The river is only 4 degrees…

These past few weeks have been real winter-avoidance; clinging onto the days where it is sunny and beautiful and hiding away with my Kindle when it’s rainy and cold.
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On one particularly tolerable day we went for a hike near Christchurch about an hour away on the Blowhard track around Mt. Richardson. A little waterfall and temperate rainforest intermingled with more alpine flora going up to one track junction.

Later that week, the weather turned again and I hopped over to New Brighton to say hi to the ocean, and the beach. I can’t get enough of this sandy vista:

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Also my bike is really cute:IMG_2466_2This past weekend was the last white water kayak trip (with the club– UCCC) of the semester on the West Coast around Lake Kaniere and in the Hokatika Gorge. The river was a pristine teal from glacial deposits in the riverbed and the sides were lined by granites. As the sun dipped behind the peaks, the changing light turned the surrounding mountains slightly more pink and while I couldn’t feel my hands (the river water was 4 degrees C) the sitting in a little boat, in an eddy on the river and watching the day end was worth the numbing cold.

I’m now in the process of stocking up hot chocolate and tea supplies for these next few weeks: avoiding winter is my forte and I’m not about to stop establishing an illusion of warmth by stealing away warm days and drinking copious amounts of tea when the outside does not match my perpetual desire for summer.

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Hiking and Dumplings and Foraminifera

These past few weeks have been Christchurch-centric as university life and studies force us international students back to academic reality. In an effort to keep up our “joie de aventure” we peace out to go on quick hikes that take only an hour or so, but still give us delicious views like these from Taylor’s Mistake, a hike out by the beach:
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The weather has oscillated between the encroaching winter and reminders of the end of summer. We adjust layers accordingly. And in those winter days, sometimes you just have to make dumplings…

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Adapted from a recipe by Sachie Nomura, a chef in New Zealand:

  • gyoza wrappers (50)
  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
  • 4 dried, soaked (maybe 30min?), squeezed and chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Dipping sauce

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • Some garlic chive can sneak on in
  • chili oil if you want it!

Cut up cabbage and rub with salt. Let sit for 10ish minutes and then squeeze the cabbage to get some moisture out. Mix squeezed cabbage with eggs, chives, mushrooms, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Put a pinch of salt in there too after tasting!

With DRY hands, take a wrapper, put a teaspoon of filling in the center, brush the outer edge of half the wrapper with water and then squeeze the edges together to form a semi-circle and seal the top. Squish a bunch together over cabbage leaves in a bamboo steamer and steam for 10ish minutes until they look cooked. Gather up some friends and eat while warm!

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Cooking adventures will continue, as will random hikes about after hours of looking at cute little foraminifera like this benthic guy up above! Eyeing the spring back home while crunching leaves under my feet as we move into winter weather here.