Posts Tagged ‘photo’
so hello everyone. it’s been a wee while, no? more than a wee while. a long while.
we have been travelling a bit. first we went to queenstown. it was still quite wintry down there but gosh it was beautiful. we walked along the lake, drank lots of coffees to warm up, ate excellent pizza from winnies, travelled on the earnslaw steamship to celebrate fathers’ day .. it was a good time.
L and i spent a few days in pahiatua with my mum and dad. it’s quite different to queenstown, let’s say. i like it though. it’s friendly. people say hi in the street. the countryside is quite cool. there are excellent op shops. and brockies cafe makes a lemon and date slice which alone is worth the trip.
pahiatua is close to palmerston north – the place to go if you want to do a big supermarket shop. there is not a lot else there, i’m sorry to say.
and most recently, L, the rockstar and i went to brazil. we spent most of the time in brasília which was in the middle of the rainy season and not terribly photogenic, bless it. there was a lot of family time. but we snuck away for a night to pirenópolis, a colonial town about 2 hours’ drive away (in central-west terms, that’s practically nothing). it was good to get away, just the three of us.
and a bonus piece of hee-larious brazinglish for your pleasure and delectation. the best bit: this shirt was spotted in quite a chic store in shopping iguatemi brasília, a very very exclusive mall for those who prefer to not to rub shoulders with the great unwashed (which also happens to be the nearest source of decent coffee to the rockstar’s mum’s house; hence my presence there). binge drinking! it’s the new hip trend from the west!
so yes! i am back. i will write more shortly – right now i have to go and stop L from pulling all the CDs off the shelves and then proceeding to chew the corners. as i write she is nomming down on feminist sweepstakes by le tigre. that’s my girl.
my little girl turned three months old last week. and naturally it made me think about how fast the time has gone. in some ways, it’s hard to remember what life was like before she was here; in others, the time has flown past. every day she changes. i took her down to nelson last week for a couple of days so she could meet her little cousins .. we were only away three days but the rockstar said in that time she had grown taller, her hair darker.
it’s kind of de rigueur to include your birth story on your blog these days, i gather. but i’m not going to. not because i think it’s TMI, but it was a very intense experience and summing it up in words still feels hard. but i will tell you about something that happened on the night of L’s second day on this earth.
by this time, i had spent about five days in hospital and i was dying to get home. it was to be our last night in the post-natal ward but my sweet darling L would not settle. at all. she cried and cried inconsolably. something was badly wrong, i feared.
a fabulous midwife came and spoke to me. she asked me to express some milk while she took L for a little walk — ostensibly to calm her but mostly, i suspect, to give me a break. about ten minutes later the midwife returned with a quiet L. “how did you do that?” i asked, in awe. “oh, i just didn’t pay attention,” she said breezily. “she’s pretty annoyed at me now though”. and true enough, i looked at L and she had fixed the midwife with this killer stare. if it’s possible for a two-day-old baby to give someone the evil eye, L was doing it.
but soon she was crying again. a paediatrician came. baby panadol was given. more midwives came. no-one could find anything wrong. by this time it was about four in the morning and L was still crying. and then the first midwife came back. “you know what,” she said, “i think she just wants her mum.”
so we set up my bed so that L could lie beside me rather than in her crib. she lay in the crook of my arm and gradually quieted. curled up like that, we slept.
when i woke, i looked at my little girl’s sleeping face. indeed, it seems like she just did need her mum. and i vowed then and there that whenever she needed me, no matter where or when or how old, i would be there for her.
happy three months, sweet baby girl. we love you xox
1. mother’s day flowers from L. beautiful dragon tulips.
2. me and the baixinha
3. smoked mackerel and potato hash at floridita’s. one of my favourite things to eat.
4. fashionable water at la bella italia, petone.
5. macarons at la cloche, thorndon.
6. water at the chocolate fish cafe, shelly bay.
food, love, our daughter. this is what life has been about lately.
a short trip on good friday. ice creams and sea air .. and L’s first look at the sea
(hokey pokey. of course. and it was delicious.)
more from our weekend to come. hope yours was delicious, too. xoxo
sometimes the simplest things are the best.
1. above, a perfectly simple lunch at nikau cafe in civic square. grilled halloumi, perfectly ripe tomatoes dressed with a faint sprinkling of oregano and a goodly pinch of salt. a squeeze of lemon, a slice of grilled bread. damn, it was good.
2. via the mighty boon, an important question: is moleskine going too far with their new offerings? their iOS app certainly sounds pretty rubbish. i used to be a die-hard moleskine devotee but lately i’ve been craving something new. again, the key might be keeping it simple. note to self offers elegantly designed notebooks, made in NZ and with a perfectly small range. i’m going to order some.
3. mondegreen is getting a lot of noise for bringing pamela love’s jewellery to NZ, but for me their dresses are the real draw. considered, clean, lovely materials. i can’t decide between the bambina in seal grey and the ma belle. now that the weather is turning decidedly autumnal in wellington (read: horizontal rain and 120kph winds the other day) sweatshirt dresses are an extremely good move.
4. a sunny day, a walk along the waterfront with my two loves. coke zero in a glass bottle as a treat, sitting in the shade and watching the leaves against the sky.
a conversation at my old work in london:
colleague 1: oh stop being such a hairy old socialist, jessica.
me: i am *not* a socialist!
colleague 1 (sneering): that’s true. you have far too many shoes to be a socialist.
colleague 2: now that’s unfair. jessica believes every man, woman and child should have the right to have as many shoes as she does.
me: now *that’s* socialism.
well hello there, gentle readers. i sorta took a little break there, didn’t i?
the reason is this:
yes, there has been something of a population explosion here at ninetwelvetwentyfive. in early february i gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl.
what, you mean i didn’t say anything here?
well, there were reasons, i guess. i wasn’t sure that i wanted to be so public about the details of my pregnancy. it also wasn’t a particularly stylish time, let’s say. you northern hemisphere chicas don’t know how good you have it. here in NZ, maternity clothes are either extremely expensive and corporate looking (and i was not about to drop several hundred bucks on something i’d only wear for a couple of months) or super-cheap, probably sweatshopped and reeking of VOCs. there’s not a lot in between, at least, not that i could find. (oh, and proprietors of maternity boutiques should feel free to e-mail me telling me how wrong i am. i’d love to compile a list of sources for other suddenly-fashion-challenged mamas.)
so style blogging became a little tricky for a while. at least for me. others are doing better: the wondrous miz fashionwestie is looking utterly fabulous as she progresses through The Miracle Of Womanhood. i bought a couple of pairs of maternity skinny jeans (irony!) and a really cool wrap dress from womama. apart from that, i lived in tunic dresses, the aforementioned skinnies and high heels. not quiiiite blogworthy.
but now miss L is here, i am back in my normal clothes and it is coming into winter. and all my favourite designers are having really, really strong seasons. ooh yes. while i was pregnant, i had quite a bit of time to think about a new personal approach to style. i’ll talk about that a bit more in an upcoming post.
and then there is this whole new life, this whole new person, to write about. don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a mama-blog. not that there is anything wrong with mama-blogs. but i figure if you want to read about nappies, organic amber teething beads and such, there are lots of women out there writing far better about it than i can.
instead, i may well write about what an awesome person my little girl is and how, despite being unable to talk or even hold her head up unaided, she is my best little buddy. how the rockstar is an amazing daddy and how she gazes at him with her big blue baby eyes. and how she already has an impressive wardrobe of shoes (people call them “booties” but we know better, hehe) and likes it when her mama wears breton stripes. it’s the black and white, apparently. newborns dig monochrome. very directional.
all this to come. for now, i am just easing back into this blogging lark. so, hi there! thank you for still reading! why don’t you leave a comment and tell me what you’ve been up to all this while?
There is no real reason why the name for a hot dog in Portuguese – which is a completely literal translation, cachorro quente – should be so amusing to those of us who speak English. Somewhere along the way, we decided to give a sausage-in-a-bun such a bizarre name, so why shouldn’t Brazilians adopt it? All the same, it makes me smile a little bit, thinking about all the other weird names we give to snack foods (angels on horseback, pigs in blankets, mousetraps) and how the names lose any significance until you come across them in another context. Another language, another country.
And make no mistake, Brazilians have taken to the hot dog with the same gusto that they’ve adopted – and adapted – many other types of street food from around the world. All over the country, as night falls, packets of franks are slit open in kitchens and hot dog stands materialise on street corners. Debate rages about the best cachorro quente to be had in any city, and so it is in Brasília – from the chatter of social media to the elevated pages of Veja magazine.
We asked around in Brasília (the rockstar’s home town) and were pointed towards 308 Sul, the shopping area universally identified as the “street with the little church”. And in front of the little church – actually the Igrejinha de Nossa Senhora da Fátima – we found an excellent hot dog.
So how is this different to your standard New York frank and why does it merit an inclusion in this series? Well, first off, while this is still a sausage in a long soft bun, Brazilians have taken the concept and tweaked it into something different.
Rather than floating in a slightly rank and oily brine, the sausages for cachorro quente are heated in a tomato sauce which permeates the meat. The split-open bun will usually be doused with a little of the sauce before adding the sausage. It’s delicious and it helps to take away a little of the aggressively smoked flavour of your average frankfurter.
Then, the major point of difference: the toppings. The rockstar says the very bare minimum of adornments for a cachorro quente should be tomato ketchup, yellow American-style mustard and mayonnaise. So far, so unexceptional. But then come the extras .. and this is where it gets a bit crazy. For each cachorro quente, our maestro dipped into plastic tubs of fillings. At this cart, a “completo” includes tuna, onion mayonnaise, sweetcorn and fried potato sticks. And it can get weirder: the mighty Wikipedia mentions mashed potato, beetroot, toasted cassava flour, even cream cheese. In my opinion (and the rockstar’s) none of these things have any place on a hot dog. But it seems we were in the minority: while we ate, a steady stream of customers came up to the cart and almost all of them ordered all the trimmings.
With this amount of sloppy filling to tackle, it’s unsurprising that cachorro quente are usually eaten standing up in the street, accompanied with plenty of paper napkins. And the verdict: the rockstar declared this to be a particularly fine example of the genre.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Brasília to experience the cachorro quente, by the way. Unlike the pastel, this street food is easily replicated at home. Sweat a sliced onion and a sliced green capsicum in a small amount of olive oil, add a tin of tomato puree and a tin of whole peeled tomatoes, season to taste and leave to thicken a little. Then add your sausages: I used Heller’s Continental Frankfurters which the rockstar pronounced “just like back home”, the highest possible accolade. Heat until the sausages are piping hot and then serve in a soft white roll. Tomato ketchup, mustard and mayo are, as we’ve already seen, mandatory; I’ll leave the corn, the tinned spaghetti and the chocolate sauce up to you
Cachorro quente stand, in front of the Igrejinha, entrequadra 308 Sul, Asa Sul, Brasília — and on street corners all over Brazil ..
To start a series on Brazilian street food with anything other than the pastel (or, to give it its proper name, “pastel de feira”, literally “street market pie”) would be folly. Let’s be clear: as much as Brazil is one country, she is also many countries. Each region has its own cuisine and its own traditions .. and of course, its own street food. The beaches in Rio have the Globo biscuit (which will feature here in due course) and the streets of Salvador have the acarajé (which won’t: I’m afraid I just can’t eat acarajé as the dendê oil makes me ill, and besides, others have written about it far better than I ever could). But everywhere – or at least, everywhere I’ve visited – has the pastel. And with good reason.
The pastel is, in its purest form, an envelope of wheat-flour pastry, filled with something tasty. The traditional fillings are white cheese, minced meat or hearts-of-palm; fancy-pants gourmet variations include salt cod, shrimp and cream cheese or even sweet fillings like guava paste or cinnamon-banana. The pastel is crimped at the edges and fried in very hot oil until the outside of the pastry blisters and the inside is hothothot.
In Brasília, it is always said that the best pastel in town is served at the bus station. The Pastelaria Viçosa, to be exact. Ignore the less-than-elegant surroundings; here, the boys turn out thousands of pasteis a day and their fame is deserved. The house special, two pasteis and a cup of sugar-cane juice, is just R$2.75 — which is $2.20 NZ or $1.60 US. In this incredibly expensive city, this might just be your best value calories-per-buck feast.
Turnover here is brisk and the pasteis are super-fresh. Eaten standing up at the counter, the first bite will be as every first bite of a pastel should be: a little puff of steam rising as you break the pastry shell with your teeth. Don’t worry if the locals stare at the sight of a foreigner: within a bite, you’ll be transported.
In São Paulo, the Mercado Municipal is the place to go. There are a number of pastel places there but the one we chose was the Bar do Mané. A cheese pastel here runs to R$5, nearly twice the price of the Viçosa, but it’s a classy affair: larger, far more cheese and you can actually sit down to eat it, showering pastry crumbs at every bite.
Your first few bites of a cheese pastel will yield little more than pastry but as you work your way down, you’ll hit the mother-lode. The cheese is like a salty but mild-cured cheddar with the same propensity to separate as it melts .. so you’ll need to watch for the odd spot of oil. This ain’t diet food. Calorie estimates I found on the internet say you’re looking at about 250 for an average pastel, but I simply cannot see how this can be true .. I reckon it’s more like about a million calories. But worth every sinful, salty bite.
Finding a good pastel is a question of asking a local, but visitors can find a good one pretty easily. The rockstar says you should look for pasteis that are fried to your order, not ones that are pre-fried and left in a warmer; and my personal tip would be that if the pasteis are good, there will be a crowd of people in the place eating them, any time of the day or night.
Pastelaria Viçosa, ground floor, Rodoviária do Plano Piloto (Central Bus Station) Brasília
Bar do Mané, Mercado Municipal Paulistano, Rua da Cantareira, São Paulo
i am back in wellington, you guys, but i still dream of the sea. we had a wonderful few days in são paulo (family craziness, lots of hugs and incredible pizza) and then headed to rio where we had the use of a marvellous apartment in ipanema .. there were days on the beach, evenings walking along copacabana watching the throngs, nights wandering aimlessly while sweet smelling tropical trees drenched the dark streets in heavy scent. it was just perfect. but it’s nice to be home, too.
while i was away i put together a little series of articles about brazilian street food and i’m going to post them here .. along with the usual quantity of daftness about shoes and style, of course. in time, i may decide to separate parts of the blog .. traditional wisdom dictates of course that fashion and food don’t combine, although traditional wisdom dictates a lot of bullshit also. but! for the meantime, i hope you’ll enjoy this mishmash of things that i find wonderful. because i enjoy bringing them to you.