Christchurch

Be Certain That You Do Not Die Without Having Done Something Wonderful For Humanity.

Week four’s book is A Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou. It is short, it is easy to read, and it is brimming with learned wisdom; the kind which often springs from old people. And though I did not find every chapter relatable, I did find every chapter, useful. image-1-1
My mother’s precious hands, holding an almond milk cappuccino at recently opened Unknown Chapter Coffee Roasters.
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I’ve blogged THIS drink before. My momma doesn’t like it but I sure do! Traditionally used to soothe the stomach, Kawakawa leaves are known to be an anti-inflammatory as well as an analgesic. Kawakawa tonic was traditionally used to aid digestion. To further this function AOTEA Native Tonics brew Kawakawa leaves with herbs and tea leaves that are also understood to help with digestion. So it’s good for you, too. image-1-3
“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avaoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.”

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”

“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells us all that we are more alike than we are unalike.”

(Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter)image-1-4
Who’s sniffing who?
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Recently I attended my friends, Kate and Rory’s engagement party. My mother insisted on taking a picture of me before I left home. Since then, she has, bless her soul, posted this picture on every single one of her social media platforms.
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Zen Sushi & Dumplings. Go get some. PS this is salmon and avocado with brown rice.
imageLast night my momma kept entering the kitchen and interfering in my business that I threatened her I’d never cook again (hehe). So, here it is: oven baked gurnard fillets rubbed with tangerine slices, chopped tomatoes, Kalamata olives, fresh garlic, olive oil, paprika, pepper, salt, and garden mint for The Last Supper. #cookyourowndamnfish

Trust That All You Did Not Receive, All You Need Will Come To You In Time.

Dear readers, I apologise for my absence. I’ve been busy. Mostly catching up with old friends, helping out here and there and working on articles, job applications, short-stories and poetry! Gosh, I get myself so busy. And you? What’s new? Won’t you write to me? I’m getting sick of my own writing!
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Look who it is!!! Come to visit their one and only beautiful daughter (Anita not me hehe). image-1
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Mediterranean Food Company. If you haven’t been you’re missing out. The pizza is GOOD here and also the Mediterranean groceries! Including a large variety of sweets and gherkins from Turkey and of course, everything your stomach desires from Italy: fresh and dry pasta, olives, cheese, tomato sauces, and much more. image-3
Mmm salted chocolate and pistachio torte.
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Walking in Victoria Park with my bestie.image-4
Why she is my bestie.
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Taking photos of Christchurch’s new Adventure Parkimage-6
More to come once I sort my shizz.

Our Japanese Guests’ Last Day

Breakfast at Strawberry Fare, walk at Taylor’s Mistake and afternoon relaxing at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. And just like that, we said sayonara.
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Has the owners of Strawberry Fare changed? It wasnt as good as I remembered it…
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One of Juri’s 10000 selfies.image-1-1image-2
My brother in law living on the edge. image-1-4image-1-5
They said this pig reminded them of the Studio Ghibli animation, Spirited Away.image-1-3Monkey love.

My Wish For You Is That You Continue

…continue to be who you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. -Maya Angelou
image-1-png-4Real-life fruit ninja.
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It’s getting hot in here!image-png-31
This is my gorgeous sis. She’s always “liking” and sharing my stuff (hint hint). image-png-30image-png-29
So what do y’all think of NZ, then?
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Back to my favorite ice-cream joint of all time (now serving various dairy-free options)! All hand-made and all with ample love. Now, I know this because I know the family behind the ice-cream. And believe me when I say they’re just as delicate and just as sweet.
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There are so many new Christchurch cafes! I just can’t keep up but I am trying. This is Park Ranger on Riccarton road. When I drive past, it always seems busy. I wonder if it’s just a phase? Like as was Yoghurt Story? Anyways, mama and I truly did LOVE their coffee (and almond milk availability) but the biscotti..oh the biscotti it almost broke my teeth. Yeah, yeah, biscotti is always hard, you tell me. But this guys was extreme. image-1-png-5
Last but not least, vegan Thai green curry. Nothing like cooking for a loved one. Love you mommy xx

Good Art Is Not What It Looks Like, But What It Does To Us.

Apologies for the spamming of posts – especially to my new daily growing followers (big thank you!!) but I needed to free up the storage on my phone.
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Hey Rick, if candy-filled streets aren’t enough to lure you to my homeland, I don’t know what are!
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I’ve always said we are so lucky to have Hagley <3
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This one’s for you Randy!image-png-32
Ducks chilaxing cos ’tis the season. image-1-png-20image-png-33
Bircher bowls from Posh Porridge for breakfast with my darling sister. image-1-png-21
Takeaway healthy salads from BearLion Foods for lunch at home with my annoying parents <3

La La Land

Let’s just say I’ve never seen anything like it and that it was the most perfectly relatable film, for me, at this very moment. Without going too much into detail, I liked it and I found it relatable for its strong emphasis on following our true ambitions. For following our true ambitions always wins (something I’ve tried to do for as long as I can remember). This above all I celebrate. Not money or fame. (Unless your ambitions are money and/or fame, then we have a whole other issue to dissect!)

Also, I loved Gosling’s character’s sense of encouragement. That is something I find hugely attractive in a person – one of the reasons I fell in love with my boyfriend. Relatable, see! It doesn’t have to be a lover though, it could be your grandmother, your father or your friend’s friend. There’s nothing more beautiful than encouragement. It is so important. And we ALL need it. I’m so grateful to have a few people in my life who gift me encouragement. And I shall take a mental note this very moment to spend more time with them. Why don’t you do the same?

More, Emma Stone’s dresses.

Last but not least, Gosling’s face.

Okay, enough chit-chat. Go see it! It might seem a bit slow for the impatient but trust me when I say, you will grow to like it. Unless you’re a cactus.
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Best of Christchurch

I apologise for the lack of posts, friends! To be honest, with working full-time, I have’t even had time to Skype my boyfriend! I can’t believe how much CHCH has developed and I can’t wait to go to every new place on my to-go-to list! For now though, here’s a short list of what’s been thus far sampled by my palette:
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Frozen yoghurt sundae with raspberry sauce, fresh berries and dark chocolate by Berry Culture.
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A turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and honey latte from the world’s best cafe (C1 Espresso). image-2-png-18
No doubt, the best pizza in CHCH from Cafe Valentino.
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And last but not least, probably the best chai latte I’ve had here. This is because, unlike the usual sickly-sweet Starbucks variety which everyone sells, Supreme Supreme’s chai was spicaaaay! Now, I use the extra a’s because drinking it was like licking the grounds of a Middle Eastern spice market, but in a good way.

Love. What Is More Important?

Hi friends! I’m requesting prayers and positive energy for my family and friends back home (NZ) please. In saying that, I myself am not frightened of returning. Because tragedies can happen anywhere. If it’s not earthquakes, it’s storms, or fires or bombings or shootings. Life is to be lived not feared.
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A beautiful day at Radnor Lake.image-6-png-4image-5-png-3image-1-png-3
Beaver attacks! :O
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Vegetarian burger: quinoa and black bean pattie, lettuce, cheese, tomato, avocado and jalapeños from Burger Up.image-2-png-8How we do “His and Hers” (hehe) AKA meat vs veg.

Restaurant Review: The Monday Room

WORDS AND IMAGES BY MELISSA LIN

Who actually likes Mondays? I’m definitely not a fan and I’m sure many of you are the same. The all-new, revamped Monday Room on the other hand… no doubt is one Monday that I love and one Monday I know you’re all gonna enjoy too.

Serving “Brunch, Dessert and everything in-between”, The Monday Room on the corner of Moorhouse Ave and Madras St has reopened under new management. Their new menu is pimped out now showcasing Canterbury’s finest meats and produce, organic and locally grown where possible to deliver dishes that are fresh and super yum (not to mention totally Instagram worthy as well).

The team at The Monday Room are brunch pros, with their menu including options such as the Breakfast Bruschetta with fresh tomato and avocado, poached eggs, goats cheese and pickled red onion on toasted sourdough or GF bread with a cheeky side of bacon (optional), and the Ricotta Hotcakes topped with caramelized apple, cinnamon, almond praline, Kohu Road vanilla bean ice cream and maple syrup, just to name a few. Don’t drool into your keyboard!

The dishes on their dinner and dessert menus are just as scrumptious, too! Dinner plates are designed to be shared in order to create a social dining experience bringing friends and family together. Though to be honest, you might need double-ups of the same dish to avoid food envy. The entree sized goats cheese churros are an example of this, one bite and you’ll be left with the “I wish I ordered more” feeling. The Monday Room’s savory version of the traditional sweet treat is genius and deliciously mind blowing. It’s one of my favorites there and an absolute must try for you!

For more information, click HERE.

Italian Night and a *Stolen* Recipe

If you follow my blog’s Facebook and/or Instagram accounts then you might know that I made Italian food for my Japanese friends last night. Now, how does a Persian-Kiwi learn to cook Italian? By working jobs. At 15 I worked at La Porchetta, a chain Italian restaurant then at 17 I waitress-ed at iconic Cafe Valentino which was destroyed from the devastating Christchurch earthquakes whilst I was living in Israel. When Cafe Valentino reopened on St. Asaph Street, I immediately returned, this time as Duty Manager. That’s right, GIRL BOSS. I loved the actual boss, I loved the head chef and I loved the pizza (not specifically in that order).

Working at Cafe Valentino, I learnt so much from Chef Karren. Not only is she extremely talented but also so utterly passionate and committed. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a person who sacrifices day in and day out for their art.

During “the calm before the storm” (quiet mornings before lunch) at Cafe Valentino, I’d often have the opportunity to watch the chef’s preparations. Though I couldn’t ever know exactly how they made what they did or what exactly went into it, let’s just say, I can take a pretty accurate stab in the dark. Today I share with you an idiot-proof *stolen* recipe from the famous Cafe Valentino:

Tomato Freakin’ Bruschetta.

1 medium red onion, chopped small
about 3 medium tomatoes , chopped small – I used a punnet of mixed colored tomatoes whcih included red, maroon, green, yellow and orange ones.
bunch of fresh basil leaves – chopped small
dollop of good quality olive oil
dollop of good quality balsamic
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Bread – Cafe Valentino would use freshly baked ciabatta, I used store-bought French baguette.

Finely chop vegetables and herb.

Add a dollop of oil then balsamic – I guess Cafe Val used a balsamic reduction but I ain’t got time (or skills) for that.

Season with a little salt and pepper.

Mix well then refrigerate (you can do this well in advance to serving, if you wish).

For serving, slice bread, toast in a toaster or toaster oven then top each bread with big spoonfuls of tomato/onion mixture letting it fall everywhere (as in on the plate).
***HOT TIP from Rosie Blakely of Gaikokumama: “I usually cut a fresh garlic clove in half, rub the open-side over the bread, then lightly toast by frying the bread with a little olive oil. Yummy. Try it if you fancy!”
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