Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why I love Shopping In Rangiora

Rangiora is a beautiful satellite town a small distance north west of  metropolitan Christchurch. Each Saturday, just before lunchtime, I head out there to take Georgia to her riding lesson at Ashley Downs Riding Centre.  The drastic increase in the petrol price, now at 215.9 cents per litre, necessitates that I stay out there for the afternoon to save on 2 extra trips.  Although Georgia rides at 1pm, she is encouraged to help out before and after her lesson.  She also eats her lunch with around 10 other similarly aged girls before her lesson.  This is a wonderful opportunity for Georgia to socialise with other nice, like-minded girls with similar interests to her.  Homeschooling all week at home requires us to make concerted efforts to leave the house and meet other people, so I look forward to Saturdays and a day out of the city.

I now enjoy the shopping aspect of Rangiora that Christchurch does not afford me at the moment.  Being a small township means I am able to shop in one storey buildings in relative safety.  This also means I have plenty of time over the afternoon to shop at Bin Inn, Countdown, Farmers and a well stocked bookshop. This luxury is not mine alone however, 100's of Christchurch residents have flocked out there to live temporarily since the earthquake.  So the shops are packed with people doing the same as me. Sadly, the crime rate has increased some 300% there since February.

I had a worrying time last night.  Alex went to the movies alone for the very first time.  I dropped him off and paid for his ticket, mainly so I knew what time the movie finished so he could be picked up.  I wasn't worried about the alone at the movies part, it was him being in the movie theatre if there was another big aftershock! I definitely prayed about that one. However, there were none, thank goodness.  Alex said there was a detailed message on the screen about what to do in the event of an earthquake.  Viewers are told to stay seated and curl into a ball, hugging knees.  A bit like on a plane I suppose. Then when the shaking stops to head to the exits. Sobering stuff.

Autumn chill in the Air
The seasons have definitely changed, and autumn is here at last.  The nights are getting darker and the mornings cooler. Not long now until the end of daylight saving. We are finally putting in our new log burner that we purchased this time last year.  That's right, LAST year.  There was such a huge rush on log burners before the new clean air woodburner deadline of 1st April 2010, our fire took an extra 2 months to arrive. By that time it was far to cold to consider taking out the old fire.  So we very quietly burnt our very non-complying logburner an extra winter, hoping the council weren't driving up and down the streets checking people's old chimney tops.  However, now the instalation is proving problematic again because the position of the new free standing fire box is too close to the wall. Meaning extra fire proofing wall board and umpteen regulations to comply with. But the consent is all paid for, Alf can install the fire (saving us some money) and we just need a plumber for the water booster. Done.

The trees are changing colour, love Autumn.

Weekday Risotto with Roasted Pumpkin
I love this quick dish.  Very cost effective on the food budget.  I watched Simon make a risotto on the Masterchef Cooking Class, and I have to say I'm quietly confident that my risottos are up to scratch compared to his. Here is  my weekday risotto;

4-6 cups chicken stock (I use oxo cubes when I haven't made stock)
3 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I just use ordinary cheddar)
2-3 cups chopped pumpkin, coated in oil and roasted

1. Put stock in large pot and heat through.

2. Cut up pumpkin, coat in oil and roast at 180c until cooked through.

3. Put onion and garlic in pan, saute in oil.

4. When onion is soft, add uncooked Arborio rice and stir, coating the grains with oil.

5. Ladle stock 1/2 cup at a time into the rice, stirring well after each addition.  Do not add more stock until  previous ladleful has been absorbed.  

6. Continue this until rice has absorbed enough liquid to become thick and creamy and no longer hard to the bite.

7. Stir the pumpkin in gently so as not to break it up or make it mashy. Mix in the cheese just before serving.

8. Serve with a crisp salad and crunch bread, or on its own.

The pumpkin chopped and roasted

The rice cooking in the stock

I added some freshly chopped silverbeet for colour and goodness

Weekday Risotto

Some freshly baked rolls to go along with the risotto...Enjoy!


  1. Oh yummy I love a good risotto! It sounds very similar to my recipe except I put leeks in mine I will definitely try the silverbeet next time, thanks for sharing.

  2. Shopping at our community mall is a Sunday thing for me, my wife, and my kids. It's such a great bonding activity for us, especially when the stuff we've been eyeing for months go on sale. Yum! That Risotto looks so tempting. =)



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