All posts filed under: Culinary Adventures

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Hiakai means “hungry”

Māori cuisine is curiously uncommon in our culinary landscape. Growing up in the Māori wonderland of Rotorua, I enjoyed many hangi as a kid. I just didn’t appreciate or understand how special it was until we moved to Auckland and there were no more hangi. For those not from around here, hangi is a traditional Māori technique of cooking food underground, using heated rocks and covered baskets. It involves a lot of digging and a lot of time and is thus reserved for special occasions on marae (Māori meeting houses) such as weddings and funerals. For most New Zealanders, Māori cuisine is not an everyday occurrence and even tourists visiting our country will struggle to find Māori cuisine. Searching “hangi” on Zomato comes up with one result and both “boil up” and “Māori” yield no results. None. I know of one cafe in Auckland serving Rewena bread as part of their menu, but it’s not like I can just go out and enjoy Māori food whenever I want. The industry just doesn’t look like that. Yet. In contrast, searching “sushi”, “butter …

Our Growing Edge – July 2016 Intro

July edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Sophie at Cooking Trips. The theme this month is “Travel”.   I am lucky to have travelled to some delicious destinations and have collected precious food memories. For me, food is an important part of travel and I love exploring other cuisines while expanding my growing edge. Some memorable meals include: Late night takoyaki made fresh to order out of a van in a deserted parking lot in Osaka, Japan Our first larb in Laos from this random restaurant in the middle of nowhere just on the border of Vietnam and Laos Killing and eating a snake at a snake restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam I have so many more food memories I want to collect but it’s nice to be able to travel to faraway places by recreating dishes at home. I hope this month’s travel theme inspires you to cook something from your travels or something from a place you would like to travel to. Because there’s nothing quite like falling in love with places you’ve yet to visit. …

Too easy free range sausage rolls

I could eat my weight in sausage rolls. If I see sausage rolls at a party, I’ll make a beeline and scoff them without shame. I’m not the only one, there’s always others. I know who you are. Sausage rolls are one of New Zealand’s most beloved foods. Golden puff pastry with a meaty filling, cut into bite-sized morsels and served with plenty of tomato sauce, sausage rolls appeared at all the childhood birthday parties I attended growing up. They are a comfort food and a party food for all generations. Sausage rolls can be eaten hot or cold making them equally good for winter nights or summer picnics which is why I’m submitting this post to Taste of Summer edition of Our Growing Edge this month. I’ve been experimenting and perfecting this recipe using L’Authentique’s french grind. Made locally, L’Authentique sausages are made from free range meat and contain no fillers. Coming in a range of different flavours, I’ve made these sausage rolls at home using their Toulouse, Angus Beef, Pork & Fennel and Chicken & Bacon sausage meat. My …

Our Growing Edge – June 2016 Intro

June edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Susan and Mike from Simply Sundays. The theme this month is “Tastes of Summer”.   Most of you will be enjoying warm weather, picnics, barbecues, salads, and al fresco dining late into the evenings. Summer produce is plentiful, affordable and delicious and maybe the produce is inspiring you to prepare more meals at home. At the same time, here in the southern hemisphere this week marks the first week of winter, I’m torn between warming winter dishes and also eating lighter so that the waistline doesn’t run away from me.  Adapting the taste of summer can be great for winter eating. Some ideas you could try this month: Adapt a classic oven or stovetop recipe to be cooked on the barbecue Cook with strawberries, cherries, apricots or watermelon Make something with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, radishes or corn Invent a winning smoothie using summer produce Make a refreshing drink or adapt a classic summer cocktail Host a picnic potluck To submit a post, click on the submission button below: More info on the event …

Our Growing Edge – May 2016 Intro

May edition of Our Growing Edge is hosted by Joana from My Gut Feeling. The theme this month is “Allergy friendly recipes”.   We all know someone with a food allergy and the restaurant and cafe industry are increasingly catering to food allergies too. I love cooking for other people and sometimes this includes allergy friendly recipes. I am lucky that we don’t have any food allergies in our household, but I have dabbled in some gluten free baking after I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease a few years back. Gluten free seems to be fairly common and cafes around here usually stock at least one gluten free option, while dairy free, nut free and egg free can usually be arranged after speaking to the chef. Vegan isn’t a diet or way of life I personally follow but I have cooked vegan meals in the past which are both egg and dairy free. It’s good to have a recipe or two up your sleeve for those occasions. Hopefully this round up will inspire us to try some new recipes. Some …

Ramen at home

Autumn is delightful. I’m enjoying the cool, crisp air and the bright sunlight, filtering through the trees into my shady home office (aka lounge), and the food. Oh the FOOD. I’m not a summer salad kind of girl. I’m a steamy bowl of something something queen. Steaming bowls of ramen is up there in my 10 ten things I love about cold weather and I recently tried the Tonkotsu ramen set compiled by WASHOKU Explorer. Tonkotsu is one of the most popular varieties of ramen. The creamy, rich, pork broth is made by boiling pork fat, collagen and well washed pork bones for hours (even days). Due to the labour intensive process, this dish is not often made at home, though you will find it at any ramen shop. The Tonkotsu ramen set comes with comes with a cool ramen bowl, renge (spoon), dried noodles, soup, seaweed, dried green onion and dried kikurage (wood ear mushroom). If you like, you can add a boiled egg or slices of meat – neither of which ship or keep …

7 years and 7 whiskeys

The Koala and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary last night. I have been on the lookout for something special that we would both enjoy and stumbled across it when I read a date night review by Megan on She Said Yes blog about a whiskey bar called The Jefferson. Ribs? Tick.  Whiskey? Tick.  Nice setting? Tick.  Something out of the ordinary? Tick.  Down on the gentrified service alley of Fort Lane and beside freshly crowned Restaurant of the Year, Cassia, you’ll find the entrance to The Jefferson. A basement whiskey bar with 600 whiskeys on offer, this is a great spot to get comfy and let the staff share their nerdy whiskey wisdom with you. With a teal and brass colour scheme and old school glamour The Jefferson feels like home…if home happens to be cerulean lounge with spacious banquette seating, decent lighting and a long well-stocked whiskey bar. There is a small food menu which I suspect is a work in progress, but they have two varieties of rib which is was of the reasons for …

Our Growing Edge April 2016 Intro

I hope you didn’t all fall for my April Fools Hoax on Facebook on Friday! Now that we are in April, we have a new edition of Our Growing Edge. This month is hosted by Jordan from Vermilion Red. The theme is FLAVOURS YOU’VE GROWN TO LOVE.  Basically anything you didn’t like when you were younger which you now love, or are learning to love This is theme is close to my heart and something I enjoy writing about. When I started this blog, I had a list of foods I didn’t like, but over the last 5 years, my tastes have changed and developed and I can now consider those foods my friends. Foods I used to hate but now love include: blue cheese, courgette (zucchini), eggplant, mushroom. Foods I used to hate but don’t hate anymore (but not quite on the love boat just yet) include: pumpkin (squash), lentils. I think a big part of it is correct cooking. Finding flavours that work well with those ingredients so that you can incorporate them in rather than …

Zomato Bloggers Meet Up: Le Chef

The premise It’s been over a year since my last Zomato Meet Up and this week, I attended my first Zomato Blogger’s Meet Up at Le Chef on Vulcan Lane. We dined as guests of Zomato and Le Chef though all opinions are my own. The setting was romantic, the company was delightful, and other bloggers present were: Carli from The Enthusiastic Cook, Laura from Laura Laura, Maddy from Madicattt, and Georgie from Georgieats – all of who I’ve eaten with several times. I interviewed Le Chef owner Edouard Le Goff for my Auckland Restaurant Month series last year when they had their other branch (you can read it here) and it was great to put a name to a face (and a food to a belly). Edouard was exactly as I imagined, very French, very enthusiastic and answered all our questions with ease. The restaurant Le Chef is located in quiet spot on a charming, cobbled pedestrian-only lane in the city. Tucked away from the bustle of Queen Street, Le Chef channels rustic and romantic French charm. I’ve never been to France but it’s on …

Our Growing Edge March 2016 Intro

How is it March already? It’s officially the start of Autumn here in New Zealand. While today seems cooler due to the rain we’ve been having, it’s still balmy and the grassy area in the front of our house is like a swamp. I’m half expecting gators to snap at me when I need to visit the bins out front. With a new month comes a new edition of Our Growing Edge. This month’s host is Mr Fitz from Cooking with Mr Fitz – a blog about food adventures both at home and abroad. Check out Mr Fitz’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for yummy pics of food and the antics of his cute basset hounds Mr Wentworth and Cora Murley. There is no theme this month so pull out those bucket lists and get ticking! Don’t have a bucket list? Feel free to browse my foodie bucket list for ideas… Some new food adventures you could try this month (stolen from my list) Pickle or ferment something Partake in a progressive dinner Souffle something Shuck an …

Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiacs

Food bloggers’ potluck On Wednesday night, four food bloggers gathered for a delicious potluck. The theme was Valentine’s Day and aphrodisiacs had been thrown about in discussion. If you have a mind anywhere near the gutter, the dishes present all had sexy connotations. I recently saw a close up of a mussel on Instagram which could have been R18 and probably redefines the term “food porn”. So I brought my current potluck go to: baked mayo-cheese mussels. I’ve never travelled with these mussels so my heart and mussels jumped every time my Uber hit a bump or turned a sharp corner. The mussels went sliding around in their tray, possessed. Luckily none escaped the plastic wrap and the topping stayed on. As well as mussels, there were fresh oysters, satay sticks with greens, herbs and sauce by Carli from The Enthusiastic Cook, stuffed pasta shells with both smoked fish and a fascinating beet, beef and chocolate version by our host Maddy at Madicattt. Dessert was peach pie with dollops of cream by Bri from The Market. Kindred spirits understand that cameras eat first! As per our …

Our Growing Edge February 2016 Intro

  HAPPY FEBRUARY! February is hosted by Chinelo from Good Cake Day. Theme: Love in all its forms. To join, click on the submission button below: We all have bucket lists. Whether they’re written down somewhere or kept in our heads and hearts. 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 blogging 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. If you have a blog and are planning to write about a new food related experience, join us! More info on the event can be found here. Some ideas you could try this month: Cook a loved one’s favourite meal Make up a recipe using an aphrodisiac Host a Valentines Day dinner Feast on your favourite food Make an edible gift to give to people you love Cook a romantic dinner for two Pack a picnic, your loved one/s …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2016

If you enjoy sensational, succulent seafood, then make sure you visit Auckland Seafood Festival this long weekend. My sister and I hit Auckland Seafood Festival on opening night and we had a truly delightful time.  We both love seafood so we shared a bunch of things we both enjoy. Arriving shortly after opening, there were no queues so we didn’t have to apply any strategy based on length of the queues. Last year I gave crayfish a miss because the lines were horrendous. Nothing like that this time around. We started with oysters and the Bluff farmed oysters at Sanford Oysters looked good to us. These were freshly shucked and served with malt vinegar and lemon (6 for $22). We had a little browse and then hit up Besos Latinos for some Peruvian ceviche ($14) and seafood empanadas ($10). The ceviche really hit the spot and the empanada (fried fresh to order) reminded us of a seafood pie.   Always popular at Auckland Seafood Festival are Auckland Fish Markets’ crayfish tails. This year they had grilled half cray tails …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2016 – double pass giveaway

2016 has started with a bang. Like just about everyone else, I have some dietary intentions for the year. I was feeling like were were eating too much red meat last year, but instead of saying, “I will eat less red meat” I’ve been saying, “I will eat more seafood”. The thinking is different, the end result is the same. So far in 2016, I have eaten yakitori scallops, whole grilled squid, salt pepper squid, herb-crusted pan-fried salmon, bagel with lox, yakitori salmon, mayo-cheese mussels, prawn pasta, Vietnamese pancake with pork and prawn, prawn fried rice, prawn and fish butter curry, fish tacos and a fish burger. Not bad considering we’re only 15 days in. Here’s to 2016 being a seafood-fuelled year and hopefully I’ll will cook or eat a seafood dish that I’ve never cooked or eaten before. With Auckland anniversary coming up, we can look forward to even more seafood at Auckland Seafood Festival. Running 5 sessions over 4 days at Halsey Wharf which is downtown between the Viaduct and North Wharf. Thanks to …

Baked Mayo-Cheese Mussels

We dined with friends at a local yakitori restaurant last week. Although one of our favourite restaurants in Auckland for their tasty morsels of individually selected skewers, it had been a long time since we had visited and it wasn’t quite the same. My favourite dish, scallops wrapped in bacon were disappointing this time and the other dish I was looking forward to (chicken hearts) was unavailable. They did however, have a special on the blackboard: 4 mussels for $5. These were baked, cheesy, creamy, a little sweet and very different to how I usually cook mussels (steamed with sauce added). I don’t know exactly what was in the dish but I figured there was mussels, cheese, mayo and perhaps something sweet for balance. Boom I wanted more. The Koala and I split a portion and 2 mussels each is just a tease. So when our Foodbox delivered a kilo of mussels yesterday, I took it as a sign from the universe that I should try and recreate it at home. This recipe is deceptively easy, very quick, and uses just …

Our Growing Edge January 2016 Intro

Hello everyone. It’s been weeks since my last blog. I’m still technically on holiday. The Koala and I got back from holiday a few days ago where we had a magic 10 days away with friends. I had grand plans of blogging and cooking up a storm over the holidays but turns out I just really needed to chill. I’m not going to apologise for my absence. With a new year, comes a new year of Our Growing Edge. New Year resolutions, healthy eating plans, adventurous and ambitions intentions for the kitchen. I’m sure most of you have ideas you’re itching to try this month for Our Growing Edge. I haven’t written my NY resolutions yet. I guess I’ve been pre-occupied this season, but I do hope to come up with some intentions for 2016 in the coming week. I’ve enjoyed reading your resolutions. Bucket lists and resolutions are a great way to focus ourselves and also to review the year that has just gone. It’s now 3 years since I started Our Growing Edge. With over 600 entries …