roald dahl collection.

roald dahl collection

When this came up on a deal site a few months ago I couldn’t resist the urge to relive my childhood. I bought them (15) for just over $50, I think, and I am quite happy to pay $3 a book for the Roald Dahls when one day I fully intend to be reading them to my children. And look! It has all the good ones! Actually … it could have all of them, full stop.

I haven’t reread them all … yet. I am so excited about it, though.

my new cooking shelves.


Needed some extra storage in the flat, so brought back my old bookcase from home. Previous to being this nice seafoamy colour it was right purple to match my bright pink and lime green room.

Anyway, from the top, left to right: ramekins (9cm), spices, my egg receptacle (it’s a ceramic mixing bowl, really), deep pie fish, flan dish, oval baker (those are the three boxes piled on each other), 12cm ramekins, pretty teapot, lasagne baker, cake tins I, cake tins II, gravy boat (under cake tins II), cookbook stack, potatoes.

In the stack: lots of Annabel Langbein (usually there’s another one there), the Cook’s Encyclopaedia, not one but two chocolate specific books, and – usually, but not in this picture – my own personal compiled cookbook.

the way things are to be.

Excuse the lack of pretty in this entry – it’s simply an update, for those who are interested, of the weekly run of things. I have a blog all set for tomorrow in which I mention that I have set out daily themes. This is the way it’s going to go (of course, these are subject to change, and in no way should you bank on there actually being a daily entry – this blog is periodical for a reason, and calling it daily pretty would just be tempting fate):

Monday: Botanics (i.e. my fabulous photography taken in botanic gardens all over New Zealand).

Tuesday: Videos and intrigue (curious things uncategorisable. Music videos. Things I can’t live without).

Wednesday: Shoes.

Thursday: Music.

Friday: Books.

Saturday: Clothes.

Sunday: Jewellery.

Now there is method in this madness – I simply do not have enough of any one thing to run a blog on. However, if I separate everything out and run a category a day, I have material to last me years. And if I notice a jump in views on any particular day, I may conduct stocktake and see if I can stretch to giving that category two days a week. We’ll see.

huia recipe book.

So, since last time I’ve posted there has actually been quite a big development in my life. I got a sweet job for next year!

I’m pretty sure everyone knows of the existence of RAs in university halls of residence, and next year I’m going to be one. When the applications were going in, it occurred to me that it could be a bit of fun (and the salary covers the rent) and so I filled out the form and threw it in on the last possible morning.

There were three stages of application – the form application was first, followed by group interviews, followed by one-on-one, or rather three-on-one interviews. Somehow, I made it as far as the three-on-one and they seemed to like me (amazingly. I thought the interview was terrible and I had to run to it from a lab which I was desperately trying to finish early). Because they gave me a job for 2010!

This year I’ve lived at International House (I will post pictures of my lovely halls of residence at some stage) but next year I’ll be an RA at Huia Residence, which is just over a bridge from here, next to the medical school (very handy for me) and involves cooking your own food (darn). O, and it’s alcohol free. It’s very different to I. House, but I am looking forward to it.

Anyway. I have started collecting recipes for my year of doing my own food, and the first thing I did was to grab a pretty notebook to write them all in. I started it with nine cupcake recipes (good effort, huh?). And here it is.

My Huia recipe book.


(Huia, for any non-New Zealanders, is a type of bird. It’s black, iridescent, rather small, and very extinct.)

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kelsy’s summer reading list 3: the beach.

OK. I just finished this book and I can honestly say it scared the living daylights out of me, and if I ever go to Thailand (seems actually quite imminent as my brother is marrying a girl from there) I will be going nowhere near the Gulf of Thailand, and I will certainly not be visiting any marine parks. I might even avoid the Khao San Road, just in case.

Before I launch into my complicated retelling of everything in the book I loved and hated, I must first say that the movie is a completely inaccurate summary of the novel. They eliminate an entire character, who is pivotal to the story. And they throw in a few completely unnecessary sex scenes that don’t occur in the book.

Anyway. The book begins in a fairly acceptable manner, and it seems legit. Everything makes sense and it seems like something an ex-backpacker could actually have written. In fact, it seems legit up until well past the point where the group actually arrive on the Beach, give or take a suicide and some crazy dreams which inform the narrator of things he wouldn’t have known otherwise.

No. The book enters into serious surrealism around the point that [SPOILERS AHEAD] Richard, narrator, is asked to ‘take care of’ a crazy Swede named Karl, who has been rendered insane through watching his two friends be mutilated in a shark attack. The book reaches the absolute peak of it’s peculiarity near the end, though, when one scene sees, firstly, several rigor-mortified corpses being deposited in the camp, and secondly, the [completely twisted] beach community taking to them with knives and dismembering them.

It’s basically Lord of the Flies, but with grown-ups and weed, and though it terrified me, I loved it. The concept is phenomenal, the characters are richly illustrated, the set-up makes you wish you could live in a similar community, and as I mentioned before, you believe it could be true right up until the end.

Probably the height of terrifying is the shark attack on the three Swedes (Sten, Christo and Karl, who seem like lovely chaps) which prevented me from sleeping for several hours after I forced myself to put the book away. It’s not made easier to handle by the fact that Richard tells you they’re about to get into trouble, but kindly leaves out details.

Anyway. READ IT. You … may well regret it, but it’s an achievement to have read and you will certainly enjoy it. It’s also relatively recent (only 1996) and so there are several pop culture references in there that even I (and I am rather young) understood. Lovely.

It’s by Alex Garland. Track it down.

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kelsy’s summer reading list 2: high fidelity.

Review, courtesy of Amazon: It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but the very funny novel High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby’s narrator is an early-thirtysomething English guy who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way–on vinyl–and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music.

I love Nick Hornby’s books, and so, it seems, does everyone else, as they tend to be made into movies. This is another of my Penguin Classics, which, if you’ve not heard of them, are fantastic books, handpicked for their general awesomeness (On the Road is also one, and I also have The Beach and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). They’re sold cheap, at $12.95 in New Zealand, but I’ve become sneaky and with my 10% student discount I can pick one up for $11.70 at University Books.

But yes. Nick Hornby also did About A Boy and Fever Bitch – About A Boy being the one that was made into a  [great] movie starring Hugh Grant and the kid from Skins. Now that I google it, Fever Pitch was also made into a movie, and so was High Fidelity. Must watch that. Before I read the book? After? I can never decide which order it’s best to do it in.

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kelsy’s summer reading list 1: on the road.

By Jack Kerouac, this book is the stuff of legend. First published in 1957, it is hailed as something of a beatnik bible.

I’m reading it at the moment, and I love it. I adore it. It makes me want to hitch-hike across America.

I decided to read it a while ago, after I first read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (though that was for English class). I finally tracked down a copy of my own in the tiny, packed bookshop in my hometown, where they sell books at strangely discounted prices.

Amazon’s blurb for On the Road, if you haven’t read it (and I think an awful lot of people have) is as follows: On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac’s works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac’s writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac’s real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac’s alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

And, just because I love it so much, I’ll include a quote: He played Verdi operas and pantomimed them in his pyjamas with a great rip down the back. He didn’t give a damn about anything. He is a great scholar who goes reeling down the New York waterfront with original seventeenth-century musical manuscripts under his arm, shouting. He crawls like a big spider through the streets. His excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light. He lisped, he writhed, he flopped, he moaned, he howled, he fell back in despair. He could hardly get a word out, he was so excited with life.

Kerouac’s writing style is unique and I love it. He’s erratic and flighty and slightly neurotic. He has many incidental characters who are richly illustrated and exciting. One of them is described in the above quote, and his name is Rollo Greb. I wish I was like him.

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