Sunday, 20 July 2014

Aloha on a plate - top foodie spots in Hawaii

Planning on going to Hawaii? Well its not just beaches and cocktails, there are some pretty amazing foodie spots if you look hard enough, or can be bothered to drag yourself away from the beach! 

If it is your first time to Hawaii, I would do a couple of nights in Waikiki, perfect for retail therapy and glamorous cocktails by the water. 


Waikiki:


Where to stay: We stayed at the Westin Moana Surfrider. A beautiful old hotel (the original on the beach) right on Waikiki beach it has the charm as well as the location. The hotel wraps around this beautiful giant banyan tree which is perfect to sit under and have a cocktail or two. If you want glamour and as well as being in the mix, this is the one for you.

http://www.moana-surfrider.com/




Cocktails: The beach bar at the Moana Surfrider is great for mid avo drink listening to live music as the waves crash in. Another hot spot is House Without A Key which is in the Halekulani Resort. Watch the former Miss Hawaii Luau as the sun sets behind her. Stunning cocktail list I recommend their signature Mai Tai.

http://www.halekulani.com/living/dining/house_without_a_key/ 




To eat: Not traditionally Hawaiian, but I had the best steak ever at Hys Steakhouse. The waiters are suited in tuxedos and the walls covered in Mahogany. Its a real treat to have a bit of a break from the flip flops and Hawaiian t-shirts. I would recommend sharing a t-bone steak with a range of sides, the meat is gorgeously tender, and you can watch the steak being cooked in the dining room. Chocolate lovers dessert (rated the best dessert in Honolulu) is worth splitting as well. FlambĂ©ed before your eyes, the making of it is an event in itself. http://www.hyshawaii.com/ 

Maui:

A beautiful island 30min flight from Honolulu, and well worth the visit. If you are looking for action but at a slightly slower pace to the main island this is the place for you. I found the culinary delights even more amazing here!

Where to stay: We stayed at the Westin Kaanapali. It is a nice hotel, but wouldn't be my choice when we return. I found it too big, with too many people, and a little too commercial. Great location though as the beach is lovely, and has a few close food gems, on the beach and at the nearby Lahiana. 

Cocktails: 

Hula Grill: A charming barefoot beach bar. A firm favourite, its a casual spot with the sand between your toes. Hang by the bar at happy hour where the cocktails are only US$5 and grab a pizza and some pupus (small plates) when you are feeling peckish. The crab and macadamia nut wontons are delicious, and the best pizza on the menu is the Thai chicken pizza believe it or not! 
http://www.hulagrillkaanapali.com/.

Merrimans Kapalua: A stunning setting to watch a sunset, this stunning restaurant and bar looks over Kapalua bay. Make sure you have a Molokai Mule, with Bourbon, Pimm's, lime, ginger slices and orange bitters. After a cocktail or two head down to the beach and check to see if sea turtles are swimming around the rocks. Or why not make a night of it and stay for dinner?



To eat:

Laihaina is a neighbouring town to Kaanapali beach and has a New Orleans feel to it. Its great for dinner and drinks even Mic Fleetwood has a bar there (http://www.fleetwoodsonfrontst.com/). The outlet mall (http://theoutletsofmaui.com/) is really nice and worth a few trips!  

Lahaina Grill:  Fancy a fancy night out to dinner? The Lahaina Grill is the place to go. The food is sensational here, and the service is hard to beat. 

Aloha Mixed Plate: Authentic Hawaiian cuisine served up at very reasonable prices. Very casual, but traditional big plates, with a great setting on the beach. Grab a cheeky cocktail while you wait for a table (you will have to, it's that popular) then treat yourself to an Aloha mixed plate - their most popular dish, with shoyu chicken, fresh fish and teriyaki
beef. The Mochiko chicken is also a great option. All come with Mac Slaw (local take on coleslaw) and rice. You must go here at least once! 


Road Trip: Make sure that you hire a car for at least a day to do the Road to Hana. Ask the rental place to borrow a CD guide so you know where to stop.  Beware its pretty windy and lots of one lane bridges so bagsnot driving if you can! There is a great ice cream place that uses coconut cream - Cononut Glens (http://coconutglens.com/) The chocolate and chilli is beyond amazing served with a coconut husk spoon! 

Big night out: You can't leave Hawaii without heading to the Luau and what better one to go to than the absolute best Old Lahiana Luau (https://www.oldlahainaluau.com/). But beware this books out at least a month in advance. The food is great, traditional buffet, which allows you to try a bit of everything. Book a traditional seat right up the front for the best view of the stage. The dancing is world class, with a mythical storyline that goes with it makes it a cultural experience you won't forget. They send you home with a cute mini banana bread, perfect to munch on as you make your way back to your hotel. 


Enjoy planning! 



Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hot Dog Scrolls

Antipodeans are aware of the cheesymite scroll, which can be found at Bakers Delight amongst other places, and they are oh so delicious! Every time I am back in New Zealand I make sure I have at least one. So what happens when an American hot dog meets a cheesymite scroll? Well they fall in love of course! But seriously they make this: The Hot Dog Scroll. 




Hot Dog Scrolls


3 cups plain flour (or you can use self raising flour just leave out the baking powder)
50 g butter375 ml milk

4 tablespoons of baking powder
A pinch salt
1 tablespoon of mustard (depends how hot you like it)
4 tablespoons of passata (could use ketchup or tomato chutney as alternatives)
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
70g smoked sausage, thinly sliced, and then halved.
200g grated cheddar cheese


1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl then rub through butter. Stir in enough milk to make soft dough. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface, and then roll to form a 40 cm x 25 cm rectangle.
2. Spread the passata and mustard over the dough with a tablespoon, then sprinkle over 3/4 of the cheese and the finely chopped onion. Roll up along the long side to enclose the cheese. Cut 10 x 4cm pieces from the roll and place them cut side up on a greased baking tray. Keep them around 1 inch apart.
3. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese on top of the scrolls and bake in a hot oven for 220 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until cooked and golden. 








Thursday, 18 April 2013

Secret Supper Club - By Stolen

After 5 years, I am leaving the amazing city of London to return to Auckland. I wanted an intimate private dining experience with a difference, and what better way to do that than a secret supper experience by Stolen. Using restaurants cookbooks they expertly recreate ('steal') meals, using top quality ingredients. 



Our Farewell dinner London Crew


Our evening was inspired by the famous Ottolenghi in London. Our hosts and founders of Stolen were Mia Kulla and Leonardo Santos and it was apt that Leo had worked in Nopi, another one of Yotam Ottolenghi's restaurants. The evening was off to a good start.


Our bespoke menu for the night


The venue is an old laundry building which is now a residential home, and host up to 30 guests. This location had people second guessing whether they had turned up to to the right place! Being hosts we were first in and Mia instantly made us feel at ease, popping our champagne (Stolen is BYO) and giving us a run down of the evening. Guests are arriving, with me welcoming them at the door as if this was own home. This is where using Stolen for private parties really comes into its own, its like hijacking someone's kitchen for the night and you don't have to cook or better yet clean up! 

But the highlight was of course the food. With the chefs culinary skills and Mia's expert hosting, the food and wine flowed. 


Stolen working hard in the kitchen


We started with sharing plates butternut squash and Tahini spread, purred beetroot and yoghurt za'atar. This was served with veg sticks and homemade bread. 




Next up was a roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad. The cauliflower was served cold, which was a refreshing change, and I loved the crunchiness of the hazelnut and the pops of flavour the pomegranate seeds gave.




Main was a slow roast leg of lamb (cooked for over 6 hours) which was served with a lovely wild grain rice, now I don't have a picture of this as I was so keen to get stuck in totally forgot. A true testament to the food. Seconds of lamb came round (something that you never see in restaurants) and eyes lit up at the opportunity of more of the succulent lamb.

For dessert, originally it was an almond and rhubarb crumble, which I felt wasn't quite right, but Stolen are so flexible and suggested a bitter chocolate tart with ivory cream instead. Chocolate is a firm crowd favourite, and it was served with an orange sauce which cut through the sweetness of the chocolate perfectly.



The evening finished with farewell speeches, and everyone helping get through the pick and mix of drinks that people had brought along. It was a fabulous night and one that loved by all. I would recommend and do it again in a heart beat.

Best For: Couples time, take your friends, private parties, take your parentals.

Bonus tip: Don't have a reason to throw a private party? Every Monday stolen host dinners where you and whoever pleases you can take one of 15 chairs available to partake in this experience. Happy Days! 

The Details:

Stolen: http://www.stolen.it/, info@stolen.it
Location: Somewhere in Notting Hill, for you to find out! 
Anything else?: Its BYO, so bring your favourite tipple. 
Cost: Between £38-£42.00

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Chewy Peanut M&M Cookies

Nothing makes the house smell more irresistible than cookies in the oven. That sweet smell cannot be beaten! I have been experimenting with various sweets in cookies, and while some I can't quite perfect yet I have a great way to turn a pouch of M&M's into a culinary masterpiece...cookies!




Chewy Peanut M&M Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
225g butter, softened
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
180g pouch of Peanut M&M's


1. Beat together the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix together the flour, corn flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix just until combined. Add 3/4 of the M&M's. Refrigerate the dough until firm, ideally overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 fan oven). Roll cookies to desired size and place on ungreased baking tray a couple inches apart. Bake cookies for about 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden. Press the rest of the M&M's onto the cookies whilst they are still warm.

Have one fresh from the oven with a tall glass of cold milk #kid.

Let me know how yours turned out! Remember you can always freeze the cookie dough and defrost for a later date! 








Thursday, 21 March 2013

Gin tasting Menu? Yes please!

Alright all you Gin drinking Londoners have I got a story for you. A friend of mine is a member of the London Gin Club and for our monthly covenant meeting (girls night out) we went to The Star at Night Bar in Soho to partake in a Gin tasting menu. 








We opted for tasting menu one which consisted of the following:

Edinburgh Gin: Blackberry
Sloanes: Grapefruit Peel
Plymouth: Lime
Hayman's Sloe: Raspberry


This will set you back £21 each or £19 as a member. I recommend tasting in this order: Lime first, then the Raspberry, then the Grapefruit and last but not least the Blackberry. This means you mix it up with the sour/bitter, then the sweet. You are presented with two huge balloon glasses with large shards of ice in it, and 4 small square plates with a small bottle of Gin and a piece of fruit to accompany it. 

Directions:

Pour the Gin over the ice first, then add the fruit, then top up with Indian Tonic (they supply Fever Tree Indian Tonic - arguably the worlds best) in which you can have as many of these as you need.



Best For: Take a date, Couples time, take your friends.

Bonus tip:

If you not keen on a full tasting experience, please please please, have a Sip Smith G & T, this is the smoothest Gin I have ever tasted. It is the first copper pot distillery to open in London in nearly 200 years, and the Gin is 
triple distilled. Top dog.





The Details:

London Gin Club:  www.thelondonginclub.com
The Star at Night: 22, Great Chapel Stree, Soho, London, W1F 8FR
+44 (0) 207 494 2488 - www.thestaratnight.com
Sip Smith Gin - http://www.sipsmith.com/