Tuesday 28 June 2011

Trash Tuesdays: Double Double Downs at KFC

Double chicken, double bacon, double cheese, double awesome. ~ KFC ad
When Kentucky Fried Chicken brought out their Double Down "Burger" it created a frenzy of controversy.  Every where you looked there was the Double Down, on every tv channel someone was eating it, a nutritionist lambasting it or an anti-obesity group declaring it was evil incarnate.

The official tagline is that it is a "bun-less burger" with two chicken fillets, two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese (one plain, one cracked pepper) lavished with the Colonel's own special sauce.  I could feel my arteries clogging up even as I that typed out.  It's basically deep fried grease with grease doused in grease.

So what better way to break my wedding healthy eating regime than with one of these bad boys.  Better yet with two of them: a Double Double Down Challenge.

Kids, don't try this at home.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Takapuna Beach Cafe, Takapuna, Auckland

{house hot chocolate}

The three most important things in real estate is location, location, location ~ Unknown

You would really be hard pressed to find a better location for a cafe than the Takapuna Beach Cafe on Auckland's North Shore.

It sits literally metres away from Takapuna Beach with it's golden sand and sprawling pohutukawa trees, overlooking the ocean with Rangitoto Island in the background.  Combine that with the grandiose floor to ceiling windows and the uber stylish decor, and you've got the recipe for a cafe you just want to while away the day in.

When the Takapuna Beach Cafe (TBC) first opened, it was the place to be.  Be you a celeb, a lady who lunches, muso or suit you wanted to be seen having a coffee at the TBC.  Best people watching spot ever.

We used to go to the TBC all the time when I was living in Auckland, I loved the consistently excellent coffee, the impeccably attentive service and most of all the exceptional restaurant-quality food that was always creative and always delicious.  So when my cousin and his girlfriend were over for our wedding, I couldn't think of a better place to show off Kiwi cafe culture.

The question was, would the TBC still be as good as I remembered? Would the setting, coffee, service and food still be as good? Well...turns out 3 out of 4 ain't bad.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Wedding = love Part 2: The Chinese tea ceremony, hair combing ritual and other wedding traditions

There are seven necessities related to the starting of a family's life: firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar and tea. ~ Chinese proverb 

Chinese weddings are steeped in tradition and symbolism, superstition and folk lore.  I'm not usually a sticker for tradition,  I really wanted to have Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremonies at our wedding.  There's just something wonderfully romantic about wedding traditions, don't you think?  Knowing that my mother, my grandmothers, their mothers and generations of Chinese women before them have followed the same rituals at their weddings for hundreds of years, made even little old kiwi me feel connected with my heritage.  A link to the past on the first day of our future together.  What an incredibly moving and humbling experience.  

Having said that, since ours was an East meets West kinda wedding, we didn't stick exactly to tradition and cherry picked the things we had time for.  I'd like to think of it as Chinese culture meets Kiwi ingenuity.

 {All photos taken by Jel Photography unless otherwise stated}

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Cinnamon & olive oil pancakes with salted butter caramelized bananas

That's why I'm easy...I'm easy like Sunday morning ~ Lionel Ritchie

Lazy Sunday brunches are one of my favourite meals. 

I would go so far as to say my husband and I are brunchaholics.  We used to brunch it up every weekend making our way round the plethora of cafes in Auckland (how we managed to afford to as poor students I have no idea!).

These days though, we tend to have our brunch dates at home.   I'd like to think it's coz we are just more comfortable at home but really it's probably coz we're just too lazy to go out.

Having said that, there are few things more satisfying than whipping up a massive stack of pancakes, fluffy french toast, super quick eggs bene, creamy balsamic mushrooms or fruity bircher muesli and getting to enjoy it while still in the comfort of your jamies and ugg boots.  Why go out when you can laze around at home, test each other with the brain teaser quiz in the newspaper and have as much delicious brunch food as you like for a fraction of the price?       
And if these Cinnamon & Olive Oil Pancakes with Salted Butter Caramelized Bananas don't completely convince you to give the at-home-brunch-date a go then I don't know what will!

Thursday 9 June 2011

Wedding = love Part 1: Getting ready, the ceremony & arty shots

{by jel photography}

A photograph is memory in the raw.  ~Carrie Latet
Our photos are here, our photos are here!!!

The DVD arrived yesterday and I am so so excited bout sharing them with you all!

The very talented team of Eleanor and James at Jel Photography, were our wedding photographers and we had an absolute blast with them!  So easy going, so happy and smiley and boy can they take gorgeous photos!

So without further ado...here's our Wedding = love Album!

(All photos taken by Jel Photography unless otherwise stated)

Monday 6 June 2011

An ode to good mates, junk food and Trash Tuesdays



In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. ~ Kahlil Gibran


From extreme highs and to another crushing low - life is definitely a roller coaster all right!  Just days after our amazing wedding, we got a bombshell: my uncle is very ill.  Terminally ill.  A few months they said.  


Devastating, heart-crushing news.

Not sure what it is about this year but I seem to be blogging about sad news rather often, our dear family friend, grandma and now this.  What a topsy turvy year.  So sorry about being such an Eeyore folks!  


What has been amazing though is the thoughtfulness of friends.  Mere days after sobbing it out to my mates, two massive parcels arrive on my doorstep chock-a-block full of chocolates, cookies and candies.  Ahhhh Junk Food: The Magic Cure All.  My gorgeous friends from my old team at work sent me down some of my fav sweet things to me to cheer me up.  Honestly, nothing beats sugary goodness when you are feeling low.  Absolute angels.  Love you, Lis, Alex and Pip.

The group of us used to go out for lunch on Tuesdays and get something gloriously greasy and trashy: McDonalds, KFC, butter chicken, pies - the trashier the better.  We called it: Trash Tuesdays.  So, as an ode to the good old days and as an homage to team GQ/DOH I'm starting a new post series by the same name to rant and rave about so-bad-but-so-good foods.  It might not be every Tuesday, but if it's trashy, you'll hear about it on Trash Tuesday.


Immediately upon receiving the parcels I attacked my two of favs: the Licorice Choc Logs and Pineapple Lumps.  I had every intention of photographing and blogging about them but they disappeared into my greedy tummy before my self control kicked in to make me stop and take photos.  I did get a couple shots of the licorice logs, but the pineapple lumps weren't so lucky.  The price they pay for being too addictive.


Saturday 4 June 2011

Winter down under: Feijoa, ginger & coconut loaf

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

It's getting mighty chilly down here in the south of the southern hemisphere.  Dunedin, is almost the most southern city in the world, beaten only by Invercargill.  When it blows a southerly in Dunedin, it feels like it's blown straight off an Antarctic iceberg.  Heck, it's so cold down here penguins roam the beaches.  I kid you not.

{C casually next to a penguin at Aramoana Bay}

Despite the cold feet, washing that won't dry and rainy dreary days, I actually quite like winter.  It's all about , steaming hot chocolate, baked puddings with lashings of cream and rib-sticking roast meals.  It's about family time, nights-in with a movie and Merlot, and snuggling under warm blankets.

In New Zealand, Autumn/Winter time is also feijoa time.  Practically nobody outside New Zealand knows what they are and everyone here had a tree in their backyard or knew someone who did.

Feijoas have a grainy texture like pears and guavas and taste like a crazy cocktail of pear, pineapple, guava and kiwifruit with a floral hint.  You either love them or hate them.

I love the crazy little things and couldn't wait to make this Feijoa, ginger and coconut loaf as soon as I got my greedy little hands on some.


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