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Where there’s travel, there’s food

18 Mar

And you can’t separate them. Where there are locals, there’s good food. And cheap too!

Anyway, during our two week long holiday, we’ve been from tip to tip of the north island of nz although we haven’t gone in between. We just explored Auckland as there’s plenty to discover, see and do here too.

On our first day as I’ve mentioned in my just posted post, I chose for us to have breakfast at Matakana Saturday Market to give them a good view of what’s waiting for them here in this beautiful country of New Zealand. My uncle ordered kedgeree…

which my mom thought had the evil ingredient “cumin” from which she faithfully believes every indian or middle eastern dish has. She doesn’t like it. She hates it. No more questions asked. I said to her, “Be open.” But it’s not as if I like their dishes too. I guess there’s still a whole lot of things for both of us to learn and appreciate. At least I could say that I’m more open than her!
She has had the bacon and egg bap. According to, bap is a british noun which means a soft, flattish bread roll. Hmm, if only I wasn’t as enthused as now to write this post, I wouldn’t have found that out. That’s why I’m really glad that I’m still hanging on to my resolution of doing more reading and writing rather than just being a tv slave.

I had waffles and banana slices in syrup . Perfect meal to start that day for myself.

And of course, my mom and I shared this lovely hot cup of chocolate.


For lunch, we headed to Parnell village and tried the strawberry alarm clock cafe. I had cajun chicken in wholemeal toasts and my mom had pumpkin soup which she didn’t like (again) because she found it sweet and preferred a savoury one. So I ended up sharing my sandwich with her. I still love her despite her little tantrums. 🙂 My uncle had a classic BLT sandwich which I failed to take a photograph of because we were just ready to devour the minute our food was brought to us.


Then for dinner, I opted for the typical kiwi fastfood, fish and chips. It was delicious I should say after having tried dozens of them since I got here. The battered fish was huge! Wrong shot angle but it really was. Get them at the Puhoi general store.


For lunch the next day, I brought them to Morris & James Pottery Cafe. The first time I went there, I fell in love with its seemingly European country charm with vines and leaves hugging its walls and their alfresco dining under the sun. It was lovely. We ordered Mediterranean pizza

Fish cakes

and market salad.

It was filling and satisfying.

The day after my uncle left, my mom and I went on the Overlander train for a scenic rail journey from Auckland to Wellington. We had our lunch stop at the National Park with the snowcapped Mt. Ruapehu backdrop. I just bought a bacon and cheese sandwich with fresh salad on the side.


After eating sandwiches and salads relentlessly, I started craving for Asian food again. And here was the answer to my prayer..

Wow! 🙂

And after a savoury meal, my tastebuds started searching for something sweet.
So we went to lower cuba street at a corner cafe and had a caramel slice and chai latte


The next day I bought us breakfast at mcdonald’s and ordered an extra yoghurt berry crunch.

I think that yoghurt and muesli are beginning to win me over. 🙂

My mom desired for a hot bowl of congee. So we went to Jasmine chinese restaurant near the cable tram station. Unfortunately, the lady there told us that Kiwis generally don’t like it that’s why they don’t include that in their menu. So we ended up having the $15pp buffet. Really good!!!





What a way to end our Wellington adventure.

The following day, our friends brought us to The Observatory restaurant at the Sky Tower. Another buffet! But my plan attack was not to eat any sort of carbs. Still it wasn’t succesful as I thought it would be for I didn’t get to try the last two desserts that I wanted to try. Ok get ready for this long line up!
Southern clams and cockles in Sicilian tomato salsa (didn’t dip)

Mud crab in black bean sauce (same here)

Seared peruvian scallop, sweet corn puree and truffle mustard

Steamed saltwater tiger prawns

Baby octopus in sour marinade

Queen scallop

Broadbill with polenta, lemon butter sauce and anchovy mayonnaise

Coromandel green lip mussels with tamarind, fried orange and coconut milk

Mushroom terrine

Field mushrooms and roasted garlic salad

Sanma Japanese mackerel

Classic ham


Now with the glorius desserts..
Caramel apple tarts

Coconut lime cake

Fresh fruits

Pavlova with apple and feijoa compote

Baked red currant cheesecake

Elderflower panna cotta


And this I didn’t get to try and failed to get the name as well


Our last leg was at Bay of Islands in the towns of Paihia and Russell where we stayed and joined the Cape Reinga Tour on our second day. We had lunch in a Thai restaurant and my mom had
Barbecue pork in sweet sauce and rice

I had chicken and vegetables in peanut sauce

I just loved this carved raddish with its reddish outline. Not that I ate it!


Dinner was at Jack’s and we shared the biggest order of ribs


Then we had buffet lunch (again) during the tour at Houhora. Don’t worry, this is just a short line up!


And my mom got this tiny crab inside one of her mussels


Dinner in a chinese restaurant (still staying positive about mommy’s congee) but naah.. we ordered
Fried whole fish in sweet sour sauce (which really screams chinese)


Lastly, still with an adventurous but tired spirit, we headed to the old little town of Russell, around fifteen minutes from Paihia by ferry. We had lunch at the Duke of Marlborough hotel. I got
Thai Beef salad

and my mom got the
Grilled cuban sandwich


That was some gastronomic journey!!


Matakana Saturday Market

13 Mar

I’ve been here a few times already but I thought it would be a great welcoming
starter for my two guests, my mom from Manila and my uncle from the states. I love this market for the feeling that it gives me everytime. The genuine warmth shown by the merchants each selling a different product from feijoa juice, blue cheese, baguettes, sundried tomatoes in oil, nuts, herbs and spices, dips and spreads, fresh oysters, organic fruits and vegetables, churros, coffee, hot chocolate, macchiato, kedgerees, waffles and so many more goodies to wet your appetite and inspire your culinary journey, never fails me. It also gives me a taste of my dream to visit markets in central plazas of Italy and the likes. Also it plays a
huge part of what New Zealand has to offer them in terms of gastronomic adventure.














I’m really glad they loved it too! 🙂

Beef Mechado

28 Feb

I don’t know where we derived the term mechado from but certainly this is an authentic filipino dish. I always wished that I should have taken photos of my other filipino dishes but I was always too hungry, excited, and extremely eager to devour instantly what I have been suppressed from for a good couple of years now. They were always laid and plated in such a way that I’ve always done when I was still back home. That is “homey or being so cozy and laid back on the plate that everything’s all around without even a
hint of finesse and looking very much like pig food. I’m not sure if I could even use the word “plated”. So it wasn’t exactly something to be proud and
taken picture of and make an exhibition
out of it. But it’s another kind of mess and comfort that we each all have in a
weird way.

But in this dish, I managed to make it look camera worthy and appetizing at least. It’s a tomato based dish with a little bit of soy sauce and lemon and chunks of beef. And to my delight and
surprise, I thought it was a really good copycat of the authentic one.


Salmon Kedgeree

19 Feb

Ok it does sound a little bit intimidating, which I felt myself because it’s a new term for me. Perhaps it was a new style or method of preparing or cooking food or a different combination or set of ingredients known as the “kedgeree”. I didn’t know completely until I referred to my bible a.k.a gordon’s “makes it easy” book. It did appear simple to make. Yes it was actually simple. According to which has been extremely handy to me lately as I’ve been hooked with bourdain’s book from which thirty to forty percent of the time, he uses a not so typical word. Thankfully though it is a well loved book by me as his writing is tastefully humorous and hysterical at times. No. Most of the time. Tony thank you for filling up my lonely moments even if you were in the midst of killing a pig.. it was still very well written.. and detailed.

A kedgeree is a cooked dish consisting of rice, lentils, and spices. A cooked dish of rice, fish, hard-boiled eggs, butter, cream, and seasonings. Yes it was more like the latter one. I found the eggs the most challenging one to prepare because I always miscalculate the right moment to get it out of the pot to achieve the just-perfectly-hard-boiled egg asked for in the recipe. Anyway I was still happy even though I failed in all my tries out of four eggs, the last egg seemed to be quite photogenic.

I used salmon for the fish and turmeric and saffron to give the rice its bright and lovely colour. For the saffron I made sure I still have enough left for my next cooking sessions. Yes that was plural.


Carbonara the italian way

12 Feb

I’ve been visiting the community library more frequently than I usually did before. But it’s not like I passionately do now. I’ve just been hooked on Anthony Bourdain’s crazy hysterical books on his food travels around the globe. Well done to the vast array of selections provided by the Auckland libraries. At least I would have to think twice now if I really need to buy a book.

I borrowed this encyclopedia like italian culinary book. It’s huge and heavy and if given a one second chance to think if I want to borrow it, I won’t. When laziness kicks in. But it has a certain spirit of temptation and charm that I couldn’t resist. It was like there’s something inside that I needed to see and learn. Well true enough for those of you who didn’t know that tiramisu didn’t originate in Japan, I plead extremely guilty to this! Believe it or not it’s genuinely italian. I just have yet to research where they got the name for it. Maybe from Japan!

Italians make their carbonaras without cream. They only use beaten eggs. And lucky for me to be in the land of cheese and milk and sheep everywhere for which I wouldn’t be surprised to find one grazing beside my car parked underneath a line of sap rich trees which I completely abhor. It was easy for me to find pecorino at the local supermarket. I grated it and mixed it with my shaved parmesan, sprinkled them over the freshly cooked spaghetti which melted them right away and blanketed the whole dish with heavenly goodness!! It was magnifico!! I just imagined myself wearing a fake, curly mustache and sporting a white chef’s hat LOL.

But truly it felt like it was a quick simulated travel to Rome which has a strong enthusiasm for pasta 🙂


How The Kiwis and French enjoy food

6 Feb

I’m back! It’s been a while again! Excited to come back though from my gastronomic adventure this weekend. Today is Waitangi Day which gives the whole of NZ an extra day of recreation.

And at last! I finally got the courage to go down to the city of sails and head straight to the french market in Parnell. It was a fantastic experience!! It stimulated all my senses!! The colours of the fruits and veggies are so alive!!




Sundrop apricots

Interesting splash of colours on the chilis


Yellow cucumbers


But even before I did all these shots, I had to fuel myself first with the market’s ever popular paella. The stall had four humongous pans that could feed the whole market.


I had the seafood paella and it was good! It had fish, prawn, mussel and squid. The lemon squeeze made the whole package tastier.

Amidst the wonderful chaos of people searching for what could satisfy their stomachs, there was a spot for
musicians who rendered french upbeat and magical music. As it was to bewitch the crowd to buy some more food. I enjoyed the ambience and regardless of this live music, I was really bound to buy food.


Each stall had their own specialty.

Bread dips

Cucumber and pepper stand perhaps

Sausages obviously

I think this is spiced salt

Freshly made raviollis bathed in flour

And there will always, always be a flower stand

Shrimp kebabs

French crepes. I had nutella and my friend had the apple and cinnamon syrup

The indoor market was more relaxed and it catered to people who preferred to sit down, eat, drink and chat to their heart’s delight. Or maybe those who were already finished shopping, ran out of money or to just grab a bite before hitting the stalls again.

Of course! Who would like to miss their wine?? In here, it’s the official H2O.

Danish pastries

The one on the right looked like it had an egg yolk in it. It must have been peach or another yellow flesh fruit.

And this is where I bought my cheese.


Condiments and other sorts of goodness 🙂

This was where I found the “eggyolk” pastry

They also had water for self-service

And this very exclusive and expensive shop which I also enjoyed checking out.

The goodness pans or Spanish’s bestfriend in the kitchen

Hanging chairs

Home decors


No more pictures to share! That was a lot though!
I guess I will definitely go back there with my other friends who haven’t been to that spot of heaven in Parnell. My assignment is to find out again the name of the cheese that I bought and to take photographs of the other stalls that I missed.
I think that French and Kiwi people enjoy a lot of similar food from cheese to wine, crepes, paella, dips, spreads, delis, pastries, kebabs, etc. This is what brings them together. Two very different cultures but sharing one passion. Food.

Tom Yum

31 Jan

Yes I am actually in the mood this week!! But hey, this dish was a cheat! I just used an instant paste to make up for the red chili taste and colour of the soup. I’m still learning you know! LOL Then as I did my grocery last Saturday it was frustrating not to find the important ingredients to this recipe. I didn’t find any corriander leaves and lemongrass which I always and never fail to see everytime I do my shopping. Just happens when you need it!! Then this glorious moment came when I discovered this tube (yes it’s another paste again my friends) filled up with all the missing ingredients that I needed. I was a little doubtful about it and how it was going to affect the taste of the soup but right there in front, it had my most coveted lemongrass and corriander. How tempting!! Chichinggg!!! It finally went home with me.

But it all ended up as a delightful
and hearty dinner for me 🙂