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Recipe: Christmas Puddings

Since Christmas is on the way you should start preparing your Christmas puddings for the following year.  Puddings always taste better if they have had at least a year to mature.  Here is the recipe that I use to make my Christmas puddings.  You will need at least a 1.7 litre pudding basin.

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams of currants
  • 150 grams of sultanas
  • 150 grams of chopped prunes
  • 150 grams of cranberries
  • 200 millilitres of pedro ximenez sherry
  • 100 grams of plain flour
  • 125 grams of breadcrumbs
  • 150 grams of suet (make sure this is real suet not vegetable, talk to your butcher)
  • 150 grams of dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 size 7 eggs
  • 1 large granny smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons of manuka honey

Method:

  1. Put the currants, sultanas, prunes and cranberries into a bowl with the with sherry and steep for 1 week.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the steeped fruit to the ingredients including all the liquor.
  4. Grease the 1.7 litre pudding basin.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the pudding basin press it down and put the lid on.
  6. Place the pudding basin into a slow cooker with around 1-2 inches of water in the bottom and set to low.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook for around 4-5 hours.
  7. Carefully remove the pudding basin from the slow cooker and leave to rest and cool.
  8. Once the pudding has cooled, remove from the basin and wrap in baking paper and store in your pantry for around 1 year.
  9. Around 1-2 months prior to Christmas take the pudding out of the baking paper, place in a greased pudding basin and drizzle one teaspoon of sherry over the pudding every 2-3 days.
  10. On Christmas day steam the pudding in a pot with the lid on for 3 hours prior to serving.
  11. Serve with vanilla ice cream and/or custard.
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Recipe: Spicy BBQ Chicken Nibbles

Since BBQ season is approaching, I have a recipe for a marinade that I like to use for BBQ chicken nibbles/drums that I thought I would share.

Ingredients:
  • 1 kg of chicken drums or nibbles.
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup Kecap Manis (or to substitute 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part brown sugar simmered at a low heat until it obtains a syrup consistency then left to cool.)
  • 2 tablespoons of tumeric powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder.
Method:
  1. Mix in a bowl the soy sauce, kecap manis, tumeric and chilli powder.
  2. Mix the chicken drums/nibbles into the marinade.
  3. Leave in the fridge for at least two hours, however, overnight is best.
  4. Ensure to that you stir it a couple of times to ensure the chicken marinades evenly.
  5. Cook over a charcoal BBQ with the lid down.
  6. Enjoy!

 

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International Fraud Awareness Week: Inheritance Scams

International fraud awareness week is observed 11-17 November 2018.  Only the week prior I saw first hand a person who has fallen victim to an elaborate international scheme set up by dishonest individuals.  An elderly man popped into our office asking for advice on investing a large inheritance he was going to receive.

The AML/CFT rules now apply to accountants. So I asked him for some further details regarding the inheritance as well as some personal identification.  Apparently, the inheritance was coming from somebody the victim has never known but “shared the same last name.”  The inheritance (which was in the millions) was brought to his attention by a letter received unexpectedly in the post from overseas.  On top of that, the funds were frozen and required a court order to unfreeze them to make them available for distribution to him as the beneficiary of the estate.  In order to do this he was required to pay money by wire transfer to the lawyer who had contacted him to cover the legal costs to do this.  Unfortunately, the man happily obliged and parted with a significant sum of money.  This was done without seeking any advice from any professional in New Zealand such as a lawyer, accountant or financial planner.

I advised him that he had probably been a victim of a inheritance scam. Unfortunately, I am under the impression he didn’t believe me.  He didn’t come back with the details I needed so that I could act for him.  When he left the office he said was going to contact the “lawyers” to see if he could provide that information.  I did, however, offer some parting advice. This was to not pay any further money if requested unless he consulted a professional.

So after seeing this first hand I thought I would point out some warning signs of an inheritance scam.  Remember to stay safe out there!

Warning signs:

  • You are contacted out of the blue by a scammer posing as a lawyer or banker and offering you a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy individual.
  • There may be requests to pose as next of kin to an unclaimed inheritance.
  • The offer comes on official looking letterhead, however, contains spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • The size of the inheritance is large.
  • You are provided with fake bank statements, birth certificates and other documents if you question the legitimacy.
  • You are asked to provide your bank account details, copies of identity documents as verification.
  • You are asked to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money.
  • The fees may initially be for small amounts, however, you are then asked for further larger payments.
  • The scammer offers to meet you in person to verify the proposal, but this rarely eventuates.
How to protect yourself:
  • Never send money or give credit card, account details, copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up front payment by money order, wire transfer, pre-loaded card or bitcoin. It is very difficult to recover money this way.
  • Seek advise immediately from an independent professional such as a lawyer, accountant or financial planner if in doubt.
  • Do an internet search using the names, contact details or exact wording of the letter/email to check for any references to a scam.
  • If you think it’s a scam, don’t respond.
  • Remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
What to do if you have been scammed:
  • Contact your bank immediately and see whether they can cancel or reverse the transaction.
  • Report it to the police.
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Yoast SEO Plugin – Provides interesting content analysis

I recently installed the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. The plugin has provided me with an interesting analysis on how I write content.  I have noticed that I use the passive voice far too much in my posts. Also my sentences and paragraphs are too long, and I use far too many consecutive sentences.  It would also help me if I use more transition words.  Wow! I knew that my English was not great but from the analysis it sounds that my writing is terrible!

This sounds like an opportunity to look at how to write better.  But, as far as this post is concerned it says I don’t have too much to be worried about!

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The First Post!

Welcome to my blog.  I am writing this sitting in my office waiting for a manual backup to complete so I can complete a practice management software upgrade.  In the past I wanted to get into blogging to teach myself how to set up and use WordPress as a content management system.  Also it is an opportunity to provide comment on the things that interest me.

I’ve had plans to set up a personal blog for some time. However, over the last 3-4 years time constraints due to work and my family life have been prevented from doing this.

I wanted to register knobby.co.nz or knobby.nz as a domain name.  However, an Australian underwear club managed to register all those domains in tharlt time as part of their “intellectual property.”  Therefore I have settled for a Belorussian domain name.

You are probably wondering why I want a domain name with knobby in it.  Firstly, it was the nickname I was called at school and through the sports I played. Secondly, my wife hates the nickname for some reason and has never called me by it :).

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Offshore Bank Account and Credit or Debit Card

New Zealand tax residents are generally taxed on their world-wide income you derive. This includes foreign income even if it is simply funding an offshore credit card or is deposited in an offshore bank account. The types of funds that are deposited into these bank accounts vary and include income paid by a non-resident employer, overseas life insurance policies, superannuation schemes, or equity investments held in portfolio accounts. The fact that foreign withholding tax may have been deducted on foreign income does not mean that this income is no longer taxable in New Zealand.

The income is calculated under the New Zealand rules and must be returned as offshore income. In most circumstances, this calculation is conducted on a cash basis. However, if it exceeds certain thresholds as set out in the Income Tax Act 2007, the income might have to be accounted for under financial arrangement rules on an accrual basis.

If interest is being paid to an offshore lender withholding tax might be payable in New Zealand. This does not apply if the offshore lender has a branch in New Zealand.

Be aware that IRD are looking at undeclared offshore income.

As these are complex areas, you may wish to seek professional advice if you have offshore bank accounts.