Staycation Day 9

Another day at home for the most part, finishing our 2015 recap which you’ve hopefully watch by now – the biggest highlight is our trip video from Vancouver Island, make sure you watch it!

Then capped off the first day of the new year with a delicious dinner with some of our nearest & dearest



Duck & Waffle

One day late, we celebrated BK’s birthday at Duck & Waffle, a recommendation form my friend ZD.  One of the few high rises in downtown London, we were treated to great views of the city as we met A & L in the bar for pre-dinners cocktails.

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And with a menu set up for sharing we were able to try lots of different dishes…


first up, crispy pig ears, served in a brown paper bag:

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Spicy Ox Cheek doughnut:


Violet Artichoke & Parmesan bread:


Dorset Crab:


Grilled Asparagus:


Wild Cornish Pollock Meatballs:


Smoked Mozzarella Salad:


Roasted Octopus:


and of course, the iconic duck & waffle:


Dessert, fancy French toast essentially 🙂


Everything was really good – I think the pig ears, ox tail doughnut and octopus were the top three for the table, but no bites were left behind on any plate.  Happy birthday BK!


Cheers to good friends!


a whole lotta videos…

In case you missed any of these buried in my blogs, here’s some videos from the trip:

Daintree Rainforest:


Great Ocean Road:


Melbourne Bike Tour:




Moeraki Boulders:


Routeburn Track:


Milford Sound:


Jet Boating on the Dart River:


Queenstown Luge:


OGO balls:


BK Bungy Jump:


Fox Glacier:


Buller Gorge:


Punakaiki Pancake Rocks:


Down Under:



Dinner at Beppi’s

When Tom & Bette visited Sydney their favorite dinner was at an Italian joint, Beppi’s, which has been a Sydney Institution since 1956. For Christmas they treated us to dinner at Beppi’s and luckily the restaurant was just re-opening from their holiday break as we arrived in the city.


They sat us in the wine cellar, and kicked things off with some bruschetta and a Barbera:


Then we shared a couple appetizers:  Fiori di Zucchine Ripieni con Ricotta e Funghi Porcini – Home grown Zucchini flowers with a ricotta, basil and Porcini Mushroom filling and Ravioli di Zucca – Ravioli filled with roasted pumpkin & amaretti served with burnt butter & parmesan:



The squash blossoms were nice and piping hot.  The ravioli pasta was perfectly made but the filling needed a little kick.

For mains, BK got the Filetto di Vitello alla griglia con Burro Tartufato e Funghi Porcini  – Veal fillet grilled and served with truffled butter, porcini mushrooms and potatoes roasted in duck fat:


while I chose one of my favorite fishes from a previous, Barramundi:  Filetto di Barramundi Selvatico alla griglia con Peperonata  – Barramundi Fillet grilled and served with Peperonata, mint & garlic


We also shard some cauliflower:


and finally for dessert we shared the Crespelle con Fragole liquore D’Arancio alla Fiamma  $20
Crepes with strawberries & Grand Marnier flambé – fire!



A delicious way to celebrate our big vacation AND the fifth anniversary our first date 🙂  Thanks Tom & Bette!


Cooking class at Auckland Seafood School

Yesterday we did a lunchtime cooking class at the Auckland Seafood Market which was super fun.

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First they gave us a glass of wine and then we watched a demo of what we would be making from renowned chef John Campbell (he was the Exec chef of the America’s Cup when the Kiwis hosted).
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On the menu today was Salt & Pepper Prawns with a citrus mayo and Seafood Risotto. After the demo we were sent into the kitchen to recreate it on our own!

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We got partnered up with a couple funny ladies from Tauranga, a couple hours away. They tackled the risotto while we took on the prawns. Making mayo from scratch is hard! whew, our arms were tired from whisking.



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The end result of both were delicious though!

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Dinner at Soul

For our last dinner in NZ, we scouted the Harbor area of Auckland and picked what seemed to be a popular spot, Soul Bar and it turned out to be a good choice. Their cocktails were great and the food delish.  First some bread:

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Then we  shared the Kingfish tostada, fresh herbs, fish sauce vinaigrette, toasted peanuts:

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and the South Island whitebait fritter, lemon butter sauce (more like an omlette, the most disappointing dish of the night):

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Next was Grilled snapper, green papaya, coriander and mint salad, mango dressing, toasted peanuts:

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Caulifl ower and cumin fritters:


and our fave dish of the night, Blackened hapuku with marinated tomatoes and almond skordalia:

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