Pumpkin Growth Spurt

Summer heralds vegetable growth. The pumpkin has taken over the patch! The flowers have closed up into early pumpkins. They are in the middle protected from the elements by huge leaves.

This blurry shot shows how the tomatoes are surrounded by pumpkins. Corns are also making an appearance.

I am looking forward to the fruit and vegetable harvesst in 2010. Happy New Year to all readers. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Nougat: Mum's First Attempt


a. 120 g castor sugar and 60 g water
b. 40 g egg white
c. 1/4 t salt and 75 g milk powder
d. 50 g softened butter
e. 200 – 300 g peanuts


  1. Boil ingredient A by gradually to 120-125 °C
  2. Mix ingredient B at medium speed to
  3. Remove A and pour into B then mix
  4. Add milk powder with softened butter and mix
  5. Add peanuts and pour into greased trays
  6. Serve after mixture sets.


  • Make sure sugar mixture is hot so it is easy to mix with peanuts
  • Variations include 60 g milk powder and choices such as 15 g chocolate, sesame, coconut.
  • The lower the temperature, the softer the nougat
  • If the nougat does not set, increase heating and drying temperature




    More Women Scientist Blogs from Isis

    Noted and Blogged by Sandy Shoes

    Sandy from Cape Cod is a SAHM with kids Bean and Peanut. She writes about motherhood and general life.Check it out!

    My Fair Scientist by Juniper Shoemaker [visit]

    Juniper Shoemaker is a developing scientist in the biomedical field.

    VWXYNot? and rENNISance woman by Cath Ennis

    Cath Ennis based in Vancouver writes about cancer research grants on rENNISance woman. She described herself as a grant wrangler. Check out VWXYNot? and rENNISance woman!


    The Fancy Pants New Blog Roll by Isisday the Scientist

    Molecular Gastronomy

    Eat Me Daily shared a ThinkGeek product called Molecular Gastronomy Starter Kit. I saw some ingredients at the supermarket such as:
    • citric acid
    • ascorbic acid
    • sodium bicarbonate


    Eat Me Daily


    I melted chocolates and poured the mixture into moulds! Dad had a one by the time I took the photo. I picked up each piece with the chopsticks on the right. Handy!


    1. Melt chocolate over hot water until completely liquid but not bubbling. Take care to keep chocolate from steam.
    2. Pour into mould, swirl mixture slightly to let surface tension flatten the top.
    3. Leave in room temperature until chocolates firms
    4. Turn mould upside-down and shake gently so pieces pop out.
    5. Store in air-tight container at room temperature.

    Pumpkin Summer of 2009 - 2010

    The middle seedlings grow into pale green pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo or C. mixta) with orange insides.

    This is a few weeks later. By the way, the plant to the left are tomatoes and the compost is behind the corrugated iron board.

    My Weekend

    View December 2009 in a larger map

    1. Friday: dinner at I Japanese Cafe - I had seafood hot pot - oyster, prawn, tofu, vermicelli, bok choy etc
    2. Saturday:

      • Dinner at the Bank Bar and Restaurant - I had vegetables (egg plant, asparagus, pepper, salad etc). The meal was gluten free as well!
      • Movie: The Time Traveller's Wife - so sad! I cried. The adaptation was pretty good.
      • Singstar - we took tuns to belt out pop songs. 'Nuff said.
      • CBD and The Outback - shots then dance the night away

    3. Sunday 12 Days of Christmas Concert at Clarence Street Theatre

      1. A partridge in a pear tree - Soloist singing
      2. Two turtle doves, - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle doves
      3. Three French hens, - three flute, accordion and harp pieces
      4. Four calling birds, - Four ladies performing in acapella
      5. Five golden rings, - fire dancer with hula hoop!
      6. Six geese a-laying, - pantomime by six geese
      7. Seven swans a-swimming, - what happend to swan lake by man in tutus? I think it was replaced by a whopping seven recorders.
      8. Eight maids a-milking, - Drury Lane dancers performing 'Survivor'
      9. Nine ladies dancing, - Russian traditional dance
      10. Ten lords a-leaping, - Gumboot stomp
      11. Eleven pipers piping, - Ringing Scottish and Caledonian bagpipe band
      12. Twelve drummers drumming, - Wai Taiko drummers

    (Almost) Summer in All Its Glory

    Flower in hot pink awesomeness!

    This is the same flower under thick cloud a few second later due to the fickle weather.

    I thought summer passed New Zealand by and we were straight into autumn in November. Now what?


    Blueberries (Vaccinium genus) has anthocyanin, a blue pigment high in antioxidant.

    There birds get first dibs at blueberries in front of my window.


    Blueberries NZ

    The One Peach

    The new peach tree also in my backyard has a single fruit this year.  I look out the window and see it swaying. Hold on, brave one!

    Talk about James and the Giant Peach huh?

    I lied. It is about as big as a golf ball in its organic wholesomeness.



    Above are beans from the backyard ready for harvest.

    There is promise of another crop with more flowers.

    Thank you bees' knees!

    Web Comics

    Jessixa's landing page is a multi-armed sausage with sound effects. There are B&W and colour comics. I loved the cupcake robot "Sink or Swim". View it!

    The Pet Dragon is a children's book by Christoph Niemann. The illustration has Chinese characters embedded. There are more examples on his website.


    Arrrt by Jessixa discovered by All Things Cupcake article
    Christoph Niemann promoted by Bent Objects

    Red Cliff

    I liked part 1 and wondered when the second part will come out. Turns out it was released on November 18th. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    In the mean time, below is a painting released by the Palace Museum for desktop.


    Official Site


    I just joined Plurk. It is a competitor for Twitter. There are options for profile customisation. The user can see a reverse chronological line across the top of the dash. Karma points regulate post frequency. Maybe that would discourage spam?

    The Twilight Saga Continues

    I reread New Moon in preparation for the NZ premiere on 19th November.

    1. Twilight (on DVD)
    2. New Moon (20th November 2009)
    3. Eclipse (30th June 2010)
    4. Breaking Dawn (TBA)

    You can purchase Twilight products at my Amazon Affiliate Store.

    Sources and Related Articles

    Twilight Movies Official Site
    Twilight Cupcakes

    Cactus Flowers


    My cactus has several yellow flowers!


    These couple of flowers look like the face of Keroppi, Hello Kitty's friend at the Donut Pond.

    Keroppi at Sanrio
    Keroppi at Amazon

    another day, another fairytale

    This is autumn foliage in misty Vermon, New England. I love it!

    I almost mistook it for a painting where the top layer was scratched to reveal the red and yellow base.

    Little Green Riding Hood

    I went as Little Green Riding Hood to last night's costume party.

    Dinner at Tuk Tuk Thai Food

    View November 2009 in a larger map


    I woke up this morning and chopped off my hair. It has been bothering me for a while.

    My sister got married last Saturday at the Rogers Rose Garden French Steps and reception in Chartwell Square Room.

    View Larger Map

    We got our hair put up at Absolutely Hair and make up at Absolute Beauty.

    I got French Manicure and Pedicure with OPI 'Mauving to Manitoba'.

    I only took pictures on the way to the venue. This is outside their new place.

    The ceremony was simple and with a few friends and family. Reception dinner was buffet. The Tauranga band DV8 played awesome music. Guests boogied the night away!

    I turned 24 on Sunday but was too sick to celebrate.

    This morning I overhauled my hair. Now it is short at the back and a sloping bob at the front.

    The night before

    by BigSisLilSis, some rights reserved.

    I am nervous about tomorrow. I have to do a five minute speech. Most of the contents are sorted.

    When you have guest coming over and neverending tasks a ready mixed dessert can be a good idea.

    I made brownies for today's occasion.
    Random quote of the day:

    A day without a perdurable is like a day without sunshine

    Taitua Arboretum

    We just went for a walk in Taitua Arboretum. The roosters greeted us expecting food.

    I named the circle of rocks down in the paddocks 'Pebblehenge'.

    Rocks strategically placed throughout pathways let visitors admire the vista.

    This is the obligatory pastoral scene.

    My sister told me this flower thriving at the end of the walk is a foxglove.


    Taitua Arboretum is off Howden Road, State Highway 23. 20 minutes from Hamilton city centre.

    View Larger Map

    I did some driving practice. It was scary on the highway and some cars passed me. I should have learned driving in high school!

    Happy Halloween!

    I don't celebrate Halloween but I am going to a Bonfire Night!
    • Taiko drummers
    • Fire dancers
    • Sky lantern
    • Bonfire
    • Soup, cake, sweets, hotchocolate and coffee


    View Larger Map


    Wai Taiko Website

    Hens Night

    My sister's hens night kicked off with mini golf at Callum Brae family golf course.

    The eighteen holes were increasingly difficult.

    This was one of the earlier holes.

    Golf Course

    25 Callum Brae Drive
    Rototuna Hamilton
    New Zealand.

    Cupcake Decoration

    These are some notes I made.


    • fondant icing
    • food colouring
    • chopping board
    • knife

    Fondant Preparation

    1. Cut fondant into smaller blocks
    2. Microwave for 20 seconds or soft
    3. knead into one piece
    4. squash flat and add a few drop of food colouring to center
    5. fold and knead for food colouring to spread throughout
    6. repeat steps 4 and 5 until desire colour
    Note: You can make fondant softer by microwaving for a few seconds and harder by adding some icing sugar. A drop of red makes fondant pinker. It was difficult to make purple by combining red and blue. The blue dye was overpowering.

    Cupcake Icing Options!

    • Silver Beads
    • Hundreds and thousands
    • Lollies

    Just take some fondant, roll in you hands and press flat. Place on a plain muffin (that's what we NZers call cupcakes). Pat the fondant flat to get a shiny surface.Decorate with beads, lollies etc. There are literally hundreds and thousands of combinations!

    Above on the left is the one I made. Hearts and kisses!

    Dinner was pizza from Hell. I liked the seafood one aptly named 'Underworld'.

    Entertainment involved Singstar. It was mostly pop and 90's songs. We belted out tunes I barely know. I was bolstered by the fact that there were only so few people present. I even woke up the next morning with my voice intact!

    Chemical Separation


    Candid Engineer in Academia wrote about using a separation funnel to part organic and aqueous phases in solvent extration.

    I remember doing this in lab. The instructions were to shake vigorously, remembering to release the vapour pressure build up but not too hard. Shaking too hard may form an emulsion.

    This technique takes practice. A friend ended up with corrosive mixture splattered all over her. I was glad that she did the lab before me and warned me about it!

    I hope this video clip demonstrating liquid-liquid extraction helps.


    I am Gorilla, give me the Funnel by Candid Engineer in Academia

    International Day of Climate Action

    Aw I missed it! Participate next year....

    Franz Liszt (22 October 1811 - 31 July 1886)

    (533) Franz Liszt`s birth place ...
    Franz Liszt was born 198 years ago to the day in Raiding, East Austria.

    You can shop for music by Liszt in my Amazon Affiliate Store.


    The Franz Liszt Site by Rich DiSilvio

    The Smallest Man in the World - Part II

    There are three men who could be the smallest man in the world. They all live in Asia.

    Khagendra Thapa Magar from Nepal

    Khagendra has primordial dwarfism resulting in extreme small proportional stature. During the visit the host saw people of Nepal treat Khagendra with respect. The young man seemed happy about the way he is. I think he is brave for standing up and living a life full of obstacles. Khagendra turned 18 this month and is now eligible to lodge a claim for the world record.

    Lin Yu-Chih from Taiwan

    Lin Yu-Chih at 67.5 cm has osteogenesis imperfecta. The condition is also known as brittle bone disease. He is an author and social activist. Lin Yu-Chih's limbs had fractured many times and curved during healing so it is impossible to measure his exact height. He is a published author and has wrote songs despite health problems.

    He Ping Ping from Inner Mongolia

    He Ping-Ping also has Osteogenesis imperfecta. The 73cm man reacted badly when first asked about the possible world record. He has since claimed the title for the World's shortest man.

    I think the documentry showed how hard life could be for people born at a disadvantage. It's nice to see them benefit from their condition and hopefully help other little people.


    Information on primordial dwarfism

    The Smallest Man in the World

    I am looking forward to a documentary called The Smallest Man in the World and me, hosted by Mark Dolan.

    Khagendra Thapa Magar from Nepal is 56 cm tall at age 18

    You can watch an introduction on Channel 4.

    Female Scientist Blogs

    I subscribe to On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess by Isis the Scientist. This week I want to go through her updated blogroll.

    The Millikan Daily by Arikia

    She lives in Brooklyn and writes frankly on each post. The topics vary from shopping for female hygiene products to politicians. The clever header has title in the foreground and a changing background. Check it out!

    Golden Thoughts by Pascale Lane

    Pascale Lane is a professor in paediatric nephrology at University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her recent posts are health related, with a mix of twitter and books. There is a presentation available at the bottom of the page. Check it out!

    Female Science Professor (since 2006)

    This physical sciences professor muses over puzzling and stressful factors for women in science. Archived entries are available on Lulu. You can also check out latest entries!

    Musings by Bug by Ktbug Ladydid

    Ktbug is relocating to start a PhD programme this summer. I liked her post about Trichotilomania titled "Oh anxiety, you evil friend." Oh dear! The effects are distressing...

    Ruminations of an Aspiring Ecologist by Karina

    Karina is a grad student in ecology and evolution biology. Her recent posts recounts conference happenings and advice on travel. I liked the simple template design staying true to ecology. Check it out!

    Noted and Blogged by Sandy Shoes

    Sandy from Cape Cod is a SAHM with kids Bean and Peanut. She writes about motherhood and general life.Check it out!

    My Fair Scientist by Juniper Shoemaker [visit]

    Juniper Shoemaker is a developing scientist in the biomedical field.

    VWXYNot? and rENNISance woman by Cath Ennis

    Cath Ennis based in Vancouver writes about cancer research grants on rENNISance woman. She described herself as a grant wrangler. Check out VWXYNot? and rENNISance woman!

    Source: On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess

    New York Lottery Sweet Million "Bunnies"

    This is so cute! I couldn't work out what the ad was for until the end though. Were the bunnies trained to do all that? Was sedatives involved? Photoshop? I would love to see a making of for this commercial!

    Carnivores at the Hamilton Zoo

    African hunting dogs have a black, white and tan coat. Their big ears not only helps hearing but also has sweat glands.

    The Sumatran tiger is lying under the trees. This is a perfect example of camouflage. Can you find it?

    Dometicated Animals at the Hamilton Zoo

    Kune kune pigs come in a variety of colours. They are fat and round with stout legs and squashed snouts.

    This piglet is so cute!

    These alpacas were playing with hay earlier!


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