Water cooler talk: geese and gnocchi

The thisNZlife team reveal the things that got them talking at the water cooler. This week we got excited about geese, gnocchi and Turkish language delights.



Still Life with My Mother's Roses, Pomegranates & Plastic Bottles, Ripiro 2013, By Fiona Pardington.

Still Life with My Mother’s Roses, Pomegranates & Plastic Bottles, Ripiro 2013, By Fiona Pardington.

I had the opportunity to see photographic artist Fiona Pardington’s A Beautiful Hesitation exhibition in Wellington last September. The free exhibition is now in its final few days at the Auckland Art Gallery, and I would highly recommend catching this before it leaves. Pardington has such a varied body of work, some pieces are very challenging and others breathtakingly beautiful. The pieces based on the memories of her mother  is particularly moving. On the final day of the exhibition, Sunday 19 June, Fiona and her brother, artist and designer Neil Pardington are giving a talk in the Gallery’s Auditorium at 1 pm. A must-see.

-Yolanta Woldendorp
Creative director NZ Life & Leisure and thisNZlife


Chelsea Winter's Homemade Happiness.

Chelsea Winter’s Homemade Happiness.

The first time I attempted to make gnocchi, they nearly had to be declared to the authorities as a weapon. Tough, chewy and almost bouncy, it was a disaster of such levels that I’d never thought to attempt it again. That was until my husband spotted Chelsea Winter’s Creamy Tomato and Basil Gnocchi in her latest cookbook, Homemade Happiness (page 80). Could Chelsea be the one to restore my faith? Absolutely. Over a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon, I roasted, pressed, pushed and sliced until my arms ached, and what emerged from the salty waters of my bubbling pot were little pillows of heavenly goodness. They were so good, soft, cheesy, slightly spiced with nutmeg. The credit lies not in my cooking skills but in the brilliant recipe – so thank you, Chelsea.

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-Cheree Morrison
Staff writer NZ Life & Leisure


NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Halls sings the praises of geese.

NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Halls sings the praises of geese.

The morning routine used to be wake up, take the dogs for a run. Now it’s wake up, feed the geese, take the dogs for a run and this weird little sequence is now my favourite part of the day. Ask anyone about geese and you’ll almost always hear a horror story about a person terrorised by a rampant gander, wings spread, mouth open, hissing like a cut snake and waddling at speed with a look of fury. The three geese in my orchard were like that on Day 1 but fast forward to Day 30 and you discover geese purr like cats when they’re reassuring each other, and argue like toddlers or mad American baseball coaches, nose-to-nose (beak-to-beak) over who gets to go into their clam shell paddling pool first. Now the grass in the orchard is neatly mowed thanks to my feathered friends.

-Nadene Hall
Editor, NZ Lifestyle Block 



The My Brilliant Friend audio book, available from iTunes

The My Brilliant Friend audio book, available from iTunes

I think I have the best job ever, editing thisNZlife, but a hazard of the job is that staring at a screen has made my be-speckled eyes turn red. My sore peepers became a problem when I was doing my homework recently, reading the assigned novel for The Off-Topic Book Club, My Brilliant Friend. But so as not to disappoint my NZ Life & Leisure colleagues (but also give my eyes a rest) I’ve converted to audiobooks. Now on my morning commute, I listen to the story of Elena and Lila and their childhood in Italy – they even visit me during my gardening and while walking my dog. My eyes are enjoying their Italian holiday. Don’t forget to tune into our bookclub podcast in a few weeks to what we thought of the book.

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-Emma Rawson
thisNZlife editor


Duolingo app


I’m brushing up on my Turkish using a fabulous language learning app called Duolingo. It’s created by some genius mathematicians and watches where you make language mistakes and keeps hammering at you the words/ grammar/phrases you find tricky  It’s very addictive and free.

-Miranda Spary
NZ Life & Leisure writer



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