Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Miami - a fleeting vist, part 1

Hi all, writing this sitting in the JW Marriot hotel, it's the location for the Landmark Forum Leader Forward and I'm here because my darling Zoe is to be accepted as a Landmark Forum Leader Candidate during the 3 1/2 days we are here. that's right we are here for three and a half days only but it's the most important place to be.

Well, it takes some time to get from Wellington to Miami, 1 hours flight to Auckland, then wait 4 hours for the flight to Los Angeles, that's 12 hours and 30 minutes, then wait 3 hours (though most of that is the security process on arrival) then another 4 hours and 50 minutes to Miami.

Total elapsed time - just over 24 hours and we left Wellington at 9.15am the 26th and arrived Miami at 5pm the 26th, no wonder the brains slower than is usual.

Apart from the lack of a requested GF meal on the Auck - LA leg all went very well, even managed some sleep on the flights. And we faired better than those on the LA flight who had plans to fly onwards to New York, an hour out of LA they got told that they'd be set up in LA hotels for at least two days as NY was under blizzard conditions and all airports closed.

That was the 26th and today (28th) JFK is just beginning to accept inbound flights. Watching the news here the attitude is much the same as what I've seen from the UK news services "how could this happen?" "why aren't we better prepared?" etc as roads close, airports get shut down and so on.

Seems like when an unusual occurrence happens everyone expects 'someone' to fix it for them without specifying exactly who that would be. I'm sure that northern US states experience snowfall most years, that it's this much this early may be unusual but really?

Weather worldwide is different than it's been recently, yes, that's a given, but if you read back these conditions are within normal parameters, maybe the global weather is resetting itself somewhat, getting back to where it was and we've just had it easy for the last while?

Whatever, it would be nice if some of the snow made it's way south for the 2011 winter season in NZ, we have season passes for the mountain and want to get as much time in there as possible.

Miami, so far, what I've seen is big buildings, and a Mall. Shopping here is a pastime and at this time of year, it's sales season. The Dolphin Mall has 250+ stores and all are at 50% sales or more. I've benefited by two Ralph Lauren shirts, another two from Kenneth Cole and Bryn has new size 15 FootJoy golf shoes. Those alone saved me enough to cover the costs on the shirts as the pair in NZ he wanted were over $200, these $53US ($70NZ)

So far, spent approx. $166NZ - $125US so not bad going.

Today's I'm hanging out with David, he's married to Jane, the other NZ Landmark Forum Leader, he's got a car so we are going to head to the Cuban quarter, somewhere I probably wouldn't get to otherwise and there's a promise of Cuban food (Versailles restaurant) which will be great. So far the foods been way better than expected.

The lamb chops (French cutlets x 8) and chips, in the bar last night cost $16, and when I mentioned I'm a kiwi, the chap taking my order immediately said, you'll want them rare then!

Scary place for food though was the mall, a huge food court, all selling immense portions of fried stuff, either that or claiming they sold the biggest, the cheesiest, the beefiest, the bestest etc. etc.

I'll throw up some photos later on, haven't really had the camera out so far, just a few shots on the phone so far, cheers

Friday, December 24, 2010

Miami, that's right, Miami

Boxing Day (26th Dec) morning 9.15am, Zoe and I will be lifting off the tarmac at Wellington Airport headed to Auckland, from there the next step is Los Angeles and then onto Miami.

Zoe's in sessions each of the 3 1/2 days we are there while I get to spend tourist time and shop and so on.

So I'm hoping to be able to take heaps of photos, taste some decent food and ride an airboat in the Everglades!.

So if you're interested, swing by over the break and I'll share what I see, taste and experience on the trip, and if you're in Wellington on the late afternoon / evening of the 1st of January 2011, we'll in back and barbecuing in the backyard - all welcome.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caramelised Lemon Rice Pudding

I know, I know, I know, for some of you, Rice Pudding brings back some old sad and scary memories of childhood and perhaps this may be a post that you want to skip straight past and move onto something else.

But this may be an option to change your life because this option may just bring your taste buds back into line with those of us who enjoy and love this dish.

So be brave - here goes, step into the future because this ties in several variances that may just do it for you.

Caramelised Lemon Rice Pudding (with options)
and feel free to run wild, I used Tangeloes as the citrus option recently (the photos below) and am wanting to have a crack at grapefruit soon.
200g short grain rice (arborio works really well as an option)
600ml each full cream milk & thickened plain cream
Zest of 2 lemons or 3 oranges (avoid the pith - bitter)
Juice of 2-3 lemons or oranges (make sure you sieve - no pips)
1 ½ cups caster or white sugar (I often use vanilla sugar if I have on hand - see below)
Pinch salt

2 tablespoons icing sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for dusting

Preheat oven to 150c.

Put all ingredients into an ovenproof dish with a tight fitting lid, mixing the cream, juice, zest and sugar well through.

As you can see I've used a Le Crueset casserole dish, nice and deep and able to go from the oven to the table.........

Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the ingredients to combine fully. The rice will glug up a touch - just stir and it'll be fine.
Mix well and place in the oven, bake for two hours at about 180. I usually check it every 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally but leave undisturbed for the final 30 minutes.

The mix will occasionally look as if the liquid has curdled but this is part of the process, simply mix well again and replace in the oven.

It's really important that the mixture thickens as the pudding cooks.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the lemon or orange juice and serve with scoops of ice cream along with the icing sugar and cinnamon.



Serves 6-8

Variation – spoon the rice pudding mix into individual ramekins and sprinkle with soft brown or muscovado sugar, either run under a hot grill to brulee or use a blowtorch to do the same.

This pudding may well remove the stigma rice pudding carries with some - enjoy!