Monday, 3 August 2009

Eating out

Mum and I made it our mission to try new and exciting food every day of the Christchurch part of the holiday. We began with afternoon tea at the Cupcake Parlour. See how pretty it all is... vintage china plates, Cath Kidston tablecloth, swirly icing and silver sprinkles. The cupcake was delicious, as was the icing - very rich though! There weren't many people eating in at the Cupcake Parlour, but there was a steady stream collecting takeaway orders.

The next day we went out to visit Seagars at Oxford. It was incredibly busy - word has sure got round about that place. We arrived just after 12 and all the tables were full, so we were invited to browse in the kitchen shop next door until one became available. Five minutes later a waiter came and told us a table was ready, so in we went. The staff were great - really friendly and helpful. I was slightly less than impressed with my main though. I ordered the Oven-Roasted Monkfish which was supposed to be served with lemon hollandaise, potatoes and fresh greens. There were about three drops of hollandaise (to be fair, they were extremely tasty drops) and instead of fresh greens, steamed winter veg. However the veg were still crunchy, as demonstrated when I tried to spear a piece of carrot on my fork and it pinged away, bounced off my lap, landed in my handbag and wiggled all the way to the bottom. I think the monkfish was nice, but it was hard to tell because the bacon flavour was so strong. Oh - but there was a lovely mash, with potatoes and cabbage and maybe even parsnip, hiding under all those crunchy veges!

Mum had the Carrot, Cumin and Cashew Nut Fritters. She said they were nice but wouldn't rave about them.

Fortunately dessert made up for it! This is the Dessert Nibbly Platter - a little bit of everything including pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, blueberry pie, fruit cake, chocolate mousse and ice cream. So good, especially that mousse, yum.

The next morning we went to the Farmers' Market at Dean's Bush, Riccarton. There was a fascinating array of handmade, organic and gourmet foods there. Handmade bread, cheese, chocolates, cookies, two different cupcake stalls, fresh meat and veg... I had a wonderful hot chocolate flavoured with Mayan Spice (chai spices and a hint of chilli!) which certainly warmed me up on a cold morning. I bought a goat's cheese fetta (Mum has a recipe for a leek and goat's cheese tart - which I am still waiting on, hint!) and...

...macaroons! I'd never seen these in real life before and I just had to try some. And yes, they are every bit as good as you read about. Soft meringue shells with a creamy ganache centre.

They are from J'aime les macarons (I love macaroons) - very appropriate name! (The one at the front is rose and it was my second favourite. My first favourite was the middle one - bitter chocolate.

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