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Passionfruit slice: Two Raw Sisters



¾ cup dried coconut
½ cup almonds
½ cup buckwheat or rolled oats
¾ cup dates, softened in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes, then drained
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
Pinch of sea salt

½ cup cashew butter
1 overripe banana
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
Pinch of sea salt
Pulp of 3 passionfruit

to serve
Coconut yoghurt
Pulp of 1 passionfruit
Drizzle of honey


To make the base, place the coconut, almonds and buckwheat into a blender or food processor, and blend until you have a rough flour.

Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until you have a cookie-dough consistency. Line a tart tin with beeswax wraps or cling film, and press the base into the tin, using the back of a spoon.

Press the mixture up the sides to create a crust. Set aside. To make the filling, place all of the ingredients, except for the passionfruit pulp, into the blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.

Pour the filling over the base and bang  the tin on the bench top a couple of times  to get rid of any air bubbles and get a smooth finish.

Spoon the passionfruit pulp over the filling, and with the handle of a spoon or a wooden skewer gently make a ripple effect.

Place the slice in the freezer for two hours, to set. Once the slice is set, remove it from the freezer, and top it with coconut yoghurt, passionfruit, and a drizzle of honey.

Cut it into slices and enjoy.

Store the slices in an airtight container in the freezer, where they will keep for up  to four months.

When you are wanting to eat a slice, allow about 10 to 15 minutes for it to thaw.


Two Raw Sisters All Eaters Welcome by Rosa and Margo Flanagan, food photography by Margo Flanagan, RRP $39.99, available now, published by Bateman Books.


Healthy hacks

We’re quickly heading into the social – and too often, stressful – season. So, what are some simple seasonal habits we can adopt to keep fighting fit for the festivities?



It’s time to take the work out of working out. Soak up the sun – and a healthy dose of vitamin D – on the tennis court, in the pool or on a hike around Hagley. Known as the happy hormone, vitamin D has been shown to regulate mood and ward off depression, but it also helps support strong bones, muscles and overall health. Combined with fresh air and exercise and you’ve got the ultimate elixir.

There’s a clever way to eat well that means you can have your cake and eat it too – not that we want you thinking of cake! But if you are, why not think of a healthy wholefood one? That’s right, you can make nutrient-dense sweet foods using vegetables! Think rich beetroot mud cake or kumara brownies. It’s a thing! So why not let you fingers do the walking and find some sweet swaps of your own?

The key to heart health is to keep moving and that doesn’t just mean getting an extra kickboxing class in after work. From building a fence to mowing the lawn, all physical movement plays a role in keeping your heart healthy. So why not schedule some time in the garden or get your DIY hat on and paint the kitchen? Or maybe it’s just a matter of parking a couple of blocks away from the office in the mornings.

Packing your lunch – it seems so simple and yet this small change in your daily routine can help control your mood, your calories and your spending! When you’ve got a healthy lunch to hand, you’re much less likely to find your hand in the company snack box when low sugars hit. Stay energised and productive throughout the day with nutritious options such as nuts, dried fruit, roasted chickpeas and bliss balls.

It’s time to vege up, not out, by increasing your vege intake. Aim to have fruits and vegetables make up half of each meal. Why not make half of breakfast fruit and half of lunch and dinner veges? Better yet, throw some green smoothies in the mix and you can have the best of both worlds! For simple summer dinners, combine a marinade with fresh grilled veggies and your favourite low-fat protein for a great-tasting, healthy weeknight meal.


Internationally designed for locals: The Option

The flair of European cuisine hides in plain sight in Northwood at The Option Bistro & Wines. Those who have visited the continent will know, there, hospitality transcends expertly cooked cuisine with matching wines, and combines excellent service and an atmosphere which fosters connection. And that’s exactly what happens at The Option.


Owners and Romanian ex-pats, Sabina and Sergiu Toader named The Option for its diverse menu offerings. But the philosophy of the enterprise is underpinned by following the motto of one of the world’s most famous hospitality brands, the Ritz-Carlton.

“Their motto is, ‘We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen’,” says Sabina. “Considering ourselves ladies and gentlemen means we do our serving job with excellence.

Unlike the Ritz-Carlton, we are not a luxury establishment, but we pride ourselves with our service and products and by treating our guests as royalty.”

Since its inception four years ago, it has gained a strong reputation as a portal into spectacular wines and internationally curated cuisine.

“We are continuously bringing the flair of European dining trends into this relaxed corner of the world,” says Sabina.

“Our travels around the world taught us to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The Option Bistro & Wines is about diversity, and as many options as possible.

“Our current summer menu brings dishes from Europe: the Spanish Gazpacho, the French Escargot or the Italian Chicken Parmigiana, all next to the best beef fillet in the world – the New Zealand one – and the unbeatable seafood chowder.”

The beating heart of Styx Mill, The Option creates irresistable memories through landmark events and dining experiences.

It is popular with locals for casual catch ups, business meetings and special occasions. Monthly cultural-themed parties celebrating diversity through food, drinks and music are also a hit.

The team can also customise experience to suit any special celebration.

“We provide connectivity through our products, our friendly service, the atmosphere and experiences,” says Sabina.

The Option has a vast wine list (and popular tasting experience) which traverses more than 15 countries.

Sergiu is an accredited wine and spirits specialist who designs professional wine tasting experiences which double as culture, geography and history lessons.

The Option Bistro & Wines is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with Sunday and Monday nights reserved for bigger groups.


A cheesy celebration! Barrys Bay Cheese

October 6 marked a milestone worth cheesing over for Barrys Bay Cheese – 125 years in business as award winning cheesemakers! And the loved locals are not waning with old ages, that awards tally includes a record 19 medals at this year’s New Zealand Cheese Awards.


PHOTOS: Julie Gursha Photography


No birthday is complete without a party, so Barrys Bay Cheese celebrated in style over Labour weekend, attracting past employees, local community and alumni.

“We think it’s pretty special that we’re the oldest artisan cheese company in New Zealand, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate our 125th anniversary,” says sales and marketing coordinator Kate Crawford.

And celebrate they did, with the sweet sounds of The Eastern Band and stunning weather bringing in the crowd. Foodies were treated to Empire Chicken, Giulio Sturla’s Cheesebreads, local sausages and of course cheese platters by Barrys Bay.

The cheese is rich in taste and rich in heritage. “We have such a meaningful history, both on Banks Peninsula and in the NZ Dairy Industry. It has been invaluable collecting stories to share from the last 125 years,” says Kate.

Curious to see what a multi award-winning cheese tastes like? Stop in at the Barrys Bay Cheese Factory and Shop on Banks Peninsula, order online, or visit the list of stockists at the website below.

PHOTOS: Julie Gursha Photography


Sticky soy chicken with sesame noodles

Serves 4




1 tbsp light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil
150g (5¼ oz) dried soba noodles, cooked
2 zucchini shredded using a julienne peeler
2 tbsp white or black sesame seeds
coriander (cilantro) leaves, to serve

chicken meatballs
600g (1 lb ¼ oz) chicken mince
¼ cup (50g/1¾ oz) white chia seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely grated ginger
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 large green chilli, finely chopped
2 green onions (scallions), finely chopped

sticky soy sauce
½ cup (125ml/4¼ fl oz) soy sauce
1 tbsp white miso paste (shiro)
¾ cup (180ml/6 fl oz) mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
¼ cup (90g/3 oz) honey


Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).

To make the chicken meatballs, place the chicken, chia seeds, garlic, ginger, hoisin, chilli and onion in a bowl and mix to combine. Roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls, place on a tray lined with baking paper and set aside.

Pour the oil onto a large deep-sided baking tray. Bake for five minutes or until hot. Add the meatballs to the tray and bake for five minutes.

To make the sticky soy sauce, whisk together the soy, miso, mirin, sesame oil, vinegar and honey. Remove the meatballs from the oven and carefully pour the soy mixture over the meatballs. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the pan sauce is thickened.

To serve, place noodles and zucchini into serving bowls and sprinkle with sesame. Top with meatballs, sticky soy sauce and coriander.


Recipes extracted from Everyday Fresh by Donna Hay, published by HarperCollins, RRP$50


Taking a bite out of summer

Snacking is so summer, as we amp up the socialising, dash to our outdoor passions and host pre-Christmas catch ups.


Invent healthy homemade ice-blocks with yoghurt or blended or squeezed summer berries, mint, lime or ginger – not just for kids. Pieces of fruit, like watermelon and strawberries, quenches straight from the freezer. And ice-cream with a sugar-free base of blended banana is a sinless snack.

Petite pieces of filo pie power-packed with greens, or French-style tarts, think asparagus with goat’s cheese, are delish room temperature. Tabbouleh is summer in a take-out container. Flexible recipe versions include bulgur wheat, lemon, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomato and
olive oil.

Prepare a summer scene with fruit platters of eye-catching dragon fruit, mango, persimmons and medjool dates, with dipping-pots of Greek and coconut yoghurts with zest, mint, ginger and honey. Spike melons and pineapples with a favourite tipple and sprinkle pistachios and pomegranate seeds.

Wheels of cucumbers are refreshing vessels under a herby cream-cheese with smoked salmon, or a juicy prawn. Fill crunchy celery pieces with nut butters and soft cheeses. Chickory and curvy lettuce leaves make boats for morsels of creamy-dressed cold meat, seafood, peppers and herbs.


Soulful celebrations covered: Boo Radleys

Famed for its southern-USA soul food, fresh New Zealand ingredients, invigorating live music and extensive drinks lists – Boo Radley’s also extends its award-winning offerings to events.



Celebration coming up?

Leave the planning to Boo Radley’s. Situated on Victoria Street, Boo has everything covered: from space, to cuisine, beverages and even live entertainment.

Host up to 30 people for drinks and nibbles in one private area, double the pax for 60 in the restaurant area, or go the whole hog with up to 110 people in the entire space.

From sliders to snacks, sharing plates to succulent s’mores – the food selection caters for all palates and appetites.

Work with the chefs to design your menu of canapes, courses or cocktails.

There is also an extensive range of New Zealand wines, a wide selection of craft beers, a hand-crafted cocktail list and the country’s largest bourbon whisky selection to sip your way through.

To add to the atmosphere, live entertainment options abound. Take your pick from comedy shows, live music, or even a burlesque night – all organised by the Boo Radley’s crew.

To book or for more information email or call (03) 366 9906.


‘tis the season: Fig Restaurant

It’s mid-November and chances are there are some who are yet to organise an end – or start – of year celebration. If you are pondering a location, Ravi Naidu has it fig-ured out. Fig Restaurant at Quality Hotel Elms is a crowd-pleasing silly season locale.


The Papanui modern bistro has just curated a new bar and restaurant menu and is eager for guests and foodies alike to get their first taste of the diverse yet cohesive menu.

From tantalising light bites to inventive main courses, there is buffet and a la carte breakfast menus from 6am, all day snacks and dinner from 5pm.

With four conference rooms available, from the Garden Room for 120 guests to the Green Room for 40, in-house chef Himal can work with you to create a menu suited to your group’s size and preference.

Whether you’re planning an end of year company function, social holiday party or family get together, you can relax in the sophisticated interiors, or enjoy the warmer weather alfresco.

The Fig Restaurant Christmas dinner is also back for another year.

The mouth-watering buffet-style meal features Kiwi classics such as New Zealand lamb, Coromandel half-shell mussels and Akaroa salmon.

To book email or phone (03) 352 4903. Don’t be a Grinch and start planning your function now!


Asparagus fit for royalty: Grays Produce

The arrival of fresh green asparagus is a sure sign of summer, and those locally grown at Gray’s Produce also come with a royal tick of approval.


Christopher and Jenny Gray have been growing the nutritious, flavoursome stalks on their Motukarara farm, just off the Christchurch Akaroa Road, since 2003.

Their strict attention to quality control not only sees the produce featured at Canterbury’s top restaurants like 27 Steps and Otahuna lodge – but it also caught the eye of none other than Prince Charles and Camilla on their 2019 New Zealand tour.

While perusing the stalls at the Lincoln Farmers and Craft Market, The Duchess of Cornwall stopped to speak with Jenny, and asked to purchase a jar of preserved asparagus.

Unfortunately for the Duchess, the produce was display-only.

It had just been jarred for display, and not packed under food safety regulations, so couldn’t be given away. But the Duchess was very interested in what the couple do.

And for good reason. Gray’s Produce has high grade sodium-rich soil which Christopher and Jenny humbly credit for their succulent spears, as well as tomatoes and potatoes.

The delicacies are snapped up at local farmers’ markets in Lincoln, Lyttelton and Opawa, and also feature in local vegetable delivery boxes, too.

Visit Gray’s Produce farm shop, Christchurch Akaroa Road (SH75), Motukarara, Christchurch – just 1km past the Blue Duck Café. Phone 03 329 7905.


Time travel possible? Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre

After the year we have all had, it seems as if Marty McFly and Doc had the right idea when they jumped into that time machine. Planning your Christmas work function and want to do something memorable? How about a trip back to the iconic decade of leg warmers, big hair and neon everything – we’re talking about the ‘80s.



Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre keeps the night interesting for guests with a comedy-based interactive show, the world’s longest haunted tram ride and a three-course dinner.

Guests are supplied the suspects, props and theme – you just turn up, dressed in 1980s attire.

“This Christmas season will mean a lot more to people than usual, with such a massive shakeup. We re-evaluated life and how we experience things. We look forward to transporting you back to the ‘80s,” says cast member Aaron Keown.

So, whether you will be reminiscing the decade or experiencing it for the first time, make sure you book soon because the slots will be going faster than a DeLorean time machine.

For information about available dates and prices, email or search Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre on Facebook.