Tuesday, December 29, 2009

KayB's foodie guide to New Zealand

New Zealand is a ridiculously gorgeous country. Everywhere you look there is something new and beautiful to gaze upon.

Late November this year the boyfriend and I set off to spend two and a half glorious weeks driving around New Zealand. Both of our parents had ventured off to the land of the long white cloud at some stage during 2009 so we had plenty of first hand advice to run with. One fact my parents had brought back with them was that food in New Zealand was expensive and horrible. Bugger! How was I going to satisfy my inner foodie for the next two and a half weeks?

It seems my parents were very wrong (possibly aided by the fact that they only ate in pubs during their entire trip!). The Boy and I ate like royalty. Not to say we didn't have a couple of crappy meals, but the good experiences far out weighed the bad. And here are our tips for travelers heading to New Zealand.


The Bicycle Thief.

If you didn’t look hard enough you would trip over this place. Dark, wooden interior bathed only in candle light shelters this place from prying eyes. But once you are inside the darkness is cosy and comfortable.

I am a huge fan of polenta. I think it is terribly under rated but unfortunately I cant spread the love of polenta because I cant cook it!

(Polenta fries $10.50 NZ)

The Bicycle Thief however can cook polenta. The best polenta chips I’ve ever eaten. Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. And the boy loved them so much as well, he was actually trying to fit another day into Christchurch just so we could go back for more.

(Coppa Pizza - coppa salami, rosemary, walnut, ricotta, rocket. $30 NZ)

Reviews of The Bicycle Thief praise their gourmet pizzas which aided my choice for dinner that night, while the boy opted for a chicken main.

The pizza was gorgeous, with an amazing freshness added by the peppery rocket. My only comment would be that it was a tad on the salty side with the combination of the salami and ricotta.

(Pollo di Molla - chicken, pistachio, silverbeet ballotine on goats cheese & shallot potatoes with white truffle oil. $28 NZ)

The chicken was perfectly cooked (the waitress even explained to us how you can tell by the colour of the meat as to whether it is cooked correctly) and matched perfectly with the shallot potatoes and goats cheese.


Aggy's Shack - Fish and Chips

Locals will tell you that Queenstown is the last place in the world to be bored. There is far too much to do. And eat. Fish and Chips in New Zealand are supposed to be the best in the world. I was skeptical but keen to test this theory. I only ate fish and chips once in New Zealand and yes, it was the best fish and chips I’ve ever eaten.

(Seafood basket for two $30 NZ)

On a beautiful corner of the lake stands a tiny yellow and black shack that sells fish and chips to locals and tourists alike. We go for the ultimate in fish and chip dinning by order a seafood basket for two. Now, I’m not one for shell fish.. prawns, mussels, lobsters, balmain bugs etc. I know, I know, call me crazy, but I will now bite my tongue because these prawns are the best I’ve ever eaten. I sucked all these bad boys down before the boy even got a look in! But he got to eat all the mussels, exclaiming ‘They taste like the sea! That’s how you know they’re fresh.

By the time you get through all the seafood on the top, the chips at the bottom are soggy. But if you’ve eaten all that seafood, chances are you wont have any room left to eat the chips. They are purely there for ascetic purposes.

Or maybe you could feed them to the very friendly locals who are more than willing to take the food right out of your hands.

Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience.

A fun way to get the night started in Queenstown is to hit up the Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience. The place is filled with shag rugs and big leather arm chairs. But incase the decor doesn’t set the mood for you, Billy Holiday is playing softly in the background.

(Salami platter)

Head to the counter and grab a wine card, order a cheese platter then head straight to the nearest tasting bar to fill up your glass.

You insert your card into the machine and select the size of the taste you would like. The charge is added to you card which you pay at the end. The majority of wines on offer are New Zealand and the selection changes daily.


Unfortunately I didn't have my camera handy for this experience. It was an impulse stop and one which I highly recommend to anyone heading to New Zealand. Cheap food, cheap beer and the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. We both opt for a classic Fergburger with prime New Zealand beef patty, lettuce, tomato, red onion, aioli and tomato relish. This is not a burger for the faint hearted. Its the kind of burger you eat with two hands and slather all over your face. You’ll also end up with lock jaw from trying to get your mouth around the entire burger!

Other fun options on the menu include the ‘Bun Laden’ falafel burger, ‘The Codfather’ fresh cod fish burger and the ‘Sweet Bambi’ with wild New Zealand deer and plum chutney.


The Bicycle Thief

21 Latimer Square, Christchurch NZ


Aggy's Shack - Fish and Chips

Cnr Marine Parade and Church Street, Queenstown

Wine Tastes - Central Otago Wine Experience.

14 Beach Street, Queenstown NZ



42 Shotover st, Queenstown NZ


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Step Oreo Cake

I’m back. I didn’t abandon you all, cross my heart and hope to die. I was enjoying some much deserved time off, frolicking in foreign lands.

But to make it up to you for leaving you alone for so long I have come back with gifts.
First up – my latest creation. The two step oreo cake.

Short of time? Need a sugar fix? Bored of the simple things like cakes and biscuits? Well, why not whack the two of them together! Volia – oreo cake.

Take one packet butter cake mix and one packet of oreo biscuits (approx. 12). Roughly chop the biscuits into chunks, make butter cake batter according to box, mix in oreo chunks and bake. See, two steps!

Now, if you want to get really fancy like I have, why not add a cream cheese frosting to finish it off?

Oreo cream cheese frosting.
· 1 tub of light Philadelphia cream cheese
· 25 g of unsalted butter
· 1-2 cups of sifted confectioners’ sugar
· 6-8 oreo biscuits, chopped finely
· Extra oreo biscuits to decorate (optional)

Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and pale in colour.
Slowly add sugar until well mixed (add to taste).
Stir in chopped oreo biscuits.

You will probably find many cream cheese frosting recipes that call for large amounts of butter, anywhere between 50 grams to 250 grams. This recipe is made to my own personal taste and a belief that if I wanted my frosting to taste of excess butter, then I would just make a butter cream frosting!

Next week, part two of my gifts to you all. KayB’s culinary adventures in New Zealand.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grandma’s 80th Birthday.

What do you buy an 80 year old woman who doesn’t actually want anything for her birthday? You get her nothing, and instead make a cake. It’s a win win. And the perfect chance to attempt some handmade flowers. Not too bad for my first attempt. The design of the cake was meant to be old fashioned and sweet with lovely pastel colours, and it turned out just as I envisioned it.

The cake was butter cake with white chocolate and passionfruit ganache. I think the white chocolate passionfruit ganache will be making a return. I had my official taste testers over on the night I was making this cake, and luckily I had a large bowl of ganache left over because they sucked it down!
Happy 80th Birthday Grandma.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy 7-Eleven Day - Epic adventures and free slurpees

Saturday was ‘7-Eleven Day’, one of the greatest marketing campaigns ever created, because it means free slurpees for everyone! This momentous occasion occurs every year on the 7th day of the 11th month. The only requirement to claim your free slurpee is that you must say ‘Happy 7-eleven day’ when you enter the store. It’s one slurpee per person, per store. So, obviously the best way to get the most out of your slurpee day is to hit up as many 7-Elevens as possible

I didn’t participate in 7-Eleven day last year, but my best friend (we’ll call her Moon) did. She managed to get around to 9 locations. We were determined to better this number.

The plan - 4pm on Saturday, myself, Moon and D-gale would head out with the intention of making out way to at least 11 different stores. And all before 7pm! The excitement of the day couldn’t stop me, as I was dying for a slurpee come 11am. One little slurpee wont impede on the days performance, will it? So off to Sutherland 7-Eleven and this is what I find...

('Broken' Machines at Sutherland)

Devastated! All four machines were out of order. I find this a little suspect, and not in the true spirit of 7-Eleven day! I will NOT be going back, ever!

(First slurpee of the day)

I had to wait till 4pm, but it was totally worth it! First stop, Georges Hall. Up to the counter we head and proceed to wish the store attendant a ‘Happy 7-Eleven day!’ He hands us the almighty orange cup. And we’re off and running. I opt for a traditional raspberry flavour, good way to start the day. Three sips in and D-gale cries out in pain ‘Brain freeze, brain freeze!’ Epic fail.

(D-gale's brain is freezing)

Next stop, Moorebank. The one simple rule that is laid out prior to starting is that you must finish your current slurpee before arriving at the next destination. This proved to be a big fail as both Moon and I attempted to chug our slurpees when we spot the red, green and orange of the Moorebank store. But we learnt fast! In we go to claim our second orange cup, and head to the machines to see what is on offer. We spot a new sports slurpee – berry ice flavour with electrolytes. D-gale gets straight into this one because, well, he’s an athlete and needs all the electrolytes he can get (at least that’s what he tells himself). Moon contemplates the added energy option for a moment, “Do I really need electrolytes this early in the game?” We decide not.

(Flavour of the day - Kiwi Strawberry!)

Off again and we hit up Bankstown and Penshurst (flavour picks for these locations were Lemon Lime Vanilla – imagine a sour warhead in liquid form! – and a mostly liquid/melted cola, disappointing from Penshurst).

(Moon out front of the Bankstown store)

Next stop is Hurstville, but as D-gale directs from the back seat, and Moon promises us that it’s just up the end of the street; we discover that the Hurstville store is no more! Outrage becomes us! But we press on.

Cronulla would have to be my favourite stop of the day. The place was teeming with young kids, old kids, big kids etc. And the store featured the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across. I walk in, camera in hand and the store attendant asks if my pictures will be in the newspaper. If only, but he does like the idea of being featured on the internet and suggests a photo of him posing in front of the slurpee machines.

(D-gale and the lovely/over excited Cronulla store attendant)

My second favourite is Caringbah. The store was decorated in orange, green and red streamers and handmade posters that are very welcoming. Good to see people getting into the spirit of 7-Eleven day!

(Home made art at the Caringbah store)

We’re running short on time so we decide to bypass Sutherland for fear of the machines still being ‘broken’ and wasting time. We’re off to the Rockdale store, but D-gale is a little concerned because our list doesn’t have a proper address for the Rockdale store. Heading down Rocky Point Road, we’re all buzzing from the copious amount of sugar, a beacon shines up ahead. We see the glorious red, orange and green of an unaccounted for 7-Eleven – Ramsgate.

(Moon, over excited and jacked up on sugar at the Ramsgate store)

The Ramsgate store came in very handy, as we couldn’t locate the Rockdale store. Fearing we will waste more time searching for it we decide to head onto Bexley. A quick toilet and food pit stop, then we arrive at our second last destination. The store attendant makes each of us wish him a ‘Happy 7-Eleven Day’ before handing over the magnificent orange cups.

(Moon "and so far today I've drunk this many slurpees!!")

Finally, we’re off and racing to our last stop, Narwee. It’s a glorious moment as we pull up to the front of the store. And I’m delighted to find cute, hand drawn signs informing customers that they must say ‘Happy 7-Eleven Day’ before they can have their free slurpee. I finish the day as I started, with a classic raspberry flavour.

3.4 litters and 3 1/2 hours later we are finished. 9 slurpees down, we didn’t quite get to the double digits we wanted but still a fair effort.

And now, I’m putting out the call to all of you. Put the date in your diary (it's easy to remember, 7/11/10) because I’m looking to travel in a convoy of cars to at least 10 locations. This year you could go in the running to win a year’s supply of slurpees (if you can look at another slurpee again) just by wearing one or all of the 7-Eleven colours and taking a picture of yourself with your free slurpee. I think a convoy of cars decked out in orange, green and red will come close to a win. And if not, at least we have helped to spread the love that exists between a person and their slurpee.

Store Locations

Georges Hall
689 Henry Lawson Drive & Tower Road Georges Hall
PH: 02 9791 1153

102 Heathcote Road
PH: 02 9600 6054

122 Old Town Centre Plaza
PH: 02 9790 419

612 Forest Road (Cnr. George Street)
PH: 02 9580 2181

47 The Kingsway (Cnr. Gosport Street)
PH: 02 9527 1217

367 The Kingsway (Cnr. Willarong Road)
PH: 02 9525 9392

368 Rocky Point Road
PH: 02 9529 6940

474 Forest Road
PH: 02 9502 2186

161 Penshurst Road (Cnr. Hannans Road)
PH: 02 9153 7461

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Can’t read my, can’t read my, my poker face.

It’s true. You can’t. That’s what thirteen years of drama classes will do. But that’s beside the point really. The point is, I made another cake this week, that has a poker face. Or poker table. Can you see the distinction, or am I stretching it just a little too far?

My boyfriend also has a lovely face. Poker face, that is. And to celebrate his face, and also his birthday, I made him this cake.

Chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache, his favourite. The entire cake is edible, right down to the poker cards.

I presented my boyfriend with this cake, along with other presents, at a surprise lunch with all his friends and family. Luckily for me he had no idea what was going on until the last minute when I pulled into the driveway of his favourite pub. SURPRISE!

He was very excited to see everyone there and very grateful that I had organised such a fantastic event in his honour. Now, because of the shockingly large number of people who actually enjoy reading this blog, I will not humiliate him by telling you all exactly how thanked me. And no, it’s not what you’re thinking you dirty, dirty people. Let’s just say he will be getting a large invoice from my plastic surgeon. Love you baby. Happy birthday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cupcake Bakery, QVB Sydney

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the QVB. It really is a great shopping location, and I always loved how you can hop straight off the train and you’re in the shopping centre! Talk about convenience.

A very welcome addition to the QVB is The Cupcake Bakery (which happens to be located next to T2.. another of my favourite shopping destinations). Chain cupcake stores are growing at a rapid pace, and I often think the thrill and excitement generated by a gorgeous cupcake is wearing off because of this. Remember the good old days of fairy bread and fairy cakes? You’d head to a friend’s birthday party in anticipation of a soft little cake filled with cream, or if you were really lucky you’d score a huge vanilla cupcake with a thick layer of butter cream on top. You’d be buzzing for days because of the sugar fix!

(The Maxi Cupcakes. $55-$70)

Ahhh, a simpler time. But these past memories didn’t stop me from getting excited over the treats on offer at The Cupcake Bakery. The first thing you notice is the size. Unlike some other chain cupcake stores, these bad boys are big. And if they’re not big enough for you then there is always the maxi cupcake! These monsters can feed up to 12 people, and will set you back between $55 - $70 depending on flavour.

(Box of four $15)

I opt for a box of four – Strawberry vanilla, choc peppermint, banana and lemon meringue.
I was very excited for the choc peppermint and lemon meringue. I think I set my expectations too high with the latter, as the lemon curd was very bitter and I thought the meringue would have a bit of crunch to the outside, similar to a Pavlova. But alas, I am disappointed.

Next up – choc peppermint. It’s possible that my continued disappointment was my own fault with this one, but at the time of purchase I was assuming the cupcake itself was also peppermint choc flavour. Turns out the choc part is the cupcake and the peppermint is the butter cream part. Don’t get me wrong, it was still nice but I am a HUGE fan of peppermint and was just expecting a little bit more of it in this cupcake.

This was followed by strawberry vanilla. Cupcake was good, buttery and moist but not too soft. Butter cream was also good. But where is the strawberry? This was supposed to have a strawberry filling, but I couldn’t find it?

Lastly, we have the Banana cupcake. The cupcake was great, somewhat reminiscent of that banana cake your Grandma would make, lovely and moist with plenty of real banana! It was then topped off with a cream cheese butter cream. I have two very strong beliefs in life – 1. Anything would taste amazing if it is covered in chocolate ganache. 2. If the ganache doesn’t work, try cream cheese butter cream. And the final, unanimous decision from the entire family was that the banana cupcake was hands down the winner on the night.

(Custard tumble. This is on the top of my list for next time! $4.50)

The Cupcake Bakery

Shop 2-4, Lower ground 2 QVB

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Krispy Kreme Burger

In yesterday’s MX newspaper I read the most amazing article about the ultimate in fusion food. The Krispy Kreme Burger. Would you like me to repeat that, because I didn’t believe it when I first read it either. I said The Krispy Kreme Burger. Otherwise known as the Craz-E Burger. So once you’ve picked your jaw up off your chest I’ll tell you a little bit more about it.

This burger made its recent world wide debut at the Big E Fair in West Springfield, USA (where else but America!). However, urban legends tell us that this burger was possibly created by late singer-songwriter and record producer Luther Vandross. A suburban bar in Decatur, Georgia still serve the burger named after its biggest fan, and possible creator, ‘The Luther Burger’. To check out more about the Luther Burger click here.

Yesterday on the way home from work, reading this article on the train I was shocked and amazed. Only problem.. there was no accompanying picture. I had to see this monstrosity with my own eyes. And I’m pretty sure you want to see it now too, huh!

Well folks, here it is. The amazing Craz-E Buger..

Photo from The Big E website, describing the burger as ‘classic fair food’.

“No single ingredient dominates the burger. They all complement each other with artistry expected from a celebrity chef. The glaze smoothes over the burger and oozes into a foreign but delicious combination with the crisp of the bacon. The donut is butter grilled and quite a change from the burger roll you are accustomed to. It transforms the ordinary into the delicious.”
Direct quote for the Big E website. Check out the full article here.

And just in case you get a hankering for one after a huge drinking session, as I feel this could possibly become the new 2.30am kebab, the Big E has supplied us with the recipe.

Craz-E Burger Recipe

One beef patty
American Cheese
Crisp bacon
Butter grilled glazed donut

Carefully slice the donut in half, lightly butter and grill. Add cooked burger, top with cheese and crisp bacon. Place in between the donut halves. No condiments are needed.
Recipe from the Big E.

Now I need to know, who seriously out there would have a go at one of these bad boys? At a whopping 1500 calories would you go for it? And if anyone does have a go at the recipe, do let me know your verdict. And also let me know that you didn’t immediately die of a heart attack, I don’t want to be sending any of you to an early grave!

Monday, October 5, 2009

French themed engagement cake and cupcakes..

Paris, the most romantic city in the world. Just imagine, wandering through the streets of Paris, finding yourself under the Eiffel tower hand in hand with the man of your dreams. And then he drops down on one knee and asks the one question most girls wait their whole life to hear. Then there are tears, congratulations from strangers and a gorgeous ring. Romantic, huh! And no I’m not currently reading a Mills & Boon novel; this is how events actually played out for my ‘sister in law’ on a recent trip overseas. Lucky girl! And very well done Rob Dog!!

And then comes the engagement party, French theme. Lucky me was asked to make the cake! Now, because I am among friends here I’m going to be perfectly honest. While I was thrilled and honoured to help with the party I was also crapping myself. For the first time ever I would be making a cake that would be seen and eaten by people other than my family, who by law must tell be how excellent, amazing, great, lovely and exceptional my work is. I had to get this right, for fear of screwing up the whole night with a crappy cake!

Four weeks out I started on the Eiffel Tower topper for the cake. All went well. Three weeks out, start the cupcake stand. Two weeks out I started on the cupcake toppers. Again, all went well. Four days out, start the cake. One day out, make the cupcakes. All good. Until the day of said party. Cakes packed and in the car, Eiffel Tower topper in its box ready to be assembled at the venue. Jump in the car, head down the street, take one last peak at the tower topper and.. it snapped. Holly crap. Back home, grab royal icing, attempt to glue back together, jump back in the car, head out again, get on the M5.. it snaps again. There are now three pieces to the tower. F##K!!!!

(Cupcakes. I hadn’t told the bride-to-be about these and as luck would have it she had decorated the venue with the word ‘Love’ and their initials ‘N&R’ aswell. Everything matched! Now that’s women’s intuition at its best!)

My worst fear had come true. Not a word was spoken during the car ride, except for when my gorgeous boyfriend looked over at me and said “It’s ok, you can scream if you want, I won’t tell anybody”. What would I do without him! But for some reason the cake gods were smiling down on me that night, and I managed to glue the damn thing back together. Phew!

It was a great night, lots of socialising, photo taking, and eating, drinking and general merriment.
Big congratulations to the gorgeous couple, Nads and Rob Dog. And here’s to a life time of happiness together!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Guylian Cafe, The Rocks

Lucky me received a gift voucher to the Guylian Cafe for my 21st birthday. Ok, so my birthday was back in February, but Daddy and I had drafted this fantastic plan to gorge ourselves stupid one Sunday while Mumma B and JayB were climbing the harbour bridge (yet another birthday present..). We ending up waiting for them to disembark from the bridge and headed over to the cafe together, along with my Aunty Vickii.

My family suffers from a condition I like to refer to as ‘burrell syndrome’, our eyes are far too big for our stomach. We were all suffering from this terrible syndrome on this particular Sunday afternoon. As a result we ordered five different cakes plus a beverage each. All the cakes were amazing, my favourite being the winter of passion ($15.25), extremely light and fluffy with a yummy citrus edge. And you can go past the hazelnut torte ($15.25), chock full of milk chocolate ganache (possibly my most favourite cake filling ever!).

The Guylian Shakes were devoured by Mumma B, Daddy and JayB – I didn’t even get a photo! At 10 bucks a pop you’re probably thinking we’re insane – no amount of milk, ice cream and chocolate flavouring can amount to $10! However, I am reassured that it was extremely satisfying, and totally worth the money.

Winter of Passion ($15.25)

Winter of Passion

Hazelnut Torte ($15.25)

Hazelnut Torte

100% Pure Pleasure ($15.25)

100% Pure Pleasure

Chocolate Eclair ($7)

White Chocolate Eclair ($7)

Complementary Chocolates

Guylian Shake ($10)

Guylian Cafe, The Rocks - 91 George Street - T. +61 (02) 8274 7500

Guylian Cafe, Circular Quay - Shop 10, Opera Quays - 3 Macquarie Street -

T. +61 (02) 8274 7900