Festive times

Christmas is pretty low key here, as is Easter for that matter, I've never quite understood why. But it is a favourite time for weddings, as all and sundry are home to visit - here's one of the weddings. Not a real big traditional deal, but big enough!

Then we headed north to the big city, for a quick dose of Xmas cheer from her highness the uncrowned queen of Tahiti Tracey. A couple of days with the kids and supermarkets.......can't say it was relaxing, but it was certainly a change of pace! Before being back to the grindstone with the guests.




Roland Kaehr - the odyssey of a Swiss gentleman in Rurutu

Back in November we visited a small waterfall and pool, behind the taro fields in Moerai, purportedly the Queen's bathing spot (though after heavy rain, I wouldn't be the first to leap in). It's the first time I'd been there, despite living here for over eight years now. Viriamu told me he used to use the stream as a shortcut with his friends, when he was coming or going to football matches in Moerai as a little boy.

We were visiting the spot with an elderly Swiss museum curator, Roland Kaehr, the editor of a book of memoirs by Eugène Hanni, who visited Rurutu at the end of the nineteenth century. Roland was trying to locate sites from his book. The memoirs tell the exploits of the young Suisse entrepreneur who came to French Polynesia, hoping to make his fortune, he made some money eventually from postcards of pictures he'd taken, he was one of the first to trade vanilla. His impressions and accounts of daily life give an interesting snapshot of life in Rurutu, a while ago, and in particular there are several pencil sketches of everyday life at the "King's court" (where he was staying, as an honoured guest) and scenes from Rurutu that you can still recognise today. The editor was in French Polynesia for the launch of the book at the annual "Salon du livre" (Book Festival).
We enjoyed the visit and the book - published in French by a great local publishing house Haere Po, who have also published an eclectic assortment of other books focused on Polynesia, including a book from a Rurutu authoress. Taaria Walker, is a remarkable old lady and local character, who was born here in Rurutu in 1930, she earned a scholarship to go to school in Tahiti and became the first Rurutu qualified nurse. The book is a funny mishmash of stories, legends and anecdotes, but I love her autobiographical writing about her childhood, and particularly her boat trips to and from school - it was really another world, back then.

In the kitchen

As always I'm busy in the kitchen all year round, and it's a lot of hard work here at the guesthouse, but I hardly ever get fed up of cooking (good job really!). Sometimes when I do start to feel boredom creeping in, then I know it's time to shake things up, new recipes, new ideas or re-visiting forgotten favourites, all do the trick! This year I had fun making pizza-dough with the girls, even if you can't get the good cheese here.

I also had some serious cooking challenges on with long-stay vegetarians and a 'limited' choice of ingredients, but I love the challenge - enter my poi-burgers (poi is a slightly fermented pounded taro purée), this wasn't entirely original, but by gleaning inspiration from the net I managed to perfect these vegetarian burgers, I even made my own burger buns (oh yeah!). I was amazed how delicious they were, just need to have enough coriander in the garden to do them again! I also got inspired to make poi profiteroles too, quite tasty, but more of a novelty trick than anything else, my vanilla poi crémé anglais needs some more work!

Amaiterai, however, doesn't seem to have quite understood the idea of kitchen art!!!!