Easy peasy fettuccine: making pasta from scratch

Homemade Pasta cover image Horizon Guest House Hawaii

Making homemade fettuccine may seem like a daunting task but with a simple recipe, a steady hand, and a bit of patience, you’ll be twirling freshly cooked, homemade fettuccine around your fork in no time!

*(Note: for best results we recommend using a machine but you can hand roll it).

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 1

The three key ingredients to fresh, homemade pasta are simple. Flour, eggs, olive oil, a pinch of salt and a dash of water.

Beat flour, eggs, olive oil, and salt together in a bowl. Add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to the flour mixture until a smooth and very thick dough forms.

Either let a dough hook on your stand mixer do the kneading or turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Let the dough rest for around 5 to 10 minutes.

Why is it important to let it rest? Resting the dough gives the gluten in the dough the opportunity to relax. This makes it easier to roll out, either by hand or by using a machine.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 6

Divide dough into 4 balls and use a pasta machine to roll and then cut dough into desired pasta shape.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 7

You can make pasta without a machine, it just requires a little more effort. Roll out the dough until paper thin.

Using a rolling pin will get the dough rolled out as thin as a machine will – it’ll just take a little more time to get there.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 8

Take each of the balls and flatten it with your hands. Next, guide it through the machine, turning the handle at a steady rate.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 9

Run the pasta through twice and then fold the piece in from either side on the long edges, as below. 

Homemade pasta folded Horizon Guest House

Then run the dough through again, or as many times as necessary until you achieve your desired thickness. Then dust with flour and fold in half to rest.  

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 10
Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 12

The more you roll out the dough the longer the sheet and the longer your fettuccine will be. After you’ve let the dough rest (for at least 15 minutes) use the pasta machine to cut the dough into the desired shape, or if you don’t have a machine use a knife to cut the dough into noodles.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 13

If you find the noodles are sticking together you may need to add more flour. 

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 14

Let your pasta rest again to dry, for between 15 to 30 minutes. There are lots of way to dry fettuccine.  You can use a baking tray lined with baking paper and dusted with flour, or hang over the back of a chair.

Homemade pasta Horizon GH Hawaii 15

When you just can’t wait any longer it’s time to cook! Cooking time is 4 to 6 minutes in boiling water.

Homemade pasta is best cooked straight away, or within 24 hours. You can freeze it too. It’s good for up to a month in the freezer. Just make sure to use the frozen noodles straight from the freezer without thawing them out first. Thawing allows condensation to form and any dampness will cause the noodles to stick together. 

 

How did your pasta turn out? Did you use a machine or hand roll? Let us know in the comments.

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Wild pigs on the Big Island of Hawaii – friend or foe?

Wild Pigs Hawaii Tribune Herald 2020
Wailoa State Recreation Area, Hilo. Photo credit: Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

In the first months of 2020 wild pigs caused significant damage to orchards and crops at Horizon Guest House. The pigs, who live in the surrounding forest of McCandless Ranch, were in the habit of making regular raids on our property. Our gardening efforts, and attempts at protection, were left in disarray as they carved a trail of destruction.

Unfortunately, feral pigs on the Big Island of Hawaii have become a widespread problem. Wild pigs are attracted to a wide variety of food sources. On the Big Island these include crops such as macadamia nuts, bananas, avocados and pineapples. Our banana and pineapple plants were almost all destroyed over a period of months. Significant rooting damage was also done to the garden.

Wild Pig Big Island Hawaii KITV4 Island News
Photo credit: KITV4 Island News

Where did the pigs come from?

It was originally thought that the feral pigs in Hawaii were the direct descendants of those brought to the islands by Captain Cook in 1778. Captain Cook arrived with pigs, chickens and other animals. However, a 2016 study found that most of the feral pigs alive in the islands today are in fact the descendants of those introduced by Polynesians in approximately 1200 AD. [1]

That the origins of the feral pigs are not solely European will be helpful for future discussions about conservation on the islands, as well as their role in Hawaiian cultural heritage.

Wild Pigs Hawaii News Now
Photo credit: Hawaii News Now

Impact on forest ecosystems

Wild pigs also have an impact on the forest ecosystem. A study by the University of Hawai’i found that soil macroinvertebrate communities (organisms that do not have a spine but can be seen with the naked eye, such as snails and insects) remained unaffected by the presence of feral pigs in the environment.[2] However, earthworms and beetles may benefit from association with sites rooted by wild pigs.

Another study found that the absence of feral pigs over time led to increased bacterial diversity in the soil and that there was an overall increase in the ‘ecological resiliency’ of the soil.[3]

WIld Pigs Tribune Herald 2017
Corner of Komohana and Mohouli streets, Hilo. Photo credit: Tim Wright, Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

How to combat feral pigs

Pigs don’t like dogs and will tend to avoid an area if they sense or smell their presence. Culling the invading pigs is also another option, but in the case of Horizon this won’t stop the arrival of more pigs as they breed at such a rapid rate in the adjoining forest. The feral pigs are resourceful and have found creative ways of digging under the boundary fence in order to gain access.

Horizon Guest House Garden
Horizon's new garden fence

Instead we decided on a new approach. We fenced a section of the garden off completely. This area, currently housing the existing vegetable garden, will now also be where we grow the crops most vulnerable to pig invasion. New banana and pineapple plants have been planted and the existing vegetable garden has been expanded. The fence itself has been engineered to be as pig-proof as possible. Additional fence posts have been positioned close together to ensure that the fence is as tight as possible and therefore difficult for even the tiniest of pigs to burrow under.

Feral pigs might appear to be cute and relatively harmless but they continue to cause problems on the Big Island as their numbers in populated rural areas continue to rise. Creative solutions are the best way to try to mitigate their impact on a local level, while perhaps a concerted effort on a state level is needed to combat the issue further.

References

Linderholm A., Spencer D., Battista V., Frantz L., Barnett R., Fleischer R.C., James H.F., Duffy D., Sparks J.P., Clements D.R., Andersson L., Dobney K., Leonard J.A. & Larson G. (2016). [1] A novel MC1R allele for black coat colour reveals the Polynesian ancestry and hybridization patterns of Hawaiian feral pigs. R. Soc. open sci. 3, 160304. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160304

Wehr, N.H., Kinney, K.M., Nguyen, N.H., Giardina, C.P. & Litton, C.M. (2019). [3] Changes in soil bacterial community diversity following the removal of invasive feral pigs from a Hawaiian tropical montane wet forest. Sci Rep 9, 14681. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-48922-7

Wehr, N.H., Litton, C.M., Lincoln, N.K. & Hess, Steven C. (2020). [2] Relationships between soil macroinvertebrates and nonnative feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests . Biol Invasions 22, 577–586. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-019-02117-3

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Brioche French toast with a little help from Julia Child

Making brioche is easier than it looks and it makes for some spectacularly good French toast. Worth making the effort for, this brioche recipe comes courtesy of Julia Child and is perfect for soaking up our special French toast mixture! Begin with the brioche or skip straight to our delicious French toast recipe.

Making brioche

Brioche dough has a rich, buttery flavor and is closer to cake than bread in texture. Essential to this recipe is either an electric mixer or a food processor. The dough itself needs two risings – the second rising can happen while refrigerated overnight, though we did this within one day. 

Brioche ingredients Hawaii

Prepare the yeast. Cut the butter into small pieces and then melt in a saucepan with the milk.

Measure all flour except for 1 cup into the mixer bowl. Next, add the salt, the sugar and then the melted butter & milk, and then the eggs. Mix to blend. Take care when adding the yeast, the mixture should be warm to the touch. If it feels too hot, wait a moment for it to cool.

Beat at a medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, slowly add the remaining flour. For best results, use a dough hook (if you aren’t using a dough hook unclog the blades if needed). Place dough on a lightly floured board and leave to rest for about 2 minutes.

Brioche dough 3 HGH Horizon

Then knead the dough vigorously for 2 minutes. The dough should feel quite soft.

Bricohe dough knead HGH Hawaii

Place dough in lightly-oiled large bowl (2 gallon-sized). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place to rise (preferably in the range of 72–75F). If you’re in hot climate, it may be necessary to slow the rise by putting it in the refrigerator. In approximately 3 hours (or when it’s tripled in size) turn out onto a lightly floured board. 

Julia’s tip: shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and then fold the dough in 3 – repeat this process and then return to the bowl. This process redistributes the yeast cells within the dough and helps achieve a finer grain consistency.

Cover and let rise again – ideally to double the size. This second rise can be achieved overnight, if you prefer, by placing in the refrigerator. 

Brioche dough Horizon HGH rise

Turn out onto a board. Take one half of the dough and cut into three pieces. Roll each piece out by hand until you have three even ropes. Pinch together at one end.

Then, start braiding by crossing the right rope over the center rope. Then, cross the left rope over the center. Alternate in this way, right and left over center, until the braid is complete.

Do the same with the other half of the dough.

Place the two loaves of bread in two regular loaf pans (lightly oiled). Cover and let rise (the final rise, I promise!) for 1 to 2 hours.

Brioche dough rise again 2 HGH Hawaii

If you like you can glaze with an egg wash. Beat an egg and carefully brush the top of the loaf, careful not let any egg run down the side of the pan as this will cause the loaf to stick. Preheat oven to 450F (230C) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or if you have a thermometer – until the internal temperature has reached 180-190F. 

Brioche out of the oven HGH Hawaii

The recipe we used was adapted from the Julia Child & Company cookbook. Julia had planned to come and stay at Horizon Guest House in 2004 but died of kidney failure just before her 92nd birthday.

Brioche French toast

Bricohe French toast HGH Hawaii

If you haven’t made the brioche above you can still use any spongy, thickly-sliced white bread as a substitute – challah, sourdough and baguettes work well.

In a pan lay out 6 pieces of brioche. Make sure these are sliced between ¾ inch – 1 inch thick.

Whisk the eggs and add the sugar.

Add the vanilla, heavy cream and milk. Whisk together well.

Pour the mixture over the bread.

Make sure you get a good coverage. Use a spatula to lift the bread to ensure the bread is thoroughly soaked. Cover the pan with tinfoil and leave to soak in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, take out and turn the bread and give it another 30 minutes (if you make this the night before you can easily leave it to soak overnight).

The bread should have absorbed all of the mixture.

Brioche French toast soak HGH Hawaii

Sprinkle with cinnamon and then pan fry with butter (at a ratio of 1 Tbs for every two slices) on a medium heat. 

Bricohe French toast fry HGH Hawaii

Flip once and then reduce heat.

Pro tip: cover with tinfoil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. This allows the French toast to be cooked through without burning – which can happen due to the high sugar content.

Brioche French toast HGH Hawaii

Served with all your favorite French toast toppings. Ours include warmed Canadian maple syrup and a good serving of fruit (banana, papaya, oranges and blueberries) to offset the delicious sweetness.

Tell us about your brioche and/or French toast in the comments below!

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A day trip to the Hilo Farmers Market

Hilo Farmers Market Horizon B&B Kona

Make sure you stop by the biggest and most popular farmers market on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Hilo farmers market runs every weekday but it’s the ‘market days’ on Wednesday and Saturday – with over 200 farmers and local crafters selling fresh produce, crafts, gifts and assorted flowers – that make it a must-visit during your stay on the Big Island.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Hawaii Horizon B&B

First started in 1988, the Hilo farmers market began with only 4 vendors and grew rapidly. The open market is now held on the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in downtown Hilo. Contained within the space of approximately 3 city blocks, the market has free parking nearby. The biggest (and best) days are Wednesday and Sunday. Get there early to get the best of the produce and the freshest flowers.

The market opens at 6am and runs until 4pm. Most of the market is situated under large tents and includes sections with produce, food and flowers, as well as an arts, crafts and retail section. Deal direct with the farmers, the growers, the crafters and the bakers. And don’t miss out on the amazing range of food on offer from the food trucks. There is even an indoor food court.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Horizon
Long squash

What you'll find

A favorite with locals and tourists alike, the Hilo farmers market sells a huge range of produce. Whether you’re on the look-out for some locally-grown coffee or fresh fruit and vegetables, the market has a huge selection. Find jack fruit, longan, mangos, papayas, pineapples, rambutan, strawberries, white pineapples, dragon fruit, passion fruit, apple bananas, lychee, sapote and much more! Vegetables you’ll encounter include – baby ginger, bok choy, eggplant, taro, avocados, hydroponic lettuce, organic spinach, sweet corn and more.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Horizon B&B

The market also sells jams, jellies, macadamia nut butter and honey as well as bakery treats like butter mochi, malasadas, coconut pastries and Portuguese bread. A number of vendors also serve breakfast and lunch.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Hawaii

A wide range of flowers are sold at the market. Orchids and anthuriums of all shades pack the flower stalls. Bonsai plants, protea and assorted herbs are also sold. The craft sections are full of amazing creations – handmade jewelry, etched glass and items carved from koa wood. If you’re looking for a special gift or souvenir, you’ll be sure to find something well-crafted to take home from the farmers market.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Horizon B&BJPG

The market’s central location makes exploring the historic downtown of Hilo easy. After the market walk to the nearby shops, restaurants and museums. Check out the nearby Lyman Museum and the Pacific Tsunami Museum.

Hilo Farmers Market Big Island Hawaii Horizon Guest House

Hot tip: Bring the kids on the first and third Saturdays of each month and make use of the free art booth for kids (keiki). Open 1-3pm.

Can’t make it on a market day?

Don’t worry. The market is still open on all other days of the week but at a much reduced capacity. Expect approximately 30 vendors on these days.

Hilo waterfront Horizon B&B Hawaii

After you’ve finished shopping at the Hilo farmers market why not visit the nearby Lili’uokalani Park and Gardens. The waterfront location is the perfect place to enjoy a farmers market-inspired picnic lunch by the sea.

Hilo is approximately a 2 hour drive from Horizon Guest House.

Hilo waterfront Horizon B&B
Looking toward Mauna Kea
Hilo waterfront banyan tree Horizon B&B
Banyan tree

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Integrating solar hot water on the Big Island

Solar hot water Horizon Guest House Big Island Hawaii

The Big Island is known for sun, surf and adventure. Here on the Kona Coast we have an abundance of sunny days that make it the perfect location to install solar panels. Horizon B&B has integrated solar hot water to help reduce the cost of heating water by electricity. This system is simple to implement and low-maintenance.

Domestic solar hot water supply

The Horizon Guest House domestic hot water supply is supplemented by a separate solar system. First installed over twenty-five years ago, the solar panels are all located in positions to best maximize the power of the sun.

There are two solar panels located next to the vegetable garden. Water is pumped from the house to the solar panels whenever the sensors on the panels detect that the temperature of the panels is greater than the temperature of the hot water heater in the house. When this occurs the pump system is activated. The water is circulated out to the panels, heated, and then sent back to the house.

Delta-T thermostat on the hot water heater

Swimming pool solar hot water

The solar system is also used to heat the swimming pool water. A larger bank of panels is located on the hillside below the pool. On sunny days, the sun heats a sensor near the pool. This sensor compares the temperature of the water in the pool with that of the temperature of the panels. When there’s enough temperature difference between the two, a valve opens and water is sent to the solar panels to heat the pool. When the sun goes away, the sensor cools and it automatically shuts the valve.

Solar hot water Horizon

Guest wing solar hot water supply

There is a separate bank of solar panels to heat the domestic water supply for the guest wing. These panels are located on the hillside below guest room number 4. When the sensor heats to a certain level, the water is circulated to the panels.  

The sensor on all three banks of solar panels will activate the circulation of water when the temperature difference reaches 15 degrees. For example, if the temperature in the hot water heater is 127 degrees then the temperature in the solar panels needs to reach 142 degrees before the valve will open and the water is sent out. We have set the hot water heater to switch to electric only when it goes below 110 degrees. As a safety precaution the temperature shut-off is 160 degrees. This is to avoid sending water that would simply be too hot back to the water heater. The water sent to the water heater remains at temperature for 2-3 days due to the water heater being well-insulated.

Solar hot water helps heat our outside shower

The solar hot water system has been a great way to utilize the power of the sun to help heat the water needed to run the bed and breakfast. These systems are relatively easy to install and the differential temperature thermostat is key to integrating solar panels with a standard electric hot water heater.

Further reading:

In 2010 it was mandated that solar water heaters be complusory on all new single-family homes constructed in Hawaii.

https://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/solar-hot-water-heaters-mandatory-in-hawaii

 

 

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What is a jicama?

JIcama Horizon Guest House Hawaii

What is a jicama? A relatively unknown root vegetable, the jicama is common here on the Big Island of Hawaii. With its flaky brown skin and crispy, white texture, the jicama has a unique flavor that tastes like a cross between a potato and a pear!

Jicama Horizon Guest House Kona Big Island

Pronounced (hee-kah-ma) the versatile vegetable has its origins in Mexico and Central America. It’s now found throughout Asia as well as here in Hawaii.

The jicama plant itself is mostly toxic. The vines of the plant can grow up to 20 feet in length. The root of the plant is the only part of the vegetable that is edible. The rest of the plant including the skin remains toxic, so make sure you peel it well! But don’t let that scare you, the crunchy flesh is a great addition to everything from salads to stir fries.

Jicama Horizon BnB Hawaii

Are jicamas a superfood?

The jicama is seen by many as a superfood since it’s so nutrient dense. The nutrient profile of the jicama is packed with vitamin E, calcium and zinc. Its high in fiber, a great source of vitamin C, and contains that all-important beta carotene! It also contains inulin, a prebiotic that helps with maintaining gut health.

Fun fact: The jicama is also known as water chestnut, Mexican potato and yam bean.

Where to find them

Make trying a jicama part of your Big Island experience! We bought ours from the Hilo farmers market, but you’ll be able to find them at most farmers markets around the island.

Look for firm, dry jicamas. Make sure the skin isn’t bruised and that the vegetable isn’t old and shriveled. Jicamas keep well – after they’ve been peeled they’ll last in the fridge for approximately two weeks. Make sure to keep them wrapped in a container or a plastic bag.

Jicama Burrito HGH
Grated jicama on a burrito

How to eat jicamas

Jicamas can be eaten raw or they can be cooked. First, remove the brownish skin – either cut or peel from the vegetable. Then chop into cubes, slices, or even grate. You’ll find the consistency much like that of a potato, with a kind of watery starchy texture as you cut into it.

We used ours as a topping on a burrito and also chopped up in a salad but there lots of creative ways to cook with jicamas. Don’t worry about oxidation – once you cut into a jicama, the vegetable won’t brown.

Fun fact: In Central America they are often eaten raw – cut into slices, chilled, then drizzled with lemon/lime juice, sprinkled with chilli powder and a dash of salt!

Jicama salad HGH B&B Kona
Cubed jicama in a corn, pepper, cilantro salad

Be creative with jicamas!

Add jicamas to your diet in these creative ways

  • As an ingredient in your favourite fruit salad – works well with pineapple, mango and papaya

  • As a snack – cut into slices and then served with guacamole

  • Use in your favourite vegetable stir-fry

  • Cut into thick French fry-sized pieces (half an inch by half an inch), toss with olive oil and your favourite spices, and then bake on a cookie sheet in a hot oven! Jicama fries!

Some great jicama recipe ideas

  • Kale, jicama and orange salad

  • Spicy black bean burritos with grated jicama

  • Toasted chicken sandwiches with jicama and red cabbage slaw

Take the time to try a jicama on your Big Island adventure. Farmers markets around the island are your best bet for finding the freshest quality produce. How did you use jicamas in your cooking? Let us know in the comments.

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The no-knead bread recipe

No knead bread Horizon Guest House Big Island

This favorite no-knead bread recipe is easy to make and packed full of flavor – wholegrains, nuts and dried fruit. Make sure to use a covered baking dish to help give it that chewy, crusty consistency!

No knead bread HGH

The no-knead bread recipe

  • 3 1/4 cups (390g) Unbleached Bread Flour

  • 1 cup (113g) Whole Wheat Flour

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

  • 1 3/4 cups (397g) cool water

  • 3/4 cup (85g) dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup (85g) golden raisins

  • 1 cup (113g) coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Mix the flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir, then use your hands to bring the sticky dough together, making sure to incorporate all of the flour.  

2. Work in the fruits and nuts.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it’ll become bubbly and rise quite a bit, so use a large bowl.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and form it into a log or round loaf to fit your 14″ to 15″ long lidded stoneware baker; 9″ x 12″ oval deep casserole dish with cover; or 9″ to 10″ round lidded baking crock.

No knead bread HGH Hawaii1

5. Place the dough in the lightly greased pan, smooth side up.

6. Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it’s become puffy. It should rise noticeably, but it’s not a real high-riser.

7. Using a sharp knife or lame, slash the bread in a crosshatch pattern. Place the lid on the pan, and put the bread in the cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F, and put the bread into the oven.

8. Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes (start the timer when you place the bread into the cold oven). Remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until it’s deep brown in color, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.  

9. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out onto a rack, and cool completely before slicing.

10. Store the bread, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

The key to this recipe is a covered baking dish. We used a cast iron Dutch oven – this helps give the bread its unique crust.

The recipe is very forgiving. Leave it to rise for 8 hours or overnight. It’s the length of the rise that gives the bread its great taste, allowing it the time it needs to develop the richness of flavor.

We ate this bread with butter and lehua and cinnamon honey from Big Island Bees.

This no-knead bread recipe is by far the easiest bread we have ever baked. It gives you the best results for the least amount of effort – and no prior baking experience is necessary.

Let us know in the comments below how your bread turned out! Happy baking!

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All-in-one chocolate cake recipe

all in one chocolate cake hawaii horizon

What could be better than a chocolate cake that only takes minutes to prepare? This all-in-one chocolate cake recipe is super easy to assemble – simply fling all the ingredients into the food processor – and it tastes great thanks to the secret ingredient, canola oil! Check out our video and the full recipe below.

The recipe

1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
¾ cup water
2 cups white sugar
1¾ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
1¼ cups milk 
½ cup canola oil (or you could use sunflower oil)

 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and line a 9″ (23-25cm) springform cake pan with baking paper.
2.  Dissolve the coffee granules in water, then place all ingredients into a food processor and process until well combined and smooth.
3.  Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4.  Cool on a wire rack and when completely cold add your favorite chocolate frosting.

NOTE: the mixture is meant to be runny, so don’t worry! There is quite a lot of batter so make sure you’re using a decent sized food processor (we used an 11 cup).

all in one chocolate cake recipe kona hawaii

The key ingredient to this amazingly easy-to-make cake is the canola oil. Replacing the butter used in traditional chocolate cake recipes, the canola oil helps give the cake its moist consistency. 

TIP: After the cake has been baking for an hour monitor the cake every 10 minutes or so to check on its progress.

Don’t forget the whipped cream. We served our cake with cream but Greek yoghurt would work just as well.

We hope you enjoyed our chocolate cake recipe. We would love to hear how your cake turned out! Let us know in the comments below. 

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Springtime gardening on the Big Island

Spring is the perfect time to get organised with the vegetable garden here on the Big Island. We’ve turned the vegetable and herb gardens into special lockdown projects (no doubt like many of you) and have spent the last couple of weeks prepping the gardens for planting, raising and transplanting seedlings, and protecting our new plantings from outside invaders! (namely slugs…)

(Check back for updates! We’ll be updating this post as the garden grows. Click the links below to see our progress!)

Snap peas

We’ve grown snap peas in the past and they are always a delicious addition to the garden. First we started out by growing the seeds in individual pots, then we transplanted them to the garden beds. Peas were easily the quickest to grow from seed and grew noticeably every couple of days.

Before and after

It had been a while since we’d last grown peas and the garden bed was looking a little sad! It was time remove the weeds, pull out the wire frames and start again from scratch.

Before After

Then it was time to transplant. We managed to get four viable pea plants grown from seed. However, we lost two of these a couple of nights after planting due to an attack of slugs… 

Peas trellis 13:5 Horizon Guest House Big Island
Progress update May 13th

Lettuces, arugula, beets and radishes

Lettuces Big Island Gardening

We wanted to make sure we had a good variety in this garden so planted out lettuces, beets, arugula, radishes and spinach.

Lettuces Horizon B&B

Lettuces were slow to come through but finally the baby lettuces appeared!

Lettuce4 Horizon B&B Kona

Radishes quickly flourished from seed and most of what we planted grew. It wasn’t the same for the beets (only two grew from seed, bottom right in the photo) and only a couple of spinach plants came up (top left in the photo).

Progress updates:

Radishes 9:5 Horizon B&B Big Island
Lettuces/Radishes May 9th
Lettuce bed Horizon B&B Big Island 9:5
Lettuces/Radishes May 9th
Radishes 13:5 Horizon B&B Big Island Hawaii
Radishes May 13th
Beets 9:5 Horizon Guest House Big Island
Beets May 13th
Lettuces 22.5 Horizon BnB
Lettuces/Radishes May 22nd
Tomatillos 22.5 Horizon BnB
Tomatillos May 22nd

Herbs

Garden herbs Big Island Horizon

It was trial and error with the herb garden. Initially we planted basil, thyme and cilantro from seed but after 10 days… nothing appeared. We decided the fault was the age of the seeds (pro tip: if the seeds look like they’re ancient then they probably are and they probably won’t work). For our second attempt we decided to plant a mixture of seeds and small plants, just to give ourselves a head start. 

Herbs Horizon HGH

Basil, dill, cilantro, thyme and spearmint plants were planted, as well as seeds of dark basil, thyme, cilantro and sweet basil in the hope that the combination would yield some lasting results. But then disaster struck again! The same night the slugs made their appearance and decimated the transplanted peas they also launched an assault on our thyme and cilantro. We used citric acid to kill the slugs but in the process also terminally damaged the thyme and cilantro…

What is dark basil?

Dark opal basil is a basil variety created at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s. It has dark purple leaves and a stronger flavour than sweet basil.

Herbs 2 HGH Kona

Third time lucky! This time we replaced the damaged thyme and cilantro and used slug bait to form a defensive perimeter! This seems to have stopped the slugs for now.

Herbs Horizon Big Island

Progress updates:

Dark Basil 9:5 seedlings Horizon B&B
Dark Basil May 9th
Cilantro 9:5 Horizon B&B Big Island Hawaii
Cilantro May 9th
Cilantro 13:5 Horion B&B Big Island
Cilantro May 13th
Sweet Basil 22.5 Horizon Guest House Hawaii
Sweet Basil May 22nd

Pineapples

Pineapples B&B Horizon Guest House

We transplanted some smaller pineapple plants from another area of the property to this garden. In order to suppress weeds we had already covered unused beds with a ground cover. By slicing a series of cuts into the cover we were able to plant a row of pineapples and also continue to stop the weeds from returning.

Seedlings

We were also quite successful growing okra, peppers, tomatillo, yellow tomatillo and roma tomato seedlings. We started the seeds off in recycled fruit containers and then moved them to peat pots.

Seedlings Horizon B&B Kona
Step 1
Seedlings2 Horizon B&B Kona
Step 2
Seedlings Horizon B&B
Step 3

Moving the seedlings to peat pots was a delicate operation, especially for the okra and roma seedlings. They had to be carefully moved, and any roots untangled before planting.

Transplanting

And finally the seedlings were planted in the garden. Followed by a good watering and a measure of liquid fertilizer to help them on their way!

Seedlings Horizon Guest House
Transplant 2 Horizon B&b
Roma tomatoes

Progress updates:

Lima Beans 9:5 Horizon B&B Hawaii
Lima Beans May 9th
Lima Beans 22.5 Horizon Guest House
Lima Beans May 22nd
We’ll keep you updated on the garden as it (hopefully) flourishes! Have you found yourself in the vegetable garden more during the lockdown? What have you been planting?

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It’s a lockdown life: dispatches from the Big Island

ATV Horizon Kona Hawaii

It’s early spring and like much of the rest of the world we’re adjusting to life in lockdown. Tourists have all but fled and the residents are hunkering down as we all do our best on the Big Island to flatten the curve. Like the rest of you we’ve been grappling with the new normal here at Horizon, so we decided to turn our blog microscope to life behind the scenes at HGH.

On March 25 everyone in Hawaii was required to stay at home or in their place of residence. The next day the state of Hawaii mandated a quarantine period of 14 days for all visitors to the island. Cancellations came thick and fast. But while we might not have any guests due to the lockdown it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of chores and projects to work on.

Coffee Clem HGH
The day always starts better with coffee!

Then on April 1, all persons traveling between any of the islands in the state of Hawaii became subject to mandatory self-quarantine.

Arrived just in time...

Meanwhile, thousands of miles to the south in New Zealand, Clem’s partner Angus was trying to get to Hawaii having just had his immigrant visa approved. After many flight changes, and frantic packing, Angus caught one of the last flights out of New Zealand before the government announced the country was going into lockdown.

Almost exactly four years after they first met, and after time spent in both countries, Angus arrived in Hawaii as a newly-minted permanent resident. 

Finally! It was time to get on with their lives together. Unfortunately, Angus arrived just before the lockdown was enforced. After careful deliberation it was decided it was sensible to quarantine, just to be on the safe side (luckily he was fine).

Clem & Angus
Angus and Clem, New Zealand, 2019

With contact not allowed (not even a hug!) and social distance mandated at all times, Clem whisked Angus back to Horizon and into 14 day quarantine.

Alone together was the new normal. At least for the following two weeks! But spring was in the air, the weather was good, and it was perfect timing for some landscape gardening. 

Around the house

Before After

First up, landscaping and weeding around the guest rooms. Garden maintenance is always done on a regular basis but with more time it was a great opportunity to tackle the bigger jobs.

Datura HGH Big Island Hawaii

Angus works on cutting back the overgrown datura to the level of the rock wall in front of the guest rooms. Hedges between the guest rooms are trimmed and sculpted. 

Datura Big Island Hawaii

After mowing the lawns it’s time to rake up the clippings.

Pro tip: use grass clippings to cover any sections of your lawn that are struggling.

Grass clippings are good for your lawn because they act like a natural fertilizer since they contain water and nutrients (like nitrogen) – all the good things to keep your lawn in a healthy state. Left on the lawn the clippings decompose and release water and nutrients back into the soil.

Pond Life

Pond Horizon Guest House B&B Hawaii HGH

Overgrown weeds cleared, and ferns cut back. The garden around the pond is weeded and the red anthuirums once again emerge, taking pride of place! 

Garden Hawaii Big Island Horizon HGH

Pineapples and lizards

Next, the pineapple grove. A good crop of pineapples has grown well in this part of the garden and with a harvest not to far away it was time to clear the dead branches from the papaya tree and get to pulling weeds.

Joining the gardening team was this little lizard. At first suspicious, it soon appeared to like hanging out with (and on) Clem! 

A visit to the upper pastures...

Sunny Horizon Guest House
Poncho and Sunny

Poncho & Lefty (the donkeys) and Sunny (the horse) were curious onlookers to all of this activity. A midday break for lunch and a visit with the gang was in order.

Next on the agenda, a change of pace – down the driveway to the warehouse.

Cleaning up around the warehouse

Rubbish run Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B

Everyone accumulates clutter and Horizon is no different. The warehouse, on the lower slopes of the property, was in need of a spring clean and then a run to the refuse station down the highway for a rubbish drop off.

Recycling was also sorted. Cans, bottles and cardboard were put aside for a separate trip to the recycling plant in Kona.

Rubbish cleared. Check. Progress made. Check. Staying hydrated in the heat? Check.

Mowing and more mowing...

Rideon mower Horizon Guest House Hawaii HGH

Staying on top of all the mowing that needs to be done on the property is almost a full-time job. However, it’s made significantly easier by the use of both a ride-on mower and a tractor with a mower attachment – to tackle the rocky pastures that need to be cleared.

Fun fact: Wild Pigs. Normally cute, especially the piglets, wild pigs can cause havoc on the property. Whether rooting about in the garden devastating crops of bananas or pineapples – or anything remotely edible – pigs are tough to keep out (finding ingenious ways to dig under the boundary fences to get in). By keeping the pastures clear of long grass it makes it easier to hunt the pigs and protect the Horizon crops from being plundered.

Tractor closeup Horizon Guest House Hawaii B&B
Clem about to mow on the lower pastures

Whether with guests or without, a day at Horizon wouldn’t be complete without another sunset. Tools down, gloves off, and dinner watching the sun disappear over the Pacific Ocean on the Kona Coast. A pretty good reward for a day’s work keeping Horizon Guest House in shape. Look out for details on our spring planting in the vegetable and herb gardens in the next lockdown dispatch.

Sunset Horizon Guest House Kona Hawaii HGH
How have you been spending the lockdown? In the garden? Spring cleaning the house? Keeping busy with arts and crafts? Baking? Let us know what you’ve been up to in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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