A Milestone Celebration

The location proved to be somewhat of a challenge.  It needed to be somewhere that accommodated the food whims of three generations. A kids menu was a must (or so we thought).  Somewhere none of us had eaten recently. A view would be good too. Oh and great atmosphere – not too noisy but heaven forbid if we were the only people there for Saturday lunch! After all, it was a milestone celebration.

The day dawned grey and gusty.  The weatherman’s prediction of twenty knot winds put an end to taking the scenic route, a ferry from Half Moon Bay – a seven seater would have to do. 

Dining alfresco on a nippy spring day was rather risky. Dappled sunlight, tiny purple and white flowers burst from hanging baskets and the promise of a heated terrace with a view over the Viaduct Harbour – Soul Bar, was the perfect location for my Mum’s 70th birthday celebration.

Mum's 70th birthday celebration

Mum's 70th birthday celebration

The terrace buzzed with laughter and chat. Tables with plenty of space; groups of friends, families and the odd tourist or two shared the wide open deck. The place hummed like a well oiled machine. The service was faultless; the food absolutely delicious. 

Grilled snapper -  sage crushed potatoes, coriander and walnut vinaigrette, tahini yoghurt 

Grilled snapper -  sage crushed potatoes, coriander and walnut vinaigrette, tahini yoghurt 

Savannah beef fillet, duck liver parfait, slow cooked onion, pancetta, pickled mustard 

Savannah beef fillet, duck liver parfait, slow cooked onion, pancetta, pickled mustard 

And as for the kids menu – my eleven year old niece wasn’t interested. My Mum was convinced to order pork belly (one of Mum’s favourite dishes) then my niece ordered an entree sized salt and pepper calamari so they could share. And so they did, including a crumbed black pudding which she declared rather tasty. 

When it came to sweets, she perused the dessert menu. A coconut creme brulee with pineapple confit, banana marshmallow and passionfruit sorbet was decided upon.  It was a delight to watch her taste and comment on the individual components – a real little foodie in our midst.

Coconut creme brulee with pineapple confit, banana marshmallow and passionfruit sorbet

Coconut creme brulee with pineapple confit, banana marshmallow and passionfruit sorbet

Ginger and rhubarb trifle

Ginger and rhubarb trifle

At the heart of The Foodie Inc is a love of sharing fabulous places to eat, drink and explore in New Zealand. Some places may be new, others more established. Soul Bar may have opened in 2000 but one thing’s for sure it deserves to be shared. Now all we need is an excuse to go back.

Michelle

Something Fishy

Faced with a choice, would you choose delicate seafood or a huge hunk of meat. While New Zealand is reknown for its tender melt-in-the-mouth spring lamb, no one can dispute our country is a collection of islands surrounded by sea and dotted with fresh water lakes.  Seafood choices are endless from Bluff oysters to green lipped mussels, fresh kawhai and snapper to South Island smoked salmon. 

Green lipped mussels three ways

Green lipped mussels three ways

Let our seafood shine like early morning light dappling across waves washing on the shore line.  Enjoy the simplicity of lemon juice squeezed over freshly caught snapper, pan fried in butter, that exudes an unforgettable nutty flavour.  Dress fresh seafood with simple fresh flavours; lime, coriander and chilli or lemon, garlic and parsley. 

Snapper parcels topped with coriander lime and spring onions 

Snapper parcels topped with coriander lime and spring onions 

Last weekend my nephew's birthday shared Mothers Day so a juxtaposition of their favourite foods made the menu.  A spicy rub punched with chilli, ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon & garlic massaged the eye fillet beef. By contrast the snapper was kept simple, dressed with zingy lime pieces, a handful of fresh coriander, finely sliced spring onions and lightly seasoned with freshly ground salt and pepper. Sharing the BBQ with whole portobello mushrooms lightly smeared with homemade parsley pesto.

Annabel Langbein's spicy rub

Annabel Langbein's spicy rub

Before many family occasions, I devour recipes and books to devise a family friendly menu.  It's a role of mixed emotions that I simultaneously relish and dread. Time yesterday was divided between 'supervising' (and I use this term lightly) my Dad at the BBQ to ensure he cooked things according to my vision for the dishes – let's just say no man ever wants barbecuing instruction from a woman but he is goodhearted all the same! And the juggling act to ensure everything was on the table, everyone had full glasses and was ready to eat.

The end result, one happy family, empty plates and satisfied smiles all around.  

Enjoy your week.

Michelle

ps you'll find the rub recipe here: Annabel Langbein's spicy rub