About Me

Food is one of my many joys in life. It is a common bond I share among my friends and family. Combining food and travel makes it all the more interesting. I enjoy going out for a good meal with friends and family. The array of various cuisines and our fantastic array of produce really makes Sydney such a great city to live in. Blogging is my hobby and my posts on restaurant meals I have had are paid for and not gratis. Any gratis provided to me will always be stated beforehand.

Saturday, 26 March 2011


This is a catch up post from a few weeks ago. I visited the town of Puhoi and found it to be a quaint place. The famous Puhoi Valley cheese company is located here and I wanted to visit it for some cheese tasting.

I tried some brie, gouda with sundried tomatoes and gouda with black pepper. I found the gouda to be nice and creamy but I bought some triple cream brie instead. It lasted us for 2 meals. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the brie but I can assure you it was very nice. I absolutely love a good brie.

Puhoi Valley cheese cafe and shop

The pond outside the cafe
The smallest public library I have ever seen

It took us about 35 minutes to arrive at Puhoi from Takapuna, which is not really far away. One thing I have realised about New Zealand; the distance from the city to rural towns is quite short. In Australia it would take about 2 hours at a minimum from Sydney city to arrive at the Hunter Valley (wine and cheese region).

Agnes Curran

The weather is Auckland is rather miserable this week-end. It has been wet, grey and very windy. It is a day you would want to stay in and read a good book or watch a movie.

However, my friend (DD) and I still managed to trek ourselves (by car) over to Ponsonby for what is becoming something of a week-end ritual, i.e. brunch at Ponsonby. This time we decided to visit a cafe we had been to previously, Agnes Curran. The first time I was there, which was a few weeks ago, it was a delightful find but I did not have my camera with me then. So this time, with my trusty camera, we had another round of food.

Order of the day was our standard coffee (they really know how to make a good cup of coffee). On top of that I had a passionfruit and white chocolate cheesecake. DD had a lamington with jam and cream. Both were very nice. I believe that so far in our search for the best cups of coffee in Auckland city, Agnes Curran is the front runner.

Lamington with jam and cream

Passionfruit and white cholocate cheesecake

I was initially hesitant about my order but I was assured that the cheesecake is not as rich as it looked. So I did try it out and it was moist and full of passionfruit flavour. The white chocolate was not overwhelmingly sweet.

By the way, DD enjoyed the lamington. I had a bit of it, it was very light and fluffy. Would I recommend fellow travellers to Auckland to try out Agnes Curran. Absolutely!

Agnes Curran
181 Ponsonby Road
New Zealand

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Brunch at Kazbah

I was home in Sydney for the week-end and was lucky enough to catch up with some good friends over brunch. We decided to meet up at Kazbah as we heard of and read good reviews of their breakfast menu. We chose the Top Ryde branch as we could at least ensure we could get parking.

The Kazbah Top Ryde branch is located in the Piazza area of the Top Ryde shopping centre. It was very easy to locate and I quite liked the restaurant furnishings and deco.

I had my eye on the breakfast tagine. So we ordered the 2 breakfast tagine in addition to other dishes. One tagine was with lamb mince cooked in various spices, tomato and 2 eggs on the top. The other was a vegetarian tagine which included pumpkin, eggs, tomato and a variety of spices too. Both were tasty in different ways. I must say the lamb mince was full of spices and had a lovely flavour. Both were served with turkish bread and flatbread.

I think we will visit Kazbah again, this time we hope to bring a larger group so we can order the special menu for a group of 8 or more. There was a '3 types of egg' dish which looked really delicious but it was not on the standard menu. I will have to try that one out the next time!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Vegetable Curry

Tonight's dinner is vegetable curry. I bought a pre-made vegetarian curry paste from one of the Asian shops near Takapuna. It is a well known brand from Malaysia. Instead of using coconut milk, I used skim milk.

For tonight's version, I used snake beans, organic potatoes, organic carrots, zucchini (in NZ it is called courgette) and cabbage.

I am now converted to the benefits of organic fresh food. I used to be sceptical as I could not understand why I had to pay a whole lot more for organic vegetables/fruits versus the non organic ones. Since being in Auckland, I have been buying fruits and vegetables from the Takapuna Farmers Markets which is on every Sunday morning. There are many farmers selling organic food and the prices for organic food are very reasonable in NZ. So I bought some potatoes and carrots. I can tell the difference even when I am cutting them up and the taste of organic potatoes is amazing. There is a big difference so I am now a convert.

A day in downtown Auckland

This is my second downtown trip to the heart of Auckland city. I decided to take the ferry in from Devonport. This was the morning after the largest ever earthquake hit Japan and the corresponding 10m tsunami that ensued. What a horrific event, my heart goes out to those impacted by the natural disaster.

On the Saturday morning, the tsunami threat for NZ was downsized and eventually removed so I decided to hit the ferry instead of driving into downtown. Parking there is not as cheap as you would think.

I strolled up Queen Street and browsed any shops which perked my interest. I stopped by the Britomart Farmer's Markets. There are about 20 stalls selling fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, relishes, cheese, Italian and French pastries and there was even a live band singing popular music. Because it was a lovely and sunny day, there were quite a few city dwellers browsing and shopping at the markets.
Britomart Farmers Market

A bicycle with two shopping baskets.

Lunch was at Elliot Stables. I ordered a Berlin Bratwurst topped with caramelised onions and curried tomato sauce. I bought it from Frankies Wurstbude in Elliot Stables.
I did struggle to finish the German sausage roll. As you can see the bread roll was rather large. I must say that I did enjoy it and the curried tomato sauce was really quite nice.

As I headed back to the ferries I got caught up with the St. Patrick's parade. There are quite a few Irish living in Auckland. There were many people dressed in greens, some wearing green hats and/or green badges. That was a nice touch to a pleasant afternoon in the city.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Brunch at Ponsonby No. 1

I decided to name this posting as Brunch No. 1 as I have been trying out various cafes during week-ends in Auckland. A few week-ends ago, I visited the suburb of Ponsonby. This is an inner city suburb of Auckland. It is known as a hip and trendy suburb (real estate in this suburb can be quite expensive). The well known street is Ponsonby Road and there are loads of restaurants and cafes along this road.

So my friend (DD) and I randomly chose one of the cafes for brunch. I ordered free range scrambled eggs on toast with grilled mushrooms and a cappuccino. Did I enjoy my brunch? Yes I did! The cafe was packed by the way, that is a good sign when venturing in for the first time.

I really must make the effort to remember restaurant/cafe names now that I have started a blog. I think the cafe was called Bambina.

                                      Scrambled eggs on toast with grilled mushrooms.

Ponsonby reminds me of Mosman but it is a hipper suburb. I took a couple of photos around Ponsonby. Here they are.

                                       Ponsonby Road

                                       View of Auckland's Sky Tower from Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

And so it begins

I have been tossing the idea of creating my own blog for a while now. For some reason I kept putting the idea off. I was then assigned to a project to be based in Auckland, New Zealand and thought to myself ' This is the best time to start a blog to keep my friends in the loop on my activities while I am staying in the country of the long white cloud'.

My first trip for the project started in mid November last year. I must say New Zealanders are such lovely people. Being in Auckland has given me the opportunity to explore the city and I have found some lovely farmers markets and craft markets.

As this is my first posting, Takapuna will be my first subject. It is located in the North Shore City. It reminds me a little of Neutral Bay in Sydney. What it does have that Neutral Bay does not have is a lovely strip of beach. The views from the apartment remind me how much water is around Auckland City.

This is a view from the apartment.