A Taste of Sandringham

How good does this baji look?  Samrudh Akuthota (Sammy) tells me that he remembers eating baji as a child and picking off all the crisp bits and then leaving the spongier interior so therefore when he opened his own place (Satya Chai Lounge) he made the baji that the child Sammy would have liked.  I can vouch for them, they are so very crisp and flavoursome with the tamarind drizzle offering a delicious sour element.

On Thursday November 5th Sammy will host us at Satya Chai Lounge,  an experience that includes a little cooking class with tips and stories from Sammy, an amazing lunch that has made Satya (the original is owned by Sammy’s parents) a culinary institution and a look at the fabulous new Satya products that are sure to enhance your home cooking.

Prior to Satya we will walk the block, visiting local stores.  These are sure to stimulate the senses. You may also want to shop for ingredients as the prices are great and the range extraordinary.

With our ability to travel restricted it is wonderful to experience different cultures that are only minutes away from home!

A taste of Sandringham –  Thursday November 5th, 11am – 2.30pm (ish)
Price – $135 p/p – includes lunch, a little treat to take home, water, tea, coffee.  Other drinks available to purchase.
To secure your place emai:l [email protected]
Numbers are strictly limited.

Hokey Pokey Rocky Road

This is so simple to make, the only thing that can trip you up is the hokey pokey.  Make sure that you are not tempted to add any extra golden syrup and keep your spoon measures level.  Too much golden syrup can cause hokey pokey not to set.
Make sure you boil the sugar syrup until an amber colour – similar to maple syrup.
The rest is easy and the texture/flavour is so good!

A Taste Of Clevedon Day Tour

With our first Clevedon day selling out in 2 ours we now have a new date of Friday November 13th for a day of deliciousness with award winner artisan producers.

Our day will start at 8.30am with pick up at Countdown Greenlane carpark (unless otherwise arranged).
From there we head to Clevedon for a morning coffee and tasty treat.

Our day may vary a little to the below but be assured it will be a wonderful experience.

We will spend time with Helen Dorresteyn at Clevedon Buffalo (the farm not the cheese factory), where we will see the buffalo and taste her award winning cheese.

Kelli at Forage and Ferment will welcome us at her wee factory where she makes awesome kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented goodness.

Down the road from Kelli is the magnificent Kawa Kawa Bay and Clevedon Coast oysters. If you haven’t tasted one of Clevedon’s tempura oysters yet then you are in for a treat!

Curious Croppers are famous for their wonderful heirloom tomatoes and a visit to the gregarious Anthony and Angela is a must.

We will visit Josephine Elworthy at Hololio House and see her flower gardens and beautiful buildings.

There are a couple of other gems in the day as well.

We will have you back at Countdown carpark at around 3.30pm.

$195 p/p all inclusive.

For bookings email me [email protected]

Numbers are strictly limited. :)




Hell of a Sandwich wins Great NZ Toastie Takeover

Good old-fashioned comfort food has reigned supreme in this year’s Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover competition with a small Dunedin eatery and its supremely delicious meatloaf creation taking top honours.

Romeo Dowling-Mitchell of Hungry Hobos can now officially lay claim to the best toasted sandwich in the land with his “Bat out of Hell” entry, featuring homemade meatloaf (made to Grandma’s recipe), creamy mashed potato, gravy, aged cheddar and McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles slathered between herb-buttered ciabatta.

The win will come as no surprise to Dunedin locals. Romeo has been doling out mouth-watering, American-style toasted sandwiches and soups from his George Street eatery for the past two and a half years after a career that spanned cooking for Team New Zealand at the America’s Cup in San Francisco and cheffing on super yachts in Spain.

His “Bat out of Hell” sandwich beat 80 other entries from around the country in the annual Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover, impressing judges with its combination of simple ingredients served with confidence.

Head Judge Kerry Tyack says the “Bat out of Hell” combination is at once wholly expected and a total surprise.

“After all, who would put meatloaf, mash and gravy in a toastie? Answer: Romeo, and in that it fits!” Kerry says.

“The assessment team felt this ate like a toastie that hasn’t tried to be anything other than wholly unapologetically itself – simple, unctuous, familiar, comforting and delicious every bite of the way.

“The judge’s notes said the eating of this sandwich was joyous. There’s a familiarity that’s bordering on nostalgic in the savoury perfectly seasoned meatloaf with light buttery mash and gravy, melted cheese and McClure’s pickles. It’s real comfort food! It’s also bold and brilliantly executed with every element prepared perfectly.”

Romeo says his toasted sandwich entry was never going to be about pretentious ingredients.

“I wanted to do something that was a bit different but still inside the realms of what you’d get at home. Something you’d throw together ambitiously with the leftovers from the night before. One of my strengths as a chef has always been seasoning and balancing flavours and textures really well so I was confident I could give the sandwich the x-factor that way, rather than going too adventurous.

“I am stoked to bring the trophy to Dunedin and do my part for the thriving food scene emerging here. Can’t wait to show off my trophy to all my regulars who have been so supportive.”

Hungry Hobos now has a bespoke Toastie Takeover trophy to proudly display, as well as a year’s supply of McClure’s pickles and vouchers to give away via social media. The trophy, which resembles a toasted sandwich, was designed by Rikki Berger in Christchurch and is made of Pohutukawa (the bread), Puri Puri (pickles) and Ash (cheese).

Co-owner and founder of McClure’s Pickles, Joe McClure, says the overall standard of sandwiches sampled in this year’s Toastie Takeover was exceptional and while he wasn’t able to judge in person this year due to border restrictions, he was involved in the panel moderator process.

“Determining an overall winner was a real challenge with so many very different toasties vying for the title,” he says.

“We had peanut butter and pickle toasties (Fix & Fogg, Wellington), smashed burger toasties (Jemima’s Kitchen and Cheese on Toast, Auckland) and crispy fried chicken with mac ‘n’ cheese (Love Chicken, Queenstown) amongst the dozen finalists.

“We’d like to congratulate all of them for making this such a great competition. It’s clear the art of creating the perfect toastie is very much alive. We can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with next year!”

The Great New Zealand Toastie Takeover competition criteria required sandwiches to be toasted between two slices of bread and able to be eaten by hand. The toasties also needed to contain cheese and McClure’s pickles, with all the other ingredients entirely up to the entrant’s imagination.

12 finalists were selected from the 80 entrants and were all judged on the same criteria, including presentation, effectiveness of preparation technique, eatability, taste, innovation and originality. This is the second year the South Island has taken the title with Joseph Walker and the Hokitika Sandwich Company taking top honours in 2019.


New Kiwi Start Up Supports Artisan Producers

The Kiwi Artisan Co launches off the back of Covid-19 pandemic

New Zealand online startup, The Kiwi Artisan Co, selects the finest small batch artisan goods for food lovers nationwide, supporting and celebrating local independent producers from Southland to Central Otago, Canterbury to Nelson, and Hawkes Bay to Northland.

The artisans, specifically chosen by The Kiwi Artisan Co, handcraft their goods from locally sourced, high quality ingredients in small batches using sustainable production processes. The thoughtfully curated range of delectable sharing platter boxes are tailored to individual tastes and dietary requirements.

Each online order received at kiwiartisan.co.nz is hand packed and delivered direct to your door, making it easier for foodies to entertain, connect and discover the real taste of New Zealand with friends and family.

The Kiwi Artisan Co takes pride in sharing the story behind its artisans and their products, providing customers with a deeper understanding of where their food comes from and the craft by which it is produced.

Originally a simple market stall in Central Otago supporting local producers, The Kiwi Artisan Co came to fruition off the back of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Like most small retail operations, the business struggled to survive during lockdown and was particularly affected as local markets and events were cancelled across the country. Without a strong online presence, operations came to a standstill.

“The shutdown period was tough, but it was even tougher watching those small artisan producers struggle who really depend on local markets and retail shops to survive,” explains Dave Thorn, founder of The Kiwi Artisan Co.

“We were determined to launch The Kiwi Artisan Co business online as a way to support the small batch artisan community and broaden artisan platter options for Kiwis who love to entertain at home.”

Dave quickly set about building a small team of passionate foodies – based between Queenstown, Cardrona and Wanaka – to help him get the business off the ground. Each has their own unique artisan experience and internal drive to strengthen support for the artisan community and foster deeper connections between the maker and the consumer.

“We want to inspire people to get together to discover, share and celebrate small batch New Zealand made goods and support our local artisans,” says Dave.

The unique sharing boxes take the stress out of entertaining, whilst striving to celebrate and support the very best kiwi artisan goods from around the country.

The Kiwi Artisan Co currently offers four pre-designed boxes and additionally caters for customers to build their own individual boxes, perfect for gifting occasions or those with dietary requirements.

Meet The Kiwi Artisan Co’s sharing platter boxes 

The Artisan  | RRP $79 Including shipping
Our original Kiwi artisan box. Discover wild venison salami from Fiordland and sun ripened olives from Hawke’s Bay with a range of delicious fig relishes and small batch cheeses from each end of the country.

The Entertainer | RRP $109 Including shipping
Gather your friends and whānau to gorge on our large entertainer’s box. Share a variety of New Zealand’s finest cheeses, dry aged wild venison salami, small batch preserves, traditional olives, pickled onions and mixed seed crackers.

The Forager (v) (gf)  | RRP $79 Including shipping
Our sweet and savoury grazing box featuring delicious fig nut ‘salami,’ Bay of Islands blue cheese, European style aged gouda, Central Otago preserves, and manuka chocolate.

The Chocolatier | RRP $65 Including shipping
Pure indulgence and almost too good to share. Our kiwi favourites box featuring dark chocolate kiwifruit, double choc salted peanut bark, organic hot chocolate and a range of uniquely kiwi craft chocolate.

While the curated boxes are designed for the frequent entertainer, they can easily convert into a perfect kiwi gift with the addition of a handcrafted Otago pine giftbox, wrapping and personalised note. 

August 2020

I am currently finding joy in simple things such as planting my All in One Almond trees just before the rain came to water them in.  The addition of these trees takes our fruit (and nut) tree tally up to 20, not bad for our inner city garden.
Our Yen Ben lemon tree has so much fruit that even though I am trying not to add to my Covid kilos I am going to make a lovely moist Lemon Syrup Loaf this afternoon.  We will share it with our elderly neighbours.
For those looking for something fun in November then how about coming along on the Alps to Ocean Cycle (e-bikes) with me?  It will be delicious, scenic, good fun and of course exercise.  Currently there are 3 spots left (numbers are capped at 14).
Happy Cooking!

Warm Caramel Miso Roast Pumpkin, Broccolini and Rice Salad

This salad is comforting and flavour overload, perfect for colder months.
It is great as a stand alone light meal or alongside other dishes such as roasted meats.

I choose Jasberry rice for its lovely nutty flavour and extra nutrition. Also their story is heartwarming.
I like to use the lovely Urban Hippie miso paste from Nelson NZ.