then, they were slightly more like fried quinoa than fritters].

The potato and feta patties are a favourite of ours too. I got the recipe yeas ago from a South American cookbook that I was browsing through at a library inbetween buses.
500g potatoes, mashed
200g feta
1 egg
salt and pepper
rice flour for dusting

Mash potato, feta, egg and reasoning together and form patties using the flour to prevent them sticking too much to your hands. Then, place on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees C for 15 mins for the first side, then turn and bake for another 10. These are, like the quinoa ones, very versatile. I’ve used parmesan instead of feta, used less feta, added chives and used only an egg yolk and yet they always pretty tasty.


Oliver’s deli, Totara

Moving is a pretty hectic experience, but it was made easier by having some awesome family help. One of the helpful things an aunt did (amongst many other things she did), was turn up with a Marx bakery banana loaf. Yummy and very surprising. The local Bin Inn in Thames used to stock their bread until a small sign about 18 months ago which sadly announced the ceasing of supply. I’ve been watching for resupply much like our cat looks at his biscuit bowl during the day after he has scoffed them all at breakfast- no matter how forlornly we look, the bread (and biscuits) have not reappeared. Also, with more variety available in shops generally and life events trucking along at full speed it’s been off the radar. This banana loaf reminded me and they’re back on. Happily for me, Oliver’s bakery and deli in Totara (just south of Thames) is now a stockist. Oliver’s only opened recently and to be honest, I wasn’t terribly excited because going into a bakery just doesn’t really do anything for me and they rarely have anything for me. Bread and other bread products are delivered on Tuesday each week (I visited on a Thursday), but they were stocking biscuits and pies and yes, I got a pie. It was so good! I will definitely be visiting next Tuesday 🙂

Why I loved living in the country but couldn’t wait to leave

In 2011, I was offered a job with my husband in a rural settlement and rather than commute from Auckland (which I was beginning to consider to be a horrible place anyway), we moved. Last week, we moved again but this time further still from Auckland to Thames. Our jobs are still in “the rural” as I have lovingly been refering to it, so this was really about lifestyle- commute to work, live where we want to play. Obviously not a light decision, and so I’ve come up with some musings.

I had a baby last year, and it is without competition the best thing I have ever done. Caitlin Moran has written an excellent piece about why women should have kids (equally as good is her compelling argument for why women shouldn’t), and she is right. But wonderful as it is, being a mum can be lonely and, especially in the early days, having a 40 minute drive to civilisation was not always appealing. We have a cat napper who sleeps well in the car, but alas, getting places at specific times was not always achievable because of nap times, etc. I take great comfort in knowing that mum friends of mine have also found it lonely in the busy-ness of larger cities where friends also don’t take the “come any time” invite seriously. Now that we’ve got a proto-walker who gets bored easily and sleeps only twice a day, having Kids Music, Toddler Time and whatever the Tuesday thing at Life Equip Church is called just 5 minutes down the road is, frankly, a relief. I also take comfort knowing that the Coromandel is a good place to bring up kids. Country kids are full of adventure and seem to have a greater sense of wonder. Maybe? I have certainly had that perception of late. Our local, excuse me, our formerly local primary school has a calf club day every year where each child brings in their calf, sheep, goat or chicken and they do a set of tasks and get judged. What a great day out. And, the children seem really proud of the day and their fund raising efforts. I compare it to the last city school fair I want to in Remuera which had a beer tent for the adults to take a “break” in, complete with beer maids. I didn’t see many kids involved in that school fair at all, mostly parents. I know which one I want more.

The very cliched line about everyone needing good neighbours is so true. We’ve lived next door to all sorts of weirdos over the years- case in point the woman in the building across the car park from us when we lived in Sydney who I saw chasing the bloke around the kitchen with a frying pan. At our last flat in Auckland the woman upstairs was a genuine recluse. Of all the places I’ve lived the neighbours in that house we the most entertaining. The family across the road were all the proof I will ever need that you can be white trash and live in Remuera, and in the flat next door we had over the course of a single year a student, a taxi driver and a baker who were all lovely but evidently fussy about an inch of water in the bedroom after rain. But far and away the best neighbours I have ever had were my neighbours in the country. Not only on each side, but down the road, across it and up it. Everyone wants to stop and chat and are so friendly: just 2 weeks ago Neville from 7 houses up gave us some golden queen peaches. I only know him to say hello to, but he couldn’t stand seeing them waste and there are only so many peaches a man can eat. When did that last happen in a city? But it’s not just Neville, Joy next door, Paul and Tina from up the road or even Lyn at the shop, just about all my day to day interactions were positive and made me feel good about where we lived.

When the news got around about our move I got stopped and called at over the fence while on the afternoon sleep/walk. Congratulations etc, and then “It’s always the young ones who leave”. For us, part of the decision was about the services. We had a late night dash to the after hours clinic in Pukekohe with a sick child which was not fun. Of course, by the time we got there the car-ride sleep had done wonders. The doctor was very patient with the new parents and their newborns first cold, but what if it had been more serious? I know I am not calm under pressure and 40 minutes with a genuinely sick child would be torture for me. Another consideration was internet access, or rather dial up. Remember dial up? You thought it died with the widespread installation of broadband but it lives on it the country and is still as painfully slow as it always was. Our options (until 2020) are dial up, satellite and mobile. Satellite is expensive and still patchy. Mobile is also patchy, and on the right plan is only moderately costly. But, again the twin considerations of the baby and my only brother and his wife moving overseas were big factors in wanting access to services.

Perhaps the only service done MUCH better in the country is the post. Rural delivery is truly wonderful and I miss it already (it’s been 4 days). Our (ex) postie delivers everything so no “card to call” slips when you’ve missed the courier, and no junk mail. Well, he did deliver junk mail but early on I mentioned that I didn’t really read it so he stopped delivering it. Rural posties also collect post from home addresses, just pop the flag up and away it goes. I am sure that if the post was this good in cities too the postal service wouldn’t be in so much trouble.

Tank water is great, and I will miss the taste. It just tastes nicer than town supply- I can’t put it any more simply than that. We have always been fairly conservative water users, but being on a tank has been quite a good experience even for us. Call me a Greenie if you must, but water is precious and I have a greater appreciation now that we’ve had both a declared and undeclared drought to live through while on the tank supply.

Finally, my only food point, is that I enjoyed being able to by ice cream at supermarket prices and frujus in boxes of 8 and not have them melt before I get home. I’ve got chiller bags and ice packs but you know, it’s never quite the same.

French toast has never been so good- Santeez gluten free cafe, Kerikeri

We were asked to go up to Kerikeri recently for work and I was struck initially by two thoughts: what an awful car ride with the infant, and yay for the gluten free cafe. Santeez gluten and wheat free cafe is on the main road opposite the police station, set back a little from the road. It’s got a lovely shaded courtyard, a very interesting toilet (whose decor I would love to recreate at home) and, happily, is gluten free. Not just friendly to us with three or four choices, Everything (it turns out they do stock gluten bread, but that’s the exception). We stopped in for breakfast as I was especially excited about having an option that wasn’t just ordinary breakfast menu + $x for gluten free bread. I can do that at home without a surcharge. I went for the French toast as I had a pretty good feeling about it, despite my one and only homemade French toast experiment being a few standard deviations below average: my Vogels 6 seed was not the right bread 😦 the right bread, as I discovered, was whatever they used. I thought I could taste cinnamon? Perhaps using a slightly sweetened, spiced bread is their secret. I can only speculate because I did not ask, but what I can say is that it was an easy decision of where to go when we found ourselves needing lunch the next day, but a hard one not to choose the same thing two days in a row! In the end I went for the BLT because it is a favourite of my beloved, doesn’t work as well with two bits of gluten free bread instead of a nice bun and therefore has been the subject of some serious food envy in the past. It was a good choice, if I do say so myself.

Oh, and the infant was quite happy, i.e asleep, for our long (+/- 300km) car ride, so successes across the board 🙂