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Bridging the Seasons

 

The last of summer produce still lingers on, but we’ve passed the peak and we’re on the Autumnal slope to Winterland. No longer those sweltering days where parched tastebuds only have eyes for those particularly quenching fruits and vegetables: melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, stone-fruit, thick, crunchy Iceberg lettuce. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to lug the casserole dish out, or to labour away at making the smoothest mash potatoes. Not just yet. There are plenty of ways to bridge the seasons, either by wintering up summery food, or lightening comfort food with a sunny last hoorah. READ MORE

Blackcurrantcy

 

I’m not one to reach for a certain ingredient solely because of health claims, but I do think eating a wide variety of foods is not only more likely to be better for our physical and mental health, it’s also more delicious. When I see science prove a food to be particularly nutrient-rich, I might well make a point of having it to hand in the pantry or fridge. READ MORE

Balling, again

It’s been a while since I posted a bliss ball recipe. They’re one of those things that change every time I make them, as in, I make little tweaks depending on what I have in the pantry, or flavours I’m keen on at the time. READ MORE

Fresh Tastes 2019

Kombucha has been around for yonks, but 2018 was the year it became a household word. In little more than a year, it went from quietly bubbling away in the kitchens of macrobiotic diet enthusiasts to demanding a serious chunk of chiller space in every supermarket–sales of kombucha quadrupled at Countdown supermarkets within the year. So, what’s next?  READ MORE

Sour Seeker

 

Recently I enjoyed a Southeast Asian-inspired vegan tasting menu by Chef Alok Vasanth and team at The Tasting Shed in Kumeu. One of a series of snacks we were served was a tamarind ‘rice wash’ soup: a thin broth, it was packed with flavour. Vasanth had looked to the Philippines, where sinigang soup is soured with tamarind, and features the starchy water from the second rinsing of rice. “This means you’re not wasting the starchy water, which contains valuable nutrients, and you’re also not wasting the water, which is a precious resource”, explains Vasanth, who eschewed meat or other vegetables for his version, instead treating the tamarind as both the main ingredient and souring agent.   READ MORE

Lausanne

The train from Zurich airport is six minutes late, a myth-busting revelation early-in-the-piece on my first ever visit to Switzerland. But I’m willing to believe that delays to the schedule are a very rare occurrence, because over the next week I spend in the country I jump on dozens of trains that depart on the dot.

From Zurich it’s a few hours and two smooth-like-clockwork changes to reach the vineyards of Lavaux, on the northern banks of Lac Leman (better known as Lake Geneva, but this is the French-speaking canton of Vaud we’re in, and they will give you a generous pour if you use their language). We’re staying two nights in the small village of Chexbres, which places us in the middle of wine country, and a ten minute train ride to the city of Lausanne, which is where we head the next morning. READ MORE

Nusa Lembongan

Our luggage has been stickered and stacked on a sandy-footed platform by the efficient ground staff of Rocky Fast Cruises at Sanur, the beach that drew the first package tourists to Bali half a century ago. The hotel that was the island’s first high rise still stands, right on the beach here, looking shabby but defiant. But we’re embarking for a place that, while long being popular with break-watching surfers, has only begun to make a mark on the general tourist trail more recently. READ MORE

Peach Cake

 

This cake is best made with freshly sliced peaches, but out of season, it still works well using the tinned variety. I found these beautiful Black Boy peaches at Takapuna Markets the other week for a bargain $2.99 per kilo, and they were in perfect condition to boot. Their distinctive colouring and tart, sweet flavour adds plenty of oomph to an otherwise simple cake batter. READ MORE

Eating the K

Samrudh Akuthota dishing up cocktails at Chai Lounge 

Hundreds of years ago, Karangahape Rd was an important thoroughfare, a ridge on Te Ao Karangahape track that led journeymakers to the Manukau harbour. While all around sprouted streets named after things British, this East-West pathway retained its Maori name, now commonly shortened to K’Rd. Over centuries K’Rd remained a vital pathway and hive of activity, including of the red-light sort, which the area was famous for and which probably helped save it from too-fast development: the district retains architectural character rare in Auckland. More recently, with a flurry of new restaurant and bar openings, the fun here kicks off well before the midnight hour and carries on through. Proving that small-scale and operators can make a big splash, K’Rd’s eclectic offering makes it Auckland’s hottest strip.

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Mint imperial

I may not have inherited my parents’ green fingers, but at least there’s mint. It can be relied upon to thrive under my neglect; as long as I don’t try to control it, or pamper it in any way, it continues to turn out downy, palm sized leaves, especially at this time of year. Of course, there are many varieties of mint. Two have gone bananas in my garden: Vietnamese mint, and spearmint. Here I’m referring to spearmint, which looks a lot like peppermint but has a much milder, sweeter taste with a fraction of the menthol content. READ MORE