Mid-winter Birthday Party and Exploration

This past Saturday Justin and I attended Rebecka's 32nd birthday party at her apartment across from ours.  As Rebecka is from Sweden and normally celebrates a summer birthday with a traditional strawberry cake, she thought it would be fun to have a mid-winter celebration this year in the southern hemisphere.    She ask each of us to bring a traditional dish that we ate in the winter but the catch was it had to be vegetarian.  After some deliberation, I decided to take a pie.  And because I am lazy, I thought a buttermilk pie would be an easy yet still traditional southern American treat.

Turns out I was wrong.  My attempt at a buttermilk pie resulted in an epic pie making fail.  I bought what I thought was a frozen pie crust from the supermarket which was tricky because Kiwi's don't actually make sweet pies.  So I choose from the variety of frozen pastry crusts available.  I popped my crust in the oven while mixing up the buttermilk pie inner-eds.  When I pulled the pie crust out of the oven it had shrunk to about half the size of the pan!  After this fail, I thought, I'll just make my own crust....it can't be that hard.  Well, turns out it can be.  After walking to the store to buy more flour and carefully mixing and rolling out my dough with a make-shift rolling pin (aka a triple sec bottle), I was rewarded with pie crust dough that would not even stay stretched out long enough to make it into the pan.  At this point I had about 45 minutes until the party and no make up on.  So I scrapped the idea of introducing my Swedish friends to an American treat and got out two bottles of wine!

Pie crust fail
The party was a success despite my epic pie making fail.  We celebrated with gravad lax (dill-cured salmon with mustard sauce), lussekatter (saffron rolls), glogg (mulled wine with almonds and raisins) , and 3 dishes of Janssons Fretelse (potato and anchovies casserole).  Evidently Janssons Fretelse is a popular Swedish dish!

Example of lussekatter as I didn't take any photos at the event

Justin and I spent a good deal of the party playing with an adorable 18 month old little girl from Malawi and her 2 month old little sister.  They were both so cute and Kyra had the cutest curly hair! 

On Sunday, we took the 3 US interns out to explore the west coast of Auckland.  There are currently 3 interns (Ashley, Keila, and Tiffany) from the US working in the Auckland office as part of a global intern program.  Ashley is from the Dallas office and attended Baylor.  Keila is my counselee and is from the Seattle office.  Tiffany is from our New York office and I have no further connection to her.  We had a fun day visiting Piha beach and Karikari waterfall, hiking to White's beach, and capping off the day with lunch and tastings at a local winery in Kumeu. 

Keila posing with the EY umbrella for an intern photo contest

Lindsay and Keila in front of Karikari Falls

Piha Beach....always beautiful

White's beach was a 2.2 km hike straight down from the road.  Add to this the fact that it was an extremely windy and slightly drizzly day and the hike was not that enjoyable.  However, we conquered the trail and made it back to our car in one piece!

The crew hiking down to White's Beach
White's Beach from the trail

White's Beach.  It was so rough that day.

The Baylor crew and fun with photo editing


CrazyUncle said...

First, I have to know if the wine you took to the birthday party was vegetarian? I checked and it says that not all of them are.

Second, did you determine what went wrong with not one, but two pie crusts? Did your American ingredients not work in Kiwiland? Maybe you drank to triple sec before trying to use the bottle and just got too happy to roll the crust out correctly?

Third, Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay. everyone knows that Janssons Fretelse is made with splat and not anchovies (which would be too salty).

Fourth, hey, White's Beach looks like black sand. That's just wrong.

Finally, Karikari Falls looks pretty, but I like that photo with Keila and the EY umbrella. It really does look like something you'd see in a magazine.

p.s. Oh please. Go Bears sign in NZ?