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The Nightingale, Auckland

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Last weekend, I dined at Auckland’s newest pop up, focused on serving craft beer, gourmet comfort food and providing top notch entertainment, including live bands, DJs and comedy. Introducing The Nightingale.

This new craft beer pop up bar is situated in the Viaduct, between Danny Doolans and Soul Bar & Bistro. Its great location means stunning views of the sail boats and harbour, making it the perfect spot for lunch, dinner and after work drinks.

We loved the bright and funky decor as you walk in and the feature wall of artsy Nightingales – rare birds which sing both day and night. Hence the name The Nightingale, as this restaurant and bar is open all day and almost all night!

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The atmosphere is buzzing too, particularly on the upstairs outdoor balcony. I highly recommend sitting up top if you can get a spot – the views are stunning, plus the bar opens out onto the balcony. #winning. If balconies are not your style, then you can also sit outside on the ground level (complete with wood fire burners for cold wintery nights) or inside at the bar, at funky tables or in colourful booths.

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Now, onto the beer and food!

We ordered two beers – Jupiler (from Belgium) and Speights Gold Medal. While they are not craft beers, they were still great choices, in terms of price, and perfect for our very sunny Saturday afternoon.

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We loved the food menu, which is designed to be matched with their beers. Our waitress described the food as gourmet comfort food. And it is. Platters to share, burgers with fries, poutine, mac ‘n’ cheese, Belgian waffles with fried chicken, duck fat potatoes and for dessert, Grandma’s chocolate cake and key lime pie.

While I was set on ordering the Southern Chicken n’ Waffle, we couldn’t go past their Burger Platter ($65) – your choice of 8 small versions of their burgers, plus a giant size of poutine on the side. Yum.

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Burger options included:

  • Flame Grilled Angus Beef Burger with tomato, lettuce, pickles and a surprising spicy mustard aioli

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  • Buttermilk Soaked Southern Fried Chicken with lettuce, avocado and chipotle mayo

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  • Manuka Smoked Pulled Pork with Tennessee whiskey sauce, crispy shallots, bread and butter pickled cabbage and red onion

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  • Tabasco Brined Oyster Po Boy breaded in cornmeal on a tender hoagie with lettuce, tomato and homemade aioli

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  • Marinated Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke, with a lovely olive tapenade and The Nightingale’s own parmesan aioli

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We ordered 2 x Vegetarian, 2 x Oyster Po Boy, 2 x Buttermilk Fried Chicken, 1 x Angus Beef and 1 x Pulled Pork. There was a bit of a wait for the burger platter and poutine, however it was worth it. We loved the presentation and the burgers were too cute!

Surprisingly, the waitress mixed up our order. We received two pork burgers and were missing the beef. When we explained to her, she rushed back to the kitchen and two mini beef burgers were made, at no extra charge. So, we ended up eating 5 mini burgers each, plus a mountain of fries. I am not complaining!

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Our favourites out of the five burgers were the Manuka Smoked Pulled Pork (for its killer Tennessee whiskey sauce and tender pulled pork), the Tabasco Brined Oyster Po Boy (because, well, oysters in a burger!) and the Marinated Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke (a great vegetarian option, with huge chunks of vegetables).

The Poutine, however, was another story. Great fries and stringy cheese curd, but the let-down was the gravy. I imagined it would be a thick beef gravy like the poutines I have had before, but it was watery, and sat at the bottom of the dish, and we just couldn’t dip our fries into it. Frustrating!

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The Nightingale has the odd thing to improve on… the Poutine?… but overall, the beer selection is extensive, the location is perfect with stunning views, the service is welcoming and efficient, and we loved the idea of comfort food – ideal for the upcoming cold wintery nights. But pop in quick, as it is only open for six months!

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* I received a voucher for The Nightingale, courtesy of the restaurant, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

The Nightingale

Open Monday to Sunday, 11.30am till late
Address 204 Quay Street, Viaduct Auckland
Notes Extensive beer selection / takes bookings / the upstairs balcony has the best views of the harbour
Instagram / Facebook

The Nightingale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BAO, London

I am Gua Bao crazy.

Crazy for Taiwanese steamed buns.

Soft, fluffy buns filled with mouthwatering ingredients.

This is BAO.

While in London last year, I made a beeline for BAO, an upmarket Taiwanese eatery located in the Soho area.

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The restaurant is small, yet cosy and staff are friendly and efficient. BAO doesn’t take bookings, instead you have to wait in line… at a designated spot across the street, in front of a man eating bao. (Laughs).

When I arrived for lunch on a weekday, the place was packed. Luckily, the service is quick (without the feeling of being rushed), so I ended up waiting in line for only 10 minutes.

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But, waiting in line for their bao is worth it.

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Their menu is simple. It consists of Taiwanese small plates – 9 dishes, 5 bao, 4 sides and one dessert bao. When ordering, you simply tick the box next to the dish you want and then hand it over to the wait staff.

While I wanted to order all 19 dishes, I only ordered three – the Classic Pork Bao and Taiwanese fried chicken, and for dessert, the Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao.

The Classic Pork Bao was perfect – a fluffy pillow-like bun of goodness, filled with pulled pork, fermented peanut powder and coriander. Melt in your mouth!

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The Taiwanese Fried Chicken with hot sauce was also very good – finger licking good. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.

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Taiwanese Fried Chicken

But my favourite dish was definitely the Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao – a must order when dining at BAO. It is a scoop of creamy malt ice cream between two sweet buns. Simple, but done well. Plus, it looks super cute!

As of last year, I had not seen a dessert bao on an Auckland menu. Now you can get them at Auckland eatery Po’Brothers. Yay!

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Fried Horlicks Ice Cream Bao

BAO is the creme de la creme of bao. I would highly recommend eating here if you are in London. I cannot wait to go back, just so I can try more of BAO’s creations!

BAO

Open Monday to Sunday, various times (check their website for times)
Address 53 Lexington St, Carnaby, London
Notes No reservations
Instagram / Facebook

Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meat Fish Wine

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Last week, I was invited to dine at Meat Fish Wine to try their five course degustation menu, matched with local and international wines. We had a fantastic night, thanks to the beautiful food, wine, ambience and service.

Meat Fish Wine is located on the corner of O’Connell and Chancery Streets, making it a great central spot for dining. The menu changes seasonally, focusing on fresh New Zealand produce, in particular meat and fish, and it has one of the largest wine lists in New Zealand. With over 500 wines to choose from, hand-picked by a Sommelier, you are truly spoilt for choice.

Walking in, the interior is stunning. We loved the inviting bar area with plush seating, the large heritage windows overlooking O’Connell Street, the open plan kitchen (with adjoining chef’s table), the unique bathroom (don’t leave without taking a peak!), the luxurious private dining rooms (named Waiheke, Rangitoto and Kawau) and most impressive of all, the chandelier display of over 2,000 Riedel wine glasses shaped to reflect a Hei Matau or traditional fish hook.

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Chandelier display of over 2,000 wine glasses shaped to reflect a Hei Matau

Our degustation menu consisted of three starters (fish, venison and seafood tortellini), a main (lamb) and desserts. Every dish was beautifully presented in ceramic bowls/on plates and a highlight was that all the hot dishes arrived on warm plates… definitely makes a difference!

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We started with a warm bread roll and horopito butter – heavenly! Followed by the Kingfish Ceviche with tiger’s milk, chilli, coconut, lime and salmon caviar, matched with a 2014 Meßmer Feinherb Halbtrocken Riesling from Pflaz, Germany.

A simple, yet refreshing dish, with punchy flavours! It is a little spicy, however if you reserve a few sips of your riesling for the end, you will finish with a lovely sweet aftertaste and the spice magically disappears…

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Kingfish Ceviche with tiger’s milk, chilli, coconut, lime and salmon caviar

The next starter we enjoyed was the Raukumara Venison Carpaccio with beetroot, parsnip, celeriac, watercress, hazelnut and sherry dressing, matched with a 2015 Pyramid Valley Calrossie Pinot Noir from Malborough.

A well-presented dish, with many different elements, representing earthy and winter tones. We particularly enjoyed the crunchy parsnip on top. The Pinot Noir was also a perfect match – very smooth!

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Raukumara venison carpaccio with beetroot, parsnip, celeriac, watercress, hazelnut and sherry dressing

Our favourite dish of the night was the Prawn Tortellini with crayfish bisque, fennel, crustacean oil and lemon, matched with a 2015 Pizzolato Pinot Grigio from Venice.

The bisque was lovely (the hint of brandy gave it that special touch) and the flavours of the prawn tortellini superb. We also savoured the sweetness and crispness of the Pinot Grigio.

The only glitch with the prawn tortellini was the dish it was served in – a very large bowl! While I have no complaints about the bowl itself, it would have been much easier to eat the tortellini if it was served in a lower bowl or plate.

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Prawn tortellini with crayfish bisque, fennel, crustacean oil and lemon

For our main, we loved their Silere Alpine Merino lamb rump, served with a potato and parsnip gratin, pea puree and port wine jus, matched with a 2015 Te Mata ‘Estate’ Syrah from Hawkes Bay.

The lamb rump was perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. It is the most delicious piece of meat I have ever eaten – every bite was heaven. I also loved the creamy potato and parsnip gratin, plus the Syrah was a perfect match!

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Silere Alpine Merino lamb rump, served with a potato and parsnip gratin, pea puree and port wine jus

Last but not least, dessert. We indulged in their ultra-smooth Lemon Posset, with Raspberry Sorbet and Ginger Crunch, which was a lovely sweet finish to a beautiful meal.

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Lemon Posset, topped with Raspberry Sorbet and a sprinkling of Ginger Crunch

And one of the best desserts I have eaten this year, Warm Chocolate Brownie with Maple and Walnut Ice Cream and Italian Meringue. Every mouthful was melt in your mouth, thanks to the decadently rich and gooey brownie, chocolate discs, smooth maple and walnut ice cream and perfectly piped meringue. Highly recommend this dish to all dessert lovers out there!

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Warm Chocolate Brownie with Maple and Walnut Ice Cream and Italian Meringue

I can’t recall which dessert wines were matched with our Lemon Posset and Warm Chocolate Brownie, as we were too engrossed in devouring them!

Overall, we were very impressed by the food, wine and service at Meat Fish Wine. I will definitely re-visit as it is the perfect place to have a drink at the bar, enjoy two or three dishes from their express lunch menu or indulge in their degustation menu, paired with a few of their wonderful wines.

* I was invited to dine at Meat Fish Wine, courtesy of the restaurant, however all opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Meat Fish Wine
Open Tuesday to Friday for Lunch (12pm to 4pm), for Dinner (5pm till late), Saturday for Dinner (5pm till late), Closed Sundays and Mondays
Address Corner of O’Connell and Chancery Streets, Auckland
Notes Takes bookings, degustation, wine flights and express lunch available
Instagram / Facebook

Meat Fish Wine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Auckland Food Guide by georgieats

Hello readers!

I get asked almost every day what my favourite dinner spots are, where to have breakfast in Auckland CBD, where I go food shopping and of course, what are the best desserts in Auckland. So, I have decided to start my own Auckland Food Guide.

Below is my ultimate guide to all things food related, featuring my favourite eateries in Auckland and eateries I want to try, along with coffee spots, desserts, food trucks, favourite cocktail bars, food related activities, markets and shopping.

I will keep the list up to date to include new openings, and will link each place to either my Instagram, my blog posts or my favourite Auckland food blogger’s blog posts or Instagram posts.

Enjoy!


BREAKFAST AND BRUNCH

  • Winona Forever – I love their Insta-famous Eton Mess French Toast, buckwheat hotcakes and anything from their amazing food cabinet! Check out my post here.
  • Major Sprout – a must try is their EPIC buttermilk pancakes with mascarpone, butterscotch, marshmallows, candy floss, freeze dried fruit AND unlimited Noble maple syrup! Need I say more?! Check out my post here.
  • The Garden Shed – recently tried this place for #NZBloggers brunch club and loved it! Try their breakfast board or their famous burger!
  • Catroux – I have only ever head great things about this cafe! Check out this post by Thea (of Simply Theora)
  • Raw Power – head here for a vegetarian breakfast – my favourite is their EPIC French Toast! Check out my post here.
  • Odette’s Eatery – beautiful food, setting and service. Check out this post by The Hadlow Girls (of What’s Yummy)
  • Bestie – another brunch place to indulge in your sweet tooth, namely their hotcakes with toffee apple ice cream. Check out this post by Tiffany (of Heartshrooms).
  • The Smoothie Bowl – popping up on my Instagram feed a lot, this smoothie bowl place looks amazing! Definitely heading here next time I’m on the shore.
  • L’oeuf – probably the most Instagrammed dish on Auckland’s foodie Instagram, the ‘Nest‘ with sunflower seed crumbed soft-boiled eggs, in a filo nest with beetroot ketchup, feta and a rocket salad. Another eatery I am yet to try!
  • Goodness Gracious – opening soon in Parnell, which I am so excited about! In the meantime, you can pick up one of their delicious bagels at their Eden Terrace store. Check out this post by Courtney (of A Food Awakening)
  • Bowl & Arrow – another delicious smoothie bowl place. Currently located at Orakei Bay Village, but opening another store soon. Plus, I know where! Hint: it’s near my house!

COFFEE / HOT CHOCOLATES

  • Le Chef$3 large flat whites, all day, every day
  • Cova Cafe – Gravity beans / consistently good coffee, the fluff is perfect and it is always extra hot
  • Bones – Coffee Supreme beans, plus check out the skull feature wall
  • Miann – the first of its kind in New Zealand, with a special Valrhona Hot Chocolate menu, consisting of 8 different flavours.
  • Vulcan Lane Bagels – eighthirty beans, always perfect!
  • Major Sprout – serving Flight Coffee, which is creamy and delicious.
  • Best Ugly Bagels – their main jam is bagels, but their Havana coffee is amazing
  • Rosie – love their Valrhona hot chocolates! Check out my post here.
  • Marua Road Cafe – very good coffee (Jack’s) and the cutest latte art I have ever seen.
  • Cornwall Park Cafe – deconstructed mochas, complete with separate coffee, milk, chocolate, marshmallows, chocolate fish and flakes. Sounds like heaven! Check out this post by Tiffany (of Heartshrooms)

SWEETS / DESSERTS

  • Giapo – the BEST ice cream in New Zealand, thanks to Giapo Grazioli. My all time favourite flavours are Giapo Buono, Siamu Popo and Hokey Pokey. Click the links below to see Giapo’s different flavours:
  • Miann – my go-to dessert bar! My favourites include their ever changeable gateaux, plated desserts, handmade bonbons, Valrhona hot chocolates and ice cream (love the s’mores). Check out my post here.
  • The Pie Piper & Doornuts – American style pies and donuts, delivered straight to your door! I LOVE their maple bacon donut – tastes just like pancakes. Mmmmm. Check out my post here.
  • Milse – Auckland’s first dessert bar, selling gateaux, macarons, plated desserts and my favourite ice cream on a stick – Bombe Alaska, with the sorbet flavour inside changes according to season – yummy! Check out my post here.
  • Winona Forever – sweet sweet food cabinet heaven! Doughnuts. Lamingtons. Cheesecake Slice. Crossiants. Rocky Road. Brownie. Meringues.
  • The Caker – looking for a celebration cake? The Caker is your answer. Beautiful handmade cakes, usually adorned with flowers. Also love their cake mixes! Check out my post here.
  • Vaniye – a French patisserie located in Parnell serving beautiful gateaux and crunchy baguettes. Check out this post by Amy (of My Dining Journey)
  • The Dairy – Kapiti ice cream sandwiches and sodas topped with fairy floss!
  • Moustache – who could say no to cookies and milkshakes? My favourite cookies in Auckland!
  • Little & Friday – head here for doughnuts, filled with creme patisserie and raspberry coulis – the best in Auckland!!!
  • Cibo – try their Fry-pan brownie pan dessert, with raspberries, raspberry marshmallows and butterscotch raspberry ripple ice cream, which recently won an award in the 2017 Metro Restaurant Awards.
  • Gerome – a must try is their Loukoumades aka Greek doughnuts, served with a perfect coffee ice cream, nutella sauce and hazelnuts
  • Petal Cupcakes – they taste just like the real thing! With flavours like mango, salted caramel, red velvet and espresso, they are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet cravings!

LUNCH

  • &Sushi – my favourite lunch place in Auckland. My favourite dishes include their Sashimi Don, Yakisoba Noodles and Kimchi Pork Donburi. Their sushi is beautiful  too! Check out my blog post here.
  • Lucky Buddha – an all time favourite, serving Japanese, Korean, Thai and Filipino food. Check out my post here.
  • Raw Power – head here for awesome vegetarian food, in particular the salads, corn fritters, tofu sandwich, falafel and pumpkin curry soup.
  • Bird on A Wire – fresh and delicious salads, served with homemade rotisserie chicken – delish!
  • The Vodka Room– a 2017 newcomer, serving Russian inspired cuisine. I love their “$20 Rush in Lunchboard” which is Russian antipasti with a twist. Check out my video of it here.
  • Scarecrow – I love their $10 soup and salad specials, plus their iced drinks made with Little Island ice cream.
  • Bannsang or Faro – for a cheap Korean lunch (bibimbap!!!) in Auckland CBD
  • Revive Vegetarian Cafe – delicious salads, soups, meals and breakfast dishes that change weekly! Check out my post here.
  • Kushi – a great Japanese restaurant in Auckland’s CBD. Nice ambience, good service, variety of dishes, good lunch special, plus on Friday nights, they do a short drum performance, which is very cool! Check out this, this and this.
  • Mamak – my favourite Malaysian joint in Auckland. Love their beef rendang, curry chicken and char kway teow. Check out this post by Sophia Joy (of Joy & Serenity)
  • Little Bird Unbakery – two locations across Auckland, dine in at Ponsonby or get takeaway from Britomart. Delicious raw food, including breakfast and lunch dishes, smoothies, desserts and more.
  • Poderi Crisci – located in Waiheke, Poderi Crisci serves the dreamiest lunch spreads. Check it out here.

COOL CHEAP EATS

  • Hello Mister – my new favourite Vietnamese in Auckland! Amazing rice paper rolls, noodle salads (so far, I have tried the lemongrass chicken and crispy pork), banh mi, beef pho and watermelon juice!
  • Chinoiserie – delicious Taiwanese street food. I recommend their Pork Belly Bao, Tofu Bao, Spicy Popcorn Chicken and any of their cocktails!
  • Best Ugly Bagels – the best, but definitely not ugly. My all time favourite is the tomato, mozzarella and basil.
  • Xuxu Dumpling & Bar – Cocktails, Dumplings and Dessert. Three of my favourite things. And three things that you will find at Xuxu, making it one of my favourite eateries in the city. Check out my post here.
  • Tiger Burger – awesome eatery, with top notch burgers and the best kimchi fries (omg!). In love. Check out my post here.
  • Ceremony – cool guys + cool burgers.
  • Vulcan Lane Bagels – you can’t go wrong with their Pastrami Melt Bagel, so delicious!
  • Dantes Pizzeria – my go to place for a mouthwatering margherita pizza!
  • Velvet Burger – Kiwi burger brand, love their vegetarian burger and hashies. Check out my post here.
  • Mexico – hands down the best fried chicken, perfectly spiced and crunchy! Also love their quesadillas, guacamole and shots of the 1800 coconut tequila.
  • Indochine Kitchen Express – cute takeaway spot serving delicious summer rolls, beef pho, papaya salad, beef stew and banh mi.
  • Flavour – for when you want a quick, cheap and yummy lunch. I love their ‘Flavour of the day’ for $5, my favourite day being Wednesday, because that means falafel!
  • Aroy Thai – super filing and tasty food, with most dishes priced under $15. I love their Pad Thai.
  • The Kimchi Project – a modern take on Korean cuisine, but loving it! Especially their sodas, kimchi waffle fries and bao. Check out this post by Anna (of Anna’s Brunch Club)

COCKTAILS

  • The Vodka Room – love their espresso martinis
  • Xuxu Dumpling & Bar – amazing cocktails, but my favourite is their passionfruit mocktail (it’s not on the menu, but just ask)
  • Soul Bar & Bistro – all of their cocktails are perfect, but of course, their espresso martini is my favourite!
  • Pilkingtons – again, love their espresso martinis
  • Frida’s Margaritas – 12 different margarita flavours – so far, I have only tried the Lychee and Salt, which was top notch!
  • Bellini Bar, Hiltontoberlone cocktails and espresso martinis are my favourites here.
  • Bedford Soda & Liquor – Instagram worthy cocktails! I once went to a cocktail masterclass at Bedford Soda and it was awesome – check out my post here.
  • White & Wongs –  I haven’t tried it yet, but my friend swears by their “Dragon Drop” cocktail with gin, vodka and elderflower liqueur cocktail.

DINNER

  • White & Wongs – my current favourite restaurant, which has absolutely amazing food! The first time, we indulged in their dumplings, edamame (with a killer sauce), pork belly bao, Korean spicy chicken bao and nashi pear iced teas 🌸 I will definitely be back!
  • Depot – owned and run by Al Brown, Depot is one of my favourites. I love their oysters, kingfish and potato skins! Check out my post here.
  • Federal Delicatessen – New York Jewish deli style food. My favourite dish? Their Montreal poutine with fries, cheese curd and gravy. Check out my post here.
  • Tok Tok – I first tried dishes at Tok Tok at last year’s Taste of Auckland. I haven’t been to their restaurant in Takapuna yet, but it’s high on my list. Check out this post about Tok Tok by Angela (of A Style Collector).
  • Queens Cafe Bistro – the perfect hideaway in Auckland’s CBD, with a lovely restaurant setting, beautiful food and attentive service. Check out my post here.
  • Meat Fish Wine – I am trying this place out tonight. Stay tuned!
  • Po Brothers – Asian fusion cuisine, with dishes like pork belly, prawn sashimi, chicken karaage and deep fried dessert bao. Check out this post about Po Brothers by Tiffany (of Heartshrooms)
  • Beirut – traditional Lebanese food, my favourite dishes being the Smoked Yoghurt Labna with scorched flatbread and the Merguez (spicy sausage). Check out my post here.
  • Burger Burger – never fails to amaze me! Order a few burgers, a side of broccoli and potato skins. And a peanut butter thickshake. And, if you are dining at their Newmarket or Takapuna branches, then you will want to save room for dessert – ice cream sandwiches!!! Check out my post here.
  • Masu by Nic Watt – Japanese fine dining. Check out this post here by Sophia Joy (of Joy & Serenity).
  • Tao – I’ve heard that this is the new go-to place for dumplings. Check out this post about Tao by Genie (of Bunny Eats Design).
  • Oh Calcutta – my favourite Indian in Auckland. I recommend their Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan, Mango Lassi and Tandoor Chicken.
  • Blue Breeze Inn – love their crispy pork belly bao and cocktails in coconuts
  • Amano – Italian flare, serving handmade pasta, breads and pastries etc.
  • Cafe Hanoi – another favourite restaurant in Britomart, serving delicious Vietnamese food. Check out my post here.
  • Culprit – run by Kyle Street, former chef at Depot and serving yum cha style food. Check out this post about Culprit by Carli (of The Enthusiastic Cook)
  • Eight at The Langham – the best buffet in Auckland, featuring eight different food stations. Definitely something for everyone on the menu. Oh and there’s a chocolate fountain! Check out my post here.
  • Gerome – the latest newcomer to Parnell’s dining scene, serving beautiful modern Greek food. Check out my blog post here.
  • Pasta e Cuore – a colleague recently dined here (June 17) and loved it. Her favourite dishes were the Tagliatelle BologneseSpaghetti alla chitarra alla Carbonara and Spaghetti alla chitarra al Gorgonzola. Great service too.
  • Oaken – open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Oaken serves lovely seasonal food, with dishes I wouldn’t normally go for, like Pumpkin Gnocchi!
  • Prego – a fine dining Italian restaurant, serving traditional Italian cuisine. Check out this post about Prego by Sophia Joy (of Joy & Serenity).

FOOD TRUCKS / STANDS

  • Judge Bao – one of my favourite food stands, serving mouthwatering bao (I love their pork belly bao and also the mapo tofu). Owners Debbie and Jamie are the sweetest too! Check out my post here.
  • Wise Boys Burgers – amazing vegan burgers, my favourite being their Kumara and Moroccan Spiced Patty Burger – to die for!
  • The Rolling Pin – traditional dumplings, served with a fresh and crunchy Asian salad. I love their Beef Cheek Dumplings.
  • Temaki Truck – sushi served in cones, filled with flavours like fresh salmon or tuna. They also serve seriously good karaage chicken.
  • Nitro Cow – so stoked to have finally tried Nitro Cow aka gelato made with liquid nitrogen!!! Love their chocolate and coconut combination.
  • House of Dumplings – popping up at events all over Auckland, as well as having a permanent spot at La Cigale French Market. My favourite flavours are their Korean Sesame Beef, Nepalese Spiced Lamb and Crystal Prawn.
  • The Lucky Taco – my first favourite food truck, serving amazing tacos, plus owners, Sarah and Otis, are so lovely!
  • Minty B Ice Creamery – delicious soft serve with EPIC toppings!
  • Soul Boul – New Zealand’s first mobile smoothie bowl truck, which has been popping up at events all over Auckland this year, including the Go Green Expo and the Vegan Food Fair.

FOOD ACTIVITIES

  • UberEATS – the newish UberEATS app allows you to order your favourite dishes online from over 70 participating eateries, which will then be delivered straight to your home/office. My favourite eateries include &Sushi, Burger Boy, Best Ugly Bagels and Miann. Check out my post here.
  • Pasta Wednesday – my friend Carli over at Pasta Wednesday makes fresh pasta every week, delivered to your home or workplace! The pasta is seriously good and very easy to prepare!
  • Auckland Food Tours – a chance to try new dishes and learn about different cultures, all led by an experienced guide. Check out this post and this post about their Chinese food and culture tours by Bri Dimattina.
  • Pasta Fresca Workshop at Pasta e Cuore – learn how to make fresh handmade pasta in a two hour workshop. Check out this post about the workshop by Michelle (of The Foodie Inc)

FOOD MARKETS / SHOPPING

  • La Cigale French Market – my favourite market in Auckland. I may be biased as it is just around the corner from my house, but it seriously has it all. French macarons, tarts and gateaux, crepes, fresh juices, smoothies, gozleme, smoked salmon, Turkish dips and wraps, paella, dumplings, freshly baked pastries and breads, fresh fruit and vegetables, wonderful cheeses… and loads more. Check out my post here.
  • Avondale Market – a wonderful mix of Asian and Polynesian food and culture, held every Sunday. Check out this post about the Avondale Market by Carli (of The Enthusiastic Cook)
  • Good For Store – an organic wholefoods refillery, with products like pre-made muesli, lentils, rice, crackers, kombucha, spices and nuts. Check out this post by Laura (of Bitch Peas Blog)
  • Clevedon Farmers Market – coming soon!
  • Coatesville Farmers Market – coming soon!
  • Sabato – my one stop shop for Valrhona chocolate, Italian, French and Spanish products, beautiful cheeses, olives and garlics!
  • Farro Fresh – sells all the goods, including The Lucky Taco Kits, Culley’s Hot Sauce, Joshua’s Ice Cream, Garage Project beer, Goodness Kitchen Smoothie Packs, Kohu Road Ice Cream, and amazing cheese and chorizo!
  • Milly’s Kitchen Shop – my favourite kitchen shop in Auckland!

Gerome, Parnell

Gerome is the latest newcomer to Parnell’s dining scene, occupying the space where the famous Iguacu used to be. This new restaurant is serving up beautiful modern Greek food, matched with an elegant dining experience and friendly and attentive service. Three of us dined here last week for a special birthday, and we were very impressed.

The restaurant is very sophisticated. Hanging chandeliers, turquoise velvet booths, gold adornments and quality tableware make for a very beautiful setting. You almost feel like you could be dining in New York or Hollywood. I also loved the impressive open kitchen – definitely sit downstairs to be a part of all the action!

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We started off with a glass of prosecco while perusing the menu, which is designed to be shared, consisting of smaller plates, larger plates, sides and a few desserts. We shared three smaller dishes and one larger dish among three of us, and dessert devoured by one. The dishes were rich and full of flavour, and left us feeling very satisfied. We enjoyed the following:

Warm buttermilk flatbreads with a salty taramasalata (Greek dip made with fish roe), and interestingly, a carrot tzatziki (although I prefer it with cucumber), house olives and sumac. A great start to a lovely meal ahead.

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The Charred Broccoli, served with a white bean skordalia, preserved lemon and sheep’s quark was my favourite dish of the night. I love broccoli, but wow, Gerome, I will never look at a broccoli the same again. Perfectly cooked, full of flavour and I loved the creaminess of the sheep’s quark.

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We also tried the Burnt eggplant, with a tahini and cauliflower puree, pine nuts, lemon and white raisins. Unfortunately, it was nothing to write home about. Interestingly, this dish is classified as a ‘larger plate’ on the menu, but the serving size was small. It was also far too salty for me, so I wouldn’t order this dish again.

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Our third and final dish for the evening was the Ox Tongue. My Mum used to cook it a lot back in the day, so we were very intrigued to try it! I was also very interested in how the dish would be presented – would it be served like a tongue? Of course, it wasn’t. Instead it was served on skewers, topped with mizithra (a fresh cheese made with milk and whey) and capers. The meat was tender and melt in your mouth, making it my second favourite dish of the night.

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While I had intended on ordering Gerome’s grilled pineapple, with creme fraiche ice cream and candied pistachios, I couldn’t go past their ‘Loukoumades’ – light and fluffy Greek doughnuts, served with a divine coffee ice cream, nutella sauce and topped with hazelnuts. You will definitely want to save room for this dessert!

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Overall, Gerome is a lovely addition to Parnell and Auckland’s dining scene. I highly recommend you dine here next time you are in the area.  It is a great place for dinner, but also the perfect place to have a few drinks, accompanied by a few of their smaller plates. I will most definitely be returning!

Gerome
Open Monday to Friday from 7am to 4pm, Saturday & Sunday from 8am to 4pm
Address 269 Parnell Road, Parnell
Notes Definitely book a table (via email) as it gets super busy… unless you arrive on opening time! Great for groups, a date or a special birthday.
Instagram / Facebook

Gerome Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Harraways Spiced Unbaked Oats and Seed Slice + WIN

Harraways are celebrating their 150th birthday!

The iconic New Zealand brand has been providing us with delicious oats since 1867, with the company still operating from its original site in Green Island, near Dunedin – WOW!

As part of their milestone birthday, Harraways have released two Celebration packs: Chia, Coconut & Cranberry Celebration, and Birthday Berry Bonanza. These celebration packs come with free collectables – ‘Harry’ Scottish Terrier magnets and colour changing spoons.

I love Harraways oats because they are so versatile and can be used in many ways. I have porridge for breakfast, which is simple, yet filling, I use their oats in smoothies, in desserts (I love making feijoa crumble at this time of year) and my favourite, in baking. While I usually use oats for making Anzac biscuits, cookies or pancakes, I was intrigued to try making a slice this time round! Check out the recipe for Harraways Spiced Unbaked Oats and Seed Slice below:

Spiced Unbaked Oats & Seeds Slice

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Makes 20 bars

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup Coconut Oil

1/4 cup Liquid Honey
1/3 teaspoon Idodised Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/3 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 pinch Ground Nutmeg
1/2 cup Almonds, sliced
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 cup Dried Figs, roughly chopped
1 cup Harraway’s Rolled Oats

FOR THE DRIZZLE TOPPING (OPTIONAL)
50g Dark Chocolate, melted (I used 70% Lindt)

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METHOD
1 Melt coconut oil, honey, salt, and other spices in a medium saucepan.
2 When liquid mixture melts and becomes a bit foamy, turn the heat down
to low, add the oats and stir to coat.
3 Add the nuts/seeds, and stir to coat.
4 Finally, add the dried fruit, and fold in to the mixture.
5 Continue cooking on low heat for just a couple minutes (this will soften
the ingredients slightly before you cool them, allowing them to stick
together better).
6 Meanwhile, line a small baking dish with parchment paper.
7 Add the mixture to the dish; press down so it is evenly spread out. Fold the parchment paper over the granola so the top is covered (get more if necessary). Press the granola so it is packed firmly.
8 Place in refrigerator and allow to cool completely – at least two hours, but I recommend overnight.
9 Remove granola from parchment paper – it should be in one big block. Cut

into 20 bars, and drizzle with dark chocolate (if using). Enjoy! x

Store the bars in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

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* GIVEAWAY *

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To celebrate Harraways‘ 150th Birthday, I have one Harraways prize pack to give away! This includes:

  • 1 x Harraways tote bag
  • 1 x Chia, Coconut & Cranberry oats singles box
  • 1 x Birthday Berry Bonanza oats singles box
  • 1 x Harraways Teatowel
  • 1 x Vintage Harraways Oat tin


* TO ENTER*

Simply head to my Instagram post here to be into win!

Competition closes 29/05/2017 and the winner will be drawn at 5pm.
Open to New Zealand readers only.

Good luck!

This is a not a sponsored post, however the rolled oats and merchandise were gifted to me by Harraways. All opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Major Sprout

If you are looking for the perfect inner city breakfast spot, then Major Sprout may just be the best choice. It ticks all the boxes – delicious food, great coffee and efficient service.

Major Sprout is owned by David Lee, who also runs the popular eateries Dear Jervois in Herne Bay and Little King in Milford. I admit, Major Sprout opened in November 2015… so I am a bit late to the party. But it was definitely worth the wait, especially for their famous and Insta-worthy buttermilk pancakes.

We visited Major Sprout last weekend for breakfast. The cafe is tucked down Graham Street, just up the road from Victoria Park. Inside, the fit out is modern, light and airy, with greenery in every corner and plenty of seating options. We arrived quite early (8.30am) so there was no need to make a reservation, but any later, I would definitely recommend booking a table.

To start, I enjoyed a Mocha (using Flight Coffee), which was the perfect temperature, creamy and gone in a flash. My sister also loved their Turmeric Latte. If you’re not into coffee or fancy lattes, they also serve Storm & India Tea, smoothies and a range of cold drinks, including homemade sodas.

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Mocha + Turmeric Latte

Their food menu is extensive, offering the usual breakfast/brunch fare, with healthy, gluten and dairy free options and some interesting dishes which have a Korean/Japanese flare. For example, you can order Congee Rice Porridge or Okonomiyaki for breakfast (something I have not seen on a breakfast menu yet in Auckland) and for lunch, Bibimbap, a classic Korean dish and one of my favourite meals. Also loved the fact that you can order a side of kimchi!

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Major Sprout’s new Winter menu

For breakfast, my Mum and sister both ordered the 3 x Scrambled Free Range Eggs on The Midnight Baker‘s nutty Freedom Loaf and also with Paleo toast (which is made with coconut flour). The scrambled eggs were cooked to perfection.

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3 x Scrambled Free Range Eggs on Paleo Toast

And of course, I HAD to order the Buttermilk Pancakes. These were a stand out dish, with light and fluffy pancakes and the perfect accompaniments – creamy almond mascarpone, crunchy butterscotch, toasted marshmallows and topped with baby pink candy floss and freeze dried strawberries. You have the option to add vanilla ice cream or pancetta, so I went with the latter. Italian bacon and pancakes go so well, especially when drenched in maple syrup!

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Buttermilk Pancakes with mascarpone, butterscotch and marshmallows

Major Sprout’s Buttermilk Pancakes are definitely the best I have had in Auckland. Another bonus – you get your own bottle of Noble Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup. Unlimited maple syrup = one very happy Georgie.

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Food aside, the service was great – staff were super friendly and efficient, water glasses were always topped up and we didn’t have to wait long for our meals.

But most importantly, did the buttermilk pancakes live up to the hype???

Y E S!!! Go there now.

Major Sprout
Open for Monday to Friday from 7am to 4pm, Saturday & Sunday from 8am to 4pm
Address 21 Graham Street, Auckland CBD
Notes Definitely book a table (via email) as it gets super busy… unless you arrive on opening time!

Instagram / Facebook

Major Sprout Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blueberry, Coconut and Chia Smoothie

Thanks to Yoplait, I received a delicious package on my doorstep this week, filled with the new Yoplait Greek Style Yoghurt 2xProtein – Coconut, along with Vita Coco coconut water, chia seeds, shredded coconut and fresh blueberries.

Yoplait’s new Greek Style Yoghurt 2xProtein – Coconut contains twice the average amount of protein in Yoplait’s regular yoghurts. It also has a 5 star health rating and is packed with nutritional goodness which will keep you fuelled for the day.

I was so excited about trying the coconut flavour, as I love anything coconut. It is thick, deliciously creamy and tastes heavenly! I would highly recommend to all coconut and yoghurt lovers out there. The Yoplait Greek Style Yoghurt 2xProtein would be perfect on your breakfast muesli, mixed with fruit or straight out of the tub! Another great option would be to use it in smoothies. Check out Yoplait’s Blueberry, Coconut and Chia Smoothie recipe below:

Blueberry, Coconut and Chia Smoothie

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Ingredients (1 serve):
125g Yoplait Greek Style Yoghurt 2xProtein – Coconut
200ml Coconut water (I used Vita Coco)
1/2 tablespoon Blueberries
1/2 tablespoon Shredded coconut
1/2 tablespoon Chia seeds
1/4 cup ice (optional)
Extra blueberries and shredded coconut for serving.

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Method
1 Place all ingredients in a blender.
2 Blend on high speed for 1 minute.
3 Push down mixture or scrape sides with a spatula.
4 Pour into a glass, top with extra blueberries and shredded coconut.

Enjoy! x

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Yoplait Greek Style Yoghurt 2x Protein comes in 900g tubs (RRP $5.99) or in a handy four pack (RRP $4.99). There are four different flavours to choose from, including Coconut, Black Doris Plum, Honey and Natural.

This is a not a sponsored post, however the products were gifted to me by Yoplait. All opinions are (and always will be) my own.

Lucky Buddha Eatery

Since its opening in 2015, Lucky Buddha still remains one of my favourite eateries in Auckland. It is situated on Fort Street, which is fast becoming a foodie mecca, with the likes of Ima Cuisine, Miann and Beirut and around the corner, my favourite ice creamery, Giapo. The first time I dined at Lucky Buddha, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but after learning that the owners are Korean, the head chef is Filipino and that they are serving Asian fusion cuisine (namely Japanese, Korean, Thai and Filipino), I was really excited.

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I have since dined at Lucky Buddha four times, and each time has been a very memorable foodie experience. The food is fresh and flavourful, and the cocktail list and service is excellent. Below, I list my favourite dishes and drinks at Lucky Buddha.

For food, I recommend the following:

  • Sriracha Pork Steamed Buns filled with tender pulled pork, fresh herbs and a cracker spicy peanut sauce. This is my favourite entree on the menu as it has that melt in your mouth wow factor. The bao comes as a pair, so I recommend sharing it with another dining companion, so you can share a few other entrees!

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  • Wakame Salad with Cured Salmon served with creamy avocado, crispy nori, foam and puffed rice. This dish incorporates two of my favourite foods – salmon and avocado, so I knew it would be a winner. The puffed rice and crispy nori gives the dish great texture.

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  • Soba Noodle Salad with Avocado and Teriyaki Chicken – this is the perfect lunch dish! Again, another great combination (avocado and teriyaki chicken) which is extremely filing (carb + protein x2) and will keep you going for the rest of the afternoon. My favourite part of this dish is the fried crunchy soba noodles on top!

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  • Bibimbap with Korean mixed rice, seasonal vegetables, soy beef and gochujang. Bibimbap is a classic Korean dish and also one of my favourite meals, so I was super excited to try Lucky Buddha’s version. I tried this dish only a few weeks’ ago, and it is now my new favourite! I loved the presentation, with the brightly coloured vegetables, flavoursome beef and semi-raw egg. The fun part of Bibimbap is that you get to mix all the ingredients together! Just one sad note – no kimchi.

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Other food recommendations:

  • Tofu Bao – if you are a vegetarian or just love tofu (slowly getting there), then I highly recommend trying the Tofu Bao, which is nearly as mouthwatering as the pork bao and always a hit among my vegetarian friends!
  • Aromatic Red Curry with chicken, vegetables, coriander, shallot, chili and mung beans (pictured below).
  • Spicy Chicken on sesame and nori rice, kewpie mayo, cabbage and herb.
  • Coconut Snow aka the ‘Halo Halo’ – a popular Filipino dessert of shaved iced and evaporated milk. The Lucky Buddha version consists of coconut granita, tapioca, sweet milk and crispy coconut.
  • Chocolate Mousse with Coconut and Pandan Cream and Lime Sherbet (pictured below). The chocolate mousse was decadently rich and I loved the lime sherbet (not something you see on a dessert every day!) which gave the dessert a sweet and sour element.

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For drinks, I can’t go past without ordering one of their cocktails. Their cocktail list changes frequently, some of which are only on the menu according to the season. I have so far enjoyed the Dark Stormy Asian cocktail with Mount Gay XO rum, ginger, herb bitters and citrus (a highlight the first time I dined at Lucky Buddha) and the Heavens Surprise cocktail with Herradura Plata tequila, watermelon, mint and elderflower (pictured below) – I just HAD to order this cocktail as it incorporated my favourite food and my favourite spirit! It was refreshing and delicious.

Lucky Buddha also has a small wine and sake list and a range of Asian beers on offer, including a beer of the same name. For a non-alcoholic option, try one of their iced teas or house made sodas.

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If the above is not enough to tempt you, then another reason why you should dine at Lucky Buddha is because the service is excellent. Each time I have visited, staff are friendly and efficient, water glasses are always topped up and you don’t have to wait long for your food.

Overall, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lucky Buddha. Thinking about it now, it definitely makes my top five list in Auckland, for its Asian Fusion menu (featuring Japanese, Thai, Filipino and Korean classics), refreshing cocktails and consistently good service. I highly recommend dining at Lucky Buddha the next time you’re out!

Lucky Buddha
Open for Lunch – Monday to Friday from 11.30am and Dinner – Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm (Closed Sundays)
Address 48 Fort Street, Auckland CBD
Notes Definitely book a table / Good for groups
Website / Instagram / Facebook

Lucky Buddha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melie’s Kitchen Fudgy Rocky Road Cookies

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I have never met a cookie I didn’t like. There are so many delicious ones. Chocolate chip, Nutella, oreo marshmallow, peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia, snickers, salted caramel, chocolate cookie sandwich, fortune cookies and s’mores to name quite a few.

And now, I have a new favourite cookie… a Fudgy Rocky Road Cookie! Thanks to Amelia Ferrier of Melie’s Kitchen, an 18 year old Aucklander who makes beautiful cakes (you can order them from her website here). Last year, she held a demonstration and cookbook launch at Collected, where we watched her decorate one of her amazing cakes and there were samplings afterwards. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying her cookbook, entitled ‘Melie’s Kitchen‘ which is filled with recipes for her wonderful cake creations, cookies, slices and pastries.

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I love all the recipes in her cookbook, in particular the Fudgy Rocky Road Cookies. The mix of dark chocolate, almonds and marshmallows sounded delicious. Melie says in her book that you will love these cookies because of their fudgy and chewy texture, and the marshmallows toast beautifully on top, while the almonds give it that rocky road crunch.

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FUDGY ROCKY ROAD COOKIES
By Melie’s Kitchen

(Slight changes have been made to the original method, as seen in my italic comments below).

This recipe makes approximately 20 cookies.

INGREDIENTS
175 g dark chocolate, chopped (I like using Whittaker’s Dark Ghana or Lindt 70% dark chocolate)
3 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract – I love Heilala)
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cocoa powder
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
sea salt for sprinkling


METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or 160-165 degrees Celsius if you are using fan bake). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Heat, stirring every so often, until fully melted. Remove from the heat and set aside. OR put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave for about 1 to 1 and a half minutes. Set aside.

3. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (I love the KitchenAid Stand Mixer), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar and beat for 3 minutes, until well combined.

4. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla, brown sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and salt. Add this mixture to the egg white mixture all at once and use electric beaters on a medium speed to beat until combined. Add all the melted chocolate and whisk until well combined and the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the almonds.

5. Working quickly, scoop tablespoonfuls* of the mixture onto the prepared trays, allowing room to spread, and arrange four mini marshmallows on top of each cookie. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt.

6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cracked on top and the marshmallows are golden. Cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Store these beauties in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week (or in my case, for three weeks – the last batch I made, the cookies lasted for ages!).

Enjoy! x

* I love using a stainless steel cookie scoop. I bought mine at The Homestore.

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