I get asked how we eat out so often on a regular basis. The answer is pretty simple really and I will give you a couple of tips. I got thinking about this today when Mr and I were at Gr8 Tandoori Indian in Lower Hutt. Their lunch menu is a main, rice and plain naan for $9.90 , you can pimp your naan for $1. Today we splashed out and had Onion Bhaji for $6. Oh those fried morsels were good, so good. Our two mains and bhaji came to $28.40 and was easily enough for a main meal, in fact we declared our selves Christmas Day full! I sometimes pay that in a cafe for a coffee and breakfast for 1.
Eating out at lunch time can be really cheap. We enjoy Indian and Asian food, often they are the places with the good lunch time deals. The portions are never stingy and always enough for a main meal. Our favourites change and do often base our weekend outing on where to have lunch!
Drink The Water
In New Zealand cold water is put on the tables in most restaurants. If you eat out at lunch time and stick to the water it makes your meal pretty cheap. On occasion one of us might splash out and have something but generally we stick to the water. A beer could nearly the same as your whole meal at lunch time. If you want the beer, have the beer…. I am Emma the Enabler and not a party pooper.
Go for lunch in the place that looks dingy and dark. Walk in the door of the noisy place with picture food. Try things you wouldn’t otherwise pick. If you are not paying full price for an evening meal it is a good excuse to give something different or somewhere different a go. You may find the perfect lunch spot and it may always remain a lovely lunch place but keep you happy.
When we do eat out in the evening we will more than likely choose somewhere in the Entertainment Book. Having the app on our phones has meant we have used it so much more. Using the vouchers is also a way to discover new places and helps with the being brave part.
Go Out Separately
I am the one who eats out the most in our family. We do not always eat out together and when you see my food pics, I am often out with friends. This cuts the cost of eating out and means that as the foodie, I get to eat out more. We do do pocket money accounts and I then have my own food fund.
Joining a group of like minded foodies is also a good way to eat out without your partner or non foodie friends. Wellington Foodies is a great place to start and I have met some fab people through belonging to this group.
I am not going to write a list with links, you need to discover these places for yourself. Ask away on FB if you would like any top tips or have something to add.
I have a 13 year old, she is a very typical 13 year old and we always love each other. That is all I will say.
This weekend she was grounded for doing the things 13 year old people do. Being grounded means a family walk with no technology. In the past couple of months we have had a couple of good walks including the beautiful Pencarrow Lighthouse.
Today we headed for Pakuratahi Forest , just past Upper Hutt. Tanes Track was a lovely a 1 hour round walk including the small diversion to go and look at the old railway tunnel. I must admit we didn’t walk through the tunnel, just in a bit. It is long and Miss wouldn’t come in.
The walk was of course followed by food. We didn’t picnic but headed to Yatra Restaurant in Upper Hutt. Now Yatra does not do the usual lunch time deal but they are in the Entertainment Book.
Yatra is a beautiful little place, the tables are chunky dark wood with engravings and the water cups were stainless steel. We loved it. The food was excellent too.I think the onion bhaji were some of my favourite ever and the portion was huge.
I had the Reshmi Paneer for main and really enjoyed it. I must confess to bringing half home as it was a big portion. The plan was to eat it for lunch tomorrow but I ate it for tea tonight. I am not a fan of left overs so this was a miracle. Mr had Chilli Chicken and it had a good tang, I would eat it too. Miss had the Chicken Tikka Masala and made a very good dent in it. The chicken was in good size chunks.
Next time we go to Yatra we will have two mains, a bread each and the onion bhaji. There will be another grounding, another walk and an excuse to go to Yatra.
A while ago the Little Cafe popped up by the library and theatre in Lower Hutt. I meant to go when it first opened. It is now The Little Cafe and Co’Ed on Queens . Co’Ed sums up nicely what they are about in their twitter bio –
“Coffee, it’s the world in your hands. Our passion is quality barista & cafe training for all, with a focus on diversity in the Coffee Industry”.
It is set partly inside a cafe with tables out in the spacious corridor, it is rather lovely and anyone who misses Reka should head straight there. We enjoyed hotcakes, very good coffee and chatting with a staff member about how she should love her tattoos. She was rather taken aback that I have a half sleeve, work in a bank and am rather older than her. She was lovely.
There is also a Co’Ed on Kings, I will let you know what I think when I go there. I would certainly head back to the Queens cafe and try all the huge slices.
So next time you are in the Hutt, ditch the mall coffee and head on out. that is an order. They are in the Entertainment book under Little Cafe.
I have a good few pancake recipes on here. These were the perfect Pancake Day pancakes. They reminded me of growing up in the UK and it being really cold. Our dinner ladies used to serve them in the playground at playtime and they were so good.
I have to confess to mainly blogging this recipe for me. The original recipe can be found on an excellent blog about all things British – Smitten By Britain. I emailed this to Miss Muffin and Mr jokingly told her to x 3. She did and we ate them all. I may have had 6 but please don’t tell my personal trainer.
Our fillings were the traditional lemon and sugar, coconut and maple syrup, Fix and Fog dark chocolate peanut butter and berries.
Pancake Day - Muffinmum.com
300g plain flour
3 large egg – beaten
Pinch of salt
Fillings of your choice
Sieve the salt and flour
Make a well in the centre
Break the egg into the well and stir with the wooden spoon to make a crumbly mix
Combine the milk and water in a jug
Slowly add to the flour and egg mix, stir constantly to help avoid lumps
Whisk the mixture to a smooth batter (The mixture is runny as these are not American style)
Heat a fry pan and spray lightly with oil
Ladle enough batter to cover the base of your pan (a 1/3c in our large frypan)
Cook until frilly around the edges and brown in spots appear on the cooked side
They should take 2-3 to cook each pancakes
We made about 18-20 large thin pancakes
Sorry, this photograph has to be big. Just look at that.
The Nest- Pumpkin seed crumbed soft boiled egg , filo pastry nest , beetroot ketchup, feta and mesclun salad.
This is not something I normally say but, I was wrong.
I have been laughing about how Insta/Snapchat the food at Comes and Goes in Petone is and being rather judgemental about how it could not taste as good as it looks. It sure does taste as good as it looks and my mind was blown by this dish, The Nest.
The Nest is two pumpkin seed crumbed soft boiled egg , filo pastry nest , beetroot ketchup, feta and mesclun salad. Just look at that, it is a plate of beauty and the taste was amazing.
I do have to warn you, we had to wait for a table on a Friday early lunch time. I am so pleased we did wait, it sure was worth it.
So I eat my words, not only is the food Insta/Snap worthy it tastes mighty fine too.
One more photo……….
Almost a year ago I went to Jano Bistro for their degustation. Last night, I did it again and Mr Muffin came along too.
This is a minor miracle. Mr M does enjoy eating out but it is normally of the Asian variety and comes with a kick.We went along with friends who had never done a degustation either and they too were left impressed with Jano’s too.
The food looked fantastic and tasted amazing too. We talked about the wonderful thing about doing a degustation menu is eating things you would never order. We all ate just about everything on our plate. Mr M left a small part of the calamari mousse but it was finished by our dining companion.
I am now plotting our next fancy dinner out, I may have to wait a couple of months but I have plans in my head and they may involve the Artisan Dining House.
Now, I am not one for descriptions or remembering the exact description of a dish. I can tell you that all the elements on the plate went perfectly and I am just going to give a brief hint with the pictures (click to enlarge). If you want to go, you need to book and they can adjust the menu to suit dietary needs.
I received an email from PR firm Lily and Louis about using Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages in a cocktail. I think that is a mighty fine idea if you are drinking alcohol. It then crossed my mind that these lovely drinks are not very popular in New Zealand and although we often have a couple in the fridge, I had never seen any friends with them. I think they are a very European thing? I was sent a six pack of all three flavours above so that I may share and tell you what you are missing out on.
When we visited the UK in the summer of 2016, Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages were everywhere. Pubs, restaurants, cafes and even the real greasy fry up cafes stocked them. We drank them on a daily basis and defiantly had more Sanpellegrino than tea.
Now, I am not going to pretend that these are some kids drink that you load up a fridge with, no, no, no…… these are special. I would say these are grown up drinks and my teenager coverts them and thinks I am fab when I let her have a share in mine.
Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages are the answer to what to take to a party, BBQ or dinner party when you are not drinking. Carrying in a 6 pack of these is the way to be the cool sober driver and your host will appreciate any left over. I often enjoy one or half of one if the teenager got lucky with dinner. I find they go well with food of all kinds.
My favourite is the Blood Orange, the Limonata is a close second. I hadn’t tried the Chinotto before, that is growing on me. I didn’t realise it was a special type of orange, it has a taste not unlike cola but is citrus tasting too.
We buy ours from Thorndon New World. They are rather hidden. If you stand facing the fizzy drinks isle, go to the furthest left and look down the bottom. All three of the above flavours are usually available. If they don’t have them in your supermarket, ask them to stock them.
Have you had any of the flavours before?