Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hot in the kitchen....

firstly Happy New Year, hope everyone had a great celebration, myself I made it till 8.45pm before heading to bed for the night.

2014 is going to be a very busy year, lots going on with VEPA on the conservation front and hopefully reaching some of the targets we have worked on and supported since before VEPA was started. More to come on that later......

Photography wise, 2013 was not my year for photography, shutting down the business and the stress of the previous couple of years, changed how I saw photography, it got to a stage where the photos I did take were snapshots and not to the full potential of neither myself nor the wonderful camera gear I own. 2014, I vow and have already started to rekindle my love of photography and can not wait to share my adventures and pictures through the year.

So, back to the heat in the kitchen...........

I am making more sambal olek, having lived in Indonesia and many other countries that are home to wonderful spicy foods, I have never been able to replicate my favourite, a google search brings up thousands of different recipes and methods to make sambal.

Local bullet chili on the left and bonnet on the right. © Karen Stone

Oooh these are the heat! Use sparingly....

This is the recipe I closely followed because of the fact that I have tried to make sambal before and the recipes I followed all say to boil the chilis, which to me looses a lot of the taste and flavour. I also prefer it being slightly oil based instead of vinegar, to me the oil is smoother tasting. 

Salted and sweating for 2 hours!

I also added garlic and reduced the sugar amount, as we are not sweet chili likers!

The finished product ready to eat!

This is a spicy one!

Always remember when making your own hot sauces, either wear gloves or don't touch your eyes or other sensitive areas for a while!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Mantis - sometimes even when you least expect it you can come across the most amazing things in your garden. Just recently whilst weeding and digging around my vegetables I came across this Praying Mantis. I love Praying Mantis, there are over 2,400 species and they camouflage themselves to the greenery around them.  The word "Praying" comes from the angle of their 2 prominent front legs.

Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to spot predators.

Juvenile Praying Mantis on Basil Leaf.

The adult one I had photographed several weeks ago and then yesterday whilst weeding and studying to see if my basil plants were bolting I noticed this tiny little one. Less than a cm in length but has the characteristic front legs.

More fun to be had exploring the garden looking for bugs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 and beyond

will see many changes in our lives, we took the steps to close our business down as of the 1st January this year. It was not an easy choice to make, however we had always gone into everything putting ourselves and our relationship/family at the foreground of any decisions we made. Paul and I are both conscientious, passionate people about our environment, culture, lives and sometimes you are stronger to walk away than to let surroundings and others decisions eat away at you.

2010 and 2011 were tough personal years for us with my husband spending a lot of time overseas to look after his mom, something we are entirely grateful that we were able to do. Her passing at the end of 2011 brought a realisation to us of how hard it is to be with family and each other as well as run a business that relies on you being here 24/7.

The business was good, whales as most people know have been a passion of mine for most of my life and they will remain that. I will miss not being out on the water with them everyday, however it does not mean I will not be out there when I can. There are many other ways for me to work and be with the whales and hopefully continue my efforts to improve on the conservation and protection of them within a tourism industry.

Sometimes life hands you milk and you make butter? Is that the saying or is it you start with milk but life makes it sour cream!

So what will we be doing - not entirely sure yet. For the last 3 years I have worked a lot to get VEPA set up, and I will be continuing to volunteer and give my time for conservation projects.

I am looking forward to going home to England this year, my first time since 2006 (way too long!), and we are also looking forward to rekindling some of our old life passions, connections and dreams.