Taste of Auckland 2017

Yearly, Taste of Auckland transforms Western Springs into a food haven.

It is an event not to be missed.  You get the opportunity to try signature dishes from some of Auckland’s most exciting restaurants in a beautiful al fresco setting surrounded by pop-up winery stands, food stalls and drink experiences.  I went all out with a huge backpack as my shopping bag.

This year, we visited on the last day of the event.  The weather was wet and miserable which in fact was a bonus as we managed to get a car park without having to walk as far as we usually did in previous years.  The sun did come out eventually so it was a nice transformation from rain to shine!

There were ten top restaurants taking part.  In fact, I thought there were more stalls last year but I may be wrong.  Definitely, I could not find the stall selling smoked juicy salmon.  How I craved those thick juicy cubes on crackers.  We bought lots of dips and snacks home but no salmon this year.

My friend was attracted to the hangi, a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven.  I knew the meat would be bland (strictly my own opinion) but he was in front of the camera so had to make the bite look mouth-watering for others, I supposed.

We should have gone to Miss Moonshine instead as they had the best display.

I had bunny chow from 1947 Eatery which was quite nice but very spicy. Bunny chow is a very interesting dish.

During the Great Depression in 1933 Indians, whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else.  The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban (slang as the Bania). It was made from dried sugar beans (no meat). The children didn’t have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he’s taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called “chow”. Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow.  In time, it simply became known as Bunny Chow.

Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day’s food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves. Cheap and practical … 

We were looking for Tok Tok but by the time we found our favourite stall, our tummy no longer have room for their yummilicous crispy duck.  Too bad we couldn’t fit in the curry fish either.  How disloyal were we then, though it now gives us all the reason to travel all the way to Tok Tok, Takapuna for a proper dine-in.

In between that, we sampled lots and lots of sausages and I seemed to have gone off drinking so our two glasses that came with the tickets were pretty much souvenir pieces in that end.  I knew I have quite a few of them that we brought home yearly and never used.  What a hoarder.

Indeed, Taste of Auckland is quite an expensive day out though we only spent 140 crowns ($140) this visit which included entries for two and 80 crowns for spending amongst the two of us.  This was a lot less than last year’s spendings as there were no bottles of wine, beer or salmon in my backpack!

 

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Counting the steps @ Panmure Basin

I have done numerous walk around the Panmure Basin.

It takes around 45 minutes to walk the round loop.  On a fine day, you will come across joggers and people walking their dogs or just having a stroll.

In fact, I have not taken any photos of this beautiful walkway till my last walk.   Since I was a solo walker the other day, I took my phone and recorded the number of steps I took on this walk.  Also taken photos of the beautiful greens around the basin.  Spotted one Pohutukawa tree in early bloom.  Summer is hear and Christmas is near !

Approximately, it took me 3,000 steps to complete this walk in 45 minutes.  That was random and an experimental experience to capture the sights and count the steps on this otherwise unassuming exercise.

 

 

Happiness is ……

Where can one find happiness?

This story is written from a video – credit NTD Inspired Life.

A beautiful, well dressed lady went to her psychiatrist saying that she felt unhappy and her life was empty and meaningless.

They psychiatrist called the office cleaner, an old lady and asked Mary to share how she found happiness.

Mary put down her broom, sat on a chair and told her story.

Her husband died of malaria and three months later her only son was killed in an accident.  She could not sleep, eat and never smiled anymore.  She even thought of taking her own life.

One evening a little kitten followed her home from work.  It was cold and Mary let the kitten in and gave it some milk.  The kitten purred and rubbed against her leg.

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For the first time in months, Mary smiled.  🙂

If helping a little kitten could make her smile, Mary then decided that she could help others so everyday she tried to do something nice for someone.  It made her happy to see them happy.

Since then, she started sleeping and eating well and have found happiness by giving it to others.

The rich lady cried on hearing this.  She has everything that money could buy but she had lost the things which money cannot buy.

The beauty of life does not depend on how happy you are but on how happy others can be because of you.

Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Happiness is not tomorrow, it is now.

Happiness is not a dependency, it is a decision.

Happiness is what you are, not what you have !

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Dilmah Tea and all the rest

Dilmah tea is a household name in New Zealand.  It is one of the premium tea that line the shelves at all our local supermarkets.

Dilmah, founded by Merrill J. Fernando, today the world’s most experienced teamaker, has championed quality, authenticity and variety in tea. Dilmah pioneered the concept of Single Origin Tea in 1988 when the family company went against industry trends to declare its commitment to authenticity. Garden fresh, unblended tea is a hallmark of Dilmah and offers a unique taste of unblended Ceylon Tea packed at source.

I was given a pack of Dilmah’s new infusions for sampling at The Very Vintage Day Out recently.  Infusions and herbal teas are a rising trend amongst tea-drinking consumers.

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I enjoyed the Coconut & Mango the best.  The Ginger & Peppermint was nice and so is the Cardamon, Ginger & Orange and honestly, I had to throw the Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger & Nutmeg away.  I do not often waste food (just a habit and drink is food too) but that flavour did not suit me and it was almost undrinkable.  Can’t really describe how it tasted like, just simply ‘not my taste’!

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I often need a cup of coffee to start my day but I drink tea throughout the day, at least two to three cups a day.  In fact, drinking as little as a cup of tea daily may be good for your heart health, new research suggests.

However, don’t go overboard with tea.  As with most things, too much of some things may not always be good for you.

Drink tea if you enjoy it, in moderation, and not because you’re taking it as a medicine.

Quote Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

My food for thought today in a nutshell;

A cup or two of tea is good for you, be it Dilmah or any other trusted brand.

Porridge or Congee

My first taste of porridge (‘mui’ in Hokkien or Teochew) was when I was a baby weaned off milk to solids.

I grew up associating porridge as rice cooked and simmered with plenty of water till soft and creamy.  When young, I saw porridge as a food for babies or young children and people recovering from illness.  Porridge are soft solid food, easily digested.

Another name for porridge is congee but in Malaysia and Singapore, porridge is the common term.  Porridge or congee is now readily available as a hawker food or ‘street eats’.

Teochew (one of the local Chinese dialect) Porridge is a rice porridge dish accompanied with various small plates of side dishes such as preserved egg, beancurd, plain egg omelette, canned food such as black bean fish, etc.  This is a popular hawker food when you are looking for something light for breakfast or supper.

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Other porridge dishes are rice cooked with chicken, pork or fish (known as chicken, pork or fish porridge) and some like it added with egg for additional flavouring making it more creamier.

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For the greater part of my life, porridge to me is associated with rice.  When I moved to New Zealand, I found that everyone was confused when I served them porridge that to them is NOT porridge.  (Confusing enough).

To many non-Asians, porridge is milk with oats, weetbits, cereals or muesli.

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To avoid the confusion of everyone, when craving for porridge, I must say “congee” or Chinese porridge.

When someone asks for porridge for breakfast here, they mean cereals with milk, not rice porridge!

What is porridge to you?

Kumara, Spinach & Bacon Quiche

As I create new dishes, I am also starting to blog my recipes on Little Borneo Girl.

My blog Little Girl Story has almost run out of space as I only have a free blog.

Please follow me at Little Borneo Girl.

Happy Blogging and enjoy my recipes.

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I love to cook whenever I have a weekday off.

Today, I bought a bag of spinach and there were bacon, eggs and three orange Kumaras (Beauregard) aka Sweet Potatoes in my pantry.  Trying to minimise carbs in my diet lately, I did away with pastry sheets and used the Kumaras as the base for my quiche.

Our body requires a certain amount of carbohydrate to fuel the brain and the muscles.  As a child, I was told that I must finish my plate of rice so I will grow up healthy and smart.  In fact, we ought to know that the issue is not carbs themselves but what we do to them.  It is the heavy processing that tends to strip carbs of essential nutrients that leads to them being digested more rapidly than we would if we consumed them in their natural state.  In other words, there are good…

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A glimpse of Cathedral Cove

You could get to Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel by boat or approximately 45 minutes to an hour’s walk (1.5 to 2 hours return) through the track providing dramatic views of spectacular coastal scenery along its length, finishing at the beach beneath an impressive rock archway.

The track leads you through a lush native flora and fauna, turquoise waters and access to Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay before arriving at the Cove.  Moderate fitness is required as there are some hills and flights of steps at the end leading to the Cove.

I did this walk a couple of years ago.  I might struggle a bit now to do the same walk.  Must get fit again so I can get a good peek of the Cathedral Cove which is only accessible by boat or foot.

Cathedral Cove Walk is a stunning adventure and a must visit for tourists and locals alike.  The natural beauty of this area is indeed awe-aspiring and every visitors will tell you that the hike is well worth it.

 

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The Very Vintage Day Out

We just got home from VVDO 2017 (The Very Vintage Day Out) which had a full programme of entertainment including live bands, dancers, performers, a vintage car display, motorbike display, military display, makeovers, fashion shows, high tea as well as over 80 vendors on site selling a huge range of vintage products.

Lovers of all things vintage came together once more to celebrate a by-gone era.

A whole display of vintage cars in line as we walked into Shed 10.  We were indeed transformed into a by-gone era where we saw lovely ladies dressed in nice floral cotton flocks.   There were stalls selling vintage clothing and accessories, old records and posters of Marilyn Monroe, sweet cake shops and of course our very own Edmonds.

Edmonds is one of New Zealand’s oldest and best loved brands, one that is synonymous with Kiwi home cooking and baking. It was founded in 1879 by Thomas Edmonds when he opened up a small grocery store and began making baking powder out the back of his shop. A customer questioned the superiority of his baking powder and Edmonds replied “It is sure to rise Madam” and the famous Edmonds promise was born.

Everyone was in a jovial and happy mood as the band was playing and people were dancing, ladies flocks swinging.  The audience (including myself) watched in awe, travelled back in time to the year when none of us were even born.

If given a choice to choose when to be born, what would you prefer?
Back to the days of old or the present?

I often wondered, what life was like during the World War I.  Pre-war, during the war and post-war WW1 and WWII.  We are blessed today and may the age of World Peace* (scroll down below) remains.

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* World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict.  As per IEP’s findings, the only ones to achieve the lowest score for all forms of conflict were Switzerland, Japan, Qatar, Mauritius, Uruguay, Chile, Botswana, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Panama and Brazil.

Yet another WOW

The World of WearableArt, known as WOW, is a renowned international design competition that attracts hundreds of entries from all over the world.  It is also our annual overnight trip to Wellington.

The show as always was spectacular.  The audience were ‘wow’ed’ with the glow of the presentation where we saw designs brought to life in this spectacular stage performance – a world where theatre, fashion and art collide.

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I was looking through my photo gallery and thought I’d blog and share some of the shots we took as we strolled along the wharf leading to the WOW event.

As we had a late flight departure, we took the opportunity to go on a ferry ride to the seaside village of Eastbourne.

Wow, what a glow !  A nice short break.

Protea beauty

Below is a close up shot (up scale) of a budding Protea.

Do you know that Protea named after the Greek god Proteus is also called sugarbushes (Afrikaans: suikerbos).   In local tradition (South Africa), the Protea flower represents change and hope.

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