Author: Bunny Eats Design

Satay Chicken Burgers

My husband and I, and our rabbits moved from Auckland to Whanganui into our first home a few days before lockdown. Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand looks quite different than isolation in other countries. For starters, all hospitality was shut down. Yes, that includes restaurants, fast food, bars and cafes. All of them. Even drive-through and delivery. All classed as non-esssential. Level 3 lockdown included takeout and delivery. Level 2 included dining out but with many restrictions in place. Obviously, I haven’t had much of chance to explore where to eat in our new city during lockdown, but so far I’ve been missing Auckland’s large selection of very excellent fried chicken. My favourite fried chicken in Auckland is at Lowbrow and when fried chicken guru, chef Kyle Street recently shared his fried chicken tips on Instagram, I was intrigued. I’ve combined his tips with an “11 herbs & spices” recipe and the result is bangin’. I’ve combined this into a burger with a local wonder sauce. Sone’s Satay Sauce is a dreamy mix of …

Venison, mushroom and red wine pies

“I love cooking with wine. Sometimes, I even put it in the food.” There’s a chill in the air. The days are getting shorter. Winter is coming. Comfort food is calling. This venison pie is great with some green vegetables or mash. Extra gravy too if that is your thing. Venison, mushroom and red wine pies Makes 4 pies INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons cooking oil 500 grams venison mince 1 onion, diced A knob of butter 100 grams thinly sliced button mushrooms 2 tablespoons plain flour 1 cup red wine 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 cup beef stock 1/2 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper Cooking spray (or butter) 4 sheets frozen puff pastry 1 egg yolk, beaten FILLING Place a sauté or non-stick frying pan on medium high heat. Add cooking oil. Once hot, add venison mince and onion, breaking up the venison with a wooden spoon and stirring as you go. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until venison is browned. Add a knob* of butter, mushrooms and flour and cook for 2 minutes …

Rainbow Bowl: Sweet soy ginger braised pork belly

I‘m not a salad kind of girl but I love a good rainbow bowl. Sweet soy ginger braised pork belly on rice with a perfectly gooey free range egg, sauerkraut, cucumber, carrot, capsicum, spring onion and a dollop of my favourite mayo. Garlic furikake and wild Korengo seaweed for texture and flavour. I could eat this breakfast, lunch or dinner. This pork belly braise uses black vinegar. Also known as Chinkiang Vinegar, this can be found at Asian grocers. Delicious for dipping steamed or fried dumplings into. You can use balsamic vinegar as a substitute. Sweet soy ginger braised pork belly Makes 4 portions INGREDIENTS 500 grams ( 1 lb) pork belly, cut into large cubes 2 tablespoons brown sugar 3 slices ginger 3 cloves garlic, smashed 2 star anise 2 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes 2 tablespoons black vinegar 2 tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce 2 cups hot water PREPARATION Heat a non-stick frying pan and add pork belly. Fry on medium heat for 5 …

Hong Kong Macaroni Soup

Today I’m sharing a humble dish that is perfect for when it is starting to get cold. HK macaroni soup. A popular breakfast dish in Hong Kong. It’s not glamorous so it doesn’t get international recognition. It won’t have traveled far and wide to any restaurant or dinner party. It’s just not that kind of a dish. This breakfast soup is found at every no-frills diner/cafe in Hong Kong. Featuring a sunny side up egg, with ham or SPAM. It is so popular it is even served in Hong Kong McDonalds. Not as a limited edition menu item, but as part of their regular breakfast menu. Yes, you can get a combo with macaroni soup, coffee and a hash brown. Macca’s version features their sausage patty. I have fond memories eating this at McDonald’s in Hong Kong in the wintertime and it’s super easy to recreate at home. HK MACARONI SOUP Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 1L chicken stock 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon rice vinegar A pinch of white pepper A …

Pork and prawn wontons

The wonton. The less glamorous sister to the dumpling. Wontons are my ultimate comfort food but I’ve served these a little different to how we ate them growing up. This recipe makes 50 wontons and freeze well. So enjoy some now and freeze the rest for later. Wonton wrappers often come in packs of 100 so just double the recipe, or freeze half the wrappers. If you want to make the full 100 wontons, you might want to employ an extra pair of hands or put on your favourite podcast and settle in. Pork and prawn wontons Makes 50 INGREDIENTS 500g (1 lb) pork mince 250g (1/2 lb) shelled prawns, chopped 1 cup finely chopped cabbage 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder 50 wonton wrappers PREPARATION Place the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Take 1 wonton wrapper and place a heaped teaspoon of filling …

2020 Manifesto

2020 manifesto. Instead of having a New Year’s resolution, the past 8 years, I’ve been living by these lists of MORE and LESS. 2019 was an adventure. Being a freelancer has allowed me flexibility which I am truly grateful for. We spent a month in the Philippines where we learned to SCUBA with friends. We swam, snorkelled and dived with sea turtles. We island hopped and visited countless beaches and waterfalls. There, we celebrated 10 years of marriage. View this post on Instagram Happy 10 year anniversary to us! Celebrating today with a little scooter road trip in Bohol. Best adventure partner @budafist 😍 #bohol #philippines #anniversary #10yearanniversary A post shared by G E N I E (@bunnyeatsdesign) on Apr 17, 2019 at 5:04pm PDT View this post on Instagram After a couple of errands in Dumaguete, we headed up to Valencia to visit Casaroro Falls. My word. The most stunning waterfall I've seen. A narrow 30 metre drop to deliciously cool swimming spot, completely surrounded by lush forest. A long steep staircase and a …

Super Sensational Spicy Chicken

    A dish by many names: Big Plate Chicken, Sensational Spicy Chicken, XinJiang Style Chicken, or Hot and Spicy Chicken. I first met this fiery chicken, potato and capsicum stew at Shaolin Kung Fu Noodle on Dominion Road. At Shaolin, this dish comes in two sizes, large $48 or small $38. Served with their famous hand pulled noodles which are toothsome and filling, a large will feed an army and a small will push two adults into a food coma. Since I first ate this dish, it has been popping up all over the Dom Road as this style of cuisine becomes more common. While I love the flavours in this dish, I have a some issues with it. I’ve made a few tweaks to make this a bit more eater-friendly. The authentic dish has a one or two giant noodles served on the side or placed on top. This is fine if you are a giant who loves a metre-long noodle. Giant noodles look cool (and symbolise long life) but are a bitch …

Top 5 for Restaurant Month – $25 edition

Love to dine out? Bank balance says “No”? I *could* spend an embarrassing amount of money dining out. But for the last wee while I’ve been to sticking to a self-imposed budget. $50 a pop. It’s not a super tight budget and I still dine out regularly, I just politely decline the $50+ invitations. With American Express Restaurant Month coming up in a couple of weeks, I was little nervous about what my bank account would look like…but never fear! The $25 menu is here. I’ve had a good squiz at the $25 menus and I’m pretty excited. This is my shortlist for the month, all $25 a pop, most with options and some even come with a glass of wine. I’m going to need some dining companions so hit me up and let’s make a date. Genie’s Top 5 for American Express Restaurant Month THE $25 EDITION (in no particular order) 1. BEAST & BUTTERFLIES – Quay Street $25 for 2 course lunch with options. ENTRÉE OPTIONS: Market fish ceviche: Pickled ginger gel, coconut, …

Arroz Caldo for two.

It’s been a month since we got back from the Philippines and winter has landed heavily on New Zealand. I’ve pulled out my old winter coat and I’m wrapped in my biggest scarf. I’m contemplating new slippers. Is two pairs of slippers really enough? All I want is comfort food. I love comfort food. If I could figure out how to make a living devouring the world’s comfort foods, I would be in heaven. One comfort food that I grew up with is congee. Rice porridge. Placed somewhere between soup and risotto, it’s a bowl of steaming goodness. My Cantonese parents made congee when we were sick or just needed comfort. Congee was brought to the Philippines by Chinese migrants, where the locals tweaked it and gave it a Spanish name: Arroz Caldo. ARROZ is “rice”, CALDO is “hot” and this tricked up relative to congee was on my list of dishes to try. Many parts of the Philippines serve a yellow-hued Arroz Caldo (coloured with safflower) however, we visited the Visayas where they serve …

Beer battered oyster sliders

This post was made possible thanks to the good folks at Stella Artois.  Dear friends, we are living in the future. Right now, I can prod at my phone and summon a dozen cold Stella Artois and a dozen freshly shucked oysters to be delivered to my doorstep. The future is awesome. Beer and oysters are a stunning couple. These oysters come from Te Kouma Bay in the Coromandel and are shucked the morning of delivery. Available in Auckland, only on Fridays until the end of June. Find out how to summon your own tasty dozen by visiting the LK website here. Would also make a great birthday gift or a classy work shout. Inspired by this lovely beer and oyster pairing, I made these epic beer battered oyster sliders with special sauce. I’ve used brioche slider buns here because they are very soft and a little sweet, contrasting beautifully with the crispy battered oyster. The special sauce is a must for any burger lover. I love this sauce and the human guinea pigs that …

One thing I would absolutely eat again and one thing I would not.

I just spent three and a half weeks in the Philippines. I ate balut on the first day. It was completely unplanned. I promise. Yeah, OK, it was on my list of things to eat. Way, waaay down, at the bottom. Past lechon (pig on a spit), adobo (chicken or pork vinegar soy stew), sisig (sizzling chopped pigs head and chicken liver), arroz caldo (chicken rice soup), kare kare (peanut sauce stew). Even past dinuguan (that’s pork blood stew if you were wondering). Like, if we seriously ran of things to do, I *might* eat a duck fetus for shits and giggles. But that is not what happened.  We arrived in Mactan on a Friday morning and met up with our dear old friend Adam. We started on the local beers fairly early in the day and later enjoyed a jolly dinner with his Mactan crew. There was local BBQ (marinated meat on sticks) tacos and of course, local beer. The subject of balut was brought up I mentioned I was interested in trying it…at …

Coriander Chimichurri

I am obsessed with polarising flavours and ingredients. “What is your favourite food?” is such a common question but I think, “What is your least favourite food?” is far more interesting. My own list of hated foods have evolved over the years and I imagine yours is ever evolving too. If we were meeting for the first time – making conversation – I might ask you, “What food do you hate?” and you might answer, “Coriander” (or cilantro). Known as coriander in most parts of the world but known as cilantro in Spanish (and in the US). Fresh and leafy, the entire plant: leaves, stem, root and seed are used in cooking. The root and seed taste notably different and should not be substituted in place of the green parts. Probably the most polarising herb in the world, those who dislike it call it foul, soapy or grassy. Those who love it describe it as fresh or citrus-y. I don’t taste citrus but it goes beautifully with lemon and lime IMO. Buy coriander in a …

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

It’s been a minute since The Koala and I visited Vietnam. We visited in January 2011, completely unprepared for the winter. We got off the plane in the early, early hours of the morning, were accosted by motorcycle drivers, dropped our bags off at our hotel and went in search for our first meal on foot. We happened upon a little noodle shop that was packed first thing in the morning. We figured that any place that was packed with locals for breakfast would be a good bet. Once we were seated, we realised the shop only sold eel. Options included fried eel, eel soup, eel noodles or eel porridge. Every item on the menu was under $2NZ. And that’s how we ended up eating eel for our first meal in Vietnam. We couldn’t speak a lick of Vietnamese but we got through our trip by pointing and our drawing skills helped us out more than once. Still, we made some incredible food memories and I still think fondly upon the Vietnamese way of cooking and eating. …

2019 Manifesto (and 2018 in review)

Happy New Year. It’s been a while since my last entry. 2018 was a good year. Last year’s motives were: More: Improvisation, uni-tasking, shared meals, vegetables, steps Less: Comparison, waste, hoarding, screen time, carelessness I have been really conscious about improvisation, hoarding, waste and carelessness this year. Taking time off social media when I feel myself comparing to others, taking up new hobbies to remove myself from my computer. I took my steps seriously, wearing my Fitbit 24/7. My goal was an ambitious 70,000 steps every week and I hit this 33 out of 52 weeks. This year I finally I got my restricted license. At age 35. Yep. I’m a late bloomer. This new-found freedom meant that I drove more and walked less. We bought a Mazda Axela a few months ago and it’s super fun to drive. I’ve now been freelancing for over 2 years and I love being my own boss. My main income is through graphic design though this year my photography/styling work has surpassed my blogging. I had over 80 …

10 dishes I’m dying to try…

…at Taste of Auckland presented by Electrolux (PLUS A GIVEAWAY) Taste of Auckland  presented by Electrolux turns 10 this year and I have a double pass to give away. For entry details, scroll to the bottom of this post. So Taste. I am a long time fan girl. I’ve been to every Taste since they started way, way back pre-blog. Haven’t missed one yet. It’s my favourite food festival and the last few years, I’ve been going to multiple sessions so I can sample even more of the restaurant menu offerings. There will be cooking demonstrations, countless artisan and food stalls, bars and villages, live entertainment (including Holly Smith – Duo, Laughton Kora, Sola Rosa Sound System). If you’re interested, check out some of my previous festival review posts here, here and here. I adore Taste. It’s a casual, build your own walking feast. You mosey about and eat all the dishes that you like the sound of. Heaven. Bring a friend or two and double or triple your quota. Held over 6 sessions, this year Taste …

“Shrimp grits” Congee

My family is Cantonese so I grew up with congee as a go-to comfort food. Congee or “JOOK” (rhymes with book) in Cantonese is long grain rice cooked in plenty of water until it resembles a thick porridge. Also known as rice porridge, it can be served plain or stirred through or loaded with various toppings. Being notoriously squishy and easy to digest, it’s also a common baby food, or food for the sick or elderly. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 100% comfort. I’m more than a little obsessed with American soul food. I don’t know why, but shrimp and grits is a fascination of mine even though I’ve never visited the US. Having eaten shrimp and grits in Wellington recently, I’ve had it in my mind to recreate something similar at home. Shrimp and grits was traditionally a breakfast dish but now eaten at other meal times as well. I present to you: the lovechild of congee and shrimp grits! “Shrimp grits” congee Serves 1 Ingredients 1/2 cup long grain rice, rinsed 4 …

Prawn sushi bowls

I eat in season because I cannot bring myself to pay $9 for an avocado. Avocados are back in season, baby. It’s time to GORGE. This recipe features my current favourite way to eat avocado: Cut in half, flesh scooped out. Topped with a dollop of mayo, a rosette of pickled ginger and a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds. Sushi bowls are great when you don’t want the effort of making sushi. There’s a bit of chopping and slicing involved but that fits in perfectly into the time it takes for your rice to cook. I’m no nutrition expert but eating the rainbow sure is pretty. Makes a great lunch or lighter dinner. Measurements below are rough. Tweak to your own taste, appetite and preferences. I’ve made a quick sushi vinegar rice but you can totally use plain rice, brown rice or black rice. Prawn sushi bowls Makes 2 bowls Ingredients 1 cup raw peeled prawns 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups cooked sushi rice 4 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 perfectly …

Where I really want to go for American Express Restaurant Month

Restaurant Month is just around the corner. August is going to be an eating extravaganza. There are over 150 participating restaurants are offering special menus.  There are three price brackets and you can browse by budget: $25, $40 and $55+. There have been a bunch of new openings since last year so it’s a great time to head to the central city restaurants you have been meaning to visit. Last August I enjoyed 9 menus. Cassia, Clooney, Culprit, Soul, O’Connell Street Bistro, Gusto, Odettes, Giraffe, and Le Chef which set me back just over $400. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if dining out 9 times in a month for $400 is a good deal or not. I know I have no regrets. We’re celebrating Matariki right now (Māori New Year) and I enjoyed two Matariki events last week. With that in mind, the menu I am most excited about for next month is the “Taste of New Zealand” menu at The Cut on Federal. It’s a hotel restaurant offering Māori potato gnocchi, …

Smokey hummus and roast veggie trumpets (and a giveaway)

This post was made possible thanks to the folks at Lisa’s and Farrah’s , who know a thing or two about quick and easy meals. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the giveaway. I love hummus. My absolute favourite way to consume chickpeas. Who’s with me? I love hummus slathered, spread, dipped or dolloped. I have absolutely eaten hummus with a spoon. Lisa’s is a beloved name in dips and their latest creation is the new Lisa’s Smokey Hummus. Delicately pair Lisa’s Smokey Hummus with the savoury and sweet flavours of roasted vegetables, honey and miso. I’m so pleased with how these turned out. I tested this recipe out on two hungry men who devoured them with glee. Super easy to assemble, hearty and full of flavour, this recipe is sure to be put on rotation at your house. I’ve used Farrah’s wraps which are generously portioned. My recipe uses one wrap, cut in half and cone folded to form two cute trumpets. You will need a microwave for this recipe meaning …

An ode to pie

In my thirty-something years of living in NZ, I have eaten a lot of pies. More than a hundred, less than a thousand. I love pie. In New Zealand, the word pie usually refers to a meat pie, not the fruit pie you might find in the US. My pie of choice is the mince and cheese pie. With golden pastry, beef mince, gravy and a oozy layer of melted cheese, it’s a classic. Found in every school tuck shop, dairy, lunch bar, bakery and cafe across the country, this humble meal is portable, cheap and filling. A fond pie memory: my 9th birthday party at the newly opened Rotorua Georgie Pie. Georgie Pie was a pie franchise that was KILLIN’ IT in the early ‘90s. Their $1 mince and cheese pie, a hand-held square in a paper sleeve. I thought it was the best thing ever. When we moved to Auckland the following year, we quickly located our closest Georgie Pie on Glenfield Road and made it our local. Loyal. Like any ubiquitous food, the …