| Matt Facts: Matthew dislikes drinking cold drinks from coffee mugs. He also hates plastic forks. | | Did you Know? Toothpicks are overrated. | | Words of Inspiration: "You can tell a lot about a fellow by the way he eats Jelly Beans" – R.Regan | | Did you know? There are no Pez Facts. Pez is, in fact, not factual. | | Matt Facts: Matthew's fortune cookies always predict success. | | Words of Inspiration: When I'm sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead - Barney Stinson | | Did you know? "Buf­falo buf­falo Buf­falo buf­falo buf­falo buf­falo Buf­falo buf­falo” is a gram­mat­i­cally valid sentence. | | Matt Facts: Matthew is best served on the rocks with a slice of lemon. | | Words of Inspiration: "Life is futile." | | Did you Know? Dinosaurs and Dandelions is the name of a popular blog that has been around since the 15 April 2010 | | Matt Facts: Unlike some people, Matthew only celebrates his birthday once a year. | | Words of Inspiration: "I'll be back" - The Terminator. | | Did you Know? The two modern breeds of Cocker Spaniel, American and English, are thought to have been descended from only two dogs? | | Matt Facts: On the second to last full moon of the year, Matthew develops an itch on his right shoulder. | | Words of Inspiration: “You can do it!” - Rob Schneider, in every Adam Sandler movie ever | | Did you know? Lettuce is often eaten raw. | | Words of Inspiration: "Science is always at work and never sleeps – just like Rust" | | Did you Know? When you dream, every­thing you see in that dream, you’ve seen before in real life. | | Matt Facts: Matthew officially endorses the Cadbury's Moro bar as being delicious | | Did You Know? A tadpole is also called a 'pollywog'. | | Matt Facts: Matthew has his own Facebook fan page. Creepy. | | Did You Know? Cats sleep for 70% of their lives. | | Words of Inspiration: "End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it." - Gandalf. | | Did you Know? This is the end. The journey ends here. Then it starts all over again. |

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Music Box [Shorty Cat]

I have personally just finished counting the votes, and we have a clear winner for the Music Box theme for May poll that we've been running over on our facebook page. With an overwhelming three of the five public votes, the theme for May will be Puppies.

Now though, to finish up this months theme, here is With The Punk, from South Korean all-girl four-piece, Shorty Cat.


Monday, 29 April 2013

The Carrot in World War Two, a complete history.

Thanks to the World Carrot Museum, today we bring you the complete history of the Carrot in World War Two.  

World War Two was a key moment in the history of the Carrot  and helped restore its popularity from the black sheep of the pantry to the star of recipes such as carrot jam, curried carrots and, of course, that delicious drink, carrolade.

With Carrots being one of the few vegetables that could easily be grown in Britain, “Dr Carrot” became a key player in the Ministry of Food’s battle to keep the public well fed on limited rations.  

In 1941 the British Government killed two birds with one stone when it faced the dual problems of a) having too many damn carrots and b) needing a cover story for the increase in successfully shooting down night time bombers. The increased strike rate was due to super secret advances in radar technology that the British didn’t want the Germans to know about. Their answer was ingenious, they popularised an old wives tale that carrots helped you see in the dark, and that a diet of carrots was leading to their fighter pilots shooting down more bombers. The ruse was a success; consumption of carrots increased as the British public suffered through repeated blackouts, the RAF pilots benefited from a placebo effect and the Germans were thrown off the scent of the new technology.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Cooking with Matthew: Ice

Oh hello. Welcome back to Cooking with Matthew. With winter coming on fast, today we are looking at the perfect dish to warm that ice cold heart of yours, Ice. Strangely, we are not the only one that offers a variant of this dish but I assure you that once you try ours, you won't turn back.

Ice (Serves Four)
Top tip: This recipe requires an ice cube tray to prepare properly.

1. Fill your ice tray with water. If you don't have an ice tray, try filling your hands with water.
2. Place the tray/hands into the freezer.
3. Wait for a while. You'll know your ice cubes are ready because their consistency will change and they will harden.
4. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Music Box [Primus]

As promised, the Music Box is continuing its cat theme this week and not only is this song about cats, it is sung from the perspective of a cat. And if that's not enough cat relatedness for you, Les Claypool also plays bass like a mountain lion!

As with any good Primus song, this one makes all kinds of no sense. From their 1991 album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese, this is Tommy The Cat.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Fatty Fat Fat: The Ultimate Sandwich

Following on from the outrageous success of last weeks traditional American cuisine, here is another authentic home style recipe designed to give you a heart attack. Again, it's stolen straight from the interweb, so enjoy!

Friday, 19 April 2013

News in a Minute: 19 April 2013

Welcome to Friday 19 April 2013, the time is Seven, roughly.
Today is a very special unplanned edition of News in a Minute, because sometimes the news is so good, it deserves reporting on. 
Tonight's headline story; A US Senator was sent poison by a man he had previously hired as an Elvis Impersonator. I shit you not. Senator Roger Wicker (Republican – Mississippi) was sent a letter laced with ricin by Paul Kevin Curtis. Curtis also sent a letter to President Obama. Both letters were detected before they even reached Washington D.C. Senator Wicker described Curtis as “quite entertaining”.
In local news, our intrepid police force has caught a thief by following a trail of gummy bears. He had broken into a car but then unfortunately, for the thief, he managed to leave a trail of gummy bears to a nearby bus stop, where he fell asleep. 

The best headline of the week award goes to stuff.co.nz with "Giraffe joins in rescue mission". Yes, Auckland Zoo's own Nakuru has diverted her ship to look for a missing Russian Sailor. Nakuru was meant to be on her way to Melbourne Zoo.
In sports, New Zealand are down to three drivers in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship after Jonny Reid was replaced by his team. SKY TV finally have the rights to show tomorrows Tonga v Samoa rugby league test match, only signing a deal yesterday. And of course, New Zealand takes on Australia TONIGHT. Good luck boys.
Alright, that's us. Thank you for reading and remember:
Better Living everyone!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Lisa it's your birthday! Happy birthday Lisa!

It may or may not be Lisa Simpson's birthday today, but one thing is for sure - it IS Dinosaurs and Dandelions' birthday. That's right, your favourite blog is turning three years and three days today!!!

Our first post was on 15 April 2010 with The Ankylosaurus, a post about a dinosaur. How fitting then that today we are still waiting for the E post in that same series.

For those of you who missed it, the blog launched with a bang in 2010. Favourite topics back then were the A-Z of dinosaurs, Pez' Top 10, the Music Box and Cooking with Matthew.

From the highs of the early days we quickly moved onto the lows of "the wilderness years", as all records of activity between 2010 and 2012 have long since been destroyed. Happily, 2012 saw our return with a few little posts here and there.

Finally the great relaunch came in 2013, and with it came the return of all your favourite shows.* New favourites also came about, such as News in a Minute and Metal taking over the Box during March.

But enough about us, lets make this all about you and crack open the mailbag!

Dear Dandelions and Dinosaurs,
Since our last correspondence my favourite author, Pez, has still not launched any of his projects that are apparently on the go. I am beginning to believe Pez is merely a figment of my imagination. Tell me it's not so?


MJ Matthew
Massey, Auckland
Dear MJ,
Do not fear, for I also know of the Pez of which you speak. So that means, unless we happen to be the same person writing letters to each other, he must exist. Surely Dinosaurs and Dandelions would not allow such tomfoolery!

Write soon, Matthew.
Sirs of the Western News Dinosaurs and Dandelions,
I have been reading the articles about the fire departments suing the county, and what the heck are they thinking?
The taxpayer gets screwed for the bills all around, and if they don’t like the way it is run, then get the heck out and go sue somebody other than the taxpayer.
I have never in my life heard of anything as stupid as this.
Grow up and stop acting like children or you also act like the environmental groups who sue everybody in sight.

Peter Sampson
Dear Pat,
Mind your own damn business!

Love from Pez.
A Letter To The Editor

As a long-time reader I am mildly enraged and more so disappointed that my 4th favorite blog is not living up to its name.

I tune in to "Dinosaurs and Dandelions" , week in week out, hoping to get answers to my throbbing questions. Similar to how a 5 year old child longs for the answer as to why boys and girls have different looking front-bottoms.... No? Just me? Anyway...the point is, you continue to leave my questions unanswered.

These questions are proper and plentiful. Like, what on earth do Dinosaurs have to do with Dandelions? And, what Dinosaurs are you actually referring to... do you have their permission to reference them in your popular blog? And most importantly, what is a Dandelion? Is it just a term to describe Mufasa (from the Lion King) in a pleasant mood?

I demand you address these issues and questions in an upcoming blog. If you don't, I will have no other option than to continue reading your blogs with enjoyment! Where is the fun in that?!?!

I eagerly await your reply.

A. Bean
Banker, Part-time Chandelier Cleaner, Lover
Wow, A. Bean, we asked for letters, not novels!
Allow us to give you some free life advice. First of all do not, EVER, use the word "throbbing" and the phrase "5 year old children" in the same paragraph. Secondly, stop asking proper and plentiful questions, otherwise we will have to answer them.

Thanks! Matthew.
Dear Matthew,
Why do I always have to write you letters just so we have enough letters to reply to in the mail bag? I feel like maybe we should just not write letters to everyone else and see how THEY like it. How was your day anyway?

Your Friend
I too wish our loyal readers wrote to us more. They are obviously too busy being selfish jerks to write more often. Sigh. My day was good, thank you for asking. I like oranges.

Thanks Friend

What's on the Web

Before we leave you, here's some stuff that we aren't responsible for:
  • First of all, I'll just let this one speak for itself. Knobfeel: Reviews based purely on feel.
  • Last time we gave the New Zealander a wrap as a purveyor of fine satire. I hope you also found your way to The Civilian, which is equally reliable. The Civilian has already provoked an ACT press release and gets 15,000 hits a day so don't miss out, get in now before they're all gone!
  • Do you like beards? Then you may be a Beardest!  
Folks, sadly that is all the blog we have time for. But be sure to tune back in in another three years and three days time when we launch Elvin the Dinosaur, the kid friendly Plateosaur.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Music Box [Stray Cats]

Since Matthew's been good, I let him pick the music this week, and I was so inspired by his choice that for the rest of April[or until I forget] we're going cat crazy in The Music Box and only playing cat related tunes! Me-ow!

As for these Stray Cats, I've never heard of them before, so if you want to know more try Wikipedia or asking your Mom. Here they are with, Stray Cats Strut and yes, that is a young Brian Setzer!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Empires of the World: New Zealand

Hello and welcome back to Empires of the World - a grand tour of all of the major civilizations of the world.Today, we look at the mighty empire of New Zealand.

New Zealand's rightful Empire
At its Peak

The Empire of New Zealand got off to a shaky start. Following the Declaration of Independence in 1835, New Zealand only lasted as an independent country for five years before the Maori tribes signed the Treaty of Waitangi and became part of the British Empire. We were then governed from New South Wales for a year, leading to everyone in the country hating Australians.

The Empire began with the Premiership of Richard Seddon. While earlier Premiers such as Vogel, Grey and Stout had also promoted New Zealand as the centre of a great South Pacific empire, Seddon was a far more active and noisy imperialist who wanted Fiji and Polynesia to be ruled for Wellington. He famously told the American President William McKinley that Hawaii should be part of our Empire and was furious when Britain agreed to allow America to annex the islands in 1898. Worse still occured in 1899 when Britain commited the ‘great betrayal’ and allowed Samoa to be partitioned between Germany and the United States.

The great and glorious empire finally got kick-started in 1901 when New Zealand annexed Niue and the Cook Islands. Even more glory came in 1914 when New Zealand's lemon squeezers got deployed in anger. On the 29 August 1914 the Expeditionary Force's marching band arrived in Apia and claimed German Samoa for New Zealand, completing a "great and urgent Imperial service" for Britain. In 1926 Britain transferred their administration of Tokelau to New Zealand and the Empire building was complete.


Following World War II the United Nations stuck its sticky beak into New Zealand's affairs, leading to Western Samoa being granted independence in 1962. Niue and the Cook Islands are now in "free association" with New Zealand while Tokelau is one of only sixteen nations listed by the United Nations as a Non self-governing territory, meaning New Zealand is one of only four countries in the world to still have a colony.


Today the Realm of New Zealand includes Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands and 450,000 km2 of snow and ice in Antartica. With troops in Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands, a military dictatorship struggling to retain power in Fiji and the Western Island ripe for the picking, the future surely is bright for the Empire of New Zealand.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The totally awesome history of Canadian Club

Fun facts about Canadian Club:
  • Started in 1858 by an American who quickly moved his business across the border into Canada to avoid pesky laws.
  • The founder, Hiram Walker, built his own town, called Walkerville, for his employees to live.
  • Walker aimed for the premium market and his Whiskey became popular in gentlemen clubs, giving it its name.
  • During the 1920's, when alcohol was illegal in the United States, Al Capone was one of Canadian Clubs biggest clients.
  • Canadian Club is the only North American distillery to have a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Canadian Club is now owned by Beam Inc.
  • This article was inspired by Boardwalk Empire, where CC is featured in the opening credits.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Dandelions for Dinner?

The Dandelion side of our business often complains that it is neglected in favour of the “sexier” Dinosaurs. However that is not the case today, no sir! Today we are highlighting the work of our third favourite LA-based chef, Noelle Carter.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times the other week, Carter recommends using this spring delicacy with flavours such as bacon, sweet fruits and garlic. She had me at bacon.
Noelle recommends you avoid using Dandelions straight from your garden however, as who knows what goes on on your lawn.

Finally, she leaves us with 14 recipes that use dandelion greens – and they all look delicious!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Fatty Fat Fat: American Cuisine

Following on from the success of other cooking based articles on this here blog, we thought that today we'd introduce you to some traditional American cuisine. Following in the best American traditions, this recipe is dreadfully bad for you and the entire article is shamelessly pinched from someone else. Finally, if the below all looks like too much work, just head to this site and order one pre-made. With that now out of the way, let's begin.


Here’s what you’ll need…

2 pounds thick cut bacon
2 pounds Italian sausage [French just doesn't taste the same]
1 jar of your favourite barbeque sauce [or your second favourite]
1 jar of your favourite barbeque rub
 To kick off the construction of this pork medley you’ll need to create a 5×5 bacon weave. If the strips you’re using aren’t as wide as the ones pictured, then you may need to use a few extra slices to fill out the pattern. Just make sure your bacon weave is tight and that you end up with a nice square shape to work with.
The next step is to add some barbecue rub on top of your bacon weave.
Now that your pork is well seasoned, it’s time to add more pork.  Take two pounds of Italian sausage and layer it directly on top of your bacon weave. Be sure to press the sausage to the outer edges of the bacon creating a patty that is the same thickness all the way across. I chose to go with a mild sausage, but spicy would work just the same. If you really want to get CRAZY, take a stab at making your own homemade sausage.
Next up is bacon layer number two. Take the remaining bacon slices and fry them up the same way you would for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or a midnight snack).  If you like soft bacon, make it soft. If you like crunchy bacon, make it crunchy. If you like your bacon burnt to hell so the smoke detectors go off, then burn it to hell so the smoke detectors go off. These pieces are going to be a major part of the inner flavor of our sausage fatty, so cook them your favorite way. Personally, I like my bacon right at the point when it starts to get crispy, but hasn’t quite lost all of the softness yet.  Regardless of how well done you like yours, you’ll need to crumble or chop the cooked strips into bite size pieces and place on top of the sausage layer. (Note-It’s okay, and encouraged, to snack on these pieces while your chopping. But keep in mind that once those bacon morsels touch the raw sausage, you’ll need to resist all temptations to nibble. This can and will be difficult, but hospital trips are no fun, so stay strong.)
Since this is a barbeque recipe, we need to add another layer of barbeque flavor.  Take your favorite sauce and drizzle it all over the top of the bacon pieces. Once you’ve sauced the bacon, sprinkle on some more of the barbeque seasoning you used on the bacon weave.
Now comes the fun/hard part. Very carefully separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave and begin rolling backwards. You want to include all layers EXCEPT the bacon weave in your roll. Try and keep the sausage as tight as possible and be sure to release any air pockets that may have formed. Once the sausage is fully rolled up, pinch together the seams and ends to seal all of the bacon goodness inside.
At this point we can start to see the final shape of our Bacon Explosion, but we’re missing one key item.  To complete the construction process, roll the sausage forward completely wrapping it in the bacon weave.  Make sure it sits with the seam facing downward to help keep it all sealed up.
Look at that masterpiece! Sprinkle some barbeque seasoning on the outside of the bacon weave, and now this bad boy is ready for the smoker.  Cook your Bacon Explosion at 225 degrees in a constant cloud of hickory smoke until your BBQ gives an internal temperature reading of 165 degrees.  Normally this will take about 1 hour for each inch of thickness, but that could vary depending on how well you maintain your fire and also how many times you open the smoker to take a peek.  Mine took about 2.5 hours, which was right on target with its 2.5 inch diameter.

Almost there!
Now that our Bacon Explosion is fully cooked, we need to add some finishing flavors.  Remember that barbecue sauce we used for inner flavor? We’ll be using that same sauce to glaze the cooked bacon weave. Using a basting brush, coat the entire surface with a thin layer of sauce.  Sweet sauces are loaded with sugars, so they’ll give your fatty a nice glossy finish. Spicy and vinegar based sauces don’t contain as much, so they won’t set up as well.  If you’re dead set on using those sauces, just cut them with a bit of honey and you’ll get the same effect.
Slice the Bacon Explosion into quarter to half inch rounds to serve.  If your roll was good and tight, you should now see a nice bacon pinwheel pattern throughout the sausage.  Obviously pork is best served by itself, but if you feel the need to make this meat monster into a sandwich, try placing a couple Bacon Explosion slices on a warm Pillsbury’s Grands Biscuit.  You’ll reach pork Nirvana in no time flat!

And now your only problem is, what to have for dessert?

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Music Box [Depeche Mode]

Speaking of Depeche Mode, this is Heaven, the first single off their recently released thirteenth studio album.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Matthew tries to talk Basketball

Following the exciting news that Steven Adams has declared for the NBA draft, making Valerie the second most famous person in her family, I'm going to have a quick look at the best Tall Blacks line up of all time. I only really have a passing interest in Basketball so this will be heavily biased to the famous 2002 crop of Kiwis, enjoy!

Coach: Tab Baldwin

Lets start with the top. Coach Tab Baldwin was born in America and moved here to coach several of our domestic teams. In 2001 he was appointed coach of the Tall Blacks and really began making a name for himself. The team defeated Australia that year to qualify for the 2002 World Championships where they went on to defeat such names as Russia, China and Germany to finish fourth - two places higher than the United States. He later moved to the Middle East where he coached in the Turkish league and also the Lebanese and Jordan national teams before returning home, to New Zealand.

Centre: Steven Adams

Sure he's only 19 but last year he was being talked about as a top-10 NBA draft pick. Since then his stock may have fallen and he will likely end up around 19th, but 19th in the NBA is still good enough any day to walk onto my New Zealand starting five. Oh, and he is also 7 foot.

Power Forward: Sean Marks

The most NBA experienced Kiwi ever, Sean Marks played for six NBA clubs over fourteen seasons before retiring in 2011. A Mr fix-it man, he played in 230 games but only started eleven. He was part of the 2004-05 champion San Antonio Spurs, whose singlets look a little like the Tall Blacks. Coincidence? Probably.

Small Forward: Kirk Penney

A product of Westlake Boys' High School, Penney also spent some time in the NBA, for Miami and the Clippers. More recently he spent four seasons with the New Zealand Breakers but now ply's his trade in the Turkish league.

Shooting Guard: Thomas Abercrombie

Like the other three, Abercrombie attended college in America. He returned home in 2008 to join the Breakers, where he has remained since. Abercrombie is easily one of the best three players in the Australiasian league but, while there have been whispers now and then of scouts and trials, it doesn't appear as if he will ever make the pros in America.

Point Guard: Phill Jones

The highest New Zealand point scorer in the Australasian league, Jones was deadly with his three point shoot and was one of the stars of the Tall Blacks run in 2002. An original Breaker, Jones went on to have success with the Cairns Taipans.


Pero Cameron (Centre/Forward): More the size of a rugby union prop forward, Cameron didn't let that stop him and was the captain of the 2002 side.
Paul Henare (Guard): An original Breaker, Henare was the first player to have his number retired by the club when he retired in 2011.
Dillon Boucher (Foward): Proving that being hard working is more important than being talented, Boucher's will likely be the next number retired when he hangs it up at the end of this season.
Mika Vukona (Forward): The current captain of the Tall Blacks,Vukona played his 200th game for the Breakers this year.
Angela Marino (Guard): A former Tall Fern, Marino is mainly in the team because it allows me to leave you with these;

Monday, 1 April 2013

Cooking with Matthew: Lasagna limbotitty

Welcome back to another delicious Cooking with Matthew. Today's quick and easy recipe is another favourite based on my great uncle's dormouse recipie. Of course in today's PC world we are no longer allowed to eat dormice, so they have been substituted. This is a family friendly meal based on fusion cuisine. My estimated cooking time is about 15 minutes, followed by 5 minutes preparation time. Anyway, enough from me, lets get into it!

Lasagna Imbottiti (serves four)

These artichokes may be served hot or cold. Because they are a bit messy to eat, they should be served as a separate course. They are a good picnic food and also make a nice antipasto.
6 lg. sized globe artichokes
1 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 sm. onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
2 anchovy fillets, minced (optional)
2 tbsp. minced, flat Italian parsley
1/4 c. freshly grated Romano cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. olive oil
Cream Cheese Frosting
65g unsalted butter, softened
240g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
100g cream cheese

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Place them in a pan of cold, salted water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 mins until tender, then drain in a colander. While they are draining, place the pan back on a low heat with the cream and vanilla pod and heat to infuse. Remove vanilla pod and take pan off the heat. Push the potatoes through a ricer back into the pan. Add the butter and seasoning, then beat to form a smooth mash. Set aside. 

Cut off artichoke stems, making a flat bottom. Trim points of leaves with kitchen shears. Remove choke, if desired, by gently separating the leaves with your fingers and scraping out the spiny center leaves with a spoon. (A grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge works best.) 

Combine bread crumbs, garlic, onion, anchovies, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper with 1/3 cup oil. Mix well and stuff between the loosened leaves and in the center of the artichokes. Place artichokes upright in a large saucepan. Pack them together so they won't tip over. Sprinkle them with the remaining oil. Add one half inch water to the pan. Cover tightly and simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes, or until tender.

Pour off all but 1 tsp fat from the duck pan, place pan back on the heat and cook the bacon for 3 minutes until crisp. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more. Splash in the Port, add the peas and stock, then simmer for 2 minutes more. Pour any juices from the rested duck into the pan and season to taste. To serve, follow our step-by-step guide to plating up.