All posts filed under: Culinary Adventures

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Cocktails and dumplings

This week I tried First Table, a booking website which gives users an early-bird special. Each booking gives the first table of diners (groups of two to four) a generous 50% off their food bill. Food includes dessert and there is no maximum spend. That’s right, no maximum spend. Whether you order $50 or $500 worth of food, you pay half price. While drinks are not included in the special, it’s good to note that your visit may happen to coincide with happy hour at some establishments. First Table currently have about 40 Auckland restaurants to choose from (including The Commons, Pilkingtons, Everybody’s) and covers 16 other regions in New Zealand. The website is easy to use and bookings cost $10 each and can be made up to 6 days prior. Spaces are very limited as there is only 1 first table per day, per restaurant. If you are flexible with dining times or like to eat early and love a great deal, then First Table is perfect for you. After browsing their list of Auckland restaurants, …

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Our Growing Edge – February 2017 – Aphrodisiacs!

I hope you had a great start to the year and have kept up with any food related resolutions. February edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Amanda from My Everyday Homemade and the theme is APHRODISIACS…just in time for Valentines day. Amanda lives on 8 acres of land in Indiana, US. Her recipes are feed many mouths – as they should be when cooking for 6 people regularly! Check out her charmed life on her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/homemade_mama/ If you are embarking on any new food adventures this month, make sure to  share it with Our Growing Edge. Some aphrodisiac-related food adventures you could try this month: Makes something from a fruit or vegetable with a sexy shape (bananas, avocados, figs) Cook with chocolate Shuck an oyster Construct a 3 course meal that can be eaten in bed Host a champagne breakfast Devise a romantic dinner for two Make truffles (chocolate) Cook with truffles (fungi) To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event Last month was hosted by Terri from Food …

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Poké face

Poké (pronounced “po–kay”) landed in Auckland last September in the tired underground IMAX food court on Queen Street. My fork buddy and I hit up Poke Time on opening day: bright and little tacky, as Hawaiian-themed things can be, the experience has a Subway vibe and is essentially a build-your-own raw fish salad bowl. You pick whatever you want, although it can be too many decisions for the uninitiated. If you’ve never tried poké before, it can be overwhelming but if you know what you are doing, Poke Time is great value. With heaps of options including salmon, two types of tuna, and trevally, they also have token vegetarian options, but that’s probably not what most will come here for. Tip: go for the seasoned fish, the non-marinated options are essentially sashimi bowls, rather than poké bowls. Poké means “chop” and is a Hawaiian dish influenced by Japanese cuisine. Poké is raw fish (such as tuna, salmon or octopus) is cubed and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed. Poké is often served served with fresh vegetables and rice …

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Our Growing Edge – January 2017 – Healthy Starts

Many of us will begin the year with a food-related resolution. Whatever form your new years resolutions take, there’s no doubt that it can be tricky to start afresh after the decadence of the holiday season. A new year, a new month means a new edition of Our Growing Edge. This blog link up encourages us to try new things in the kitchen, in our bellies and in our every day lives. While I’m not a fan of extreme diets, incorporating whole foods into my diet is absolutely something I can get on board. Fresh produce, fresh fruit, fresh meat and fresh seafood can be super inspiring when it comes to eating well. January 2017 hosted by Terri from Food Meanderings and the theme is HEALTHY STARTS. Hopefully this link up with encourage us to think of healthy, delicious recipes and hold us accountable this month. I look forward to seeing all the delicious ways you start 2017 with. If you are creating any healthy dishes month, share it with Our Growing Edge. Some ideas you could try this month: Experiment with …

Our Growing Edge – December 2016 – Festive Feeds

I am incredulous. How is it December already? Yesterday marked the first day of summer here in the southern hemisphere, which seems upside down to those in the north. Here we like to celebrate the holiday season with beach visits, backyard barbecues and meals eaten al fresco. This is the season for festivities…which leads me to this month’s theme for Our Growing Edge: Festive Feeds. December’s edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Rebecca from The Economic Foodie.  Rebecca is an economics grad from Sydney, Australia. The Economic Foodie has been going for a year and a half and includes healthy, wholesome dishes that are gentle on the pocket. Think salads with lots of colour and flavour and mostly (but not strictly) vegetarian recipes. Her mantra “Less waste, more creativity” is great for any time of year, but particularly for December which can be a little more wasteful and indulgent. If you are creating anything delicious for the holiday season, share it with Our Growing Edge. Some ideas you could try this month: Invent a recipe using up holiday leftovers Make an edible gift Host a …

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Anatomy of a platter with Lisa’s Hummus (and a giveaway)

  Summer is at our doorstep At our place, sunny days often lead to long evenings in the backyard. Grazing platters are great for easy weeknight dinners. Bring out your speakers, throw a forgiving tablecloth over your weathered outdoor table and delight in the warm weather. I keep a few platter-friendly bits and pieces on hand in case of unexpected guests or for days when I don’t feel like cooking. Put together a simple platter for two with just a few items foraged from your fridge or pump it with more items when catering for many mouths. Platters are super easy to scale up or down and if there’s more than 5 people at the table, it’s a good idea to make a couple of smaller platters so everyone can have easy access. Lisa’s make entertaining easy with their range of delicious hummus and dips. When it comes to platters, colour is important and I’ve picked my favourite beautifully colourful dips from the Lisa’s Hummus range: Chargrilled Capsicum, Basil Pesto, and Beetroot with Roasted Cashews. …

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Te Matuku Oyster Festival and a deep fried oyster recipe

The Koala and I had the pleasure of attending the Te Matuku Oysters on Waiheke on Saturday thanks to Jenny’s Tamarind Chutney and Te Matuku Oysters. Our first festival of any kind since last summer, the weather held up – aside from a couple of light showers, it felt like summer. Waiheke is an island just a 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland with loads of pristine beaches, a warm Mediterranean micro-climate and a focus on growing quality food and wine. We started with a delightful pilsner from Albi Brewing Company and a complimentary 3 oysters each. We were in oyster heaven and gobbled up more than our share and at festival special prices, it didn’t hurt the wallet one bit. If you love oysters the festival is time to gorge yourself on fresh, plump oysters. If your preference is natural with a squeeze of lemon (or Worcestershire sauce or vinaigrette), then shucked oysters are just $20 per dozen. To give you an idea of market price, a local restaurant sells the same oysters at $48 per dozen. …

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Our Growing Edge – November 2016 Intro

November edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Alicia from Alicia’s Bits n Bobs. Just a reminder: Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort. This monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to. So if you don’t already have a foodie bucket list, it’s time to write one. Feel free to browse my list for  some ideas. Some ideas you could try this month: Learn a new technique Reverse engineer a dish from your favourite restaurant Cross something off your bucket list Cook something new out of an old cookbook Try a new cuisine To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event October was hosted by Annika from We Must Be Dreamers. Check out her round up of all the HALLOWEEN submissions on her blog later this month. Below is a preview …

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Burrata for NZ Cheese Month

Happy NZ Cheese Month! I was over the moon last month when I joined a bunch of cheese-loving media on a NZ Cheese road trip. We visited some great local cheese makers, tasted some amazing and some polarising cheese and even met a lovely herd of water buffalo north of Auckland in Whangaripo. One of our stops was at Il Casaro, located in Glenfield in an unexpectedly industrial area proving that cheese needn’t be made out in the countryside to be good. Here we witnessed Italian cheese maker and co-founder Massimiliano make mozzarella by hand as he explained the process and treated us to freshly made cheese. New Zealand cheese is nothing short of phenomenal. The quality and creativity of our cheese is absolutely good enough for the world market, but many small producers can only meet the demand of our local appetites. This means that our very best cheese actually stays in the country. A win for us. In honour of NZ Cheese Month this month, I had the pleasure of trying this organic …

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Our Growing Edge – October 2016 Intro

October edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Annika from We Must Be Dreamers. Theme: Halloween   This month’s theme can be as literal or as abstract as you like. Just imagine the final round up as an epic Halloween pot luck spanning food blogs from around the world! Some ideas you could try this month: Make a Halloween treat Pumpkin spice something Cook a dish that uses only Fall colours Host a Halloween-themed dinner party Cook with an ingredient that could be considered slightly horrifying Invent a Halloween cocktail To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event September was hosted by Chrystal from The Smallwood Parsonage. Check out her round up of all the yummy FAMILY RECIPE submissions on her blog later this month. Below is a preview of just some of the FAMILY RECIPE submissions.

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Our Growing Edge – September 2016 Intro

September edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Chrystal from The Smallwood Parsonage.  Theme: Family Recipes Family recipes are important to foodies and food bloggers because the dishes we grew up with nurtured our love for food. Family recipes are often forgotten by adventurous foodies as we look for trendy and new recipes. This month’s theme asks for us to step back and dig into our family culinary histories. So pull out those old family recipe books, phone your family and share those family recipes. Some ideas you could try this month: Update a family favourite Beg a family member for their treasured recipe to share on your blog Cook something from a family cookbook and share it’s origins Host a pot luck with the theme of “Family Recipes” Recreate a dish from your childhood from scratch To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event can be found here. Last month’s event Cheryl at Business Chic was the host for August’s edition of Our Growing Edge. I know Cheryl from wine festivals here in Auckland and also because the blogging scene …

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Curious chips for seasoned foodies and a hot giveaway

Being a curious foodie can be a double-edged sword. I love trying new things, but am never satisfied with the same old flavours. Food tastes and food culture are constantly evolving and finding the next big flavour can be a constant pursuit. I often find inspiration from new foods, cuisines, chefs, and restaurants so I was delighted to learn that Eta have done the same by exploring dozens of ingredient, flavour combos and food trends around the world for the release of four interesting new Eta Uppercuts flavours. I’m excited to share with you two of the new flavours: Sriracha Chilli Corn Tapas, and Cheddar with Black Pepper Deli Cut along with the dips I have created to match. These recipes make generous portions of dip, good for 2-3 bags of chips each. Great as a snack or as a party food, I’ve tested these combinations with my enthusiastic band of guinea pigs friends and I’m pleased to say that both chips and dips were reduced to nothing. A tasty dip can elevate a great …

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Our Growing Edge – August 2016 Intro

August edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Cheryl from BusinessChic. Theme: WORK DAY EATING   I love Cheryl’s theme suggestion of WORK DAY EATING this month. The majority of lunches are eaten at work and it’s hard to eat well at work if you’re not prepared. When I first started working full time (way back in my early twenties), I ate out every day. I didn’t make the time to prepare lunch in the mornings and I liked having a bit of “me time” in the middle of the day while I checked out local cafes. Eating out for lunch cost me $50 to $70 per week but I didn’t mind because I had gone from a student budget to a full time salary. I was splurging. Then I got smart. Eating out every day is a big waste of money. Nowdays, I’m all about leftovers, whether it’s straight up leftovers or rehashing it slightly for lunch – such as a chicken salad using leftover chicken from the previous night’s roast dinner plus some chopped salad ingredients. You hardly notice a cost difference if you cook …

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Freestyler in the Kitchen: Throw-together recipe #3

  Being able to chuck a bunch of ingredients together and create something delicious isn’t so much a skill as a way of thinking. When cooking, I enjoy getting creative, using recipes only for inspiration. I find sticking to recipes tedious and restrictive and always find myself deviating. Understanding your own cooking style can help make your kitchen time more enjoyable and efficient. When I took Fisher & Paykel’s online quiz WHAT’S YOUR COOKING STYLE? I was branded the Freestyler. Find out what type of cooking style you have by taking the quiz quick here. Thanks to Fisher & Paykel, I’ve created a series of throw-together recipes that celebrate the Freestyler approach to cooking. If you enjoy this recipe and this style of cooking, please check out the other recipes in this series. Throw-together recipe #3 This is a easy, naturally gluten-free omelette for one that is good for any meal of the day. I make this style of omelette at least once a week and I like how each one can be customised without fuss. We’re …

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Auckland Restaurant Month and a Street Eats giveaway

August is Auckland Restaurant Month and this year, Street Eats on the first Saturday of the month (Saturday 6 Aug 2016). Huzzah! I love Street Eats which I view as a walking, build-your-own degustation. Browse, graze, have a drink, and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be over 80 dishes, usually priced between $5 to $12, covering many different cuisines from restaurants, cafes and food trucks around Auckland. With games for kids, a bar for grown ups and live music for everyone, there will be plenty to keep you amused. Entry is $5 for adults and free for supervised kids. Gates open 10.30am and close 8pm, though I highly recommend an early visit as many of the best dishes sell out. Check out the menus here if you’re like me and like to have a browse before the event. Here’s a few pics I’ve snapped of past Street Eats to get your appetite going…   There are lots of other foodie events on this month, with serious and novel themes. Events include Dinner in the Dark (sold out), Dessert Degustation Walking Tour …