Friday, 31 January 2014

a fond farewell

 the five days at Titirangi have slipped by in the twinkling of a twinkling
and all too quickly we found ourselves gathering on the morning of the last day

my students wrapped their bundles
we lit the cauldron [one match, no paper, honour satisfied]
 and then we made gumbo

willing assistants helped chop vegetables
while i stirred the roux [cornmeal with peanut oil and some butter because butter makes it better and only butter butters] until it was a bit darker than the colour of my skin

i slung in some previously toasted spices [a cajun mix, some ground pimiento, a little extra sweet paprika] followed closely by the trinity [finely diced green peppers, celery and onion]
but after that we deviated from the traditional ingredients

adding kumara [we are in Aotearoa after all], pumpkin and sweetcorn

the gumbo sulked quietly on the stove for a few hours
while we stoked the fire
and mumbled a few quiet blessings

then i headed back to the kitchen to prepare some "green stuff"
a garnish [again not quite traditional] composed of finely chopped spinach, parsley, chives, lemon rind and a squoze of same. i simply didn't have time to prep the other necessary accompaniments [rice and potato salad]
nonetheless our gumbo was damned fine stuff sir and a nice flavour contrast to the super healthy boot camp soup we had yesterday [a lentil, leek and ginger brew]
 just as well that soup was a light one...yesterday Renee brought in a cake made by her partner 
that was so squishy and delicious it was difficult to decide whether to eat it or rub it on.
after lunch we extracted the bundles from the cauldron
 and headed down to Otitori Bay to open them up
much to the bemusement of summer beach-goers

the results were glorious
 and for the record
Manukau Harbour mud makes very good marks on cloth
[i tried it on my nightie!]
what i would really like to try 
is magic dust.
sadly they were fresh out of it at the market.
so tomorrow i fly home, a little sad to leave Aotearoa
i like it here very much
i have been told that it's time to grease up the sewing machines
and get back to the coal face
of the very first shipment that my new stockist Gilda's took,
everything bar one dress sold before it hit the shopfloor
which is rather exciting

and besides,
i have an exhibition in New Orleans coming up...
but i do wish Ananda lived closer
i'd love to photograph more things on her!


  1. Looks like a blissful few days! I love how these dresses turned out and am so pleased for you that your dresses in Boston sold out in a blink (they were particularly beautiful, I looked at the site when you posted about Gilda's). Did you know that you are "an innovator in textile design"?

    1. thanks for that link,'s a lovely book to be in!

  2. you are all happy souls !!! thank you for all pictures from NZ and the written words

  3. hooray about Gilda's I am really NOT surprised, your clothes are magical; they will be purring in Boston ...

  4. A boatload of goodies... and wonderful about the dresses, and give a good lot of hugs to all your furred friends back home. I think I will need a field trip to find a few furred friends to hug to fill the hug gap this weekend.

  5. As a native of New Orleans I love your take on gumbo. The dish is all about improvisation, using what is available. The traditional Louisiana ingredients evolved from what is available there. But the spirit of the dish is making do. You were true to the spirit of gumbo. As you have often said, "all we need is here".

  6. Sounds like a fantastic class and visit! And that dress... Swoon!
    Happy travels!!!

  7. methinks you have magic dust aplenty!

  8. That gumbo sounds positively organism-making, tee hee ;>}

    FAB frocks.

  9. so much to love here ... and mega congratulations on the sale of your garments! better get that machine going ... I checked out Gilda's and it looks like another amazing venue for your work.

  10. very nice. pardon me while i kiss the earth.

  11. oh how much excitement can one person have.... woohoo much congrats for happy days at Gilda's