Lovers of Architecture

The New Zealand house of the year has recently been announced and it has caused a bit of a fuss.

Eyrie, the twin black cabins by architect Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects is a beautiful and thoughtful construction which has a modest carbon footprint. Located just outside of Auckland on an inlet of the Kaipara Harbour the holiday houses are a sight to be seen.

Take a look at this video and see what you think of Eyrie.


Feeling inspired? we have some gorgeous architecture books about designing small houses, here are a couple to check out.


Nano House

Small Architecture Now!







ANZAC Day 2014: Eating like an ANZAC

During the Great War, New Zealand troops fought as a part of British Empire forces, as such they tended to eat the same food or “rations” as the British. For the most part this consisted of staples: “bully” or tinned corn beef, tinned meat & vegetable stew, army biscuits, bacon, jam, bread, sugar and tea. Occasionally the troops would receive such items as butter, fruit, chocolate, fresh/dried vegetables, cheese & fresh meat usually in base areas. The food was commonly transported to the trenches in a burlap sandbag and often arrived broken, mixed together and full of mud.

trench food Australian soldiers enjoying a hot meal in the trenches. To carry the hot stew and tea, petrol tins and hot food containers were used, France 1917.

Officers tended to eat better than enlisted men, partially because they provided supplement food for themselves as “mess” rations. Fortunum and Mason, Harrods and Selfridge’s partially made their names by supplying food in “hamper” form to the frontline officer messes. Such exotic delicacies as potted hare/tinned ham/foie gras/jellied eels/candied fruit as well as wine and port were staple items sent out from “Blighty”.

Major Graham wrote a letter to his family about the food supplied to soldiers on the Western Front.

“I am sorry you should have the wrong impression about the food; we always had more than enough, both to eat and drink. I give you a day’s menu at random: Breakfast – bacon and tomatoes, bread, jam, and cocoa. Lunch – shepherd’s pie, potted meat, potatoes, bread and jam. Tea – bread and jam. Supper – ox-tail soup, roast beef, whisky and soda, leeks, rice pudding, coffee. We have provided stores of groceries and Harrods have been ordered to send us out a weekly parcel….” Arthur, Max. (2002).  Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There. London:Ebury books.

The diet was also supplemented with food items sent from home.  A parcel sent from London would arrive in France in only 3 days, those from Australia and New Zealand took up to 6 weeks. Cakes, biscuits & loaves were common items: think ANZAC biscuits & heavy fruit cake. Estaminets, or small local cafes, also provided extra food for troops on leave, the classic “frites et ouvres” (chips and eggs) cost the equvilant of one days pay for an enlisted soldier.

Obviously, getting fresh hot food from a field kitchen to the front lines was impossible when a battle was raging. Soldiers lucky enough to have a small stove, or even candles, would boil up any available food including stale biscuits or add these to the canned food provided.

There is a very informative article in the Listener for the week of April 19-25th 2014 which discusses the rations New Zealand troops ate and how they affected their battle performance.

Below is a recipe you can try for yourself; known simply as Trench Stew it utilises common ingredients the front line troops would have to hand.

Trench Stew Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Number of servings: 3 – 4

Serving suggestions: For authenticity, allow to cool and serve with a cup of stewed tea (mud and flies optional)



  • 1 turnip (or parsnip/potatoe)
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ tin corned beef
  • ¼ stock cube
  • one or two biscuits (optional)*
  • 1 pint of water


  1. Put the water on to boil
  2. Slice up the turnip and carrot
  3. Add to the boiling water
  4. Add the stock and stir then leave for 10 minutes
  5. Mash up corned beef and add to the mixture
  6. Add the biscuits and stir (optional)

Give it a try!

* In a letter to his parents, Private Pressey of the Royal Artillery described the quality of the food men were receiving on the Western Front. Here he is talking about the notorious Army biscuit:

“The biscuits are so hard that you had to put them on a firm surface and smash them with a stone or something. I’ve held one in my hand and hit the sharp corner of a brick wall and only hurt my hand. Sometimes we soaked the smashed fragments in water for several days. Then we would heat and drain, pour condensed milk over a dishful of the stuff and get it down.” Arthur, Max. (2002).  Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There. LondonEbury books.

“An educated eggducator!”


 © Kris de Curtis from Maddaloni, Italy

Yummmm chocolate eggs.  I have some very happy memories of hunting in my grandparents garden for chocolate eggs at Easter and I plan on doing the same for my children this year.  Why do chocolate eggs always taste better than regular chocolate?!  In Christianity the egg symbolises the rebirth of Jesus, eternal life and the egg rolling down the hill (European thing I hear, but highly recommended!) represents the stone rolling back from Jesus’ tomb.


Retreived from

Beautiful decorated eggs are also very special at Easter, no more so than Fabergé’s lavish Easter eggs created for the Imperial family of Russia, or Ukrainian pysanka and the Polish pisanka, which are decorated with a batik (wax resist) process to create stunning, colourful eggs:


 Retrieved from

Have a go at decorating your own eggs with 40 ideas from the queen of craft, Martha Stewart.

However you like you eggs…chocolate, poached, scrambled, just be careful not to eat too many…nothing worse than a greedy bad egg! Happy Easter everyone!

ANZAC Day 2014: The Ode of Remembrance

Red poppies, the Somme


The Ode of Remembrance, second stanza:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

(We will remember them)

Laurence Binyon, “For the Fallen”


The “Ode of Remembrance” is an ode taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, “For the Fallen“, which was first published in The Times in September 1914. The “Ode of Remembrance” is regularly recited at memorial services held on days commemorating World War I, such as ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day, and Rememberance Sunday.

In Australia’s Returned and Services Leagues, and in New Zealand’s numerous RSA’s, it is read out nightly at 7 p.m., followed by a minute’s silence. In New Zealand it is also part of the Dawn service at 6 a.m. Recitations of the “Ode of Remembrance” are often followed by a playing of the Last Post. In Canadian remembrance services, a French translation is often used along with or instead of the English ode.

This stanza is also read at the Menin Gate, every evening at 8p.m., after the first part of the last post. It is mostly read by a British serviceman. The recital is followed by a minute of silence.

ANZAC Day 2014: The Dawn Parade

On Friday the 25th April 2014 people will gather at various locations in Australia and New Zealand to remember those who have served our two nations in a military capacity. In many locales the day will start with a Dawn parade, where veterans,  service personal, family and friends will gather as the sun rises.


The RSA represented at the Christchurch service.

Photo / John Kirk-Anderson, Fairfax NZ

The first ANZAC dawn parade was held in Sydney in 1916, to remember those lost to the ravages of war. Since then parades have been held every April 25th without interruption. On the 28th July 2014 it will be 100 years since the start of the Great War, or World War One as it is also known. More New Zealanders were lost in the Great War than all other wars/operations combined.

In Christchurch the dawn parade is held in Cranmer square, it will start at 6:15 am. It is organised by the Canterbury Branch of the Malayan Veterans Association, the Christchurch Branch of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) and Christchurch City Council.

There is also a Citizens Service at the transitional Cathedral, Latimer square starting at 10:00am.

The Christchurch City Council has a plethora of information about remembrance services on ANZAC Day. These services are held at different locations and times throughout the day and are generally open to all. If you are unable to attend the main Dawn Parade I recommend you attend the service in your local area.

Here are some links to useful information for those wishing to attend a remembrance ceremony:

Here is the link for information on the Dawn Service in Cranmer square:

Here is a list of all ANZAC services in the greater Christchurch area:

Click to access AnzacServices2014.pdf

An excellent site with information about all aspects of ANZAC Day:


Lest we forget.

A classic Easter recipe: Easter hot cross muffins

This Friday is the beginning of the Easter holiday break, and I thought I would share a classic recipe with you. My family is from the United States and as such we often use American style recipes in our family cuisine. I have an book entitled Virginia Cookbook: Selected Recipes from Virginia’s Favorite Cookbooks, by Gwen McKee & Barbara Moseley. The book is a collection of old and new recipes taken from various sources and combined to provide a taste of typical Virginian fare. Here is a delicious Easter themed recipe I highly recommend:

Easter Hot Cross Muffins


1/2 cup raisins                                                                                                1/4 teaspoon clove (optional)

2 tablespoons orange juice                                                                          1/2 cup candied peel

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour                                                                        1/2 cup chopped dried apricot

2/3 cup granulated sugar                                                                             1 egg 1 cup low-fat milk

1 tablespoon baking powder                                                                        1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                                                      2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon allspice                                                                                         1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 1/4 cups sifted icing sugar
4 teaspoons orange juice


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place raisins in a small bowl. Pour juice overtop. Microwave, covered, until hot, 1 minute Set aside. Lightly coat or spray a 12-cup muffin tin or 9×5 inch loaf pan with oil. In a large bowl, using a fork, stir flour with sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt and cloves. Stir in raisin mixture, candied peel and apricots.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg. Whisk in milk, oil, butter and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture. Stir just until mixed. Batter will be lumpy. Divide between muffin cups or scrape into loaf pan and smooth top.

Bake in centre of preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of muffins or loaf comes out clean, 20 to 25 minute for muffins, 1 hour for loaf. Remove pan to a cooling rack. After 5 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on rack. Store muffins or loaf in an airtight container and store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 months.


Stir sifted icing sugar with orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins in a criss-cross pattern to mimic hot cross buns or spoon over loaf, if you wish.


These muffins are beautifully complex in taste, excellent treats for the Easter break. Bake some and enjoy.



Nasda’s production of Pippin opens tomorrow night (for tickets, see their website).

Pippin poster

I must confess, I haven’t seen, listened to, or played anything from this show, but I do intend to change that. The library has the DVD, the CD, and the score for you to try (once I’ve finished…).

If this show takes your fancy, we also have others by Stephen Schwartz: Wicked, Godspell, and The baker’s wife.

and others choreographed by or featuring the great Bob Fosse: Fosse, Sweet Charity, and Chicago – even an early appearance in Kiss me Kate.



Procrastination at its finest

It is that time of year where students from all over CPIT are handing in assignments.

Some of you (and believe me I’ve been there) are having problems focusing and instead are getting rather distracted with various assignment interferers.

These assignment interferers could be anything such as; furniture facing the wrong way, dirty clothes that need washing (and from everyone in the house), the bagel shop next door….

If you want some tips on how to banish procrastination check out this clip by artist Miranda July.