Tuesday

Teed St Larder, Newmarket

I used to go into Newmarket quite a lot. Its really near the school I went to and friends and I used to stroll in to get sushi in our free periods on a Friday. Newmarket probably Auckland's most upmarket shopping destination. Little boutique-y, cupcake shops and others with some eye-popping price tags. Having said that the cafes and restaurants are great and this is one of those thats not too expensive and very casual. 

The family popped into Newmarket for lunch on Saturday. I had the day off work and was able to take a break from my Chinese study. 

I ordered a watermelon juice and a chicken and beetroot pide. Both delicious.





I didn't realise the pide had beetroot -  I thought it was cranberry! I usually avoid beetroot since I'm not too keen on it but I may have changed my tune here because this was really good!

Also came with lots of Emmental, black sesame seeds (my favourite!) and was toasted :)

Lovely Autumn Saturday comfort food.


Sunday

Cucumber pasta with spicy lime sauce

My latest obsession at the moment is making pasta from vegetables. If you've seen my My Pinterest then you'll have noticed that I've been rather inspired! I'm trying to lose weight but its proved difficult with my pasta cravings. I seem to gravitate towards spaghetti, fettucine, penne, orzo and all the rest when I'm thinking of what I feel like cooking. Don't forget the shells, jumbo shells and home made pasta of course...

So trying out vegetable pasta seemed like a good idea :) I've tried this out a few times and absolutely love it. I've not eaten real spaghetti in months now and the vegetable pasta will probably become a staple in my diet. I have yet to buy a vegetable spiraller...but its easy enough just with a peeler and knife. 


You'll need (to serve 2):
1 cucumber
1 key lime
1 cup of natural greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of pronto rosso (sun dried tomato pesto)
pinch of sea salt
cracked pepper
large green olives

and also a vegetable peeler (preferably the horizontal style I have here)



Start with your cucumber. If you have a horizontal peeler this will be really easy. You just need to hook a think piece at the top of the cucumber and then drag it down trying to get an even slice. Keep going until you've sliced it all. 


You could use these as they are for really thick ribbons or you could then line them up and use a knife to make them thinner. I used a knife to make ribbons approximately 1cm wide. If you cut them up with a knife it'll never look absolutely perfect but then some variation in your pieces does look quite nice :)




Start making your sauce in a separate bowl. About 1 cup of natural greek yogurt is enough.


Then add 1 teaspoon of your sun-dried tomato pesto. There are heaps of different brands of these in the supermarkets and they all vary slightly in flavour and spice so just pick one you like. At home we have Sabato's Pronto Rosso. Its spicy one and its also a very local product. They're based on Normanby Road, Auckland which is about 5 minutes from me!  

You can find it here



Take a key lime and add the zest and juice to the sauce.




A pinch of sea salt and some cracked pepper will bring out more flavour...


You can then add some olives. I like massive green ones.



Stir your sauce through thoroughly and then add to your cucumber pasta. 



Make sure this is all evenly mixed and then serve.











Saturday

The Don, High Street

Simon and I went out for lunch. We tried a little japanese place on High Street in Auckland City. Its very hidden away you have to go down some steps where there is a selection of little shops and cafes. You find new places all the time in this city! 

We started with some reckon chips. I don't think theres anything particularly special about this vegetable nutrition wise but its so cool with all its holes. I actually wonder how such a vegetable ended up like this in the first place! sorry, just thinking like a science student :P



I ordered a spicy tuna don. I absolutely loooove raw fish. Everything about it; the taste, texture, knowing that its great for me...such a food win. 

Its full of omega-3 oils and having fish raw (providing its very fresh) is better for you because the oils are not lost in cooking. I can sort of see why some people stick to a raw food diet actually...

= glowing skin and shiny hair :D


Simon ordered a cheesy-seafood yaki thing...some kind of fried noodles. I had a taste, it was quite. Not sure if you'd actually find something like this in Japan but then most people like cheese here being a western country. A cool twist that was surprisingly nice.


Cute little Japanese place with reasonable prices, would recommend :)

The Don, 47 High Street, Auckland City.



Monday

Red Velvet Buttermilk cupcakes



I've been wanting to make these for ages and I finally got round to it. I'm really happy with the cake recipe itself but could probably tweak the icing so that it was a little stiffer. I'll still put it up though :)

I was shopping the other day and found these items. You need a Wilton 2D nozzle to make a rose swirl or you can also use a 1M I believe thats slightly smaller. I bought the 2D and also some adorable leopard print cupcake cases. I own silicon baking moulds that don't need cases but these were just too cute to not buy...

Thought they'd go perfectly with a red and white cupcake :)


You'll need:

For the cupcakes:
2.5 cups of flour
1 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs
1.5 cups of extra light olive oil
1 cup of cultured buttermilk
2 tablespoons of red food colouring
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar

For the icing:
250g of original philadelphia cream cheese
100g butter
3 cups of icing sugar
4 teaspoons of natural coconut essence

Steps:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C
Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl; 
Sift the flour and cocoa powder and add the sugar, salt and baking soda. 
Whisk them quickly just to blend them together. 
Combine all the liquid ingredients in another bowl (large enough to whisk in):
eggs, olive oil, buttermilk, food colouring, vanilla essence and the distilled vinegar. 
Whisk the liquid ingredients together with an electric mixer for a few minutes until thoroughly mixed. 
Then, slowly add the dry ingredients turning up the whisking speed as necessary until this is also blended through. 
Divide the mixture evenly between your cupcake cases (I made about 20 with this)
and put them into the oven for 18 minutes 
(9 minutes and then turn the tray around for another 9, just to even the cooking)
Let them cool completely.

You can then start making the icing:
take the cream cheese and the butter and whisk these together until even. 
Add the coconut essence.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl, continuing to mix until you have an even icing.

when the cakes are completely cool you can either just spoon the icing on or you can put it into a piping tube with a nozzle. On this occasion I used a plastic bag with my 2D nozzle and had a go at making roses. 

Done!



















Saturday

Chocolate olive oil cake


This is a really beautiful cake recipe. First of all, its gluten free, second its unsaturated and third it tastes amazing. 

Great for the gluten-intolerant or health conscious, this cake contains no flour and no butter. The flour is replaced by almond meal, which is a great alternative. It has a nutty aroma that flour doesn't have so this swap is ideal. The butter is replaced by light olive oil which is good for two reasons; it means you're taking in unsaturated fats instead of the saturated fat you'd get from butter. We all know that butter at room temperature is rather solid and that olive oil is liquid. It ends up the same inside your body so wouldn't we rather have olive oil inside us? I think so. Also using oil gives the cooked cake a wonderful "squidgy-ness" that you just wouldn't get using butter. 

Today I'm making it for my sister who's just turned 16. Her birthday was a few days ago but we tend to have a family thing at the weekend once everyone is home :) She is also rather health conscious and not a big fan of icing. Perfect time to try this out! I can't take all the credit for this though, it was a recipe from Nigella. Only difference is that I've provided pictures for you to follow with it :)

You will need:
2/3 cups of light olive oil (and some for greasing)
6 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup of boiling water
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of almond meal
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 cup of caster sugar
3 free-range eggs

You'll also need:
an 8 or 9 inch round baking tin
baking paper (to line)


Start by pre-heating your oven to 170 degrees celsius and greasing the baking tin. Then line it with baking paper and grease this too.





Then take a large bowl and sift the cocoa powder. I used Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa.



Add 1/2 cup of boiling water and mix it to form a bubbly mix.





Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence. I'm using Hansells Vanilla Flavoured Essence. Then stir it into the mix. 



You need to set your chocolate mix aside and take another clean bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of almond meal. 



Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda...


and a pinch of salt.


Put this aside and take another large bowl that you can whisk in. Put 3 eggs in, 1 cup of caster sugar and 2/3 cup of the light olive oil.


It then needs to be whisked for a few minutes,


until you've got a thick, bubbly cream


You can now start adding your chocolate mixture. Whisk this in too.





And you can start adding the almond meal mix slowly...


continue to whisk all the almond meal in.


Then pour the whole thing into the baking tin you already lined. I like to have the baking paper on the sides and poking out over the edges. This is just incase any spills. The weight of the mixture will weigh all the paper down though so its fine :)


Put into the oven for 45 minutes. 



After 45 minutes, just check it and it may need another 10-15 depending on your oven. It should be slightly crisp around the edges. A knife or cake tester can be used to see if the centre is cooked. 

Leave it to cool in the tin on the rack for 10 minutes...it'll be very soft!


Then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the tin.  As you can see it doesn't look that great so you need to flip it over. Now it looks much better :)


Dust with icing sugar -  it doesn't need any heavy icing.


You can now leave it to cool completely or have it right away while its still warm. It might go well with some vanilla ice-cream if you're feeling indulgent :)

I was feeling rather pleased with this cake.



Happy Birthday Sister :)




This is the most moist chocolate cake you'll ever try - well done Nigella!


And well done to Heidi for finishing it...


I'm super happy that I'm off uni for a week now. My tests are done for now so watch this space for more recipes I have planned for the week! I also need to arrange my accommodation for my trip to Australia at the end of the year - exciting! :D