Pistachio, Cranberry & Coconut Rocky Road

I made this rocky road for Christmas last year and it was dangerously addicting. I tell myself it’s (semi) healthy with the nuts and fruit I put in it, but it’s more of a tastebud pleaser than a liver pleaser.

I experimented a bit with the flavours, and any white chocolate fans out there will absolutely love this recipe.

Easy & affordable – how can you not love it?

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Ingredients:

1/2 Cup dessicated coconut

1 Cup marshmellows (chopped into halves or quarters)

1/3 Cup dried cranberries

1/3 Cup raw pistachios (or any nut of your choice)

150g White chocolate

Method:

Place all ingredients except from the chocolate into a bowl and combine together.

Melt the chocolate slowly over a bain-marie or in a pot over the stove over another pot of hot water, until just melted. Remove from heat and immediately pour onto the dry ingredients and mix together to ensure all ingredients are covered in chocolate.

Place mixture into a casserole dish lined with baking paper, and firmly pat down with the back of a wet spoon. Place in fridge for a few hours or until set.

When set, remove from fridge and cut into sized pieces of our choosing and store in an air-tight container i the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Ginger Kiss Cupcakes

I think I’ve truly out-done myself in the cupcake flavour department this time.

Flavours of ginger, all spice, cinnamon and golden syrup all come together to create a delectable ginger kiss cupcake that will have you wanting to get your muffin trays out on a daily basis.

I got my inspiration for the ginger kiss cupcake from (my favourite) Petal Cupcake – the most amazing, petit gourmet cupcake shop in Auckland’s Newmarket and Takapuna. Their famous Ginger Kiss cupcake had to be the best baked good I’d ever tasted without exaggeration – so I decided I would have to try and recreate this irresistible treat.

I recently made a batch of these for one of my friend’s 21st birthday, and people were absolutely raving about them.

My recipe is easy to follow, doesn’t involve any special ingredients and you simply won’t find any other flavour like it.

Enjoy…

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Cupcakes

Ingredients:

130g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract/essence
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
Cream butter and caster sugar together until combined, then beat in both eggs and milk until light in colour and fluffy in texture. Sift in the flour, baking powder and mix well with a spatula to ensure all of the ingredients from the outsides are incorporated. Add in the golden syrup, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and beat on a medium speed with the electric mixer again until lighter in colour and fluffy.  Use a spoon to fill the cupcake cases to just above half way and bake in your preheated oven at 160 degrees celsius for 20-25 minutes. (check at 15 minutes to see how they are looking). Remove from oven when they are golden in colour, and bounce back when you lightly press on their tops.
Ginger Kiss buttercream
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Ingredients:
125g butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
Method:
Cream butter and sifted icing sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add spices and vanilla and beat with mixer until you get a good piping consistency – not so stiff that you can’t spread it easily, but not too smooth that the icing wont keep its shape.
Use a star-point (rose tip) piping nosel as your piping tool, to pipe beautiful roses onto your cupcakes.

Tuppence Cafe – Dunedin

One of my local friends in Dunedin introduced me to Tuppence in Waverly, just out of central Dunedin on the way to the peninsula.

I was pretty amazed at the array of delicious looking cabinet food including all of the sweet slices you could imagine from ginger crunch to chocolate coconuty goodness.

Off the brunch menu I ordered the classic, eggs benny accompanied by grilled ciabatta – it was yummy, and you can definitely tell a home made hollandaise sauce from a store bought one, and this home made one was to die for!

Would highly recommend if you’re feeling like a morning or afternoon treat from their delectable cabinet selection, or if you’re in the mood to splash out for a yummy, classic kiwi brunch with a friend.

 

Find Tuppence at:

146 Larnach Road,

Waverly

Dunedin

https://www.facebook.com/tuppencecafewaverley/

The Good Oil, Dunedin

The Good Oil is a vibrant cafe you just can’t go wrong with.

Whether it’s something out of their cabinet selection or off the menu, the food never fails to impress and provide the perfect ‘brunch’ out.

Eggs Benny

The eggs benedict, served on toasted english muffins with your choice of house smoked salmon or bacon covered in the traditional rich and creamy hollandaise sauce is a morning must. I find that the portion sizes are true to their prices which is attractive being a student looking for the best deals out there.

The French Toast

Traditional french style brioche slices accompanied by a berry compote, bacon and maple syrup is definitely the sweetest treat on the Good Oil’s menu.

Cinnamon Swirls

The cabinet cinnamon swirls are a serious game changer when it comes to cafe cabinet food. A soft brioche style dough filled with a buttery cinnamon and sugar mix – heated up with a little butter is the best afternoon snack you could get your hands on.

On a few occasions when I’ve popped in to treat myself, they’ve sold out or on hold. A must try if you’re visiting the Good Oil, and accompanied by a delicious AllPress coffee served in store is a perfect winter treat.

Etrusco at the Savoy, Dunedin

The Italians would be proud of this hidden culinary gem..

Having just started my third and final year at university in Dunedin, I have come to discover the hidden food treasures this little, but vibrant city has to offer.

Keeping the ‘cheep and cheerful’ attitude in mind, I was pleasantly surprized to find Italian treasure, Etrusco hidden upstairs in one of Dunedin’s classic, old fashioned buildings in the CBD. Ever since I’ve been a loyal customer over the three years I’ve studied in Dunedin – you can’t go past a good pizza or pasta dish when the study blues have you down.

To Start – Pizza Bread

Although the name might suggest ‘simple’, your tastebuds won’t think the same.

A house-made pizza base cooked in a woodfire pizza oven topped with olive oil, garlic and the house tuscan tomato sauce is a satisfying way to set you up for your main course. At $8.50 for 1-2 people or $11.50 for 3-4, there are options for a date night or family get together.

Pasta – The Nonno

I’ve ordered the Nonno a few times (as have a few of my friends that I can also vouch for), and am yet to try and create something similar at home after falling in love with it.

A creamy tomato based pasta sauce, riddled with thin shavings of pancetta (cured ham), onions, parmesan, parsley, all ‘flamed’ in vodka and tossed through penne is a true Italian night out for the tummy. Highly recommend this dish – depending on how spicy you like your food, I prefer to ask for the Nonno without the chilli as I’m pretty weak when it comes to handling a chilli.

I found the option to order either the ‘Medio’ or ‘Grande’ portion was one of the best things about the overall catering experience at Etrusco – grab the medio for a satisfying and cheap meal, or indulge into the grande with the option of taking home pasta for lunch the next day – for me this was a great treat not having to cook dinner the next night.

Ravioli (of the day)

The chef’s ravioli of the day special is usually a deal breaker when ordering. The ravioli of the day is usually full of great surprises. I tried the Pumpkin (sage and ricotta i think..) filled ravioli, accompanied by a tomato and parmesan based sauce. Super filling even when ordering just the medio option, but worth every cent.

A MUST for anyone living in or visiting Dunedin

Find Etrusco at:

The Savoy Building

8A Moray Place

Dunedin

http://www.etrusco.co.nz/

 

Salt Bar, Whitianga, Coromandel

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source: salt-whitianga.co.nz

Whitianga has been my second home for as long as I’ve been alive. Our family bach right on the water at Simpson’s Beach, built by my late Granddad is a special place where I have made and hold many memories.

One of the things I love most about visiting beach towns, especially Whitianga, is diving into the unique seaside restaurants that line the beach town.

Salt, has always had a great reputation for producing fine food, right on the corner of the Whitianga marina.

The times I have eaten there I have never been disappointed with the food – in fact I’ve been thoroughly impressed.

Bread & Dips

For starters my family and I always like to tuck into the house bread options, and Salt’s version of this is actually one of the best.

Homemade and toasted, brown seed and grain and ciabatta breads, accompanied by house garlic and herb butter, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic, leaves you desperate for your main course.

You can’t beat homemade bread, and I highly recommend that any bread fans visiting Whitianga should dive straight into Salt’s selection of bread and dips.

The Lamb Rump

I recently tried the Lamb Rump on our latest holiday in Whitianga, and I can safely say that I would go back for another order of that meal.

three perfectly medium-rare and succulent pieces of lamb, accompanied by roasted baby beetroot, rosemary infused potatoes, feta, crispy onions and black garlic created one of the most beautiful and tasty lamb dishes I have ordered anywhere.

The roasted garlic were golden pockets of heaven, and took the dish just that one step further.

At $34 a plate, I would say that if you are a lamb-lover, every cent is worth tasting this dish.

Twice Cooked Duck

Mum had the roast duck. An 8hr confit leg, roasted duck breast, accompanied by French lentils, savoy cabbage, cherry gel, chocolate soil and Sichuan jus was described by Mum as “amazing”.

Unsure about the chocolate component of the dish upon ordering, however after tasting I asked Mum what the flavour combination was like and she was very impressed.

The French lentils seemed to be the perfect companion as a subtle addition to the delicately cooked duck, and left us with another reason to come back as soon as we could.

Surf & Turf

Dad ordered the classic, surf & turf. A 200gm eye fillet steak with prawns, herb roasted baby potatoes and a béarnaise sauce. Dad being a big steak fan, was certainly impressed with the flavours and the portion size of the dish.

Baby potatoes are a kiwi classic when in season, and these roasted gems were waxy and flavoursome – the sign of high quality produce and experienced chefs.

Salt is the restaurant I would recommend to anyone passing through or staying in Whitianga. A truly, delectable treat.

Allergy friendly: YES

Child friendly: YES

Reasonably priced: FAIR

Impressive staff/service: YES

Find Salt at:

2 Blacksmith Lane, Whitianga 3510
Coromandel Peninsula, NZ
Phone 07 866 5818
Email kelly@whitiangahotel.co.nz

Non Solo Pizza, Parnell, Auckland

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Source: nonsolopizza.co.nz

I have been a fairly loyal customer to Parnell’s, Non Solo Pizza ever since I stumbled across it with my high school friend group out shopping one weekend.

It was winter, so naturally, pizza or pasta was on the menu for lunch to fuel us up for an afternoon of shopping.

Down a small alley way, lit by fairy lights is the best (upmarket) pizza place in Auckland, without a doubt!

The Medeterranio Pizza

A house-made woodfire pizza, topped with Italian bacon, mozzarella, tomato, rosemary and pecorino is my absolute ‘go to’ order at NSP.

The base alone is made by the love of the hands of the restaurant’s Italian chefs, and cooked to perfection in a woodfired oven.

The top quality ingredients that top the mediterraneo classic is Italian bacon or prosciutto – thinly sliced and salty – giving an Italian pizza experience like no other. You feel cultured cutting into a slice of NSP pizza, and the staff and atmosphere help give you a true Italian experience in Auckland’s city hub.

$25 for a pizza, but if you’re looking for the best, this is the place to go for any Italian cuisine or pizza lovers.

Ravioli De Pollo

All of NSP’s pasta is homemade using free range eggs. I think this definitely adds to the delicateness of their pasta dishes as they are all crafted with such knowledge and care.

Another good thing about NSP’s pasta selection is that they all come in either half or full sizes (depending on how hungry you are – you can choose). But I personally go for the full size, because there’s really nothing quite the same as having leftover restaurant pasta for lunch the next day (I recommend this option).

One of the pasta dishes I have ordered one of two times is the Ravioli Di Pollo. Chicken and spinach ravioli with thyme, sage, basil, vine ripened tomato and parmesan – a truly delicious Italian dish.

I’m a lover of ravioli, and love to experiment making my own at home. The Ravioli Di Polli at NSP was what triggered my curiosity in pasta-making.

Each Ravioli cooked ‘al dante’ filled with a moist chicken and spinach flavor bomb filling that paired beautifully with the acidic vine ripened tomatoes and shaved parmesan and sage butter.

For any pasta fans out there, I highly recommend this dish.

Allergy friendly: YES

Child friendly: YES

Reasonably prices: YES

Impressive staff/service: YES

Find Non Solo Pizza at:

259 Parnell Road, Parnell Auckland

http://www.nonsolopizza.co.nz