I am still around but life is getting in the way of writing.
I’ll be back one day.
I am still around but life is getting in the way of writing.
I’ll be back one day.
I have been sent these pods to try via My Coffee Capsules.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the environment and my actions and impact. It is hard not to put so many things into the too hard basket. One of the things that bothers me is my households use of coffee pods which I pick up from the special shop in town. I also recycle the pods but have no idea where they are going and what the carbon footprint is.
Did you know that biodegradable often doesn’t mean anything except that one day, in an unspecified amount of time, something will break down? Compostable means that it will break down and in a shorter time period. It can even end up benefiting the soil around it.
However, rather than recyclable/biodegradable we need to start thinking about compostable. That is where these Nespresso compatible coffee capsules are a game changer- they are compostable and being tested to see if they are home compostable. Now, I know nothing about composting but I am going to learn. It is the way forward and these pods are a definite step in the right direction.
So the question you need answering, how do they taste? To be frank, up until now I haven’t been impressed with the non-posh shop capsules. Theses are excellent. I haven’t got to the 3rd or 4th day and wished I stuck to what I know. I am a convert.
People with Nespresso compatible machines, take a step in the right direction and be ahead of the game. Compost those pods and drink your coffee without the guilts.
For trade and information click here.
For all kinds of answers click here.
I’ve been a bit absent and not very bloggy lately. I know that isn’t a word but I like it. Life in the past year has been stressful and I haven’t been able to give my time to my alter ego Muffin Mum much of my time. I think I am back.
This recipe is one I have promised people for a few months. People are so impressed when this cake is cut. It is seriously easy and the stripes are just a matter of going slow. I have played around a bit and amalgamated a few different recipes and got it to our taste. I am not normally fussed by oil based cakes but this one is good.
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup of canola oil
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of plain/all purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sieved cocoa powder (for the stripes)
Heat oven to 180°
Grease a 9″ cake tin or a ring tin.
Beat the eggs and sugar until well mixed.
Add the oil, vanilla and milk, mix again.
Then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Mix until all incorporated, don’t over mix.
Tip 1/2 the bowl of cake mix into another bowl, add the cocoa
Make sure the vanilla and chocolate mixes are in a jug or bowl that is easy to pour from.
Now this sounds crazy but I found counting to 4 was a good amount of time for the batter to be tipped into the cake tin.
Start with the one you have the most mix for.
Tip/spoon slowly for a count of four, pick up the other mix and do the same on the same exact spot. For the ring tin choose a spot for the round tin start in the middle of the tin.
The mix will slowly spread. Keep going until you have used all the mixture.
Bake the round tin for 35-40 minutes and the ring for 25-30 minutes. You will see some cracks and the cake pulling away from the edge of the tin when it is ready.
Allow to sit in the tin for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.
Cover with your favourite chocolate icing when cool, I love this very rich icing.
100 grams of butter
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup caster sugar
Melt the butter in a small saucepan
Add the remaining ingredients and stir until it thickens. Spread over cake while it is still warm as it will set.
If you want to get daring do more colours, I tried a camouflage look for my husbands birthday. It kids of worked.
Happy 2019 , 2018 sucked big time and things can only get better.
I love rice noodle salad and have been paying $12 for the joy. When I returned to work on Monday, I rushed across the road to buy my salad but the vendor was shut. On the way home from work I went to the supermarket and made my own.
It is very easy, very very easy really.
Rice vermicelli is very cheap. My packet cost about $1.50 and serves 4. All you have to do to cook it is put it in a bowl, tip boiling water to cover and leave for 2 minutes. Rinse really well under cold water and leave in a sieve over the bowl to drain for a bit. Then put it into a container to take to work or school, add a few drops of sesame oil and give a shake with the lid on. I used 1/4 of the packet for 2 days, I had lots of salad.
So the salad, chop up whatever you like and chop it small. I had lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum and deep fried tofu (ready fried squares from the supermarket). Take it in a seperate container.
For the dressing I improvised until I liked the taste. I used about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice vingar, 2 teaspoons of soya sauce , 2 teaspoons of sweet chilli and a teaspoon of lime. This was enough for two days as you don’t need much. Take in another pot. If you can’t be bothered, pop to the nearest supermarket and find one that takes your fancy. An Asian style will suit the vermicelli.
Mix the amount of vermicelli and salad you wish to eat and shake your dressing over the top. Stir and eat.
So, pimp your lunch and find out what you like. I think I am going to make a satay type sauce next.
I had forgotten about chocolate bark and how cool it is. It would make a great teacher gift and is oh so easy. It would make a great gift for anyone who like chocolate really.
Good old Whittaker’s chocolate is my choice. My most recent and favourite bark has been topped with my current favourite Something To Crow About Muesli – Cashew Sour Cherry and Chia Gluten Free Cereal.
One bar and a cup of muesli made enough bark to generously fill a dinner plate. This is one of those recipes that you can really make your own and impress people.
See the full method here.
One of the best reviews I can personally give is, I would order the same meal again. That doesn’t mean I defiantly would, it does mean a meal was damn fine. It also means the whole experience was excellent. At Monte Cervino, I would order the same meal again!
If you are wondering where Monte Cervino is ,because you want some mighty fine Italian food, it is on Tory Street where Lone Star used to be. The space has been altered and changed for the better and it is now a large restaurant with different eating space and a bar area. When you use the online booking tool you can choose which area to sit in, we went for Open Kitchen, High Tables.
I loved watching the kitchen work and the pizza oven. We both enjoyed the enthusiasm of the staff who obviously enjoy where they work. This was one of those meals where we both left smiling and talking about when we will return.
At the time of writing this there is a voucher on Treat Me .
We started with the very intriguing soft salami, Nduja Piccante. It had a great kick and was delicious. The pickled vegetables and bits served with it were great. It was easily enough for two.
For my main I went with the Nettle Agnolotti, Sardinian goat ricotta, winter greens, whey, butter sauce. I loved the fact that it wasn’t just a plate of pasta but had other bits on the plate. The pasta was perfect fluffy tasty green cloud. I must admit to going over board and ordering the rocket, endive, pear, walnut, salad but I did eat most of eat and enjoyed each mouthful. Mr ordered the Mozzarella Fior Di Latte, you can just see it behind my salad. He declared it the right size for one, he did have the duck fat potatoes but only got 2/3rds of the way through them.
It is really hard to take a photo of Cannoli on a dark plate, you have to take it from me that this tasted far better than my terrible photograph. This baby was a ricotta, lemon, and pistachio cannoli. This was my first cannoli experience and I am a convert.
All up, we loved our meal. I may have bought another voucher and already be arguing with myself about what to order.
Thanks for reading.
I meant to write this post months ago, but life got in the way. I do have to tell you about our Escape Waikki tour because it was so fabulous and everyone should do it.
While we were on holiday it was my birthday and I chose the Escape Waikiki tour as my thing to do. We went for an afternoon tour and after much deliberation I went for The Hidden Gems Of The South/East Shores.
It isn’t the cheapest tour but you get what you pay for. On our first trip to Oahu we did a round trip and it was pretty shitty. This time we did it properly and for 3 of us it didn’t cost much more to do this private tour with Kevin. On top of the tour we got excellent photos with all three of us in the picture!
From the minute we were picked up, I knew we were in for a great time. The first thing he did was ask what we wanted out of our day and if we needed to eat. The eating was answered with a big yes and we had a fab lunch at Ono’s Steak and Shrimp Shack. I had the fish tacos and the garlic fries. The garlic fries came with a warning that they were very garlicky, oh they were. The portions were of course huge and we couldn’t finish. After a bit more touring we also ate malasada at the famous Leonards Bakery and we didn’t have to queue. Kevin made sure they were ready and waiting for us. They were so good.
Our afternoon was spent laughing, looking at fabulous scenery, seeing places we would never have seen without a guide like Kevin. Saying that, there is no guide like Kevin, there is only Kevin.
I’m not going to tell you about all the spots as I don’t want to ruin your adventure. I will tell you we saw turtles swimming in the sea from a cliff face, dolphins who are fed by a chef, wild pigs being fed by and interesting local and a mongoose. I mustn’t forget the sneaky walk along a beach to see a spot where Hawaii Five-0 is filmed, that made Mr’s day.
If you are heading to Oahu you simply have to Escape Waikiki, eat malasadas, laugh and gaze at amazing scenery with Kevin. On our next trip, as soon as we know we are going we will be booking the tour we didn’t do. I am not kidding.
Use the book button on the website!
(Not a sponsored post)
We went back to Waikiki for another holiday. The last time was three years ago and Miss turned 12 while we were there, she was just 15 on this trip. Both times we had excellent holidays. This time was particularly a memory maker.
I am going to write mainly about food and how we ended up in a few places. We have decided if we ever go back, we will do far more the of the lest touristy restaurants and a lot more hole in the wall joints. I am sure we will be back in a few years to shop, swim and go on more amazing adventures.
One of the best things to happen to Oahu is Open Table.
If the restaurant of your choice isn’t on Open Table check their website for a reservations tab. There are a lot of people every single night heading off to dinner. Many have to queue and wait for a while at bars or on the street. If you have a booking, you just walk on in and often get a great table. It really worked for us.
I am going to tell you about a few of the restaurants we went to and I will do another post about what to get up to.
Love this place. You simply have to go at least once. It is the full diner experience and you most certainly can’t book. You have to wait. My pancakes were the best pancakes I think I have ever had and the coconut syrup is pure Hawaii. They are open 24 hours so there is no excuse not to go.
Insane portions. I am not kidding when I say us three adults could have easily shared one small stack portion, two huge pancakes. I opted for the current special, Apple Pie. It was lovely and I think I seriously only got a 1/3 of the way through. They have a pancake challenge, have a look on their website. We saw the challenge pancakes go out and they were absolutely huge and we were left pondering how on earth you would actually manage to finish them? There is a honours board up on the wall and some of the times are mind-blowing.
This place is a lovely walk along the waterfront and a great spot. The menu has a good mix of things. I had the Acai Bowl and loved it. It had lots of honey and plenty of fresh fruit. Mr ate Spam for breakfast here and I even tried a bit, too salty for me. Miss had a great French Toast which I just had to help her finish.
They have a fantastic breakfast buffet and it is well worth a visit. Booked this one too and got a great table right by the waterfront and it was lovely. I would definitely go back to this buffet for the fruit, cinnamon French toast, and the pancakes. Loved it and the huge vat of coconut syrup kept me happy.
The Main Players
Book this one for sure. This is your put on your new glad rags and head out for a casual fancy dinner. We went twice and booked both times. The first time we were on the 1st floor and the second time we made it to the roof. Both times there were people waiting for tables who looked none too pleased with our sauntering in and taking a seat. The food here is good, say yes to the bread with the fancy butter. The service and food here were impeccable, we were seriously impressed. Even the burger was pretty damn fancy. I loved the fish tacos. The first time you go, have the full-size desserts. I could tell you not too but you know it will happen. That is another photo I want to see!
Great pizza and a fab HAPPY HOUR. We went here on our first night and the wings, cheap beer and Big Apple Pizza went down very well. I mustn’t forget the garlic bread that tasted like old school Pizza Hutt in a good way. We also went to the late happy hour and were equally as happy. There is a great table right by the pizza oven, makes for great viewing.
I do love a beer and they have plenty of choices here, I really liked the Big Swell IPA. They also had a great breakfast menu and lunch/dinner. The breakfast menu has some great alternatives to the obvious and I loved the avo on toast with the sriracha salt. Top tip, as you look at the building go to the left and take the escalator. The other side involves lots of steps, maybe you do want to walk up that side for a bit of a walk? In the evening this place was buzzing. One evening we were having a post-dinner drink in the open when the heavens opened, it was fun and the staff coped really well moving the drinks, tables and keeping an eye on their customers.
You can’t go to Waikiki without a trip to the Yard House. We went for dinner early one evening and had to wait a bit for a table. There were 5 of us, it was a Friday and RIMCAP was on. Even early it was busy and we had to wait outside with the UFO buzzer. If you like beer you are in for a bit of reading, they ain’t joking when they say the beer menu is huge. I had the Belching Beaver Seasonal, how could you not with a name like that? Their house IPA is decent too. The one food item I went to Waikiki for was the onion ring tower they do here. It is seriously impressive. We also enjoyed the boneless wings, even if there was celery on the plate. I would like it noted that the celery did not get touched by anyone. The food here is bar food but good bar food.
An interesting spot on a rooftop. You take a lift up and arrive on the lovely rooftop. The food here varies between the authentic kind of Mexican and Tex Mex. We found that the price on the menu didn’t reflect the size of the portion. The tacos were small but priced similarly to the burrito that was huge. It is worth a trip for something different and I really enjoyed the Mole Enchilada as it had a spicy kick. The service was quick and the staff efficient. Finish your meal with a churro, just don’t order one each. The chocolate in the glass is unbelievably good. I want to see your churro pics, please?
This is a little food truck and you have to find it. It will be our first stop next time. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but I loved my Island style Hula Dog. I think it was the Guava Mustard. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to check where they are.
Mmmmmmm you can’t go wrong with doughnuts. We went to the shop and ate them piping hot and the food truck which is in the bottom carpark of the WaikeleOutlet Mall. They cook to order and if you go to the shop, be prepared to queue and the wait is worth it. I liked the macadamia nut one best.
For my birthday we did a private tour with Kevin from Escape Waikiki, I am going to do a whole post one day devoted to the man and his tour. On our tour we went to Ono’s and it was fab. It is one of those places that you would never go to unless told or taken. I have one warning, the garlic fries are very very very garlicky. You have been warmed. I had more fish tacos and loved them.
The Queen Of Jackson, Petone- I wish I had food photos. I wish you could see all the food and all the lovely things. You would need to smell it and see how each dish varied. BUT….
I didn’t take a single food photo and I can’t show you anything, You will have to take my word for it. I was too busy chatting and having a mighty fine beer or two. The food was so damn fine. Ottolenghi meets New Zealand fine. I mean that and that is big praise.
On my last trip back to the UK I planned a trip for me and my bestie, we went to London. We stayed in a very lovely hotel and I fulfilled my dream of eating at Ottolenghi. It was lovely and I enjoyed the food. I can tick that one off my list. The food today at the Queen Of Jackson in Petone was easily up there with the Spitalfields experience, if not better.
The occasion for eating there was a bit of an early birthday celebration for me. I invited 7 friends for their set menu, this had finished the day before and we ended up getting a better deal. The new deal is 4 plates for $50 and you leave your table by 7.00pm. Between 8 of us, we had 8 plates and two bowls of fries. It was plenty for a lunchtime and an absolute bargain. The food with the fab beer selection is heaven.
Every dish was delicious and I will be hard pressed to know what to have next time. I am not the biggest meat eater but I ate all the meat. I may even have had my mind changed about pork belly.
The dishes we had were-
Warm cauliflower salad, mint, currants, spring onion, yoghurt
(lovely, how can cauliflower taste like this?)
Israeli couscous, apricot, apple, mint, cumin, baba ganoush
(so full of flavour)
Salt & pepper squid, nam jim dressing
(didn’t try, left it to the lovers)
Pulled pork tacos, bourbon sauce, apple slaw, pickled jalapenos
(delicious, great corn tacos and fab pork)
Chicken karaage, sriracha kewpie, kimchi slaw
(huge pile and so very tasty)
Pork belly, parsnip puree, fried chorizo & pinot noir sauce
(changed my mind about pork belly, that parsnip mash mmmmm)
Spiced lamb meatballs, Israeli couscous, feta yogurt
(so very tasty)
Seared beef tri-tip, french fried onion, habanero mustard
(yum, I finished this one up and scraped up all the mustard)
And two bowl of the Triple cooked hand cut fries, aioli.
(the fries here are always delicious)