All posts filed under: Culinary Adventures

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 …

Our Growing Edge December 2015 Intro

This month is hosted by Jazz from Dash of Jazz. The theme is NOSTALGIA. 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. Our host, Jazzmine is a Texas native with Nigerian roots, loves classic Southern cooking and has suggested the theme NOSTALGIA for this month. Some ideas you could try this month: Cook a recipe you remember from childhood Make a family favourite with a new main ingredient Cook a loved one’s favourite recipe Recreate a recipe that is well …

Goats go to Hell…Pizza

I was recently invited to try the the latest from Hell Pizza. I make pizza at home and standard toppings are not my speciality. Smoked salmon, spiced lamb and fat prawns wind up on pizzas at our house. Hell Pizza are on that adventurous foodie journey too so I was interested to see what was on offer. Enlisting the help of some Wellington food heroes, Hell Pizza have created the “El Cabra”. The Spanish word for goat, this Mexican-inspired dish was created by Chef Martin Bosley, Panhead Custom Ales and Mexican restaurant La Boca Loca. Hell Pizza are infamous for their naughty marketing tactics and controversial pizzas (hide your rabbits and your kangaroos) but this time, I feel like they’ve gone for something pretty accessible. I’ve eaten goat recently and I’ve cooked with it before and it’s really nothing to be nervous about. The flavour of the goat meat is very similar lamb – one of our country’s most prized meats. It’s a wonder why we don’t see goat on the menu more often. Did you know that all Hell Pizzas …

Taste of Auckland 2015 – the verdict

This year, I wined and dined at Taste of Auckland. Twice. Going twice is some next level shit because if you’re like me, there’s no way you get even CLOSE to trying all the dishes you want in one session. This year was blue skies and summer glory and festival veterans will be positively basking in the sunshine. The reason being that the weather was horrible at last year. It rained so much, the grounds were chocolate mousse and gumboots were on trend. This year at Taste, sunglasses, summer dresses and a slight sunburn were high fashion. Things to see Fisher and Paykel’s Social Kitchen was thoroughly educational and entertaining. I caught the SUMMER OF YUM ice pop session with Our Kitchen (F&P cooking blog) and Dr Feelgood. Hosted by Kelly Gibney from the food blog Bonnie Delicious, I learned some handy tips about ice pops. For example, to stop ice crystals forming, you need to freeze the ice pops as quickly as possible so that ice crystals don’t have enough time to form. This can …

Our Growing Edge November 2015 intro

This month is hosted by Lauren from Sweet Southern Lifestyle. 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. Our host, Lauren is a keen baker and the theme this month is holiday baking. Some ideas you could try this month: Host Thanksgiving or a feast at home with a festive dessert Bake a pie Try a new cookie recipe Make a gingerbread house or gingerbread men Update an classic cake recipe with holiday spices …

Crispy fried chicken skins and sweet drinks at PappaRich Auckland

PappaRich is a franchise serving up Malaysian classics across Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and very recently, Auckland. The first New Zealand store was promised for months on social media (I know because I was waiting patiently) and their loyal expat fans were insistent, verging on enraged that their beloved store opening was delayed. I think some people would have rammed the doors down if they thought it would get them a PappaRich meal earlier. Set on Level 1 of the SkyCity Metro complex (aka “IMAX”) on Queen Street in the city, this is a full size restaurant with all the furnishings and bright lighting you might expect from an international franchise. After soft opening for a couple of weeks, I was invited to the official opening a few weeks back where my sister and I, and others including bloggers Cecilia from Ultimate OmNoms and Sheena from As Told By Sheena. I was born in Hong Kong but grew up in New Zealand and I grew up eating Chinese/Malaysian food. So much to the point that I assumed it was Cantonese food …

Fiercely seasonal in the Bombay Hills

A regular contender at Taste of Auckland, Bracu’s elegant dishes are celebration of quality local produce. Bracu has always been foodie destination on my “one day” list. They also do weddings and even though we visited on a wet spring day, it’s easy to picture a glorious sunny day in the micro-climate of the Bombay Hills. Bracu (pronounced brah-KOO) is set within the 96 hectares of Simunovich Olive Estate who produce olive oils and olive-based beauty products. You can enjoy claybird shooting, archery or even knife throwing if you prefer, before relaxing over food and wine in the idyllic setting of Bracu. Think rolling hills, thousands of olive trees, and country luxury.   Last week, I was invited to sample from the new spring menu at Bracu. Spring must be a dream for chefs, especially when there are items that are so fiercely seasonal. You get to play with these bright and delicate flavours for just a short period of time and if you’re lucky, you get suppliers that have all sorts of weird and …

Our Growing Edge October 2015 Intro

This month is hosted by Kerene from The Dream Bakery. 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 with a Spring or Autumn ingredient Try a new local restaurant Recreate a favourite restaurant dish Forage for your dinner Visit some local markets you have never been to before Cook a dessert from a foreign cuisine Below is a preview of some of the submissions from September’s edition of Our …

Pumpkin Soup for Pumpkin Haters

I know I sound childish and not at all like a sophisticated foodie when I say, “I hate pumpkin”. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I have a strong dislike for it. Whenever we get roast dinner takeaways (best hangover food) I transfer my pumpkin pieces onto The Koala’s plate. The Koala loves pumpkin so he accepts it happily. I say pumpkin, you say squash Before I go further, I should mention that here in New Zealand, we call all things in the squash and pumpkin family simply, “pumpkin”. So when I say, “I hate pumpkin“, elsewhere, I would say, “I hate squash“. Anyway, I know it’s good for you and when it’s in season, it’s everywhere. Since The Koala loves pumpkin and pumpkin soup, and since pumpkins keep appearing in our Foodbox, I’ve been experimenting with pumpkin soup recipes. This recipe is for the pumpkin haters among us. Spices I’ve used garam masala and cinnamon, feel free to also try turmeric and ground coriander. Spices make pumpkin palatable. A little cream doesn’t hurt either. …

Chinese American kitsch with a twist

Last night I attended a new pop up at Coco’s Cantina on K Rd. Coco’s Cantina is a rustic Italian kitchen with family-style dining. While the Cocos are galavanting and eating their way through Italy (team building exercise: BOSS LEVEL), the restaurant is being “house sat” by fledgling food businesses Judge Bao and The Pie Piper. I’ve blogged about Judge Bao before and mentioned their friends The Pie Piper who regularly impress foodies at The Street Collective on Ponsonby Road with their bao and pies. On different day, the setting could be called romantic. The lighting was dim with small flowers and candles at the tables. We were seated on long tables and served family-style with a mix of food media present. I fan-girled a little bit but didn’t introduce myself to any of the foodie heroes at the other tables. Um…not there yet. We sampled a range of dishes from Judge Bao’s ambitious pop up menu and ended with slice of pie of our choice from The Pie Piper. We dined as guests of Judge Bao and …

Our Growing Edge September 2015 Intro

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. More info on the event can be found here. This month is hosted by Hannah from Love The Little Bakery. To join, click on the submission button below: There is no theme for this month so just go with what every is new and interesting to you, although Hannah the host loves to bake if that inspires you at all. Some ideas you could try this month: Bake something you have previously failed at Decorate a cake Cook something you’ve seen on Pinterest Host a themed dinner party Use up an exotic ingredient you once bought on a whim Recreate something you …

Wine AKL, Scarecrow 7 course dinner and Milse

Last Friday, my friend Miss A and I devoted ourselves to an indulgent evening of wining and dining. There was a wine tasting marathon, a 7 course seafood dinner, cocktails and the night ended at what is easily regarded as the best dessert restaurant in Auckland. We began at 5pm sharp at Wine AKL, a celebration of New Zealand’s wine from 80 vineyards across 2 levels down at Shed 10, Queen’s Wharf a special for Restaurant Month. This was followed by a 7-course dinner of sustainable seafood at Scarecrow on High. There we met a couple of foodies from out of town so we (well, actually Miss A was the instigator) decided to accompany them to Milse for dessert.    Wine AKL Wine AKL started off with a performance by Java Dance Company and with a bang as Bob Campbell (Master of Wine) and wine maker Daniel Le Brun dangerously ceremoniously opened a couple of bottles of the new No. 1  Assemblé (pronounced: a-SOM-blay) which we got to sample.  This was absolutely delicious. We headed upstairs area which was …

Everything you need to know about Street Eats 2015

Street Eats is a highlight of Restaurant Month and it’s on this coming Saturday. Now in it’s third year, this popular event is cheap, busy and delicious. This is not so much a celebration of “street foods”, but a celebration of restaurants’ take on street foods. If you enjoy eating lots of different types of foods by our local restaurant chefs, this is for you. Being a one day event has seen intense crowds and many sold out stalls. This year they are introducing a $5 entry fee which may cut down crowds. Still, I would recommend going early to avoid missing out. Street Eats Saturday 29 August 2015 10.30am – 8pm Shed 10, Queens Wharf $5 entry (Free entry for supervised children) More info at: http://www.heartofthecity.co.nz/auckland-events/food-and-drink-events/street-eats Tips for Street Eats Bring an appetite but get something quick and fast when you arrive so you don’t get hangry Bring a friend (or two) to share dishes with Entry is $5. Bring cash as some stalls may not accept EFTPOS Expect to spent $25-50 per person depending on your appetite and …

Ten delicious ways to spend $60 during Restaurant Month

Restaurant Month is almost upon us. There are some amazing events at Auckland’s finest restaurants with tickets over $200pp. But for those who only dream of $200 dinners, I’ve picked out specials under the $60 mark. There are some pretty amazing restaurants on this list with big reputations so this is a great opportunity to dine out at some of these places for a fraction of the normal cost. There are so many options that I suggest you check out the master list over here. For the sake of quality, I have only included restaurants that have a Zomato rating of 3.9 or higher. If you are new to Zomato, make sure you check out my reviews complete with drool-worthy photos here. Ten delicious ways to spend $60 during Restaurant Month Besos Latinos, Elliot Stables $55 FOR A THREE COURSE DINNER Including a trio of Mexican dips, ham and cheese empanadas, quesadilla and char-grilled marinated steak. Industry Zen, Viaduct $55 FOR A FIVE COURSE DINNER Including wasabi-marinated seafood, sashimi selection, teppan hot plate, teriyaki chicken and beef and …

Ten delicious ways to spend $40 during Restaurant Month

Here are some $40 options for Restaurant Month. I had a hard time compiling this list as it was a the biggest category. There are so many options that I suggest you check out the master list over here. For the sake of quality, I have only included restaurants that have a Zomato rating of 3.9 or higher. If you are new to Zomato, make sure you check out my reviews complete with drool-worthy photos here. These represent the best deals and are places I’ve either eaten at or are on my wishlist. Two or three courses and some of these even include a glass of wine. Ten delicious ways to spend $40 during Restaurant Month Scarecrow, Victoria Street East $40 FOR A THREE COURSE DINNER OR LUNCH Options include scorched sashimi with citrus and macadamia oil, North African spiced fish with roast romanesco and pear and ginger tart with vanilla ice cream. Tourquet, O’Connell Street $40 FOR A TWO COURSE LUNCH OR DINNER WITH WINE Including veal blanquette with glazed carrot and caramelised onion matched with …

Our Growing Edge August 2015 Intro – Treat Edition

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. More info on the event can be found here. This month is hosted by Caroline from Shrinking Single. The theme is TREAT YOURSELF. I’m super excited because this month is Restaurant Month here in Auckland city. No doubt I’ll be treating myself to the various great restaurants over the month. I’m no sweet tooth but I know many of you are and I’m sure you can find some sweet ways to treat yourself this month. It was fun thinking about what I consider a treat and how I treat myself. I can find indulgence in lots of places. Some ideas you could try this month: …

Five delicious ways to spend $25 during Restaurant Month

Restaurant Month is upon us. There are some amazing events at Auckland’s finest restaurants with tickets over $200pp. But for those who only dream of $200 dinners, I’ve picked out some $25 specials. These represent the best deals, two or three courses and one even includes a glass of wine! Yes, that’s right, a 3 course meal with wine for $25. Nuts! There are so many options that I suggest you check out the master list over here. For the sake of quality, I have only included restaurants that have a Zomato rating of 3.9 or higher. If you are new to Zomato, make sure you check out my reviews complete with drool-worthy photos here. I have eaten at all these places, these are very good deals! Five delicious ways to spend $25 during Restaurant Month Daikoku on Victoria, Victoria Street West $25 FOR A TWO COURSE DINNER OR LUNCH Including sashimi, tempura and miso soup and a choice of teriyaki chicken, salmon or beef served with rice and a side dish. Depot, Federal Street $25 FOR …

The Moth: Stories for soulful foodies

If Humans of New York is a collection of portraits of real people, The Moth is a collection of true stories told by real people. The Moth is based in New York and are true stories read aloud by professional and amateurs. Fascinating and insightful, their stories are soulful, funny and at times heart breaking. I have been binge-listening to The Moth and I’ve curated a list of ten stories with food themes. Warning, some of these food stories will hit you right in the feels. The Moth: Stories for soulful foodies Sweet and Sour Meatballs Alvin Lau details what he’d like his last meal to be if he doesn’t survive his cancer. Star Custodian David Chang of Momofuku cooks for Michelin stars at Momofuku Ko. Hoboken Roast Beef Slow service at a deli counter leads to an angry and regrettable outburst and a lesson learned. Under The Wires A college kid has his jaw wired shut for a month and a half after having jaw surgery. Ruthy’s Dinner A grandmother shares wisdom (and a beer) with …

Auckland Restaurant Month 2015 – Events

Auckland Restaurant Month starts this weekend! I’ve picked out a few budget-friendly events for those foodies who can’t quite make the $200 pp events that are happening across Auckland (as much as we’d love to). Check back over the next few days as I share restaurant promotions in different price brackets ($25, $40 and $60) as well as Q&A with chefs, owners, food writers and food bloggers throughout the month. Foodie Films If you missed the two food documentaries at the recent Documentary Edge festival, here’s your chance to see both of them for free. Deli Man is playing this Saturday and For Grace next Saturday. Seating is on a “first in” basis. Deli Man Saturday 1 August, 12pm Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium (FREE) For Grace Saturday 8 August, 5pm Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium (FREE) More info here: http://www.documentaryedge.org.nz Street Eats Saturday 29 August, 10.30am – 8pm Shed 10, Queens Wharf $5 entry (Free entry for supervised children) Immensely popular gourmet market with street food from central city restaurants. Beer, wine, kids’ entertainment and live music. …

Sliders Party

  The Koala and I had friends over for a sliders party last weekend. We love home made burgers and make them all the time. With The Koala as captain and me as his prep chef, we usually create towering cheeseburgers with all the trimmings that require you to unhinge your jaw to feast upon. Having a burger party was on my foodie bucket list. Having never made sliders before, we might have been too ambitious with our five slider menu. Luckily we didn’t have many guests and everything went smoothly (if a little frantic). We made 50 sliders but this was too many as the sliders were more filling than anticipated. Our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs so we sent everyone home with extras and we grazed on leftover sliders all night. It was hard to pick the winning slider, but the top three were: (in no particular order) Crispy Pork Belly Pan-fried Fish Peking Duck All the sliders were good, some were just better. In future, I would just make the top three flavours. Five kinds was too much …