Garlic Shrimp on cauliflower mash


A bit fuzzy 😦

Sugar Soil sowed the seed of this recipe a while ago but for some reason – possibly trying to work out the difference between prawn and shrimp – I stumbled across some other similar recipes that I amalgamated…sadly, and I’m normally pretty good at this now, I didn’t note the original sources….

I’m amazed at the broad range of things that we can do with the ever so humble cauliflower – and I need to pre-make a batch of cauliflower buffalo bites for late night munchie attacks – and this one is another quick and easy winner…


Cauliflower Mash:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups Vegetable Stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons of coconut butter

2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary

1/3 cup of vegetarian Parmesan ‘cheese’

Garlic Shrimp:

500 grams of raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 slices bacon

1/3 Cup red wine

1/2 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

 a pinch of dried oregano

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste


Place the cauliflower florets in a medium sized saucepan with chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and cover, allowing to cook for 15-20 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed.

Once the cauliflower is tender and cooked through, pour off any excess stock that remains and reserve.

Using a food processor, puree the cauliflower with the coconut oil.

Add the parmesan ‘cheese’, rosemary, salt and pepper and mix well.

If needed, add a drizzle of the reserved broth if the cauliflower is too dense. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, cook the bacon until it’s crispy.

Set the bacon aside on paper towels until cool, then chop into small pieces.  Set aside.

In the bacon drippings, add the onion and cook over medium high heat until softened.

Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for about a minute, stirring frequently.  Stir in the red wine.

Cook a minute or two, then add the shrimp.

Cook, stirring frequently to turn the shrimp, until the shrimp are pink and opaque on both sides.

Place the shrimp and sauce over the mashed cauliflower and top with crumbled bacon.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh oregano.

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with this one. It makes enough for two decent-size servings with enough of the mash left over for another meal.


This is the left over mash the following night, with rissoles made from some left-over quorm and a pack of vegetarian mince I bought on a whim from the Taumarunui New World. I mixed the remaining bacon into the mash before I reheated it…

Taps Off – really…?

Chapman water_0001

This attack on the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade was published in this week’s edition of the Ruapehu Bulletin. It is an apparent response to this notice published by the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade a fortnight or so ago:

As of today our water delivery price will be going up to a minimum charge of $200 then anything over the 1 hour there will be an extra charge of $25/15 minutes.
We have had to renew our water carrier approval license and also now need to do regular water hygiene checks. With part of the requirement we need to do a yearly audit so now we also have to pay the council for the water, I do want to make it clear that this is not at the council’s request it’s a requirement for our certification.
We are no longer allowed to deliver water with the same truck that was used for fire service duties so as a brigade we still wanted to maintain servicing the community in both water deliveries and fire fighting capabilities so we purchased another tanker at a huge cost to the brigade.
This is still a voluntary and non profit making service with continued running costs rising we have been forced into these changes. Any outstanding invoices owed to the brigade you have 2 weeks to clear on old pricing then from the 1st March you will be charged the new rates.
CFO Keith Watson

The Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade is as its name suggests, and like all the other fire brigades in the Ruapehu District, a volunteer fire brigade. That means that all its members freely give of their own time to provide this essential service within our communities. This commitment comes at the cost of significant disruption to personal and professional lives, is not without frequent physical risk, and comes with the sole reward of a job well done.

On top of its significant commitment to maintaining (it’s not all riding on a fire engine under lights and siren: there’s a major training requirement for all members as well) and delivering an excellent firefighting capability in Ohakune and the broader Ruapehu District, the Ohakune Brigade voluntarily provides a water delivery service in the community. The only payment sought for this service is to cover the direct costs of compliance, certification and delivery: there is no profit margin and no person gets any financial reward for providing this service.

Just a little sidenote on the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade’s tanker capability. This is community-funded i.e. the Ohakune community raised the funds for these tankers themselves. In addition to providing a great capability to Ohakune firefighting operations, the new 18,000 litre tanker (18,000 litres is about 9 times what a normal fire engine carries onboard) provides a reliable water supply for firefighting in areas not supported by mains water supplies and where there may not be an available alternate water source like a stream or water tanks.


18,000 litres of water on the hoof (c) Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade

To be this into a local context, while the main water supply in National Park Village is being repaired this week, there will be insufficient guaranteed mains pressure for firefighting in the Village. To ensure a viable water supply during this period, the big Ohakune water tanker will be ‘attached’ to any major firefighting callouts in the Village.

Chief Fire Officers are busy people. They have to:

maintain the same skills as their firefighters.

be prepared, at the beep of a pager, to deal with a range of contingencies including flooding, fallen trees, detaching roofs, assistance to ambulance, motor vehicle accidents, hazsubs spills and leaks, and  a whole raft of different firefighting challenges.

be on top of all the administration required to make a fire brigade function.

do all this without pay or reward beyond the knowledge of a job well done.

Chief Fire Officers have better things to do than endure and respond to vexatious and petty attacks from the likes of John Chapman.

John Chapman signed his letter as a member of the National Park Community Board. I have spoken with members of the National Park Community Board and at no time have any concerns regarding the water delivery service provided by the Ohakune Volunteer Fire Brigade been raised with the Board, let alone discussed at a Board meeting or progressed to a resolution of any form. I would think if the National Park Community Board was going to adopt any resolution regarding this service it would be one of support and appreciation.

Certainly, support and appreciation has been the unanimous and common theme amongst members of the National Park community since Mr Chapman’s letter was published.

It’s unlikely but perhaps some members of John Chapman’s own community in the Waimarino-Waiouru ward have some concerns about the increases in water delivery costs. This is something that they would need to raise with the Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board, a group quite capable of managing local issues within their own ward. Not only is in appropriate for John Chapman to (ab)use his position on the National Park Community Board to launch an attack on a matter in another ward, his actions implies that Community Board in that ward is unable to function without Mr Chapman’s input. That is most definitely not the case.


This from comments on the letter on Facebook. John Chapman, it would appear, is actually a local firefighter himself, rural, I believe. One can imagine that his brigade’s next training session may be somewhat ‘interesting’, the conversation potentially robust…

This is not the first time that John Chapman has (ab)used his position as a community board member to launch petty attacks against local community members. Last year he conducted a campaign against the Chair of the National Park Community Board because she would not bow down before his (allegedly) superior political experience. His motion of no confidence in the Chair was soundly defeated with community members speaking on behalf of the Chair and acknowledging her long commitment and contributions to the community.

More recently, John Chapman took advantage of his position on the National Park Community Board to read out an interminable personal statement relating to his vendetta against anti-1080 signage at Waikune. This related to provocative statements he had made on the National Park Community Facebook page – this purports to be representative of the community but is really just another soapbox for John Chapman – which had resulted in some backlash from the community. His actions on this page are totally independent of his membership of the National Park Community Board and Mr Chapman needs to learn that actions have consequences and that the Community Board is not there to act as a shield when his actions generate consequences. The targets of this vendetta attended this meeting and it is a credit to them that they calmly opted to not rise to his provocation, leaving him alone in the mud.

Perhaps it’s time for Mr Chapman to consider whether he truly does represent the community of the National Park ward. If he hopes to do more for the community, then he needs to reconsider his game plan. If he hopes to use his Community Board activities as a springboard for higher office, he should realise that his current conduct is unlikely to endear him to the voting public.

If John Chapman thinks community board membership is just about lashing out at those who dare to disagree with him, maybe he needs to stand down and seek such solace in some overseas socialist nirvana…




“I don’t know”


via The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know” | On Being

The Wisdom of Saying “I Don’t Know”

I was recently reading a book about a medieval saint. Every day, people came to ask the saint questions about life, the world, faith, the heart, the path, politics, and more.

One person came and asked a question about the law. The saint simply answered, “I don’t know.” Another had a philosophical question. The saint, again answered, “I don’t know.” All in all, 29 people came and asked questions. To each and every one the saint answered, “I don’t know.” It was when the 30th person asked a question that the saint said: “Oh, I have something to answer about this one.”

One out of 30. The rest of the time, the saint realised that silence was an improvement over words.

Many many years ago, when I first stumbled into the world of knowledge management, lessons learned, best practice knowledge transfer, rah, rah, rah, I subscribed to a lot of feed and pages and sites. The sole survivor of all of these is David Gurteen Knowledge Letter. Monthly, it drops into my inbox and I have a quick scan…some months, I can just flick it off, others there will be a little nugget that strikes a chord…such was the case this morning…


That lead me to Omar Safi’s blog post on saying “I don’t know“, the opening paragraphs of which are quoted above…sometimes strength is not in knowledge but in ignorance; strength is being able to say “I don’t know“, strength is not feeling that internal pressures or external influences are compelling you to provide a response when the honest answer is “I don’t know“.

In searching for an appropriate image to open this post, I found the “I don’t Know” post on the Friday Food for Thought blog which also gelled with my thoughts and the ‘Inkling theme of today’s WordPress Daily Prompt…basically, if you haven’t an inkling that just shut up…

No one expects everyone to know everything. In most case, people respect more someone who can say “I don’t know” instead of presenting ignorance as knowledge. this is particularly true here in the way we manage our visitors, domestic and international.

Tongariro National Park is probably one of the most accessible national parks in the world. It is only a four to five hour drive from the international terminals in Auckland and Wellington: you can land in New Zealand and be in the Park in less than five hours. And on the rescue helicopter thirty minutes later. OK, that’s an extreme example but it’s happened. Because it is so easy to get to the Park, sandwiched between four state highways (1, 4, 47, 49), visitors often do not naturally feel that it offers a great deal of risk, compared to expeditions in the south of the South Island where you definitely feel that you are leaving the safety and security of civilisation behind you.

Visitors ask for information. They seek it from websites and via email before they leave home; they seek it over the counter and by phone once they are here. They ask in Visitor Centres and i-Sites – credible sources of information – but also in accommodation, in bares and in restaurants, where they person they are asking may not have been here much longer them, or have much more knowledge than them – but can still respond with a misplaced aura of confidence. They may not know at all, they may think they know, they may be simply regurgitating something they heard, they may just want you to go way. If they don’t know, they should say “I don’t know“.

And if you’re in the information game, be prepared to offer the same advice “I don’t know”. You may be able to to steer them towards a source that may be able to assist, you may just have to leave them to consider their own options, lacking the information they seek. Then their actions are their responsibility. Once you offer information, you (and your organisation if you’re at work) become part of that responsibility chain…like it or not…

There’s little helping someone who doesn’t ask for advice but those who do should be assured of either getting a credible accurate and relevant response to their inquiry, or be told “I don’t know“. Consider perhaps the example of Suzannah Gilford, who was rescued of Mount Ruapehu just before Christmas last year. Her account of her experience is well-written and a good read. Inspired to ascend Mount Ruapehu, still carrying an icy cap, she did seek information to support her decision-making…

Arriving in Whakapapa Village, I received mixed advice on climbing Mt Ruapehu… “You need an ice axe and crampons…”, “Sorry no guided tours yet, but there will be in 2 years time…”, “The mountain is sacred so we’re asking people not to go to the crater…”, but encouragingly the lady at the foot of the mountain explained, “You can go wherever you like… there are no signs yet, but everyone just makes their own paths in the snow.” She couldn’t advise how bad the snow was, nor how long it would take to reach the crater, and had no maps to sell, but suggested people were up there trekking and I couldn’t wait to see for myself!

One systemic informational failure after another. Pretty much every one of those statements was incorrect at the time (the ice cap is now substantially reduced). Locals are quick to apportion 100% of responsibility for rescues on those needing to be rescued but here is a smart young lady who knew what she didn’t know, who asked the questions and received in return a bewildering mishmash of inaccurate information. Who cares whether it was the DOC Visitor Centre or the Ruapehu District Council i-SITE, that she visited? Whoever she spoke to, if they could not respond credibly and authoritatively, just had to say “I don’t know

One would like to think that both parent organisations have a regularly reviewed FAQ for such every day questions in and around Tongariro National Park; a document that protects the individual, the visitor and the organisation. In the absence of such, a simple “I don’t know” may have been the safer option for Suzannah and the Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation (RARO) rescue team that assisted her off the mountain…

It’s not quite as simple as the some would have us believe “…try as I may I could never explain, what I hear when you don’t say a thing…”

Sometimes you just have to say “I don’t know“…

Green Take 2

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


A second take on green, revisiting no-cheese cheesecake #4, Nadia Lim’s avacado, lime and coconut ‘cheese’cake

I’ve pretty perfected my no-bake cheesecake base, adapted from this blueberry and beetroot cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups of coconut almond meal leftover from homemade almond coconut ‘milk’ production. You could make the meal directly by blending a cup each of raw almond and coconut flakes.

3/4 of a cup of dates, chopped, optional to top up to a cup with raisins

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted to a liquid

A pinch of salt


Put the meal in the food processor and blend, slowly adding the dates until the mix turns a deeper brown as the oils mix with the meal.

Add the coconut oil and salt and blend.

Pour the base mix into a prepared (I use a baking paper base) springform baking pan.

The topping is dead easy. You’ll need:

5 medium firm ripe avocados

1 cup of lime juice (I use the bottled stuff as the limes up here are poor dry things with hardly any juice

a pinch of salt

1 cup of coconut cream (I skimped as I only had a 150ml can)

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1/2 a cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of vanilla sugar (I have this big jar of it that I Hardly use because it’s , like, y’know, sugar)

2 tablespoons of gelatin (actually used closed to 1 1/2 as the box wasn’t quite as full it it made out)

2 tablespoons of cold water

3 tablespoons of boiling water


Place all the ingredients, except the gelatin and water, in the food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Mix the gelatin powder with cold water and leave it to swell for a few minutes. Add the boiling water and mix well to completely dissolve the gelatin (make sure there are no little lumps!).

Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the food processor and blend with the avocado mixture until it’s all very smooth.

Without too much mussing around, pour the topping mix into the springform pan and spread into an even layer. If you muss around too much, the topping will strat to set in the food processor.

Place the pan in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to serve.

Nadia Lim recommends a berry coulis to go withe ‘cheese’cake. I made one by blending a mix of strawberries (tis the season), blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I’m not particularly sold on this as it is a tart topping on an already quite tart ‘cheese’cake – I think cream, whipped or straight, and vanilla ice cream make for a better accompaniment for this…

This is a very simple and very fast ‘cheese’cake to knock up. Depending on the availability of avocados, it may be a bit pricey…not tested but the original recipe says it can be frozen so there is scope to knock a few up when ‘cados are cheaper and freeze them til later in the year…

Jolly Green

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Jolly, especially at this time of year invaribaly invokes themes of red, usually a large gentleman with a flowing beard, red suit and a predilection for exotic pets…

A long time ago, in a country far far away, jolly was green, the Jolly Green Giant that came from afar to rescue downed airman, often deep into bad guy territory…


Evolving from the Jolly Grren Giant HH-3 to the Super Jolly Green Giant HH-53, and then into the SPECOPS MH-53 PAVE LOW


Heavily armed, but lightly armoured, relying heavily other aircraft to suppress enemy fire, Jolly Greens would push into unfriendly skies to locate and recover downed airman, many who were seriously wounded.

These operations would often involves dozens of aircraft….rescue helicopters, fighters and attack aircraft, tanker, command and control aircraft…and it was not unusual for one rescue to turn into another…

Leave no one behind…

Serene | The Daily Post

This week, share a photo that represents your take on “serene.” From landscapes to portraits (sleepy cats, anyone?) to a pleasantly abstract wallpaper pattern, any and all interpretations are welcome…via Serene | The Daily Post

Purakanui 037-001


Te Waitere 055

Te Waitere

Mt Tongariro Summit Back Route April 2016-016

Mount Ngauruhoe

Tupapakurua Falls April 2016-023

Tupapakurua Falls


Raurimu Chalet

Bush Walk 014

Stewart Island

Is almond milk a healthy option?

via Niki Bezzant: Is almond milk a healthy option? – NZ Herald

This article in the NZ Herald purports to challenge almond milk as a healthy food option but does it really?

The first point it makes is not health-related at all. Ok, so almond, soy, coconut etc etc etc milks are not really milks in the strictest biologic sense…even though we tend to use them in much the same way and these not-milks are probably healthy that the lightest of lite milks that have had most of the goodness scrubbed out of them. That bastion of common sense, the EU,  has said that “…plant-based products can no longer be sold…using terms such as milk, butter and cheese…” Think about that as you spread ETA peanut no-longer-really-butter on your toast in the morning, or as you explain to your kids that the PC Police require to now ask for peanut not-butter and jelly sandwiches…

calcium.JPG“…we could be misled into believing almond milk is as good as cow’s milk, from a nutrition point of view..” Or we might not be…the only concern really raised here is the low hanging fruit of calcium content, or more correctly, the red herring of calcium content. A balanced diet will include other sources of calcium like:

1) Raw Milk
1 cup: 300 mg (30% DV)

2) Kale (cooked)
1 cup: 245 mg (24% DV)

3) Sardines (with bones)
2 ounces: 217 mg (21% DV)

4) Yogurt or Kefir
6 oz: 300 mg (30% DV)

5) Broccoli
1 ½ cup cooked: 93 mg (9% DV)

6) Watercress
1 cup: 41 mg (4% DV)

7) Cheese
1 oz: 224 mg (22% DV)

8) Bok Choy
1 cup:74 mg (7% DV)

9) Okra
1 cup: 82 mg (8% DV)

10) Almonds
1 oz: 76 mg (8% DV)

The Herald, and the Healthy Food Guide staff writing for it, might be more concerned about the low health value of commercial almond milk and promoting homemade almond milk as a simple alternative. It is so easy to make, with far higher almond content, that healthy shoppers should be avoiding the commercial tetrapaks and stampeding the nuts shelves. I usually buy my raw almonds from Bin Inn in Taupo as they often have them on special or, for bulk, check to see if Penelope @ Happy and Healthy has any deals on…

The other advantage of DIY almond (or other nut-based) milk is that you have all the leftover meal with which you can do wondrous things including bliss balls, cheesecake bases, cookies etc. I toss a cup into my muesli when I’m making a fresh batch and also use it in lieu of bran flakes for wholemeal bread.

The environmental concerns raised in the ‘article’ are also not health-related. Water (mis)management issues in California are related to far more complex matters than the growth of almonds. Again another, red herring under the guise of a health issue. If this really concerns you, then buy Aussie almonds but – not mentioned in the article – parts of Australia also experience similar water management challenges so the PC brigade may wish to check first so that they can purchase conscience-free.

The ‘article is also quite biased in that it does not discuss any of the potentially unhealthy aspects of dairy food – one might wonder who paid for this ‘article’? In a society apparently so concerned about national levels of obesity, it doesn’t hurt to cut back on dairy intake. That was a tip I was given was back in the 90s but only tried a couple of years ago at the beginning of my green journey . Dropping my dairy consumption right back was the biggest factor allowing me to lose 20kg in 3 months without any great effort. Reducing ‘whites’ (white sugar, rice, bread, etc) and reducing the number of processing stages between the raw material and the final product were just supporting acts…

I’m not entirely ‘off’ dairy. I’ll occasionally have an ice cream or make a milk-based coffee at work and am happy to use cream in recipes where there is no practical green alternative. But everything in its place. Now, if I have dairy products too often, I just feel bloated and yuk…I have a balanced diet and so am not lacking any of the good things that come with dairy…

It annoys me that the NZ Herald and Healthy Food Guide continue to punt out this one-sided propaganda under the guise of health news. The facts are that if you don’t want milk/dairy and you have a balanced diet, then give the cow a miss…

Chocolate, beetroot and raspberry cake thing


This didn’t turn out that well at all but went down well with the target audience…not sure what went wrong but it may be that I didn’t bake it long enough and there was not enough flour for the old skewer trick to determine whether it was done or not…I also used real cocoa powder which really upped the chocolate ante possibly past that intended by the author who only wrote cocoa powder into the original recipe from Healthy Food Guide.

I’m not normally that much of a chocolatey person and found it totally overpowering on its own but quite a pleasant treat once tempered with cream and creamy vanilla ice cream. Probably because it didn’t fully bake properly this one had a very interesting texture from the grated strands of pear and beetroot…

Next time I will back off on the cocoa content and possible add a little coconut flour for body. It would be so good to be able to get colourless cocoa so we get the flavour and the deep rich red colouring of the beetroot…

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites


The lowly cauliflower strikes again into the hallowed territory of binge TV snack food…I’ve been unable to source the original recipe and there are lots of variations on this theme out there in the culinary googleverse…

Two hours before starting this, I put a chunk of venison steak into the sous vide.


1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets

1/2 cup of milk (any unsweetened kind or a not-milk will do)

1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of onion powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper


Preheat your oven to 230 Celcius.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, water, milk, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Add the cauliflower florets and mix until well-coated – make sure you get the mix well into the florets themselves .

Spread evenly onto the cookie sheets so the florets are not touching .

Bake for 15- 20 minutes , flipping once.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

 Wing sauce

2 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of vinegar

1 tablespoons of water

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup of your favourite hot sauce (I used some old chili sauce that had been in the fridge a long time)


In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, hot sauce, vinegar, water, and salt.

Add the baked cauliflower and toss to coat with the sauce, again making sauce the mix gets rights into the florets.

Spread the florets evenly onto the cookie sheets and pop back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crispy (flipping once).

Don’t get some engrossed in The Punisher that you forget about them and they come out slightly scorched.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

I took the venison out of the sous vide and sliced it into chunks. If I had thought about it at the time, I could have crumbed them and give them a quick sizzle in a hot skillet…of even foregone the crumbs and gone straight to the skillet. This would have added a nice golden tinge to the meat…

I served them together as finger food on the same plate – see fuzzy pic above – very filling and very spicy in a good way…one head of cauli would make a decent snack serving for two people…

Another way of tricking your kids into veges…