Water Cooler: Westworld and ice cream galore

This week in the water cooler: we get very confused watching Westworld, make green pizza bases and are screaming for ice cream.



Still baffled by the plot of the film Inception? Prepare for Westworld. The TV show which airs on Neon and Soho is Inception on steroids. A couple of friends pitched it to me as sci-fi meets western meets dystopian romance, so naturally I was intrigued.

There’s really no simple explanation of what the show is about, but it follows Westworld, a futuristic theme park with the look of a Spaghetti Western. Westworld is inhabited by robotic “hosts” and visitors are able to live out their fantasies (without consequences) through artificial consciousness.

This show requires every ounce of brainpower to keep up with all the characters and storylines – not the sort of show that can be watched while scrolling on Facebook. With 10 episodes, each are one hour long, it’s possible to binge watch the whole series (Soho are screening a box set marathon screen on Christmas Day and Boxing Day). Watch it, your brain will hurt, it’s worth it.

Rhianna Osborne
thisNZlife intern


The staff at Kumeu’s Juicy Strawberries might have the best job ever – even though their working day sometimes starts at 2am. Each day the staff at this ice cream shop get to sample the new flavours of gelato and sorbet – for research purposes, of course. The ice creams are made in the wee hours of the night (when it’s cooler) and flavours include a strawberry blend (made with locally grown fruit) banoffee pie, lemon meringue, strawberry pavlova and Kiwiana made with pineapple lumps.

Shelley and Trevor at Juicy Strawberries

Shelley and Trevor at Juicy Strawberries

‘Smurf’ flavour is a favourite with the kids although owners Shelley and Trevor have to reassure the littlies that no smurfs were harmed in the making of the ice cream. Located on State Highway 16 (look out for the tuktuk and the vintage truck), it’s a favourite haunt for sandy-legged beachgoers making their way home from Muriwai. Juicy Strawberys recently made the NZ Herald’s  list of top ice cream spots in Auckland, it’s easy to see why.

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Yolanta Woldendorp
Art Director
NZ Life & Leisure


I’ve already started my New Year’s resolution! The first on my list is to run/jog… or ‘rog’ 22kms of the Waitomo Tail Run in April. It looks like a huge challenge but as the track follows caverns, hilltops and native bush there is epic scenery to make the pain worth it. Now I only have to start the training…
Rebecca Needham
Art Director NZ Lifestyle Block



Pizza is my dietary Achilles heel. But vegetable pizza bases are my Trojan horse. Fact: everything is better with cheese, especially vegetables. I have made Kristina Jensen ‘s cauliflower pizza  with great success so anticipating a summer glut of courgettes (or hidden marrows that got away from me) a green pizza base was next on the list. Vegetable pizza bases often follow a similar method: pop the vegetable in a food processor, cook slightly, squeeze the vegetable through a cloth to wring out the water, and bind the vegetable with egg and some other ingredients to make a base. My kitchen looked like crime scene for the murder of the Incredible Hulk due to a food processor malfunction (okay, I forgot to put the lid on ) and I stained my tea towel green, but the base was big, green Hulk Smash hit. Below is my recipe but beware, the consistency will vary with the size of the courgette or marrow so have a little almond meal and cheese to spare if it needs thickening.

5 courgettes
6 Tsb of almond meal
1 beaten egg
¼ cup of cheese (I used Edam)
Garlic powder or garlic flakes
1 tsp oregeno
Blend the courgettes until they are finely diced. Heat courgettes in a bowl in the microwave for 5 minutes until soft. While the courgettes are cooling, leave to drain out some of the water in a sieve. When cool (trust us, don’t try this when it’s hot) wring out the courgette in a teatowel or cheesecloth – beware a lot of water will come out and the courgette will reduce to quite a small amount. Mix the courgette with the rest of the ingredients until it can be rolled into a ball. If the mixture is too wet add more almond meal and cheese. Shape into a circle on a baking tray and bake on 180C for 8 minutes. Add toppings and cook for another 8 minutes or so.
Emma Rawson
thisNZlife editor

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On the top-most shelf of the office in my parent’s house are the photo albums. About a dozen of them, thick, bulky and so heavy, lifting them from the shelf requires a Health & Safety plan.
My parents spent an hour showing old photos to my nephews the other day and they were absolutely enchanted, by the photos themselves and by what they saw of their dad, aunt and grandparents. You do get to wondering. Why WAS I wearing a bright blue woolly jumper with a thick leather belt and yellow pants. Why mum, why?
Mullets, 1970s moustaches and bell-bottom jeans aside (and sadly, that was from 1986 when it was well established that bell-bottom were a fashion crime), the photos are showing their age. They’re fading or turning yellow and the deterioration isn’t going to stop.
I have a very fancy scanner and one of my ‘I’ll do that one day’ jobs was to scan all the photos. But it’s a mission and that is what has put me off doing it for eight years.
So why not make it better, faster, simpler, easier? Use your smart phone and this amazing app and it’s done,  Photoscan by Google
There’s a sweet, funny video to show you just how simple it is, and how vastly superior it is to take a photo of a photo, or spending the next 18 years scanning them.

Nadene Hall
NZ Lifestyle Block

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