28 Nov 2012

A little bit about Longroom, Ponsonby

Eva and her Parkie invited me out to dinner :)

When I was about to cross the road, I saw the cute couple holding hands, beaming and waving at me. Sooo cute. Seriously cute

The last time I met up with them (and the first time) we were triple dating at Ancestral in chch, and then again at Kiwiyo in Mission Bay, but that time one half of them was missing, so it was an almost-quadruple date :P

Last night we were on Ponsonby Rd, talking about men's t-shirts and who gets excited about Skype dates when Eva spotted a potential restaurant that served steak and delicious sounding food

Longroom had an 'after-work drinks and catch-up over dinner' vibe. It has a courtyard for outdoor dining, a bar and a private room too, apparently.
A waiter carrying an eftpos machine on his tray seated the three of us at a tall table inside.

After a mouth-watering read of the menu and deciphering the foreign words description, we decided on our entrees and meals...

Chilli salt squid with adjud chilli sauce $11
I just looked up what adjud is. It's a city in Romania!
The squid was nice and crispy, not spicy and the sauce partied with my tastebuds

Lime marinated beef with red onion relish on a soft shell taco $6
Entree #2: again, very tasty.

When our mains came out, we were like :O whoa... Impressive.
Beer braised lamb shanks with pecorino mash, balsamic shallots and marjoram jus gras $26
(jus gras = juice from the roast)
Pecorino is a type of hard cheese made from sheep's milk.
I'm not exaggerating, probably the best mashed potatoes I've had. It was smooth, creamy and the buttery-cheese taste was what made it so good.

Aged angus sirloin, sauce foyot with wilted greens and chips $23.50
What sauce did you get? It's so delicious!
Ah the second one?

The foyot sauce. Was amazing.

There was a selection of sauces to go with the steak; peppercorn jus, sauce foyot, cafe de paris butter, horseradish cream... Eva made the right choice.

Foyot sauce is (I looked this up too) like hollandaise sauce but with herbs instead of lemon juice and added meat glaze. The result is flavour on flavour. It was so delicious.

Chicken schnitzel with nut slaw and capsicum chutney $23
The crispy and tender chicken schnitzel came on a bed of cashew nut coleslaw and served with sweet and tangy capsicum chutney.

Upon tasting our dishes, Eva kept saying, so good. It's so good. Sooo good...

Fantastic food, fantastic company. jt has great friends :)

114 Ponsonby Rd
Tuesday- Sunday 11am-til late

Would I come here again? Yup. It's a great place to go with some friends

Next time try the... Goat cheese stuffed meatballs entree with tomato ragu & a baked baguette,
Trio of mushroom risotto with truffled creme fraiche,
and the dessert menu if I have room for chocolate fondant, sticky date pudding or mandarin creme brulee... ;)

And to conclude,

I went to the beach today...
The sun and the tide was out. Double tan lines, yesss


24 Nov 2012

A little bit about brunch

I had the most magnificent brunch the other day.

Calci had just come back from S'pore, Phuket and KL and heading off to China in a couple days time, so she invited Team Wonderful over for brunch...

With maple syrup...
Oh these were for the angry birds cake Mrs Wong had made
This is my favorite type of milk!!!! It tastes like Aero
I can't drink plain milk straight, but I can drink this whole bottle in one go.

I haven't tried that...

Strawberries, grapes and yoghurt...
And corn fritters and poached eggs and toast...
A brunch.

And to conclude,
Ever since my nautical interest grew into a hyperactive fascination, I have been Trade Me-ing for a knot board to hang on my wall.

And then at the museum I saw one,
and jt was like, we can make that...
I was like, :O no you can't! That's so complex! You need to be able to tie knots!

Turns out he can tie knots.
This one's called a sheet bend (am I right?)
A bend is a knot that ties two ends together.

We bought rope from LookSharp or the likes
I had a polysterene board tucked away somewhere
A canvas or a board is also good.
We covered it with black card... but you can use any kind of paper, for example giftwrap or leftover wallpaper
We made a rope border and tied the ends into a Carrick Bend

The next day jt had a better idea of having knots on all four sides of the board.
So I turned that one into a photo board, since it's made of polystyrene and you can stick pins on it.

And we made this one instead.
I love it.


11 Nov 2012

A little bit about hazelnut mint brownies

So a while back, my mum bought a block of peppermint chocolate to make peppermint cheesecake.
Months later, no cheesecake and only half a block left.

So I decided to make mint brownies.

With hazelnuts!

This recipe is great if you don't have any cooking chocolate, because it only uses cocoa powder
It was after mixing this and putting it in the pan that I realised I should've added Nutella !!! for that real hazelnut flavor
Improvements for next time:
Don't let anyone eat the chocolate beforehand, so you can have more in your brownies
Arrange squares of chocolate in the middle and cover it up with the rest of the batter
Hazelnut Mint Surprise Brownies

1 2/3 cups sugar
170g butter, melted
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsps vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup crushed or chopped hazelnuts
block of peppermint chocolate

1. Combine sugar, melted butter and water in large bowl. 
2. Mix in lightly beaten eggs and vanilla. 
3. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl, stir into sugar mixture. 
4. Stir in nuts and chocolate. 
5. Spoon half the batter into prepared baking pan, arrange squares of chocolate pieces and cover with the rest of the batter
6. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack then cut into squares, bars, triangles or parallelograms
You can omit the hazelnuts, or use chopped walnuts or pecans
Try replacing 2 Tbsp of cocoa with Cadbury Mint Chocolate drink powder for an overall minty brownie :)
And any kind of chocolate would be good, really... White chocolate, caramel, chocolate chips, Crunchie pieces, peanut butter chocolate, any kind of chocolate!

The brownies I've made in the past resembled cakes, they were crumbly or weren't dark like the ones you buy from cafes
But these were good.
I especially like the peppermint soft-centred chocolate surprise

I took these to Suze's BBQ yesterday.
Start of summer, no exams, Castor Bay, ultimate frisbee... mint.

I heard a funny story that happened in Thailand, involving JoJo and 1K2:2 "I am about to go the way of all the the earth... So be strong, show yourself a man."
But you'll have to ask the Chan brothers for the full story :P

And to conclude,
It's practically summerrrrr and the sun will come out and it's going to be a gooooood week. xoxxo


7 Nov 2012

A little bit about almond chocolate coffee cake!

I had half a packet of almonds leftover from exams. Apparently nuts are good study food?
Well I learnt it's not about the food you eat or how hard you study, it really depends on how mean your lecturer is when it comes to exams. I don't know who could've finished that Civil211 exam in two hours and gotten half of it correct... No hard feelings, Piotr, really.
Anyway, I snacked on almonds cause I didn't want to take fish oil pills.

This morning I felt the urge to bake and I came across this marvellous site

There were recipes and mouth-watering photos of chocolate caramel brownies, fudge, Christmas cookies with red and green chocolate chips, apple and pumpkin loaf, chocolate filled braids and... Almond-chocolate coffee cake!

So I got out of bed and began baking.

 Half a cup of roasted unsalted almonds, to be chopped coarsely
1/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
I got this cute measuring shot glass to measure tablespoons and millilitres
Mix into a bowl with chopped apricots, coffee granules, cinnamon and chocolate chips
Spoon half the cake batter into the tin and sprinkle half the nutty mixture on top
Repeat with the remaining then bake!

Almond chocolate coffee cake

1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp coffee granules
A handful of dried apricots, chopped (about 5 pieces)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
170g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups yogurt (I used vanilla)

1. Preheat oven to bake at 180C. Line or butter a baking pan

2. Combine almonds, brown sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa, coffee, chopped apricots and cinnamon in a bowl.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a different bowl.

4. Beat softened butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla then beat for 2 minutes. 

5. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, until mixture is smooth. 

6. Alternately add the flour mixture and yogurt; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth. 

7. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Spread half the nut mixture on top; repeat layers.

8. Bake for 1 hour or until wooden skewer inserted near center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully turning cake out onto rack.
Improvements for next time:
More chocolate chips.
It's surprisingly soft! The almond, coffee and brown sugar sprinkling added a nice crunch to it.
I think it's really nice served warm with the leftover yogurt

And to conclude,
I read a really nice bible verse last night

Colossians 4:6 "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."


6 Nov 2012

A little bit about painting!!

I haven't been baking or cooking for a while,
this is because I have been...


Acrylic on canvas 5"x7"

I love to paint.
I picked up the hobby in Year 11 and now my walls are full.
I think a some people found the ncea art boards tedious, and so did I, but I really enjoyed it and haven't stopped painting since.
I paint with water mixable oils

These are like oil paints, it blends nicely and creates the textures that oils are praised for, except you can use water to thin it out and it only takes about a week to be touch dry, so you can paint wet-on-dry.
 I haven't completely 100% finished this painting, so I'll show you a fuzzy portion snapshot ;)

Acrylic on canvas 30"x40"
The ballerinas painting started probably about 3 years ago...
I started painting a praire landscape, did the sky and about a 30cm strip of grass with the water mixable oils, then left it.
A few months ago, I picked up the canvas again and covered it with blue acrylic.
It looked like abstract art.
When it dried, I saw ballerinas, so I painted them :)

oil on canvas 5"x7"

 A work in progress, pohutukawa flowers :)

Acrylic and oil on canvas 5"x7"
I started this recently with an acrylic base. It is of a photo taken of me and my mum in Puncak years and years ago.

Me: I looked happy so I must've still been an only child.
Mum: Of course you were happy, you were wearing a Benetton top and OshKosh overalls.
Me: Benetton?? As in UNITED COLORS of BENETTON?!

What a styly child.

And to conclude,
jt asked me, "What is that slice called with the jam and the meringue?"
"Louise slice?"
"Oh Louise!! I've been going through girls' names all day!!"