Monthly Archives: March 2013

* Club Mate *


Club Mate

As we set off from sleepy Papnat in the the searing heat, we passed flourishing market gardens, animals laying sedately under the canopy of trees and the occasional car with tourists, naturally (the locals wouldn’t dream of leaving the house mid afternoon.) After cascading down a hairpin windy road, we reached the beach of all beaches, the local’s secret of Korcula.

We headed down a secret garden kind of path to the glorious beach, aquamarine water sparkling in the bright, bright sun, this certainly was a paradise dreams were made of. We found a space, hit the water and explored the bay, swimming into wee coves and climbing up and down the rocks.

As a keen swimmer, Croatia was an absolute wunderland. Every morning I’d set off on an exploratory mission. With bikini underneath and goggles in hand, I’d jog around the bays and find a cordoned swimming area, which are found all along the coast. There is something so invigorating about doing laps in the sea, surrounded by other keen swimmers and placid fish bobbing around in the waves. In Croatia, swimming is a part of everyday summer life – the men practically live in their speedos and more often than not, the teency, figure-hugging lycra is patriotically designed with the Croatian flag on, proudly for the world to see.

After a long swim in the ocean, we were parched and in desperate need of refreshment. We headed to the beach watering hole ‘Club Mate’ and met the local lads. What is ironic is that the Club-Mate that I’m used to, is the famous carbonated yerba mate tea drink I practically live on when I’m in Berlin (along with half of the population there.) Club-Mate is derived from the leaves of the yerba mate tree native to South America. In its usual guise it is a hugely popular tea in Argentina and other parts of South America. However, in Germany and other parts of world lucky enough to have it, it’s a low sugar, highly stimulating and refreshing drink, which goes perfectly with vodka and an afternoon playing table tennis on the banks of the canal. Yerba mate contains a serious dose of antioxidants and is highly caffeinated, but without the usual jitters and crash that is associated with coffee.

We sat down and had a natter with Mate, the proprietor, who occasionally got up to blow his whistle and entice those walking past to have a shot of rakia, the house distilled spirit not dissimilar to rocket fuel. In another ironic twist, it was Mate’s family restaurant we’d just visited and were booked in to later that night. We spent the afternoon there, drinking beers with Mate and his friends, who had helped build the beach shack and were making sure that it lasted the summer, by keeping a half-cut but ever watchful eye on the place.

I thought it fitting to replicate Club-Mate, the drink, as an ode to our friend Mate and his kooky beach club. As Club-Mate is practically impossible to come by in New Zealand (one place sells it in Auckland) I’ve had to make it myself in order to indulge my addiction and I’m pretty damn pleased with the result.

Club Mate

2 tablespoons of yerba mate*

A litre of boiling water

A lemon, sliced

A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)

3 – 4 tablespoons of raw honey or agave

5oo mls – 1 litre of cold water or soda water

Steep the yerba mate leaves in boiling water for a few hours or overnight, along with the sliced lemon, vanilla (optional) and honey or agave.

If you have a Soda Stream machine, add the desired measure of cold water and fizz it up. If you don’t have a Soda Stream machine, simply add the desired measure of soda water. Serve on its own with ice or as a mixer with vodka and prepare to dance all night long.

* Yerba Mate is available at good health food stores and organic shops.

* Earth Hour 2013 *


Photo courtesy of Discovery News

Earth Hour 2013 is happening tonight from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Earth Hour is an annual celebration organised by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and communities all over the world, where people, businesses and organisations are encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour to show their committment to protecting the planet. Millions of people take part each year, acknowledging change and sending a powerful signal to the world to live more sustainably.

The celebration of Earth Hour 2013 got me thinking about what we can collectively achieve every day to protect our planet, as well as what we can do in our own house, especially as it’s been a few years since we’ve spent a full winter in New Zealand (the heat pump has already been put to good use.)

Get educated about your options – If it’s possible for you to go solar, do it. In New Zealand it takes about 10 years for the initial investment to pay off and you’re free from those pesky power bills, which only get pricier every year. Investigate other methods of renewable energy such as stand-alone power systems and grid connected systems at Energywise.

Save energy where you can – Dry your clothes outside instead of using your dryer; wash your clothes in cold, rather than warm water; replace your light bulbs with energy saving bulbs; install an efficient shower head; switch off your appliances at the wall when they’re not in use and get your heat pump serviced regularly or at the very least, keep the filter clean. All of these measures and believe me, there are many, many more initiatives, all contribute to a reduction in your energy bill and more cash in your pocket.

Get on yer bike – Biking has to be one of the raddest things out, as well as being so convenient. Not only does it get you to the market super-schnell, you never, ever encounter any issues getting a park. Simply swan on in past the myriad of cars searching for a park, get your goods (still wearing your helmet sends a powerfully sanctimonious signal), pack your bag and you’re on your way, hooray! Get a killer butt, whilst doing your bit to protect the planet. No petrol costs, expensive car bills, warranties and registrations is also pure delight.

Dine by candlelight – Make a regular gig out of turning off your lights. Invite your friends over for a candlelit pot luck dinner or make your honey a romantic dinner for two. Not only will your senses appreciate the accentuated dining experience, your energy bill will also look healthier.

These ideas really are just a drop in the bucket and I’ll be exploring more ideas in future posts. In the meantime, tonight you can get involved by switching off your lights, finding an event near you and showing solidarity in supporting the protection of the planet.