Jan 082015
bday  002


happy birthday to our beautiful son, kai. he woke this morning fairly early as is to be expected for a birthday boy! we all climbed into bed together and had a cuddle before he opened his little haul of presents, he added some more money to his wallet care of opa and grammy & pop, and some more lego direct from grandma erica and grandpa bob. mum and dad gave him some new games for the 3DS and some lego figurines.

following a birthday breakfast we headed into auckland for a birthday adventure, sal had discovered a ‘play in the park’ day a couple of girls had organised with lots of games and toys in a park on the auckland city waterfront.

kai had a ball running around and playing with other kids and things, we all had fish and chips for lunch and a wander round the waterfront, it brought back memories for me from when i lived in auckland and worked down on the waterfront doing marine maintenance.

we came home in the afternoon to the inaugural bbq on the little charcaol bbq setup i bought this week for the batch, it comprises of a little kettle bbq, a charcoal chimney to light the charcoal and a small butane camping stove for the chimney.

the yacht is the Salperton, you can charter it for a mere 145,000 euro per week if you like! at 147″ or 45m its a lot of boat, http://www.superyachts.com/yacht-charter/salperton-1556/

in other news, kai has started his own blog, you can see a link to it in the right hand frame in links, it is going to form part of his year 6 work this year, you can subscribe for email notifications of updates if you wish.

also i have added a forum to the server, i am moderating another forum and i had to learn a bot more coding, particularly for forums so the easiet way to learn is to do, hence seekrit squirrel was born. Its actually going to be a useful resource i think, conversatios about ideas, passions, things, places, etc can be better carried on in the forum, it also has a chat function if you scroll down and that means live real time chat if we are online at the time! Again the link is in the sidebar, you can sign up and you will ba able to add topics within the categories yourself, as well as replying to existing ones and using the chat feature.

please have a look and feel free to become involved!


Nov 292014

KI3  001today was the first day of racing at the king island race club for the season, if you had asked me for a list of things we might do while we were on KI, i reckon going to the nags would have been number 874 on the list! i wasnt even aware there was a racecourse on KI!

anyway we had a glorious day for the event, i managed to pick the last horse in nearly every race, didnt make a winning bet all day, sal went into her pro-punter mode and lightened the pocket of the SP bookie, honest howie. her best win was backing the 9-1 roughie in the last race to put an extra $45 in her pocket,  i think she was the only punter to back the horse on course!

we had a few beers, a very tasty steak sandwich and a good dose of sunburn from the summery weather before heading back to the blakes hut for a bbq and a few more ales.

we started with some fresh quail eggs for a starter then bbq’d the cray heads from yesterday for an appertiser and then put some marinated chicken thighs on and grilled them to go with the salads and roast veges the girls had cooked. so ends another magnificent day on king island with the blakes!


Nov 292014

KI2  003we rose yesterday to a stunning king island spring day, after a leisurely sleep in, and decided that it was the perfect day to head out on the boat for a fish. we hooked up with a couple of andrew & di’s neighbours, dave and tim, and rendevoued at the boat ramp. we launched and set off for christmas and new years island which lay just off the coast from the blake house.

the plan was for the boys, andrew, tim & dave to go diving while i took the girls and kai to the beach on christmas island – as keen as i am to get in the water and kill things, the water temp in bass strait is below my threshold!

we found a sheltered cove and had a fat old time, the girls sunbathed on the beach while kai and i scrambled over the rocks exploring the coastline, like two rock monkeys. well one rock monkey and one slightly overweight old man.

meanwhile the hunters were hard at work collecting abalone and crayfish, all of the catch was very kindly donated to our household so i shall be doing a big seafood cookup over the weekend.

after getting back in and cleaning up we got ready to head out for a highlight of the king island social calendar, the Sustainable Agricultural Fund’s Annual Christmas hoe down at the old reekara school, it seemed most of king island’s population turned out for the 2 spit roasted pigs, chargrilled lambs, and wallaby haunchs as well as about 10m of salads laid out on tables.

we got to meet a lot of the very friendly and welcoming locals and kai had a ball running round all night with the local kids. the pork was perfect, and the lamb and wallaby cooked on the Argentinean grill was as good as I have ever had.

the Argentinean grill was interesting because as you will see in the photos, they have a very low level charcoal layer under the meat, but the main cooking is done by the fire on top of the grill, this means there are no flare ups of fire from dripping fat as the meat cooks.


Jan 242012


following the success of my weber smokey mountain cooker over the last couple of years, I have been developing the idea of building a portable char grill that also has gas ignition to make the lighting process easy and fast. I had scoured websites and BBQ forums looking for a commercially available, small, portable char grill with gas ignition and I could find nothing that was small enough for what I wanted.

so i decided the only solution was to build my own, i bought a portable weber grill and got a BBQ burner to suit, one of those long rectangular burners that go in a traditional big gas BBQ, I couldnt find a valve to suit that would mount in the new BBQ but eventually found one that was meant for a portable gas ring that would screw thru the wall of the weber and suit the purpose.

having sorted the gas supply problem, I then had to raise the grill that the charcoal sits on to allow for the height of the gas burner, I also had to drill the hole for the gas valve to screw into and it turned out i had to cut about 5mm off the end of the burner where the jet inserted into it to make the burner short enough to fit inside.

with a fair bit of stainless steel tie wire and a few bolts i got the whole setup in place and then inserted a rectangle of stainless steel woven mesh over the grill to stop the smaller coals from falling through – something I had also done on the big grill previously.

finally it was just a matter of hooking it up to the gas bottle, sticking a long reach lighter in thru one of the air vents and igniting the gas, 5 minutes later the charcoal had caught and i turned the gas off, 10 minutes and it was ready for the first grilling – some dubious marinated chook bits from IGA – they actually came up pretty well! and so the “PORTAWEBER” was born

Jan 042012


inspired by simon bryant from the cook & the chef with maggie beer, i decided to do my own take on tandoori chook, i liked simon’s take on the rice pilaf and the raita so i basically followed his direction with those 2 and grabbed an organic chook from the butchers. it must have been raised on organic gold because it cost over $30!

anyway i gave it a good marinate in tandoori paste and yoghurt and then chucked it on the mighty weber smokey mountain cooker to get the tandoor effect, it came out not too bad if i say so myself!

the pilaf recipe is HERE and the raita HERE

you can see some more pics on our gallery HERE