Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts

Pinterest is every lazy scrapbooker's dream. I have 273 pins ranging from craft projects, to travelling and, of course, recipes. It's a great way to explore new blogs and projects based on the things you love. However, I have a bad habit of forgetting about them and leaving my potential projects to sit.

My friend, the Pinterest Fairy, has over 1500 pins and is much better at going through with the items on her boards. 

She introduced us to these Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts on a girls weekend where we demolished them over the course of one night. Needless to say, we were hooked.

After hearing me rave about it the next week, she gifted us a giant jar of these nuts for our housewarming -where they were again demolished by our guests. I had to make some of my own.

This recipe for Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts is so simple to make and is a big hit.

The hardest thing is making them last.

Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts (adapted from Citrus and Candy)


1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
500g mixed nuts (I used macadamias, almonds and cashews)
1 egg white
1 Tbs water


1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Mix first 6 ingredients, making sure there are no lumps and set aside
3. Beat the egg white and water until frothy and loose. Coat the nuts evenly with the egg wash
4. Sprinkle nuts with the sugar mixture and toss to coat evenly
5. Spread the nuts on a baking tray in one single layer and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
6. Remove from oven and separate nuts as they cool
7. When completely cooled, break up clusters and store in an air tight jar

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Scratch Bakers, City Works Depot

Over the past few years, the City Works Depot (CWD) has seen some remarkable changes. Originally a bunch of factories, these buildings on Wellesley Street have been transformed into some of the trendiest, industrial-chic eateries in the Auckland CBD. CWD is home to Dry and Tea, the TV famous Food Truck Garage, and a range of ventures by Al Brown including Best Ugly Bagels.

This weekend, we are trying Scratch Bakers because I had heard really great things about the food. Everything in store is baked from scratch, hence the name, and the menu is quite unique. As with the other buildings in the CWD, Scratch Bakers is industrial looking with a high ceiling, concrete walls and exposed pipes. The Of Monsters and Men soundtrack was playing so I knew I was going to have a good experience.

There was a small queue when I arrived so I spent a little time oohing and aahing over the selection at the counter.

Pork Belly and Apple Cider Pie - $9.50, Carrot Juice - $7.50
Although it was a lot pricier than other cafes, my Pork Belly and Apple Cider Pie was unique enough to be worth it. The soft flaky pastry was filled to the brim with a generous amount of pork belly.  The apple cider, a perfect pairing, had completely penetrated the pork which fell apart with the slightest press of my fork. My only complaint is the wooden disposable cutlery that was offered because it made cutting the pastry very awkward.

I ordered a fresh carrot juice to accompany my pie. I'm always impressed when cafes make their own juices.

Fish Burger - $7.50
By the time Mors had arrived, there were only a few burger choices left. He went with the fish burger which had a crispy fish fillet in a tumeric batter. It was well seasoned and encased in one of Scratch's hand crafted buns.

Pork Belly and Kimchi Burger - $7.50
Pei went for a Pork Belly and Kimchi Burger which looked absolutely amazing and well put together. As with the pie, the slices of pork were very generous and all of the ingredients went right to the edge of the bun to ensure each bite is consistently delicious.

Creme Brulee Tart - $4.50
By the time we had finished our food, there was not much room for dessert so we decided to share the Creme Brulee Tart. Our server took it out the back to brulee and it came back with a perfectly crackable top.

Scratch Bakers is located at City Works Depot 90 Wellesley Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Scullery, K Rd

I get a little panicky whenever someone asks me for a recommendation for lunch or dinner. My brain goes into overdrive trying to figure out what kind of food this person likes and what kind of setting they like to eat in -because, lets face it, their experience will be a reflection on how good my taste in food is. 

I am happy to report that, when it comes to cafes, I can now give a recommendation without any hesitation.

I first heard of Scullery last year, when it opened up near my workplace, and it had been on my "must visit" list ever since. The interior is industrial and hipster looking without being pretentious and the staff are are super friendly. 

Banana, maple and cinnamon smoothie - $7.00
I started out with the banana, maple and cinnamon smoothie while I browsed the menu. The three flavours were in perfect balance and it was just like drinking a pancake! This has become a real favourite of mine.

Forest mushroom ragu, buffalo haloumi and smoked garlic toast - $16.50
The mushroom ragu was absolute heaven. The soft mushrooms were a nice contrast to the crunchy crust and I was able to mop up the yummy sauce with the toast. The salty haloumi went well with the mild mushrooms.

Spiced wagyu mince on toast, avocado, cashews - $17.50
We thought the spiced wagyu mince was quite an unusual item to have at a cafe and naturally had to try it. The mince was subtly spiced with a nutty flavour and was quite nice on toast. A very nice way to jazz up mince on toast.

Chicken pie, white wine, chirvel - $16.50
What I loved most about the chicken pie was that it was filled to the brim with actual chicken, instead of being padded out with a lot of sauce. The flavours were quite mild but came to life when paired with the pickle. I would have like the pastry to be a bit more flaky as it kind of sagged when I tried to cut into it.

Beef short rib tacos, avocado, kimchi, mayo - $17.50
The beef tacos took the prize for the tastiest dish of the day. The beef short rib was delightfully tender, flavoursome and just went so well with the kimchi and pickle. The crunch and tangy flavour of the kimchi worked very well to offset the richness of the short rib.

Scullery is the perfect place to visit when you feel like something fancy. The menu is full of unique items which are all really delicious. It also has a zero waste policy which means nothing is wasted so you can feel good about going too :)

Scullery is located at 166 Karangahape Rd, Auckland CBD

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our New House and Some Kitchen Renovations

You may have realised that I have gone a little M.I.A again..

..This is because, for the months of June, July and August, Jason and I have been busy doing up and moving into our new house!
Our house
The term "new house" is slightly misleading because this is actually the house I grew up in from the age of 8 to 21. This home was also the first step into New Zealand for many of our extended family members and friends. It carries a lot happy memories for me and we were very fortunate to be able to buy it off my parents.

Our old cosy kitchen
Prior to us moving in, the house had been rented out for two years and, as a result, suffered a bit of a bashing from the tenants. While the broken windows and holes in the walls were quickly fixed, the kitchen had to be completely taken out and rebuilt. The kitchen was flooded and the moisture had travelled up the cupboards and even halfway up the wall!

Gross moldy kitchen. It all had to go!
The renovations set our moving date back by a month and a half but it did give us an chance to update the kitchen area -after all, that's where I like to spend my time. 

No walls and no floor
With the help of our parents, the water soaked walls came down and the floor came out..

Walls go up
..Then the new floor and gib went up

Kitchen and dining area
We took the opportunity to knock down a wall which allowed us to combine the small kitchen and dining areas into one, open space. This easy flow was a huge improvement as I love being able to talk to my guests while cooking -and be able to watch TV! 

New Kitchen!
We've been here for about one month now and cooked many a meal. We've had our families and friends over for dinner and are learning a lot about living on our own.

There are many more boxes to unpack, so I hope these renovation photos will suffice until I can get some food photos together for you!