Love Exposure (Restaurant Review)

Blog, Restaurant Review

On our way to Mt Eden after watching Tully (great film BTW, I definitely recommend watching this one), my father and I kind of stumbled across Love Exposure. We went from planning on eating somewhere in Mt Eden, to seeing Nandos and deciding that would do instead, to noticing Love Exposure from the opposite side of the road and wanting to know more… What type of place was this? What was it called? What sort of food did they offer? The neon lights and the Brothers Beer sign drew us in.

Overall: It’s not going to suit everyone, but if you like Asian Fusion food or want to try something a little different, I would definitely try it out.

Where are they?

They are located at 191 Dominion Road in Mount Eden. They are on the corner of Dominion Road and Onslow Road and they’re pretty hard to miss as the entire place is lite with neon lights!

What sort of vibes were going on?

From the get-go, the vibes are great. They had music playing in the background and there were plenty of people packing the seats up, so there was an awesome buzz going on. The neon colours and what would usually seem like tacky decorations create a fun and bubbly environment. As I say, the decor is something that would usually be considered tacky… yet, somehow, they make it work!

There are three different ‘areas’ that you can be seated – two inside areas and one outside area. It looked like they had room to cater for some bigger groups, as well. I enjoyed sitting on a mermaid patterned seat!

So what’s their service like?

They seated us as soon as we walked in, giving us the option of sitting inside or out. They then presented us with the menu (unfortunately a little hard to read under the neon lights, but not impossible) and came back a few minutes later to take our order. The food was served to us really fast – although it should be noted that things didn’t turn up all at once, which was fine as we were sharing food. They also came back to check up on us later, which is always a nice little touch and works out well in regards to ordering more drinks (or food if you didn’t pick enough to begin with).

Fast service, funky decor and flavoursome food! 

And their food?

Extremely tasty. We ordered the Vietnamese spring rolls, the free-range chicken satay skewers and the grilled pork shoulder with lettuce cups. All of the meat was beautifully flavoured. My only wish was that we had more lettuce (or rice) to help compensate for the flavoursome meats. Perhaps we can adjust our order accordingly next time! I also got a Lemmy lemonade and my father got some good ol Brothers Beer.

I enjoyed that each dish has an aspect where you were involved. We had to wrap our spring rolls in lettuce and dip them in a sauce, we had to dip our satay skewers in the satay sauce and then sprinkle peanuts on top and we had to wrap our pork shoulder in a lettuce leaf and top it with this delicious sauce.

A lot of the food is also gluten-free (bonus for me!) and there were a few vegetarian dishes on offer too. The food ranges from $10-$16 and I think it’s recommended to share the dishes. As mentioned above, my father and I purchased three between us. The only potential downside to the food is that all of your pictures turn out pink!! (See below)

 

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Recipe

Blog, Recipes

I recently had an event where I needed to take a plate for a shared meal and I decided to make a cake! I found this recipe online and altered it to my desire (but in reality just used what I had in the fridge already).

You’ll see that the icing doesn’t have any quantities written alongside the ingredients – this is because it depends on how much icing you want and how thick you like it to be. My suggestion is to start small and slowly build it up, so you have lots of room to play with. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

1 cup Chelsea low GI cane sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups Edmonds gluten-free flour
1 3/4 teaspoons Edmonds baking powder
1/2 cup Lewis Road Milk (I used pure organic ‘Light’)

Icing

Butter
Cream cheese
Icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Grease/flour a 23cm x 23cm cake pan (or line a muffin pan with paper liners if you want to use the batter for muffins).
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla essence.
  5. Combine the flour and baking powder and then add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  6. Finally, stir in the milk until mixture is smooth. Pour or spoon into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
  8. While you let it cool, make the icing. Quantities are as desired.
  9. Melt a small portion of butter and mix in the cream cheese until you have a smooth consistency. You can add more butter later if you need to thicken the icing.
  10. Add in icing sugar as necessary to make the desired thickness and amount of icing.
  11. Once cooled, ice the cake and decorate as desired before serving.

I topped mine with fresh blueberries and passionfruit – delicious!!

Hello Friends & Allies (Café Review)

Blog, Cafe Review

Overall: Hello Friends & Allies is my absolute favourite local café.

Where are they?

They are located at 93 Great South Rd, Epsom, which is known as ‘the Market Road Shops’. It’s a prime location, being situated at an intersection with four directions filled with hungry customers. It’s parking, however, is not so prime. I often feel like swinging by to grab a coffee or a cabinet treat, but sadly end up driving away as the parking is too hard. Sunday before 10am is the best time for a park, as the bus lane is open and most people haven’t got out of bed yet! There is also a side street close by and you may just have to earn your food by walking a little bit to get there.

There are plenty of different seating options, either out the front or out the back – both providing different but lovely atmospheres.

So what’s their service like?

I have not once turned up here and been disappointed. The service is wonderful and the staff seem happy to be working there. They could potentially take orders a wee bit faster sometimes, though. They are also responsive to images/comments on Instagram which is an added bonus, making customers feel like they’re wanted and welcome in store.

Beautiful food, friendly service and colourful but not over the top decor – what else could you ask for!?

And their food?

The food always looks amazing – even when I order food ‘off the menu’ (i.e. just make up an order). They take pride in the food they offer their customers and ensure that it not only tastes amazing but looks like it tastes amazing!! They also have a wide range of delicious cabinet food, with gluten-free options for those that need them. As you can see from the pictures below, I thoroughly enjoy their berry smoothie!

 

Cost?

I believe they would be considered an average café cost – around $20-$30 for a cooked meal and a drink. Not super cheap but not crazy expensive either. Totally worth what you get!

Opening times:

Mon – 7am to 4pm
Tues – 7am to 4pm
Wed – 7am to 4pm
Thurs – 7am to 4pm
Fri – 7am to 4pm
Sat – 7:30am to 4pm
Sun – 7:30am to 4pm

 

Geeks On Sainsbury (Café Review)

Blog, Cafe Review

Overall: I’ve been to Geeks On Sainsbury twice now and I’m definitely keen to go back again!

Where are they?

Their location, 1/55 Sainsbury Road, gives them enough privacy that they aren’t packed with people, but enough exposure that you don’t feel like you are hidden away. Both times I ate here, I happened to be in the area. They are right beside this little park which has a few seats in it, so you could easily get takeaways on a nice sunny day and have a picnic!

They are also just down the road from St Luke’s Mall, so if you want some nice food that isn’t from a food court, then this should be your go-to place!

My sister used to live across the road and it would have been such a joy to have Geeks On Sainsbury as a local.

So what’s their service like?

They come up to you relatively straight away when you arrive and ask where you’d like to sit. The second time I went I was on crutches and that didn’t seem to bother them, which was nice. They were fast on taking our orders, although didn’t mind coming back to let us spend a few more minutes deciding what to get. All of the staff I have interacted with have been super friendly and the ones who see you leave say ‘Thank you’ and/or ‘Goodbye’, which is always a nice touch.

It’s a cute location with delicious food and friendly staff. I would recommend it to anyone in the area!

And their food?

Delightful! Below are a few shots – Eggs Bene, Pork Salad, Bibimbap and a drink. I would recommend their ‘Yellow’ smoothie and anything with a side of their potato stack… because it is absolutely divine. There a quite a few gluten-free options, which is great and overall they have a relatively wide selection of food to choose from. They also have a cabinet with sweet treats and a few sandwiches, if that’s more your style.

Cost?

I believe they would be considered an average café cost – around $20-$30 for a cooked meal and a drink. Not super cheap but not crazy expensive either. Totally worth what you get!

Opening times:

Mon – 7am to 3pm
Tues – 7am to 3pm
Wed – 7am to 3pm
Thurs – 7am to 3pm
Fri – 7am to 3pm
Sat – 8am to 3pm
Sun – 8am to 3pm

 

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Blog, Recipes

I’m a big fan of baked goods. I am also a big fan of chocolate. These gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins are a perfect combination of them both.

As part of my self-care journey and wanting to become healthier, I’ve been trying to make small alterations in my diet. This has become increasingly important as I strive to rid my body of Reactive Arthritis (read more about that here).

When searching for a baked good I could take along to work, I stumbled upon this Chelsea Sugar recipe for these banana and chocolate chip muffins and decided to mix it up a little. In the recipe below, you’ll see the ingredients I chose to use, making it slightly healthier for me. I am trying to be conscious of the food that I put into my body – especially in meals or baked goods that I make from scratch.

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups (220g) Edmonds gluten-free flour
1/2 cup (110g) Chelsea low GI cane sugar
1 tablespoon Edmonds baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Mrs Rogers Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup Whittakers fair trade 72% dark chocolate, cut into chips
1 Bioland organic egg
1/4 cup (65ml) Lupi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup (65ml) Anchor lactose-free milk 
1 cup mashed fair trade bananas (purchased from Pak’nSave)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place muffin cases into the muffin tin, or grease as necessary.
  3. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients bowl.
  5. Beat the egg in a small bowl, until frothy. Mix the oil, milk and bananas in the same bowl.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the well of the dry mixture.
  7. Stir the dry and wet mixture together, only to moisten. Be aware that the batter will be lumpy.
  8. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Let cool and serve (you may wish to sprinkle some icing sugar on top before serving).

I hope you enjoy your muffins – let me know how they turn out!

Gluten-Free Delight: Bakeworks Delivers!

Blog, Product Review

Having been stuck at home for the past month (read more about why here), I’ve consequently spent a lot of time on the internet, among other things.

One delightful thing that I came across is that Bakeworks, an awesome Gluten-Free company, has an online shop AND they deliver for free – “Free North Island shipping on orders $20+ and only $10 for South Island – Sorry no Rural Delivery due to courier restrictions”.

I have had an intolerance to gluten for several years now and I love stumbling across new products to try. I first took notice of Bakeworks when their Home St. Sprouted Seed Pizza Bases became an alternative option at Hell’s Pizza. I then saw them (and tasted their scrumptious samples) at the Gluten-Free Food & Allergy Show on the North Shore. However, not knowing where to buy these amazing bases from, Bakeworks fell off my radar.

Friday is pizza night at my house and I was gleefully getting used to Hell’s Pizza – an altered Pandemonium, being my favourite. My mother, however, came home one night with a packet of the sprouted seed pizza bases and I told her how much I had enjoyed them. She had purchased them from one of her favourite stores, Cere’s Wholefoods and I asked if she could get more the next time she was there. Lo and behold, Bakeworks showed up on my Instagram within the next few days and it said they had an online store! I was absolutely delighted. I made my order on the spot and within 36 hours had the goods delivered to my house for free.

The items that I tried were:

1x Torpedo Roll 210g Single for $3.99 each
1x Bakeworks Pizza GF Base 10″ 2pk 370g for $5.95 each
2x Home St. Sprouted Pizza GF Base 10″ 2pk 370g for $7.49 each
1x Bread Crumbs Retail 300g – Bread Crumbs Retail 300g for $5.50 each
1x Shortbread 200g for $5.50 each
1x Triple Choc Muffins 2pk Retail for $5.50 each

So far I have tried the muffins (which didn’t taste gluten-free, meaning I feel happy offering it to friends when they come over), the shortbread (which I would say have been the best gluten-free biscuits I have tasted thus far) and the plain pizza base (which was as delicious as the sprouted seed pizza base).

I definitely look forward to trying more of their products in the future. Go on, give them a go – spend only $10 (South Island) or $20 (North Island) and it can get delivered right to your door for free!!

Summer Smoothies

Blog, Recipes

During the summer months here in New Zealand, making smoothies becomes a common occurrence in our household. The ingredients usually consist of whatever I have available at the time. I do, however, like to keep my freezer stocked with frozen berries! My current favourite is the Smoothie range from Oob Organics.

Knowing that I was getting take-out for dinner tonight, I decided to have a smoothie for lunch. Today’s concoction involved: @oob.organic berries, @biofarmorganic organic low-fat natural yoghurt and a @huckleberrynz fair trade banana 🍌

As part of my self-care journey, I am also trying to investigate and explore ways that I can care for others and the environment. One way that I have found to care for the environment, is to purchase some CaliWoods reusable smoothie straws! The @caliwoods_eco straws “.. are made from food-grade, type 304 stainless steel so are easy to clean, completely dishwasher/steriliser safe and can be used over and over.”

I’ve always been a fan of using straws but felt bad about the plastic that I was using. Now, I don’t have to worry!