Sip, Savor, Saunter – Sangria! An Ode to Summer’s Elixir

Summer is the season of warmth, sunshine, and relaxation. And what better way to embrace the spirit of the season than by indulging in a refreshing glass of sangria? Sangria, a traditional Spanish drink, is a perfect blend of fruit, wine, and brandy that creates a unique and delicious flavor. The fruit infuses the wine with natural sweetness and color, making it a perfect thirst-quencher on a hot summer day. 

Sangria is about savoring the moment, enjoying the company of friends and family, and taking in the beauty of the season. It’s a reminder to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. Its minimal ingredients and creative expression makes it a perfect cocktail to keep stashed away for a sunny day. Not only does it taste divine, but the memories of your summer sangrias will stay with you forever – the smell alone will take you back to a special day. 

My first sangria was rather muddy. I was 19, and a pitcher was $30 at the dirtiest pub in Wellington. However, we have progressed and this fruity number is clean, crisp and doesn’t smell like the back of a cigarette. 

Though thoroughly enjoyed during summer, I like to spice my sangria to suit every season. You’ll find my red Sangria draws its inspiration from mulled wine with spices, while my spring rose sangria will forever be locked in my mind as the first sip of spring. My white sangria is matured, and brings itself out when the sweetest peaches and apricots are available in late January. 

Red Sangria

red wine sangria

When it comes to selecting red wine, you’ll usually find me in the international section. Nothing seems more moreish than Rioja, Temprinello, Sangiovese, and so forth. When it comes to sangria, I don’t mean to sound crude, but anything goes. Pinot Noir will add a lighter texture, whereas a Shiraz will pounce more forwardly. You can splurge much less with a red than with white wine, so keep that in mind. 

The recipe speaks for itself. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher of your choice, but keep some garnishes to freshen up on top. This is best when it has steeped for a few hours, and absolutely chilled, so plan accordingly. This recipe is also a base recipe, and can be adapted and changed depending on your time. You can add extra spices if you prefer a deeper taste, but I find this recipe is the perfect amount for summer time. 


  • 1 bottle of red wine of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 oranges, sliced


  1. Combine the orange juice, honey and spices in a medium saucepan. Heat until the honey is melted and combined. 
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the wine and brandy. This will ensure that the honey is mixed throughout, without heating up the rest of the liquid. 
  3. In a pitcher, add your sliced orange juice, and your liquid. 
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. 
  5. Spice up with orange garnishes, along with cinnamon and cranberries. 
  6. Serve over ice. 

Rose Sangria

rose sangria rosemary strawberry

Welcome to the wild world of rose sangria, a drink that packs a punch of flavor and captures the essence of spring like a butterfly net. Rose sangria is a unique blend of dry rose wine, fresh fruit, and a hint of brandy, creating a taste that is both light and complex, like a spring morning. This delightful concoction is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring, with its delicate aroma and taste that invokes the first sip of the season. The dry rose wine is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of the fruit, creating a drink that is both refreshing and satisfying, like a sip of spring breeze.

Whether you’re hosting a brunch, a picnic, or a garden party, rose sangria is a crowd-pleaser that will add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your event. The first sip of rose sangria is like a sip of spring – refreshing and delightful, perfect for those sunny days, unless you live in Scotland.


  • 1 bottle of dry rose wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the rose wine, brandy, triple sec, honey, and lemon juice. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and mint leaves to the pitcher.
  3. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Before serving, give the sangria a good stir and pour into glasses filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and a few berries.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

White Sangria

white wine sangria peach

Now is the time to splurge. The late summer sky is setting in, and we want something fresh, crisp but also honey-like. It’s time for white wine sangria. My preference of wine for this will forever be a Pinot Gris, as it holds the peach notes. However, a Savvy B also does the trick. Whether you’re throwing a backyard bash, a park picnic, or a pool party, white wine sangria is a crowd-pleaser that will add a touch of class and sophistication to your shindig, or at least make it feel like one.


  • 1 bottle of dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 2 apricots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the white wine, brandy, triple sec, honey, and lime juice. Stir well to combine.
  2. Add the peaches, apricots, raspberries and mint leaves to the pitcher.
  3. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Before serving, give the sangria a good stir and pour into glasses filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and a slice of peach or apricot.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Note: You can adjust the sweetness of the sangria by adjusting the amount of honey added. If you prefer a sweeter drink, add more honey to taste.

This white wine sangria recipe with peaches and apricots is perfect for summer parties and get-togethers, the peaches and apricots give a nice sweetness to the drink, and the raspberries and mint leaves add a touch of freshness and aroma. You can serve it in a pitcher or in a wine glass.

Our Top 3 Freezer-Friendly Emergency Meals

As modern women, we juggle a multitude of responsibilities and roles, and it can be overwhelming to think about the unexpected. But, what if we could take a small step towards creating a sense of serenity in the face of chaos? One way to do that is by having a well-stocked emergency pantry, particularly with freezer-friendly meals. 

Imagine, in the midst of a power outage, a lightning storm, or simply a hectic day, you could open your freezer and find a variety of delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare meals. In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey, introducing you to three freezer-friendly options that are not only delicious but also easy to store and reheat. From savory bolognese to protein-packed dumplings, these meals will elevate your emergency cuisine and provide a sense of calm in the face of uncertainty. So, let’s embrace the unknown, and create a pantry that will be a source of inspiration, not only in emergency situations, but in your everyday life! 

The Classic: Soup

Hot soup

The first dish in our freezer-friendly emergency meal lineup is a timeless and soul-warming classic: soup. The soothing aroma of a simmering pot of soup can instantly transport us to a place of comfort and security. Whether you prefer a hearty stew, a light broth, or a creamy bisque, soup is an easy and nourishing meal that can be customized to suit your personal tastes and dietary needs. 

One of the best things about soup is its versatility, it can be made in large batches, and it freezes exceptionally well, allowing us to create a variety of flavors and options to suit any mood or craving. By preparing a big pot of your favorite soup, dividing it into individual portions, and storing it in the freezer, you ensure that you have a comforting and satisfying meal at your fingertips, ready to be reheated in a matter of minutes. 

Some of our favorite soup recipes include a rich and savory beef and vegetable stew, a velvety pumpkin soup, and a comforting chicken noodle soup. Each of these soups can be made in advance and stored in the freezer for up to three months, providing a touch of culinary elegance in the face of any emergency.

The Hearty: Bolognese

Bolognese dinner

Our second freezer-friendly emergency meal is a classic Italian dish that is both comforting and satisfying: bolognese – or chilli con carne. This dish is perfect for those days when you need a hearty and filling meal, and it can be easily customized to suit your personal preferences. The beauty of this dish is that it can be made in advance and stored in the freezer, so it’s ready to be reheated at a moment’s notice. 

The rich and flavorful bolognese sauce, made with ground beef, tomatoes, and spices, is the perfect complement to a variety of pasta types, such as spaghetti, fettuccine or rigatoni. If chilli con carne is there, heat this over baked potatoes, spaghetti squash or nacho chips. 

To make this dish even more delicious and warm, you can add a touch of cream, some fresh herbs, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. This will elevate the dish and give it a gourmet touch. The combination of comforting pasta and rich, flavorful bolognese is the epitome of the perfect comfort food. 

The Warm: Dumplings

dumpling freezer meal

Our third emergency meal is a versatile and comforting dish that is perfect for any occasion: dumplings. These small, pillowy bundles of joy are a staple in many cuisines, and can be filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, or even sweet fillings. The beauty of dumplings is that they can be made in advance and frozen, so you can have a delicious and satisfying meal at your fingertips, ready to be steamed, boiled or pan-fried in a matter of minutes. 

Dumplings are a perfect meal for a cozy night in, or for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. For a savory option, you can fill them with ground pork, shrimp, and vegetables, and for a sweet option, you can fill them with sweetened red bean paste, or fruit. The possibilities are endless, and with a little creativity and imagination, you can create a dumpling that is both satisfying and sophisticated. Dumplings are a perfect example of how comfort food can be elevated to a gourmet level. They are a perfect meal to have on hand for those days when you need a little extra TLC. 

Naked Malt Blueberry Whisky Sour Recipe

If you’re an avid reader of WOMAN+, you may have noticed that we’re ramping up our cocktail making game. Following on from our Strawberry Whisky Sour, we’re back with another iteration of the classic sour – but this time, it’s with the beloved blueberry. 

As per, we will be using the award-winning blended malt liquor, Naked Malt. Aptly named, it reflects the fact that it is a malt blend that’s been aged in naked first-fill sherry casks. What sets it apart is not only its exquisite taste, but also its commitment to sustainability. Since its rebirth, the bottle is now 100% recyclable, which is something we can all greatly appreciate. 

Its tasting profile is sweet with creamy notes of vanilla custard and stewed fruit. But it’s the rich sherry spice finish that will leave you swooning. Up until the 1950’s, sherry casks were readily available in Scotland but since the distribution legislation changed in Spain, these rich and fruity barrels are becoming more and more of a rarity. 

As a lover of fine spirits, you can take it from me that Naked Malt is an absolute dark horse of a drop. Made from high-end single malts, the taste is truly spectacular and the price is equally staggering – in a good way. It seems too good to be true that such a great whisky can be purchased at $40-$60 per bottle. Even those with the most discerning palates will be impressed. Let’s not second guess as to how it could possibly be this affordable – let’s just accept it as a golden nugget to keep between us. If by some chance you’re not completely satisfied, well then, I’ll personally refund your taste buds. 

Blueberry Whisky Sour with Naked Malt

Since winter is the time to get the whisky and bourbon out, I highly suggest that you stock up on some bottles of Naked Malt. Creamy, spicy, sweet and smooth, you’ll be able to create cocktails at home that are far better than your local bar. 

The perfect accompaniment to the Naked Malt is a little citrus, sweetness and ice. The whisky on its own creates a beautiful blend of flavours that just needs a mere kiss to enjoy its flavours. Like the strawberry whisky sour, we turned to the hot Frenchman Julien Maddalon to craft the perfect recipe. 

Blueberry Whisky Sour with Naked Malt

Blueberry Whisky Sour Recipe


  • 45ml Naked Whisky
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 15ml Aqa faba
  • 20 ml Blueberry syrup
  • Long block of ice, blueberry powder and blueberries skewer.


  1. Add the whisky, lemon juice, aqa faba and syrup into a cocktail shaker. 
  2. Add ice and shake for 10 seconds. 
  3. Double strain into a highball glass full of ice or if you want to get fancy, pop in a long block of ice.
  4. Add raspberry or blueberry powder (easy to find in the bakery section in the supermarket) and adorn with a blueberry skewer.

You can play around with different flavoured fruit syrups to find out what tickles your fancy the most. All you have to do is stick to the Naked Sour formula of ‘Naked Malt + citrus + sweet + ice.’ With the sweet aspect, you can chop and change this and bring utilize sugar syrup or opt for honey and pair it with ginger or pineapple.

Blueberry Whisky Sour with Naked Malt

Naked Malt Strawberry Whisky Sour Recipe

When it comes to the world of whisky, there’s a lot of pompous hooha that surrounds the topic – is it single malt or a blend? Where was it distilled? What cask was it matured in? What’s the history behind the brand? While we can appreciate the intricacies of analysing a golden drop, it doesn’t always have to be this way. The reality is, there are no rules of how to enjoy whisky. 

If you’ve got a free-spirited attitude to whisky, Naked Malt should be on your must-buy list the next time you hit the liquor store. Radically different to other whisky brands that push a more hoity toity message, Naked Malt urges you to “drop the act” and just enjoy the darn whisky however you please – something that we can all get behind.

Made with a unique blend of the world’s finest single malts, Naked malt is matured in ‘naked’ Oloroso sherry casks, meaning the casks have never held whisky before. This is what gives the drop the abundance of rich and fruity flavours. 

To be fair, it’s hard not to fall in love with a sherried whisky once you try them. But what’s notable is how much this amber fluid will set you back – and it’s not very far. Sitting at the very affordable price point of $40-60 per 700ml bottle, Naked Malt is an absolute no-brainer of a choice. Comparatively, well-known sherry-matured whisky such as the very exquisite Macallan is around the $200 mark. You probably wouldn’t go around mixing something like this… 

If you love a good whisky cocktail but happen to be quite the fusspot, Naked Malt will quite easily become the poison you pick. For a meticulous blend at this price point, you can play around and swing from a sour to an old fashioned or even take a spin on the dark and stormy. If you love a good pickle, why not go for a pickle back? You don’t need to ask me twice when it comes to those. It allows for creativity and that’s what they’re all about. 

In the spirit of creativity, we come to you with a spin on a classic – the strawberry whisky sour. Created by NZ’s very own resident French bartender Julien Maddalon of Lemon Lime and Butter, you can hire the tanned Frenchman for your next soiree. His drinks are just as sweet as he is eye candy. 

Made with Naked Whisky, lemon juice, aqa faba (chickpea water), strawberry syrup, and a dash of vanilla liqueur, this recipe is at the top of its class. It’s the perfect cocktail to impress your guests by playing the hostess with the mostest. 

Naked Malt Strawberry Sour Cocktail Recipe

Strawberry Whisky Sour Recipe


  • 45ml Naked Whisky
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 15ml Aqa faba 
  • 20ml strawberry syrup
  • Big block of ice and dash of vanilla liqueur


  1. Add the whisky, lemon juice, aqa faba and syrup into a shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain into a rock glass with a block of ice inside the glass. 
  2. Finish with a dash of vanilla liqueur or your choice of bitters.

Once you have your first taste of this cocktail, you’ll have your Eureka moment and understand why it’s an award-winning drop. 

Naked Malt Strawberry Sour Cocktail Recipe

The Ultimate Breakfast Spread

Rise and shine, foodies! Amberley Rose Kennish here, ready to give you a glimpse of my dreamy ultimate breakfast spread that’s sure to get your mouth watering. From a perfectly smoked salmon toast to a refreshing grilled peach salad and, yes, even a slice of cake, my breakfast menu is guaranteed to start your day off on the right foot. 

As someone who has spent countless hours in the kitchen, I can confidently say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And what better way to start your morning than with a luxurious spread of smoked salmon toast, grilled peach salad, and cake!

Smoked Salmon Breakfast Toast Recipe

Ciabatta slices with breakfast toppings. Roasted tomatoes, salmon and basil.


  • 2 thick slices of artisanal bread
  • 2 oz of cream cheese
  • 2 oz of smoked salmon
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy.
  3. Spread a generous amount of cream cheese on each slice of bread.
  4. Top each slice with smoked salmon and sprinkle with fresh dill.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious smoked salmon toast!

Grilled Chorizo and Peach Breakfast Salad Recipe

Grilled chorizo salad with slices of roasted peach and crumbled feta


  • 2 Chorizo Sticks
  • 2 fresh peaches, sliced
  • 4 cups of rocket
  • 2 oz of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic glaze
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Grill the chorizo, then the peach slices for 2-3 minutes per side, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the mixed greens with the grilled peach slices. Add the chorizo.
  4. Add crumbled feta cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, and toss until well combined.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy your refreshing grilled peach salad!

The Ultimate Gooey Delicious Breakfast Banana Bread

Banana bread slices


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  8. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Slice and serve your gooey and delicious banana bread warm or at room temperature.

There you have it, foodies! Three delicious and easy-to-make recipes that will take your breakfast game to the next level. So go ahead and indulge in my ultimate breakfast spread, featuring smoked salmon toast, grilled peach salad, and banana bread.

Bon appétit!

Feel like adding a breakfast smoothie – try these!

4 Cocktail Recipes to Host a Flawless Party

Orange rum cocktail with chessboard and flowers in front of orange backdrop

Summer has technically come to a close but it seems the sun has come out to replenish our vitamin D dose that we missed over the Christmas break. Thankfully, we’ve still got the sweltering heat to enjoy with one final toast! 

There’s no better way to bid adieu to the season than to milk the end of daylight savings with a cocktail soiree. We’ve compiled four delicious recipes to turn you into the hostess with the mostest. Starting with a refreshing gin sour, you’ll be taking your taste buds on a journey into a zesty marg with a spicy kick, and leaning into an autumnal flavour profile with citrus and spices before finishing the night with a hot choccy that will also make for your easter tipple. 

Our pick for your one stop shop is Liquorland. With 160+ stores nationwide, they have a convenient click & collect service available and delivery coming soon! They also have an impressively wide range of liquor available that you may not be able to find in other stores, as well as knowledgeable staff who can help you curate your own delicious cocktails or find the right drink for any occasion.  Plus, if you love a loyalty program as much as myself, you’ll be glad to know that you can accrue Flybuys or Airpoints Dollars for your upcoming trip – 2023 is the year for it! 

Strawberry Basil Gin Sour

strawberry basil gin sour cocktail

This concoction is a deliciously fruity and herbaceous drink that’s perfect for sipping on a hot day. Made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, muddled fresh strawberries, and a touch of basil syrup, this cocktail boasts a delightful balance of sweet and tangy flavors, with a hint of aromatic herbaceousness. Served in a chilled glass with a sprig of fresh basil for garnish, it’s a sophisticated yet playful drink that’s sure to impress your guests.


– 1/2 Cup Water
– 1/2 Cup Sugar
– 1 Cup frozen/fresh strawberries
– 12 Basil leaves

– 60ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
– 30ml Lemon Juice
– 30ml Strawberry Basil Syrup
-15ml Egg white


To make the syrup: Add all of the syrup ingredients into a sauce pan and cook on low for 10 minutes. You will know it’s ready when it is bright red!

For the cocktail: Add the gin, lemon juice, strawberry basil syrup and egg white to a shaker. Shake for 15 seconds without ice. This will create the froth! Next, add 1/2 cup ice, and shake until the shaker has frosted over on the outside. Strain, and serve!

Pineapple Chilli Margarita

manicured hand holding pineapple chilli margarita cocktail with chill salt rim

Craving a cocktail with a complex and intriguing flavour profile? This Pineapple and Green Chilli Margarita might just be the perfect choice for you. Made with the smooth and robust Altos Tequila, muddled fresh pineapple, and a touch of fiery green chilli, this cocktail boasts a sweet and spicy flavour that’s sure to impress your taste buds. The sweetness of the pineapple perfectly balances the heat of the chilli, while the tanginess of the lime juice and the salted rim of the glass adds a refreshing twist. This drink can be served on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass with a slice of fresh pineapple and a sprinkle of chopped green chilli, or you can go sans ice – martini style – and keep its strength going. 


  • 6 chunks fresh pineapple
  • 2-3 fresh green chilli slices
  • Sea salt
  • 60g Altos Tequila
  • 30g Cointreau
  • 30g Pineapple Juice 
  • 60g Lime Juice 
  • 1 tsp simple syrup


To make the flavored tequila, add the tequila, fresh pineapple, green chilli slices and sea salt to a blender. Blitz until smooth. Add the mix to your shaker with the rest of your ingredients. Add ½ cup ice, and shake until the outside is frosted over. Strain into a class for martini style, or serve on the rocks. 

TIP: I always love a salt rim! Add lemon to the edge of your glass. Pour salt and chilli powder onto a plate. Swirl the rim into the salt and it will stick! 

Orange Spiced Rum Sour

orange rum cocktail with chessboard and flowers in front of orange backdrop

A switch on a classic, the Cinnamon Spiced Orange Rum Sour will be a unanimous crowd favourite. Made with the rich and flavorful Ratu Rum, freshly squeezed orange juice, a hint of cinnamon syrup, and egg white for a silky texture, this cocktail is a deliciously unique take on the traditional whisky sour. The sweetness of the orange juice pairs perfectly with the warm and spicy notes of the cinnamon syrup, while the frothy egg white adds a luxurious mouthfeel. Served in a chilled glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder on top, this cocktail is a perfect choice for a cozy autumn night or a casual get-together with friends.


  • 45ml Ratu Rum
  • 25ml Orange Juice
  • 25ml Lime Juice
  • 15ml Cinnamon Syrup
  • 15ml Egg White
  • Cinnamon Sugar Rim


Add all of your ingredients to a shaker and shake for 15 seconds without ice to create the froth. Add ½ cup ice to the shaker, and shake until it has frosted over on the outside. Decorate with a cinnamon and sugar rim before straining into a glass. Drink while it’s fresh and cold!

Baileys Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

baileys hot chocolate with marshmallows and flowers

It’s time to bid farewell to the iced coffee of summer and embrace the comforting warmth of a hot beverage. And what could be more fitting than the Baileys Hot Chocolate with the Easter break around the corner? While the kids are running around on an easter egg sugar high, you can sit back with an indulgent treat because you very well deserve it. 

This hot choc recipe combines the smooth and velvety taste of Baileys Irish Cream with the rich and homely flavour of Whittakers Milk Chocolate, creating a truly heavenly combination. Served in a cozy mug with a dollop of whipped cream, it’s the perfect drink to snuggle up with on a chilly autumn evening.



Whip your cream until it’s smooth and stable. Melt the Milk Chocolate in the microwave, in 30 second increments until melted. In your desired vessel, add the melted chocolate, irish cream and a bit of hot water until combined. Top with your whipped cream,and serve with as many marshmallows til your heart’s content! This is also DELICIOUS over ice. 

If our curation of cocktails don’t quite fit the bill for your night, I highly recommend that you head to toast for recipes and inspiration for all of life’s occasions! 

Ramp Up Your Smoothie Game With These Three Recipes

Step into the world of smoothie-making, where the intersection of nutrition and refinement awaits. The art of crafting a smoothie is an exquisite opportunity to showcase your creativity and elevate your palate to new heights.

Firstly, let us consider the foundation of any great smoothie: fresh, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Think of the elegant vibrance brought by kale, spinach, berries, bananas, and avocado. Not only do these ingredients provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals, but they also impart an elevated visual and gustatory experience.

Yet, let us not stop at mere sustenance. Let us strive for refinement by incorporating superfoods. These are nutrient-dense foods believed to possess health-promoting properties, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, goji berries, and spirulina. Not only do they contribute to the nutritional value of your smoothie, but they also add a tasteful and fashionable twist.

Texture is also an essential consideration. While the essence of a smoothie is, undoubtedly, its smoothness, adding ingredients such as nut butter, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs adds a delightful crunch, while simultaneously imbuing your creation with elevated flavor profiles.

Presentation is everything, and a smoothie deserves to be appreciated in style. Consider decorating your smoothie with fresh fruit slices, edible flowers, or a delicate drizzle of honey. Not only will this enhance the visual appeal of your smoothie, but it will also add a touch of sophistication to your morning routine.

Lastly, but by no means the least, is the vessel. The importance of a well-chosen receptacle cannot be understated. Whether you opt for a sleek glass tumbler or a timeless mason jar, the vessel can provide the finishing touch to your smoothie masterpiece.

Berrylicious Antioxidant Smoothie for Radiant Beauty


  • 1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp goji berries


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a stylish glass tumbler and top with fresh berries and a sprinkle of chia seeds.

This smoothie is packed with antioxidants from the mixed berries and goji berries, and the chia seeds add a boost of omega-3s. The honey adds a touch of sweetness while the yogurt and almond milk make it creamy and satisfying.

Zen Boost Smoothie: A Fashionable and Nutritious Blend with Matcha Powder


  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a trendy mason jar and top with sliced banana and a sprinkle of hemp seeds.

This smoothie is not only packed with the antioxidants and caffeine from matcha powder, but also healthy fats from the avocado and protein from the hemp seeds. The combination of coconut water and almond milk makes it light and refreshing, while the sweetness comes from the honey.

Sun-Kissed Radiance Smoothie: A Tropical Blend for Glowing Skin


  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp bee pollen (available at your local health store)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into an elegant glass and top with sliced pineapple and a sprinkle of bee pollen.

This smoothie is a tropical delight that is also packed with anti-inflammatory benefits from the turmeric and ginger. The combination of orange juice and coconut milk makes it creamy and delicious, while the bee pollen adds a nutritious touch.

Got Milk? Here’s the Impact of Your Creamy Beverage

Almond Milk, Oat Milk, Dairy Milk

Picture this: you’re sitting at the kitchen table, a glass of milk in front of you. It’s creamy, cool, and familiar – just like the memories of your childhood. But as you take a sip, you start to wonder about the impact your food choices are having on the environment and your health. Is it time to ditch the dairy and switch to plant-based milk? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind this controversial beverage and separate fact from fiction.

Environmental Impact

One of the biggest concerns about dairy milk is its impact on the environment. According to the United Nations, livestock production is responsible for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a lot of cows, folks. And let’s not forget the land, water, and other resources required to produce milk. Plant-based milk, on the other hand, is often touted as a more environmentally-friendly and animal-friendly option. But before you switch to almond milk, consider this: almond farming has been linked to the depletion of groundwater resources, which has negative effects on local ecosystems and communities. And that’s just one example. The bottom line? It’s important to make informed decisions based on the best available information.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is another major concern within the dairy industry. Many dairy farms use antibiotics and growth hormones to increase milk production, which can have negative effects on animal welfare and human health. But let’s not forget that the production of certain plant-based milks, such as almond milk, can have negative impacts on bee populations. Almond trees require pollination by bees in order to produce almonds, and as a result, beekeepers are brought in to transport their hives to almond farms during the blooming season. However, due to the high demand for almond milk, many beekeepers from out of state bring their hives to California, which has resulted in a massive increase in the number of bees being transported across the country with mass devastation to our already depleted bee population. California currently has 80% of almond farms, and though we don’t have these in New Zealand, the impact on the bee community is something we will feel globally. The moral of the story? It’s important to support companies that prioritize sustainable and ethical practices.

Nutritional Value

When it comes to nutritional value, dairy milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. But it can also be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. Plant-based milk, on the other hand, is often lower in calories and saturated fat, and can provide important nutrients such as fiber and vitamins. And let’s not forget about the lactose intolerant among us – plant-based milk is a lifesaver for those who can’t digest lactose.

To Milk, or not to Milk?

So which type of milk is right for you? It ultimately comes down to personal preference and individual health needs. Maybe you’re a die-hard dairy lover who can’t imagine life without it. Or maybe you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact, have lactose intolerance, or simply prefer the taste of plant-based milk. Either way, it’s important to listen to your body, educate yourself, and make informed decisions about what foods you put in it. After all, there is never a hard fact or scientific evidence that is uncontended. So go ahead, try and try again until you find something that works for you – and don’t forget to enjoy every sip.

Dining al Fresco: Elevating Your Outdoor Picnic Game with Creative Recipes

There’s something undeniably magical about dining al fresco – the gentle breeze, sun-kissed skin, and a carefree ambiance that can only be found in the great outdoors. Whether it’s a quaint picnic for two or a family gathering in the park, there’s no better way to celebrate the joys of the season than with a beautifully curated spread of delectable dishes. So, why not take your outdoor dining experience to the next level and elevate your picnic game with some creative recipes that will leave your taste buds singing? 

When it comes to planning the perfect outdoor picnic, the key is to strike the right balance between delicious food and ease of preparation. After all, the goal is to enjoy the outdoors and not spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. Below are three of my favourite recipes that are sure to impress your guests, while still leaving you with plenty of time to relax and soak up the sun! But first, here are some steps to consider to curate your next al fresco dining experience as one to remember. 

A Good Tipple

No outdoor picnic is complete without a few refreshing drinks. While classic lemonade and iced tea are always crowd pleasers, why not mix things up with some creative cocktails? A fruity Pimm’s Cup made with fresh berries and cucumber is the perfect complement to a warm day, while a refreshing cucumber gin and tonic will keep your taste buds tingling all evening long. For non-alcoholic options, consider crafting a batch of hibiscus iced tea or a refreshing strawberry basil lemonade for a taste of summer in every sip.


When it comes to al fresco dining, presentation is just as important as taste. After all, the ambiance and aesthetic of the setting can make or break the entire experience. Add a touch of elegance to your outdoor picnic by bringing along some chic tableware. From woven placemats and linen napkins to vintage glassware and sleek cutlery, the right accessories can elevate your dining experience to a whole new level. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colors and textures, and always pack a cozy blanket or two for lounging in style. With a little bit of creativity and a lot of delicious food, your next outdoor picnic is sure to be an unforgettable affair.

Seasonal Produce

Incorporating seasonal ingredients and flavours into your recipes will take your outdoor dining experience to the next level. Think fresh berries, juicy peaches, and crisp cucumbers for a taste of summer, or roasted pumpkin, hearty squash and warm spices for a cozy autumnal picnic. Not only will these ingredients add a burst of flavor and color to your dishes, but they’ll also help you connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of the season.

Consider A Theme

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outdoor picnic, consider hosting a themed event. Whether it’s a chic Parisian-inspired picnic complete with baguettes and wine, or a whimsical garden party with floral arrangements and tea sandwiches, a well-executed theme can take your dining experience to the next level. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your decor and attire, and encourage your guests to join in on the fun.

Be in the Moment

Finally, don’t forget to savor the moment and enjoy the company of your loved ones. After all, the beauty of dining al fresco is the opportunity to slow down, disconnect from technology, and simply bask in the simple pleasures of life. So take a deep breath, soak in the scenery, and savor every delicious bite. With a little bit of creativity and a lot of love, your outdoor picnic is sure to be a memory that lasts a lifetime. 

Now that we’ve covered all the essential elements for your al fresco experience, without further ado, here are three recipes to make it shine! 

Seared Steak, Caramelised Onions, Feta and Rocket Baguette


  • 1 baguette
  • 500g sirloin steak
  • 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp garlic aioli
  • 1 cup rocket (arugula) leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Grill the steak for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until it reaches your desired level of doneness.
  4. Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it thinly.
  5. In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until they are caramelized.
  6. Cut the baguette into individual portions and slice open each piece. Spread the garlic aioli on one side.
  7. Layer the steak slices, caramelized onions, crumbled feta, and rocket leaves on top of one half of the baguette.
  8. Top with the other half of the baguette and serve.

Crispy Fried Chicken Sliders with Tangy Slaw


  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 slider buns
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into small slider-sized pieces.
  3. In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. In another shallow dish, beat the egg.
  5. In a third shallow dish, place the panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Dip each piece of chicken into the flour mixture, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat well.
  7. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the breaded chicken pieces to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  10. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  11. Toss the coleslaw mix in the dressing until fully coated.
  12. Assemble the sliders by placing a piece of chicken on the bottom bun, followed by a spoonful of the tangy slaw. Top with the other half of the bun and serve.

Refreshing Watermelon Gazpacho with Crumbled Feta and Herbs


  • 4 cups watermelon, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ block crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (such as coriander, basil, or mint)


  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon, cucumber, red bell pepper, and red onion until smooth.
  2. Add the lime juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the blender and pulse until well combined.
  3. Chill the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls or glasses.
  5. Top each serving with crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh herbs.
  6. Serve chilled and enjoy the refreshing and flavorful taste of this unique watermelon gazpacho.

How To Have A Martini Moment

As a woman in her 20s, I’m at the forefront of embracing life’s adventures and indulgences. And what could add a touch of refinement to these moments like a masterfully crafted martini? This drink of grace and poise, with its timeless allure, never goes out of style. 

Martinis embody sophistication and elegance, making them the ideal beverage for any occasion. Whether you’re out with the girls for a night on the town or creating a romantic ambiance at home, a martini will elevate your experience to new heights. Allow me to share with you a few reasons why martinis are the ultimate drink to have in hand.


Martinis come in a wide variety of flavors, from classic gin to fruity and sweet. This means that there is a martini for every taste preference, making it the perfect drink for everyone. Whether you like your drinks strong or sweet, you’re sure to find a martini that suits your taste.


Martinis are often associated with sophistication and class, making them the perfect drink for special occasions. The classic look of a martini glass and the ritual of shaking and pouring the drink make it a special treat that you won’t find with any other drink.

Easy To Make

Despite their sophisticated appearance, martinis are actually quite easy to make. All you need is a few simple ingredients and a shaker, and you’re good to go. This means that you can enjoy a martini anytime, anywhere, without having to go to a bar.

Low Calorie Option

Compared to other cocktails, martinis are relatively low in calories, making them a great option for those watching their weight. The lack of sugar and syrups in a traditional martini mean that it’s a healthier option than many other drinks.

For those who appreciate the art of the martini, I present to you five carefully curated recipes that are sure to elevate your taste buds to new heights.

The Classic Martini

Classic Dry Martini

The classic martini is a timeless drink that never goes out of style. To make it, fill a shaker with ice and add two ounces of gin, one ounce of dry vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters. Shake it up and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, and voila! You have a drink that will never disappoint.

Cosmopolitan Martini

Cosmopolitan Martini

If you’re in the mood for something a little sweeter, try a cosmopolitan. Combine two ounces of vodka, one ounce of cranberry juice, one ounce of triple sec, and half an ounce of fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake it up and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge for a pop of color.

Espresso Martini

Espresso Martini

For a pick-me-up that doubles as a treat, try an espresso martini. Combine two ounces of espresso, one ounce of vodka, and one ounce of Kahlua in a shaker with ice. Shake it up and strain into a chilled martini glass. Dust with cocoa powder, and enjoy the rich, creamy flavor in every sip.Apple Martini: This martini is the perfect autumn treat. 

Ginger Martini

Ginger Martini

This spicy drink is perfect for those who love a little kick. Combine two ounces of gin, one ounce of ginger liqueur, and one ounce of fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake it up and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of fresh ginger for a pop of flavor.

Dirty Martini

Dirty Martini

For those who like it with a little extra bite, try a dirty martini. Fill a shaker with ice and add two ounces of gin, one ounce of dry vermouth, and a splash of olive brine. Shake it up and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a few olives, and enjoy the savory flavor in every sip.

So, ladies, go ahead and fall in love with the martini. It’s a love affair that’s worth it.

Cooking For One: A Love Letter To Self Care

The art of cooking is not just about feeding the body, but also about nourishing the soul. When it comes to cooking dinner for oneself, it can be easy to fall into the trap of quick, bland meals. But why settle for a lonely bowl of cereal when you can write a love letter to yourself with every meal? 

To make cooking for one a special occasion, start by setting the mood. Choose a relaxing ambiance with dim lighting, music, or a glass of wine. Treat yourself like a VIP guest. Get creative in the kitchen by trying new recipes, flavours, and cooking methods. Don’t hold back and indulge in the freedom to experiment. Use quality ingredients to elevate your meal’s flavour and romance.

Take time to pamper yourself and make cooking a therapeutic experience. Savour each bite and enjoy the flavours, knowing you made the meal with your taste buds in mind. Remember to pay attention to the presentation by plating your meal beautifully and setting the table with your best plates and silverware. These small details will add serenity to your dining experience. Finally, savour the meal and enjoy every bite. Add a touch of romance with a candle, fine china, and take your time to appreciate the love and care you put into the meal.

Here are the two styles of recipes I will always cook if I am in need of some self love. 


Pasta Making At Home for Valentines Day

Pasta takes self-care to a different level. Opt for chickpea or lentil pasta if you’re looking for something a little healthier. I tend to indulge via a bowl, with a rocket side salad to cleanse my palette. Lately, I haven’t been able to walk past chorizo in the supermarket without picking it up. Chorizo, lemon and chilli flakes is where it’s at. I prefer to use a cream based sauce, but this also works wonderfully if you substitute the cream for tomato paste. If so, make sure you cook out the paste for at least 4 minutes to let the chilli flakes and oil soak through. 


  • 1x Chorizo stick
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • ½ finely diced shallot
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced garlic 
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest 
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup chicken stock 
  • ¼ cup parmesan 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pasta of your choice 


  1. Start by boiling your pasta – the sauce will take 15 minutes to cook, so put your pasta on accordingly. Salt the water enough that it tastes like the sea. 
  2. In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced chorizo and cook until browned and crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the chorizo from the skillet and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the juices in the pan.
  3. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped shallot. Cook until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Add the chicken broth to the skillet, and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Let the broth simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the heavy cream to the skillet, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the juice of 1 lemon and zest to taste.
  7. Add 2 tbsp pasta water to the skillet. Then, add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and toss to coat with the cream sauce.
  8. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Serve the chorizo and creamy pasta in bowls, topped with the crispy chorizo and extra coarse black pepper. 

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Home Made Soup for Valentines Day Cooking

This is the ultimate comfort food, but spiced up with lots of nutrition. Grilled cheese will always be the perfect late night snack, paired with the tomato soup makes it a perfectly adult dinner. 


  • 2 slices of bread of your choice – I love ciabatta 
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • 1 capsicum
  • Olive oil
  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Place your tomatoes, capsicum, olive oil, onions, garlic, and herbs in an oven tray. Cook for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. 
  2. Remove from the oven and transfer to a pot. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to heat the soup over low heat until heated through.
  3. While the soup is cooking, place a skillet over medium heat and let it heat up. Butter one side of each slice of bread, and place the bread slices in the pan, buttered side down. Toast the bread until it’s golden brown, which should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove it from the heat and place the cheese slices on top of one of the bread slices. Close the sandwich by placing the other slice of bread on top, buttered side up.
  5. Grill the sandwich: Place the sandwich back in the skillet, and cook until the cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you press down on the sandwich with a spatula to ensure even melting of the cheese.
  6. Serve the grilled cheese sandwich hot, along with a bowl of hot tomato soup. Enjoy your comforting and indulgent meal!

Cooking dinners for one is an act of self-care and self-love, not a lonely task. Don’t be afraid to indulge in the romance of it all. 

Bon appétit, my love.

A Guide To French Cuisine: Coq Au Vin Recipe

With a rich history dating back centuries, French cuisine is the epitome of sophistication and finesse.

With a rich history dating back centuries, French cuisine is the epitome of sophistication and finesse. From the simple yet comforting dishes of the countryside to the decadent creations of top Parisian restaurants, French cooking is renowned for its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and its delicate touch. 

When building my recipe repertoire for Masterchef, I dived deep into the art of French cooking and fell in love with one dish in particular – the Coq au vin. A timeless, sophisticated dish, it perfectly embodies the rich flavours and techniques of French cuisine.  

High Quality Ingredients

One of the hallmarks of French cuisine is its emphasis on high-quality ingredients. From the freshest produce to the finest cuts of meat, French chefs place great importance on selecting the best ingredients for their dishes. This attention to detail is evident in the vibrant flavors and perfectly balanced dishes that characterize French cooking. 

Take the classic dish of bouillabaisse, for example. The key to this delicious seafood stew is the combination of fresh fish and shellfish, simmered with aromatic vegetables and herbs in a flavorful broth. The result is a dish that is both hearty and delicate, a testament to the art of French cooking.


French sauces, known for their velvety texture and rich flavor, are an essential component of many dishes. From the classic béarnaise and hollandaise to the creamy demi-glace, sauces play a crucial role in elevating the flavors of meats, vegetables, and other ingredients. The creation of sauces requires a certain level of culinary expertise, as the delicate balance of flavors must be carefully calibrated in order to achieve the desired taste and texture.


Another defining aspect of French cuisine is its focus on technique. French cooking is known for its intricate and labor-intensive preparation methods, which have been honed and refined over the centuries. From the delicate art of pastry-making to the precise methods used in traditional dishes such as coq au vin, French cooking requires a high level of skill and experience.


One of the most important techniques in French cooking is the use of mirepoix. This combination of diced carrots, onions, and celery forms the base of many dishes and provides the essential flavors that are the foundation of French cuisine. Whether simmered in a sauce or used as a base for a hearty stew, mirepoix adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes.

In addition to mirepoix, French cooking also relies on a range of other techniques, such as braising, poaching, and roasting. These methods allow chefs to create dishes that are both flavorful and tender, showcasing the finesse and expertise that are the hallmark of French cuisine. Whether you’re making a classic dish like boeuf bourguignon or trying a new recipe, mastering the techniques of French cooking is an essential step in becoming a skilled French chef.

Molecular Gastronomy

This cutting-edge cooking technique involves the use of scientific principles to create new textures and flavors, resulting in dishes that are both visually stunning and delicious. From foams and gels to edible “dirt” and “rocks,” molecular gastronomy has become a popular and exciting aspect of modern French cuisine.

Coq Au Vin Recipe

The Coq Au Vin is a decadent stew, made by slow-cooking succulent chicken in a silky sauce of red wine, bacon, mushrooms and garlic – and is a true feast of the senses. 

At the heart of this dish is a commitment to the finest ingredient. The chicken is carefully browned to a golden perfection before being simmered to tenderness, elevating the dish to new heights. The addition of rich, smoky bacon, earthy mushrooms and aromatic garlic add depth and complexity to the sauce, while the bold and slightly sweet red wine provides a harmonious balance to the dish’s savoury elements. 

The technique behind coq au vin is just as important as the ingredients. French chefs take great care in crafting the perfect sauce, often taking hours to perfect the balance of flavours and consistency. The slow cooking process allows the flavours to mingle and meld, resulting in sauce that is nothing short of sublime. 


  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in a medium-sized bowl and pour the wine, chicken stock, and the brandy over the top. Prep the vegetables.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the chicken to the Dutch oven and brown on both sides until golden, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  4. In the same Dutch oven, add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown.
  6. Pour in the red wine, brandy and chicken broth, stirring to combine. Add the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf.
  7. Return the chicken and bacon to the Dutch oven, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes.

Enjoy this delicious, classic French dish that showcases the richness and depth of flavors of French cuisine. 

French cuisine is a constantly evolving art form that continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the kitchen. Whether you’re exploring the timeless classics or trying a cutting-edge fusion dish, French cuisine remains a celebration of flavor, technique, and culture, always pushing the limits of what is possible in the culinary world.

How Cultural Adaptations are Shaping Sushi Cuisine: Spicy Tuna and Avo Roll Recipe

Sushi Date Night Sashimi

Indulge in a culinary adventure as we embark on a journey through the diverse and ever-evolving world of sushi. From its roots in Japan, this beloved dish has traveled the world, adapting to new cultural influences and giving rise to unique and delicious variations.

A symbol of Japanese culture and cuisine, sushi has captivated palates worldwide, becoming a staple in global gastronomy. Originating in the Edo period of Japan, sushi was originally created as a method of preserving fish through fermentation with rice. Yet, as the dish evolved, it transformed into the fresh, raw fish delicacy that has won the hearts of food enthusiasts everywhere.

From the shores of the United States, where the California roll was born, to the vibrant cuisine of Brazil, where the temaki reigns supreme, every corner of the world has left its mark on this timeless dish. In Europe, sushi bars offer a wealth of options, showcasing local ingredients and flavours. In Australia, creative and innovative rolls have become a staple of the country’s diverse food scene. And even beyond Japan’s borders, Asian countries have added their own local ingredients and fusion flavours to the mix.

Embark on a sensory exploration of the diverse flavours and textures that make up the world of sushi. Whether you prefer the classic taste of traditional nigiri, the simplicity of sashimi, or the fun and creativity of maki rolls, there is something for everyone in this timeless dish. For those new to the world of sushi, our guide to the best types of sushi to try will be your roadmap to culinary bliss. From the delicate flavours of salmon and tuna nigiri to the spicy kick of a spicy tuna roll, you’re sure to find a new favourite.

Sushi Variety

  1. Nigiri: This traditional type of sushi features a small oval of rice topped with a piece of fresh fish or seafood. Some of the most popular types of nigiri include salmon, tuna, and eel.
  2. Sashimi: Sashimi is similar to nigiri but does not include rice. Instead, it is a dish of sliced raw fish or seafood, often served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
  3. Maki: Maki is the most common type of sushi and features fish or seafood rolled in rice and nori. Popular maki rolls include the classic tuna and avocado roll and the spicy tuna roll.
  4. Temaki: Temaki is a cone-shaped sushi roll found in Brazil, filled with a variety of fresh fish and vegetables.
  5. Chirashi: Chirashi is a type of sushi bowl, featuring a bed of sushi rice topped with a variety of sliced raw fish, seafood, and vegetables.

For those seeking a truly immersive experience, why not try making sushi at home? A rewarding and customisable experience, making sushi at home is simple with the right ingredients and a few basic guidelines. With sushi rice, nori, fresh fish or seafood, a bamboo rolling mat, sharp knife, and a sauce dish, you’ll have all you need to create your own unique rolls. Season the rice with a vinegar mixture, cool to room temperature, and let your imagination run wild with the fillings. Roll tightly using your bamboo mat and savor the fruits of your labor with every bite.

Introducing, the ‘Spicy Tuna and Avocado Roll’, a favourite amongst sushi enthusiasts and a tantalising blend of fresh flavours and textures.

Spicy Tuna and Avocado Roll Recipe


  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 sheets of nori seaweed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. fresh tuna, diced
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Sushi rolling mat
  • Soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger for serving


Rinse the sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Cook the rice in a saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water until tender.

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the mixture over the cooked rice and mix well. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the diced tuna, mayonnaise, sriracha sauce, and sesame oil to make the spicy tuna filling.
  3. Place one sheet of nori shiny side down on the sushi rolling mat. Spread a thin layer of cooled sushi rice evenly over the nori, leaving a small border at the top.
  4. Place a layer of sliced avocado on top of the rice and then a layer of spicy tuna filling on top of the avocado. Roll tightly using the mat, pressing the ingredients together to secure the roll. Repeat the process with the remaining sheets of nori and ingredients.
  5. Slice the rolls into bite-sized pieces and serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger for dipping.

Experience the fusion of spicy and creamy flavours as the spicy tuna filling and silky avocado pair perfectly with the seasoned sushi rice, all wrapped in the crunch of nori. Impress your guests with this elevated take on a classic sushi roll or savor it in solitude. Either way, the ‘Spicy Tuna and Avocado Roll’ is sure to tantalize your taste buds. 

One of the most exciting things about the world of sushi is its continuous evolution and adaptation to new cultural influences. As the popularity of sushi continues to grow, it is likely that new and innovative forms of the dish will continue to emerge. Whether you prefer traditional sushi or enjoy trying new and unique variations, there is something for everyone in the diverse world of sushi.

The Art of Gardening: What to Plant in February

As the sun casts its warm rays upon the earth, we are reminded of the beauty and bounty of nature. And what better way to celebrate the summer season of growth and renewal than by taking up the art of gardening?

For many, gardening may seem like a chore, a drudgery to be endured. But I assure you, dear reader, that nothing could be further from the truth. Gardening is, in fact, a meditative and deeply rewarding practice, one that offers both physical and mental benefits.

Think of it as a full-body workout, one that requires no gym membership or expensive equipment. As you dig, plant, and tend to your garden, you will engage every muscle in your body, from your legs and core to your arms and shoulders. And as you chase after that pesky rabbit or haul bags of soil, you will find yourself feeling stronger and more energized than ever before.

But the benefits of gardening do not stop there. As you watch your plants grow and flourish, you will find yourself enveloped in a sense of peace and contentment. The act of nurturing and caring for living things is a powerful balm for the soul, and the satisfaction of biting into a juicy tomato or plucking a ripe strawberry that you have grown yourself is a feeling that cannot be matched.

And let us not forget the environmental benefits of gardening. As we create our own little oases in our backyards, we also contribute to the greater good by promoting biodiversity and providing habitats for the bees and butterflies that are so vital to our ecosystem. And by growing our own food, we reduce our carbon footprint and take a step towards a more sustainable future.

A February Gardener’s Guide

As the warm sun of February shines down upon us, the earth is alive with the promise of new growth and bountiful harvests. And as the gardener, it is our task to tend to this delicate symphony of life.

The key to a successful February garden is in the planning. As we sow our seeds and plant our seedlings, we must choose wisely, selecting only the hardiest and most flavorful varieties. Consider sowing cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, pak choi, leeks, parsley, silverbeet, and Florence fennel in trays; directly into the garden, sow broad beans, carrots, beetroot, and silverbeet.

But do not limit yourself to just vegetables. As you plan your garden, remember to include a variety of leafy greens and herbs. Lettuce and rocket, for example, should be sown in a cooler area to avoid bolting. And be sure to plant seedlings of leafy vegetables right through to the end of autumn for a continual harvest.

As the garden begins to flourish, it is important to tend to your plants with care and attention. Regularly apply liquid fertilizer to tomatoes and other vegetables to prolong fruiting and encourage healthy growth. Also, remember to carefully remove laterals (side shoots) from tomatoes so that energy is concentrated into fruiting.

And let us not forget the beauty of herbs. Directly sow rocket, mizuna, pak choy, and coriander into the garden for a touch of flavor and fragrance.

So, my friends, put down that beach towel and pick up a garden hoe. Embrace the art of gardening and discover the beauty and bounty that nature has to offer. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.

An Exploration of the Culinary World for Young Women

The kitchen, like life, has an order of hierarchy, a labyrinth of power dynamics and prejudices that one must navigate through. As a young female chef, I have had to confront these struggles head-on – it has been a journey of self-discovery, determination and resilience.

The culinary art is a form that transcends the boundaries of gender and age. It challenges the status quo and dares to be different, with daily concoctions of flavours and blending spices to create harmonious balance on the plate. However, the art form has lost touch with its original source of power, the kitchen. 

young female chef in culinary world

Detailing the ways in which my gender has made my job significantly harder doesn’t give credit where it’s due. But I will point out some obvious differences that are bound in prejudice that only a woman will encounter.  Being a young female chef is supposed to be about creating delicious and innovative food, breaking the mold and proving that age and gender are irrelevant in the kitchen. It’s about standing up against the outdated stereotypes that claim women can’t handle the heat or that young people lack the experience to lead. I am here to remind the industry that these stereotypes are nothing but a bunch of overcooked nonsense. 

One of the struggles that I have faced is the constant battle to prove myself in a field where women are underrepresented. It is a delicate dance that one must balance gracefully between assertiveness and vulnerability. I have had to work twice as hard to earn the respect of my colleagues and superiors, and it can be a disheartening experience when one’s ideas are dismissed or overlooked because of their gender.

Like any young person adventuring around at the beginning of a career, I also am undergoing  a lot of trial and error. In the culinary light, however, there isn’t a lot of patience for error.

Being discouraged and dismissed has become like second nature, and it is a constant battle to keep coming up with new ideas, when everything that comes out your mouth feels like scrambled eggs. 

Young female chef kitchen

The demand on my mental and physical health is neverending. I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for this career – lifting heavy pots with a smile, standing head deep in a fire pit as my local gym, and all the while, keeping a steady hand for delicate plating. What I’ve found is that the choice to prioritize my mind and soul has reduced to nil. 

Is this what beginning a career is supposed to feel like? Being slammed down with work for beyond imaginable hours a week, stressing about never being perfect enough, not sharing a meal with my partner in over a month, and having completely obscure sleep schedules. It feels like I’m sliding down into a pit of doom. 

I was promised on my first day that working nights can be a test of endurance, where one must contend with the fatigue and isolation that comes with the territory. It can be a challenge to maintain a healthy work-life balance and to stay connected with the world beyond the night. It has been in these small moments that I have found the most joy. I have learned to embrace the unique rhythms that come with night work, and to find joy in the dark. I relish the quiet of the back streets, the boom box of K Road, and the moonlit skies that light my way home. 

Being a young female chef is a test of not only willpower and patience, but it is also a journey of self discovery and wonder.

There is so much light to be discovered in the culinary world. It has taught me to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary, and find humour in the unexpected. I will forever have a plethora of resources and knowledge to carry me through every day cooking adventures. 

It is undeniable that the experiences and struggles I have faced are secluded to that of a young chef. Being a woman just makes it a little bit harder. My recommendation for anyone stepping on the culinary platform is to prepare. Prepare yourself for the nights and days you’ll go through where you forget why you even started in the first place. Prepare yourself for being the only one in the room that believes in yourself. Prepare yourself for being put in the pastry section just because you’re a female. Prepare yourself to run your own race, fight your own battles, and wash your own dishes. I use these struggles as motivation to work harder, to prove my worth, and to create a culinary masterpiece that speaks for itself.

Being a young female chef is a beautiful blend of art, defiance and humour, and a true feast for the senses. And a lonely journey to the top. 

Culinary Couture: A Guide to Hosting an Opulent Dinner Party

Indulge in the art of entertaining with grace and refinement, as we guide you through the process of hosting an opulent dinner party, where every detail is considered and executed with precision and panache. 

From the creation of a mouth-watering menu and impeccable wine pairings, to the setting of an elegant table and the crafting of a captivating audience, this guide will equip you with all the tools necessary to impress and delight your guests. 

Hosting a dinner party is all about having everything organized from the initial planning stages to the final execution. Here are our top tips for success that leave your guests in awe and your dinner party in the memory books for years to come. 

Planning the Menu

The menu is the foundation of any dinner party. As the host, it is essential to take into account the dietary restrictions and allergies of your guests, ensuring that every palate is catered to. The season and occasion should be considered, as this will inform the selection of dishes. A summer soiree calls for light and fresh dishes, such as delicate salads and grilled vegetables, while a winter gathering calls for comforting and hearty dishes such as stews and roasts. My most successful formula for planning a menu is to include two different proteins, one seafood, one hearty carb dish (potatoes, pumpkin, yams etc.) three vegetable dishes, two sauces and of course, bread! This will happily serve 6-10 people, depending on portions. Adapt this method to suit your guests and the sweet smell of success will flood your kitchen. 

Wine Pairing

A crucial element of any opulent dinner party is the perfect pairing of wines. The right wine can elevate the flavours of the dishes and make the meal even more enjoyable. Careful consideration should be given to the flavours of the dishes and the types of wine that will complement them. A rich, full-bodied red wine such as a Cabernet Savignin pairs well with red meat, while a crisp, light white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with seafood. For those less confident in their wine pairing abilities, consider hiring a sommelier or researching further. I always like to start a dinner party with bubbles, whether that be champagne or prosecco. It sets the tone for the evening. There is an incredible range of non-alcoholic wine, and I would suggest always having a few bottles of that on hand to celebrate with any guest. 

Setting the table

The table setting is a vital aspect of any opulent dinner party. It sets the tone for the evening and can make your guests feel special. High-quality tableware such as fine china and crystal glassware is always a treat. A tablecloth and napkins should be incorporated, and the table should be set with ample cutlery. A floral centerpiece is one way to go, but I prefer to spread smaller flower arrangements through the table to create a more relaxed feel. Candles are perfect, but I always opt for LEDs to prevent any wax spillage when passing around plates. Collating a plethora of vintage serving plates has been a hobby of mine for the last year. This creates a unique touch to your dinner party.

Creating the ambiance

The ambiance of a dinner party is just as important as the food and wine. It sets the mood for the evening and can make your guests feel comfortable and relaxed. The lighting, music and decor should all be considered when creating the ambience. Use dimmer switches to control the lighting and create a warm, intimate atmosphere. Decor can include candles, flowers and other small details that will make your guests feel at home. Spotify is an excellent resource when it comes to dinner parties, and there is a great number of playlists already created to suit every environment. I have always loved playing a CD of my favourite artist as there is something very nostalgic in that. 

Presenting the dishes

The presentation of the dishes is a crucial aspect of an opulent dinner party. A visually stunning presentation can make the meal even more enjoyable. The plating of the dishes should be considered and arranged in a way that is pleasing to the eye. Textures, colors, and shapes can be used to create contrast and interest. Garnish the dishes with herbs, fruits, or other small details to make them look more appetizing.

Handling last-minute changes

Even with the best planning, things can go wrong at a dinner party. The key is to remain calm and handle any last-minute changes with grace and poise. If a dish doesn’t turn out as planned, have a backup option ready. If a guest cancels at the last minute, don’t let it ruin the evening. Instead, use it as an opportunity to spend more time with the remaining guests and make them feel special. As a host, one must be prepared for anything that may happen during a dinner party. Spills, broken glassware, or even a power outage should be handled with a sense of humor and calm. Your guests will appreciate it and it will show them that you are in control of the situation.

By following these tips and guidelines, you will be well on your way to hosting an opulent dinner party that will be remembered for years to come. Each element, from the menu to the ambiance, must be considered with care and attention to detail. And with a little bit of creativity, you can turn a simple dinner party into a true culinary masterpiece.

6 Impeccable Cocktails for your Summer Soirée

As the warm summer months continue, it’s the perfect time to elevate your cocktail game. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply enjoying a lazy afternoon on the deck, a sophisticated summer sip can add a touch of elegance to any occasion. In this series, we’ll be sharing a selection of impeccable cocktail recipes that are sure to impress your guests and satisfy your palate. From classic favorites with a twist, to creative new concoctions, we’ve got everything you need to make your summer soirées truly unforgettable. So, let’s raise a glass to the season and indulge in the refined refreshment of summer.

Summertime is all about showcasing a variety of ingredients and techniques, from fresh fruits and herbs, to unique syrups and bitters. These cocktail recipes are designed to suit any taste and any occasion, whether you’re looking for a light and refreshing number for a hot summer day or a more complex and bold option for a special evening. 

I never look past a classic cocktail when I am searching for an elegant note, such as a gin martini with a hint of lavender or a vodka lemonade with a splash of elderflower liqueur. For a refreshing option, showcase  fruity cocktails made with fresh berries, citrus fruits, and tropical flavors like pineapple and coconut. When the sun starts to set, I reach for herbal cocktails that use ingredients like mint, basil, rosemary and thyme to add a touch of green and a burst of flavor to your drink. 

Cocktail #1: Lavender Martini

Gin Martini


  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz lavender syrup
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • Lavender sprig for garnish


1. In a mixing glass, combine gin, lavender syrup, and dry vermouth. 
2. Add ice and stir until chilled. 
3. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lavender sprig.

Cocktail #2: Berry Basil Smash

Fruit cocktail


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz fresh berry puree (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 3 basil leaves
  • Berries and basil leaves for garnish


1. Muddle basil leaves in a shaker. Add vodka, berry puree, and simple syrup. 
2. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. 
3. Garnish with berries and basil leaves.

If you love a fruity cocktail with a berry twist, try our recipe for a stunning strawberry whisky sour!

Cocktail #3: Rosemary Peach Fizz



  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz fresh peach puree
  • 1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Rosemary sprig for garnish
  • Egg whites


1. In a shaker, combine gin, peach puree, rosemary simple syrup, egg whites and lemon juice.
2. Shake dry first. Shake again with ice and strain into a flute glass.
3. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Cocktail #4: Cucumber Melon Spritz

Vodka cocktail


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz cucumber puree
  • 1/2 oz melon liqueur
  • 1/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • Soda water
  • Cucumber and melon balls for garnish


1. In a shaker, combine vodka, cucumber puree, melon liqueur, and lime juice. 
2. Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass filled with ice. 
3. Top with soda water. 
4. Garnish with cucumber and melon balls.

Cocktail #5: Pineapple Rum Runner

Rum Cocktails


  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine syrup
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • Pineapple wedge for garnish


1. In a shaker, combine light rum, pineapple juice, grenadine syrup, and lime juice. Shake with ice and strain into a tiki or highball glass filled with ice. 
2. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Cocktail #6: Paloma



  • 2 oz tequila
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz agave nectar
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • Lime wheel for garnish


1. Rim a highball glass with salt (optional). 
2. In a shaker, combine tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, and agave nectar. 
3. Shake with ice and strain into the prepared glass filled with ice. 
4. Garnish with a lime wheel.

My secret to hosting successful soirées is always having a stash of fresh fruit and herbs on hand. Beauty and elegance doesn’t need to be complicated, but it usually follows the rule that less is more. For a lighter evening, all of these cocktails are equally divine in their mocktail form. There is an incredible amount of non-alcohol spirits available locally, or simply remove for a fresh sip of summer. 

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