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The ultimate Christmas feast, this prosecco brined turkey breast is the best way to get your guests talking.



¼ cup (75g) rock salt
¼ cup (45g) light brown sugar
2 sprigs tarragon
2 bunches thyme (about 12 sprigs)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1.25L water
3 cups (750ml) prosecco
2 x 1.5kg turkey breast fillets, skin on
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
350g speck or bacon, chopped
500g brussels sprouts, halved
1 bunch thyme (about 6 sprigs), extra

Lemon garlic butter
100g unsalted butter, softened
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind


Place the salt, sugar, tarragon, thyme, lemon and two cups (500ml) of the water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and cook for four minutes, stirring to dissolve the salt. Allow to cool slightly.

Pour the brining liquid into a large (five-litre-capacity) non-reactive container*.

Add the prosecco and another two cups (500ml) of the water. Using your hands, carefully loosen the skin from the flesh of the turkey breasts. Lower the turkey, skin-side down, into the brine. Cover and refrigerate for two hours (but no longer).

To make the lemon garlic butter, place the butter, garlic and lemon rind in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Remove the turkey from the container, discarding the brine, and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Using your hands, spread the lemon garlic butter under the skin.

Place the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper. Add one turkey breast to the pan, skin-side down. Cook for four minutes each side or until golden brown.

Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining turkey. Return both turkey breasts to the pan, skin-side up. Add the remaining one cup (250ml) of water, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove the turkey from the pan, loosely cover with aluminium foil and reserve the cooking liquid.

Wipe the pan out and return to medium heat. Add the speck and cook, stirring, for four minutes or until crispy. Remove and set aside. Increase the heat to high, add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, for one minute or until lightly charred.

Add the extra thyme and reserved liquid and cook for two minutes.

Serve turkey with the sprouts and crispy speck.

* Non-reactive materials include glass, plastic and stainless steel.


The east of India & Nepal: Everest Indian Restaurant

Using only the freshest of ingredients, Everest Indian Restaurant provides diners with the delicious and authentic taste of traditional Indian and Nepalese cuisine – with a refreshing modern twist.



The creative flair and high-quality dishes showcase the work of the highly experienced chefs who have worked in five-star kitchens in Delhi and the world-class Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Regular diners keep coming back for the popular chefs’ specials, which include Everest Chicken Curry, a boneless chicken cooked in onion, tomato and coriander gravy, and the Lamb Lajabab, a dish cooked with onion,
tomato, and cashew sauce. The chefs make their own fresh Indian naan breads, and even make gluten-free naans as well. All meals can be tailored to suite the level of spiciness you feel most comfortable with.

Everest Indian Restaurant has three handy locations in Parklands, Woolston and Lyttelton, which are all open for both lunch and dinner.

The restaurant is fully licensed (you can also BYO wine for a $6 corkage fee) and offers catering for functions and events. For more information, and to check out the extensive takeaway menu, visit

You’ll find the other locations at 60 Queenspark Drive, 03 383 6263; 608 Ferry Road, 03 943 2110 and 2 London Street, 03 328 8185.




Rural gem: Route 72

Us urban dwellers often forget the little rural gems that lie beyond the boundaries of Christchurch. One such gem is Route 72 Café Bar Emporium in the charming country village of Cust, just a 40-minute drive from the city.




Nestled in the heart of the village, Route 72 is a destination dining experience that marries exquisite food and shopping with a stunning country environment – perfect for a day out to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Upon arrival to the café, bar and emporium, you are greeted by local friendly staff and a buzzing atmosphere. Upstairs dining offers stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains, rivers and valleys – what better place to relax over a delicious breakfast or lunch?

Why not start with an outstanding organic fair-trade coffee as you peruse the tempting breakfast menu, available from 9 to 11.30am. Their flavoursome breakfast speciality the ‘Kiwiana’ – think homemade hollandaise, kumara rosti and free-range country eggs topped with either bacon or salmon – is their unique take on the classic eggs benedict. Other delectable breakfast dishes include French toast, fluffy pancakes and a traditional Farmers’ cooked breakfast.

Adjoining the restaurant is North Canterbury’s best kept secret – the emporium. Browse an impressive, eclectic range of treasures from giftware, art and homewares through to candles, skincare and clothing – here you’ll find Christmas gifts for the whole family! Recent special additions to the range include beautiful Italian linens.

Discover this North Canterbury gem at 1697 Cust Road. Table reservations are recommended – phone 03 312 5595.




Jackfruit Pad Thai Recipe

When cooked up young (not ripe) and seasoned right, jackfruit tastes like sweet and savoury, perfectly pulled pork or tender and juicy shredded chicken. From tacos to enchiladas and salads, jackfruit has become a go-to ingredient.


Prep time: 60 minutes      Cook time: 20 minutes     Featuring: Chilli Lime Jackfruit




12-ounce package rice noodles
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 green onions, sliced
1 10.6-ounce package Upton’s Naturals Chilli Lime Carnitas Jackfruit
1 cup fresh bean sprouts

2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
Juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3-4 teaspoons chili sauce, to taste

1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Lime slices



Soak noodles in a large bowl of hot water for 30 minutes to one hour, or until the noodles are softened. Mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Heat the peanut oil in a large wok or skillet and stir fry the noodles for two minutes. Add the garlic, green onions, and jackfruit, then stir in the sauce. Cook for another four to five minutes, adding the bean sprouts in the last minute.

Plate the Pad Thai and garnish with chopped peanuts, sliced green onions, and lime slices.




Foodie Heaven: Craft Room Cafe

Found in the new Maltworks complex in the Heathcote Valley, Craft Room Café is locally owned and operated by Hannah, a hands-on food lover who makes sure no customer leaves hungry.



Craft Room Café is run by a small team who take the time to get to know their regular customers and strive to make every customer feel welcome.

Off the brunch menu, the Vege Stack is a must-try warm salad loaded with colour and flavour (can also be made vegan on request). Of course, if you can’t resist an Eggs Benny, they’ll fill your plate high. Meanwhile, the cabinet features homemade sweet and savoury favourites – ginger and pistachio slice (you’d never know it is gluten-free) and the oversized Pork Sausage Roll.

They take food seriously and strive to provide their customers with delicious and wholesome food to suit any dietary requirement (some upon request).

While they know the perfect brew is essential, they also don’t mind bending the rules, so you get the perfect cup of coffee to fit your taste. Running the machine with a few familiar faces makes getting to know your barista that much easier. With a few decades of coffee knowledge between them all, the crew at Craft Room Café know their stuff.

Craft Room Café is open from 7:30am weekdays, 8am weekends, until 4pm daily. Support your local laid-back café, enjoy the sunshine out on the terrace and let Craft Room Café prove that delicious food and coffee doesn’t have to be too serious.




A sumptuous spread: Purple Weka Cafe and Bar

It’s nearly the end of the decade – time to shout the team a well-earned Purple Weka spread.



Purple Weka Café and Bar is open and humming at 6am, so people can park outside the door to grab their catering order for get togethers in the boardroom or tradies’ toolbox shouts. It’s a great little licensed venue for functions too, seating up to 50.

Hands-on owner and foodie Stu has 20 years’ experience in the industry. He creates the best, from antipasto platters, egg ‘n’ bacon slices and sumptuous club sandwiches through to decadent scones with jam and cream. Purple Weka sells jars of its own homemade jam and marmalade too – a sweet as Christmas pressie!

Just like the café, it’s always wholesome, homestyle cooking for the popular catering service, Stu says. Around 36 hours’ notice is appreciated, but you can always ask.

Stu knows his customers and has high-protein fixes for an energy injection, like berry and banana high-protein shakes and a peanut butter and dark chocolate protein slice. Saintly yet sinful!

Those in the know also head for Purple Weka’s whitebait sammies at this time of year, which, subject to availability, are always a sell-out. It’s served Kiwi-style only – that’s between soft white bread with a squeeze of lemon.

To arrange catering – no order too large or too small – or to pre-order fabulous takeaway coffee, phone 03 366 0258, or visit for the catering menu. Pop down to Purple Weka on Fitzgerald Avenue, which is open seven days a week, if you haven’t already.




Food app takes big bite: Delivery Express

One year ago, tech entrepreneur Himanshu Sharma wanted to order food for delivery from his regular favourite restaurant via a delivery service app, for a social gathering. However, he was stunned to see there was nearly a 30 percent price mark-up for the delivery compared to in-store menu prices, which left Sharma feeling ripped off.



Then came the idea. Sharma began to develop a platform for those who liked eating food at home, but who didn’t want to pay more than they had to for that luxury. One year later, his tech start-up Delivery Express now has close to 50 restaurants and cafés signed up with meals the same price as in-store. Customers can save up to 30 percent on each order by not paying any hidden delivery charges.

When Sharma went to his first restaurant owner to showcase the advantages of Delivery Express, which he believes is the “next generation of food ordering/delivery ecosystem”, they recognised the idea and the thinking behind it as too good to miss.

Some of the top Korean and Indian restaurants of Christchurch are exclusive with Delivery Express and another top 10-20 are expected to join soon. Delivery Express allows you to place your next order for some of Christchurch’s most delectable delights with no fuss, delivered quickly to your doorstep.

Customers are notified in-app as the order progresses from ‘order confirmed’ to ‘delivered’. Whether you require a home delivery, takeaway, or are simply wanting to book a table, Delivery Express is your new food app of choice.




Appetite for life

After being dished up a serving of the real Jax Hamilton, you come away with an appetite for life.



The fun-loving queen of food first caught the public’s eye as MasterChef New Zealand’s runner-up in season two. Then for the next six years her Cheshire Cat smile and cockney banter brightened up the ad breaks as food ambassador for Countdown. Jax is now fabulously freestyle with plenty of bite-sized projects filling her crazy life to the max.

Originally from London, she arrived in Timaru in 2001 with her then Kiwi husband, before migrating North to her forever home of Christchurch. London life was exciting working for WEA Records as a Press Officer for some notable celebs. “However, Christchurch embraced with more warmth than London ever did,” she says. And she’s here to stay.

The marriage ended in 2009, however she warmly describes her long-term partner, a Property Manager, as a stunningly gentle and gorgeous guy. “He balances my chaos, we’re like ying and yang.”

Her tucked-away abode, which she shares with Pumpkin the cat, is where Jax’s real personality is showcased – all over the walls. Her projects and plans are scribbled in liquid chalk on her office window, illuminated by sunlight. “I just haven’t got enough room,” she laughs.

Inspirational musings are pinned to the bedroom door – so they are top of mind every morning.

Purposeful quirky slices of life are everywhere. Even her toilet has a chalk wall for quotes on one side, photos of her now grown-up sons on the other, and the Queen on her shower curtain, with plenty of other nods to old blighty. This all makes the British-born 53-year-old with Jamaican heritage feel right at home.

The Colour Purple is her favourite novel – its pages line an art-deco cabinet she artfully transformed. Boxes inside boxes, she organises her cosy, jam-packed creative pad to function with her full schedule.

Engaging rituals to de-stress include quiet moments on the swing in the park next door. “I cope by living life fully, and in harmony, in 10-minute increments – then it’s easy.”

“I like to eat dinner when the sun is going down, or sometimes have a relaxing bath in middle of the day, infused with camomile or lemon verbena.”

She makes her own Jamaican chilli sauce, has designed ‘Jax’ tea towels, written two cookbooks and formulated a range of hair products to tame her head-turning dreads.

“My hair and glasses are my brand, so I make extra effort to keep them sharp.”

Her days are spent on causes that really resonate with her heart. They say charity should begin at home – and Jax’s focus lies with her Christchurch community. “Our job as humans is to nourish each other.”

Jax is a recruit with Nora’s Army, helping a little girl with a rare cancer who needs lifesaving treatment in Texas, fundraising when and how she can.

She helped collate the recipe book Eats for the charity One Mother to Another which supports mothers and caregivers with children in the Christchurch neonatal units. Jax has also joined the team presenting Christchurch’s new garden festival Grow Ōtautahi as a food ambassador. And as a mentor to the next generation of cooks, Jax has taken seven-year-old Maiyah Martin of ‘Girl with Cake Project’ under her wing – with all funds going to the Christchurch City Mission. If you’d like your own slice of Jax, she is available as a MC and for keynote speaking and cooking demonstrations.

“This is what I love to do. You’ll get the real, authentic me and I’m always honest – and this is where I really get to turn the volume up!”

She adds, “when I discuss business, it’s about planting a seed of integrity and authenticity, where we grow together. I like to chase the passion and not the purse. I call my job ‘giggles and nibbles’.

“I naturally give who I’m with my full attention and presence. If I’m having dinner in a restaurant, for example, I’ll engage with the waiter – because I’m really having dinner with him too!”

Her tip for Christmas feasting: “Prep beforehand as much as possible. It’s the time to be together, and you can’t do that if you’re busy in the kitchen. There’s not much prep in crayfish and champagne!”

She will no doubt have some divine delectables of her own ready in her freezer and SMEG Union-Jack fridge.

Surprisingly, Jax says she would choose music over food any day. “Melody fulfils me, and then I cook! And love goes in first – it’s all a dance.”

With her love of cooking, and a warm personality and heart, Jax has certainly got her own recipe just right. “I have never been happier,” she says.

See more of Jax on and also for foodie tips and tricks.




Second-to-none nosh: Gorgeous Food

The lead-up to Christmas can be a stressful time, especially if you’re having to provide food – be it for large home gatherings, work dos, Christmas parties, or for any of those end-of-year happenings where people need to be fed.




Gorgeous Food provides a pick-up catering service that’s second-to-none. Their catering menu provides freshly baked, mouth-watering goodies to satisfy every palate, including those with special dietary requirements.

When it comes to sandwiches, these guys are legends. From standard, club or ladies’ sandwiches (ideal for that Christmas Croquet Club knees-up) through to rolls, wraps and paninis, they’ve got it covered.

Fancy savouring something savoury? Then their selection of mini sausage rolls and pies, mini frittatas, cocktail quiches, marinated chicken nibbles, corn fritters, sushi and vegetarian Vietnamese rolls pack a mighty tasty mouthful!

Sweet-toothed folk can feast on scrumptious muffins, friands, cinnamon cream oysters and in-house specialty Gorgeous Slices, while date and cinnamon or double cheese and chives scones are hard to resist. If bikkies are your preference, then afghans, passion moments and gypsy creams make for tantalising treats!

Their quality service doesn’t stop here, for Gorgeous Food also offer made-to-order spicy carrot cake, banana cake and chocolate mud cake, as well as family quiches and family pies.

With many menu items also made gluten-free, there’s nothing left to do but kick back and enjoy your Christmas do!

Find them at 66-68 Springs Road, Wigram. Open Monday to Friday, 6am-3:30pm, Saturday 7am-1:30pm. For catering/kitchen, phone 03 344 6044 or visit




Food Forecast

This year has seen a myriad of healthy food trends climb the ranks, from an uptake of pre and pro-biotic consumption to an emphasis on sustainably conscious foods. While these won’t be disappearing, 2020 brings a new host of food trends to the table. According to Whole Foods, here’s what you should add to your shopping list come next year.




  1. Flour power
    Move over white flour, filling the shelves of the baking aisle next year are fascinating flours made from fruit and vegetables. You’ve probably already heard of the keto-friendly coconut and almond flours, but in 2020 you’ll be able to boost your baking with more protein-packed, higher-fibre flours from the likes of bananas, cauliflowers, chickpeas and tigernuts. Pastas and other packaged foods will also be getting a nutritious makeover.
  2. Drunk-free drinks
    The year 2019 saw a spike in healthier alcohol with lower percentages, sparkling water RTDs and kombucha-infused beverages. These aren’t going anywhere, but more innovative alcohol-free beverages are expected to be front and centre at parties and bars next year as millennials in particular swap out hard liquor for botanical-infused, distilled faux spirits like those available from Seedlip. Raise a glass to deliciously healthy concoctions, sober driving and hangover-free weekends!
  3. Fiesty flavours of Africa
    Make way for the wholesome, tangy foods of West African countries like Nigeria and Senegal. Key flavours include tomatoes, onions, chilli peppers, peanuts, ginger and lemongrass, and dishes also typically incorporate superfoods such as moringa, tamarind, sorghum and millet. It’s a yes from us!
  4. Plant-based progress
    Soy, which has dominated the plant-based arena for quite some time, is moving out of the limelight as brands begin to experiment with other nutritious and less allergy-causing plant-based proteins such as mung beans, hempseeds, avacadoes and even golden chlorella (a type of algae). Whole Foods predicts the plant-based movement will continue to snowball, with the market for meat substitutes expected to hit $2.5 billion by 2023.
  5. Not-so-simple sugars
    Wave goodbye to the traditional white stuff – sugar substitutes are expanding exponentially, from fruit-based sweeteners derived from pomegranates, dates and monk fruit to sweet syrups made from starches like sorghum and sweet potato. Jazz things up in the kitchen with these new unique flavours perfect for desserts, glazes, marinades and more.