Skinny Chocolate Brownie


Saturday’s recipe is a day late and I’m cheating this week by linking to it.

A skinny Chocolate Brownie sounds like an oxymoron and often less of the ingredients we’re supposed to eat less of sacrifices taste and texture.

The Healthy Food Guide’s Chocolate Brownie is a delightful exception to that. It’s lowish in fat and sugar but still tastes delicious.

This is what it looks like (photo from the website, but it looks very like this when I cook it too):

The recipe is here.

I sometimes use hazel nuts instead of walnuts.

La Rambla de Barcelona


La Rambla,  is probably Spain’s most famous street.

The broad pedestrian boulevard is flanked by two narrow, one-way streets and it’s populated 24 hours a day.

When we left our hotel at 6am on Friday morning the temperature was about 22 degrees and La Rambla was almost deserted.

rambla 3

There were just a few people finishing their night out and a few starting their day. One of the former included a young man, wearing nothing but a nonchalant look.

When we got back a couple of hours later it was starting to come to life again.

By mid morning it was fully alive with people and lined with cafe tables and chairs, stalls selling souvenirs, flowers, birds . . .

An added attraction was street theatre – clowns, mime artists and living statues:


rambla 2

At 6pm the temperature was well above 30 degrees and the boulevard was crowded with people of all ages and a wide variety of nationalities.

rambla 4

When we went for a walk at 6am today (Saturday) La Rambla  had quietened down but there were still a few hundred people milling about and only a couple of those we saw appeared to be the worse for alcohol.

Not just another routine announcement


The people who give the obligatory pre-flight announcements on planes always start by asking people to pay attention, even if they’re frequent flyers.

But how many do?

Even today when we were in an Airbus from Barcelona to Seville, I was conscious of all the concerning news about these planes, and trying to test my Spanish listening comprehension I gave the briefing only cursory attention.

Perhaps if the presentation had been delivered this way, it might have made a difference:

Hat Tip: Paul Tremewan.

Love is in the House


Lockwood Smith became the first Speaker to be married at parliament, when he and Alexandra Lang exchanged marriage vows yesterday.

Smith described their romance as a fairy tale. I do hope that means they’ll live happily ever after.

TV3 has video footage here.

Dairy auction down again


The reintroduction of subsidies in the EU and USA and the relatively high value of the New Zealand dollar are being blamed for another fall in the price of milk in Fonterra’s latest globalDairyTrade auction.

The 3% fall took the price to a little below the long term average.

This is bad news for dairy farmers who will be waiting anxiously to learn if the auction price will impact on the forecast payout for the new season’s milk.

Regardless of that, they will be having another look at budgets to trim any fat out of their systems and that will have an impact on the people who work for, contract to, supply and service them.

The impact of any decrease in the forecast payout won’t just be felt in the country and provinces it will also spread to the cities because of the large party dairying plays in the New Zealand economy.

It’s not all bad news, though.

The white gold rush of the last couple of season inflated land values, led to labour shortages and consequent wage rises and steep rises in in-put costs. 

Downward pressure as a result of decreased global prices will be difficult in the short term. But it will redress some of the unsustainable costs which have crept in to the supply chain and that in turn will make dairying stronger in the long term.

Barcelona buildings


A wander around Barcelona made me wish I knew more about architecture.

The city was founded in about 230 BC and it’s still possible to see remains of buildings from Roman times on.

Among the relatively recent buildings is this one on La Rambla:

barcelona 8

This one is a a block away from the Placa de Catalunya on Passeig de Gracia:

barcelona 9

Further up the block is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo:

barcelona 10

And then there’s La Pedrera:

barcelona 11

July 5 in history


On July 5:

1811 Venezuela declares its independence from Spain.

1881 a poll tax was imposed on Chinese people in New Zealand.

1937 Spam (the processed meat, not the internet variety) was introduced.

1946 the bikini had its debut in Paris.

1996 Dolly the sheep became the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Dolly’s remains are exhibited at the Royal Museum of Scotland.

%d bloggers like this: