Sunday, April 13, 2014

Succumbed to Soup

It's getting cold. I tried to ignore this and wear jean cut-offs the other day to lunch but to no avail. Mother Nature won that seasonal style battle and I was freezing while shopping by 4pm. So today I succumbed to soup and was it worth it! A hearty house-made vegetarian minestrone. We ordered two large bowls and they were passed round the tiny table giving everyone a sample. It was delicious. It warmed us. Bellies were filled. It was the perfect day for minestrone. Leaves are falling as I write this and I am absolutely looking forward to soup season.

What are your favorite soup recipes?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

From Ice Cream to Nice Cream

There are those transitions into adulthood that are sometimes very hard to swallow. Except in this case it was the exact opposite reaction. Not being able to swallow dairy is now the reality of a few members of our team. We are talking former cereal lovers, cheese snobs and milkshake guzzlers who are now acutely aware that their bodies are rejecting milk and some, if not all, its by-products. There are palpable feelings of devastation in the air as if some chapter in our very dairy decadent lives is over and will be missed forever. But in one area, the Lactose Lot (what I've termed this unfortunate group) are not to be completely deprived. From ice cream to Nice Cream we go. This New Zealand made treat below is created using highly nutritious coconut milk which boasts lauric acid that aids in supporting the immune system. So dessert can make you feel better? Well it can definitely elevate your moods and it is lactose, gluten, soy, nut and cholesterol free so allergy sufferers can rejoice and enjoy the goodness. Nice Cream contains WAY less sugar and half the fat of standard ice cream which also lessens that personal guilt factor. 

Select artisan grocers carry the gourmet cool treat which we saw came in these flavors: Banana Bean, Chocolate, Vanilla and Mango. 

It's getting late now and just about that time for a Nice Cream indulgence.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Industrie Espresso Bar

There is a new shop literally around the corner. It is the latest venture from Switch Espresso owner Hamish Evans whose iconic Black Betty re-opened last week after 111 days of being shut down for earthquake repair. Organic coffee lovers are rejoicing as the Madras St. location was booming when I went in twice last week. Ok I missed it too and very happy they are back open. 
But what was the coffee connoisseur Evans doing on his 111 day break? Opening a new cafe, of course. Industrie Espresso Bar is the latest member of the Switch Espresso coffee brand located on 4/25 Birmingham Drive in the busy industrial complex where a proper coffee shop was much needed for the early-to-work set (Hours: 8am to 3pm M-F). The open setting with walk-up vending will appeal to those looking for a no nonsense coffee run where the organic coffee and gourmet pastries will meet the needs of all cafe cruisers. With room to stay for a bit to read the paper or a magazine, Industrie boasts natural elements that ground you to the very coffee you are sipping on. Polished floors, vibrant coffee plants, the aroma of freshly roasting beans and the presence of the mammoth Switch Espresso coffee roaster which resides in house at Industrie will all bring you back down to earth and enjoying a quick cup of coffee. The smell is intoxicating and may have you hanging around for another cuppa.
Lush coffee plants bring an authentic vibe to the industrial new location.
Coffee beans before the roasting.
Baked pretzels are sourced locally from Breads of Europe.

Switch Espresso coffee roaster is onsite at the new location.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Healthy Snack Stack

It's the middle of the day. That time between "lunch is over" and "dinner's coming" when you need to nosh. Our team created this delicious mini masterpiece in our continuing effort to make smarter food choices. For a quick snack we would have normally grabbed a bag o' crisp chips with accompanying dip and had at it. Not today folks. So here's to your health & creating the body you want with easy and guilt-free snacks like this.

Healthy Snack Stack
Start with a brown rice cracker (or 2)
Slather some good hummus on. We chose carrot and kumara.
Slice one small tomato very thin and layer them on top of the hummus.
Put a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Sprinkle with parsley and salt if you desire.

No ingredients list here because it's just a snack to inspire and you stack on what you like. Use fresh spinach, grated carrot, sliced cucumber, diced capsicum, or grated cheese. Options are endless so get stackin' and start snackin'!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Go Bananas!

It was this gorgeous smoothie that inspired us to share our big fruit secret. It's banana "ice cream" which we now add to all our fruity treats. See our photos below on how we prep and freeze fresh bananas to easily craft our creamy creation.

Tip: peeled bananas freeze within the hour and will last for up to 2 weeks or longer in the freezer.

After freezing then all we do is blend it up with with our favorite fruits as the 1% of milk that's inherent in all bananas comes forth and the consistency of the prefect smoothie is achieved.

Best recipe here

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Margaritas & More at Mexicano's

Last month the world celebrated National Margarita Day as they do each year on February 22.  I had a belated celebration but the libations, and more, were just as delicious. Blood orange, mango and pineapple were a few of our top choices plus a sneaky Sangria Tinte featuring pomegranate and Merlot that we had to try while out at Mexicano's. Boasting authentic cuisine the likes of which New Zealand's South Island has not seen in reportedly a while, Mexicano's has broken a stale mold of less than substantial Mexican food in the city. This ethnic eatery is the latest restaurant on trendy Victoria Street to bring the foodies out in droves for a very different culinary experience. Think Dia de Los muertos as the theme with calaveras and beautiful, vibrant Mexican decor attributing to the cultural ambience. Modern lighting and full tables have established Mexicano's as a top spot in the city. As native Texans cilantro, chile, and comino were a part of our normal diet. Must admit, we were dubious about our first Mexican dining experience in New Zealand but indulged in real guacamole, fresh salsa and what we would consider pretty fancy tacos. Shown below, we played it safe by ordering the chicken and beef choices that were both cooked to perfection and seasoned as such, too.The food was really very good and I was pleasantly surprised to see the New Zealand quality standard of food carried throughout each dish. I've booked in for next week though I'm currently scouring the menu for exactly what we will be sampling. Maybe the pulled pork or perhaps ceviche? All are sure to be table pleasers. Click here for more info and enjoy the gallery below.


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