food

Restaurant Review: Francesca’s Italian Kitchen

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Last night S and I dined at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen as per a good friend of ours’ recommendation. She said it was excellent so we had to try it for ourselves. And overall, it was pretty spectacular!

Several things stood out: the slow-cooked beef (housemade) gnocchi (probably best in town), the tolerable noise level (I am so used to dining at Italian restaurants where I can’t even hear myself), the artsy pasta guide on the inner bathroom doors (who doesn’t like a good read whilst on the toilet), and the physical location of the place (I love anything close to New Regent!).

And of course it wouldn’t be a review if I’m not a slight bitch about it so… We ordered polenta fries as a starter, they were forgotten, and brought to us midway through our mains (yeah, yeah, first world problems). Speaking of polenta fries, they were good but not as amazing as The Bicycle Thief’s. In my opinion, those are much better. As for the pappardelle ragu, I think Cafe Valentino does theirs better, and the pumpkin brûlée, well, it was pretty unique in flavour but also highly diabetic. In other words, too much sugar (you know, even for a brûlée).

Despite the grumble, I’d rate our experience an 8/10!

There Is A Stream Of Love Supporting My Dreams

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Spring means Subway picnic dinners.
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Treated myself to some well-deserved me time the other week! And although lovely, I did feel bad about using so much water…Do you know if a bath uses more water than a shower? It must, mustn’t it? Alas, as a once-in-a-while treat, I did feel amazing, and I slept like a baby. Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
Petal carpet love!Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetI moved out of my parents’ again! How do you like my new room? I used to be an avid Frankie Magazine reader. However, after the original creators left, I’ve become a dedicated fan of The Lunch Lady which ironically, is their (Frankie’s ex-creators’) new publication. Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset
PMS is a bitch and so was I this day. I made S walk 40 min to the grocery store for a sweet craving (I wanted naturally dried apricots) but when the supermarket didn’t have them (what supermarket doesn’t have apricots?!) I spent 15 indecisive minutes only to buy checkout chocolate. Oops! Sorry S!
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And, one of my most memorable days yet…yes, that special! S surprised me at work with a picnic lunch of my favourites! Sushi, chocolate (the same one I had had that my moody night at the supermarket hehe), berry smoothie, and last but definitely not least, Dr. Feelgood frozen pops. This time we tried jelly-top Passionfruit and White Chocolate and I gotta say, it’s my favourite flavour yet! Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
Yeah baby! Find them at Fendalton New World in Christchurch and probably everywhere in Auckland. Thanks Dr. Feelgood, I adore you!Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset
I love my boyfriend because he agrees to pancakes for dinner.
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“Practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a shot time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.”
~From the Secret Scrolls by Rhonda Byrne

Love, Like Everything Else In Life, Should Be A Discovery…

“Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don’t know you’re having one until you’re right in the middle of it.”
~E.A. BucchianeriProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset
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My picture perfect man <3
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Fish’n’chips, Kiwi as!
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Balancing out the grease and chocolate…
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S gifted me this beautiful ring for my 25th birthday, it spells love in braille and was handmade in Ohara, the rural Japanese village I lived in for one and a half years *love heart eyes*Processed with VSCO with kk2 presetMy latest Spring project with my little munchkins. Are you blossoming?

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Dr. Feelgood Frozen Pops.

A mouthwatering popsicle guaranteed to impress your nutritionist AND your snobby food critic mate. After seeing Dr. Feelgood’s Facebook post last week about their products now available at New World Fendalton, I forced S to drop everything and to ASAP take me there. I had fallen in love with Dr. Feelgood some three years ago in Auckland and had missed their presence in Christchurch ever since. Simply unable to wait, we sampled two of their new popsicle range in the supermarket parking lot right there and then (wink wink). And the verdict? Oh mama mia. They were delicious. As far as I know, there is nothing quite like Dr. Feelgood on the NZ food market. Yes, there’s nice-creams for better-for-you ice-cream alternatives but seriously, there’s only so much coconut a gal can take. I love Dr. Feelgoods new premium range because their creamy pops are made with renowned Lewis Rd pure organic milk and all of their pops are of completely natural ingredients. So if you’re looking for a guilt-free treat (like I am always) look no further! More info HERE.Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset

Only Kindness Makes Sense. Everything Else Is Excruciating.

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Breakfast goals: freshly baked croissants and walnut sourdough from BELLBIRD Baked Goods.  Disclaimer: although the watermelon was delicious, it was TEN bucks! Holy moly, eating food-bloggy ain’t pocket-friendly! Who else is counting down to Summer?
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Godley Head desu. Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
We were freezing, our smiles are fake.
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Last week I opened the pantry in the morning to grab muesli and happened to spot this cutie pootie thing! A boiled egg holder (yes, such a thing exists) that I spontaneously bought (precisely for it’s cutie pootie aspect) during my Japan days. Take.Me.Back.Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Pimping out my work locker *love heart eyes*Processed with VSCO with c3 presetVegan and gluten-free dessert from The Lotus Heart *more love heart eyes*

Updates

Hi dear dear friends from around the world, how are you all doing? I’m sorry I am no longer religiously blogging… Do you miss me? (hehe). I miss you, that’s for sure! Things have changed in my world. In short, I am now working as a full-time preschool teacher, soon to be starting my postgraduate diploma in Early Childhood Teaching. This means, I am busy busy (like the rest of you) working, and soon also studying (eek!). It is literally mind-blowing to look back and see how God has confirmed me in every step of my life leading to this very opportunity. I am so lucky. There is a Sufi poem which goes: ““God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now,” -this could not be more true for me (or you, for that matter). I have always adored spending time with young children, and if I may say so, I think they also like being around me. Sometimes I feel sad thinking that by going down this path I will be giving up on my writing but then I remind myself that everything in our universe is interconnected and that this too shall lead onto something. All in all, I am incredibly thankful. Of course, nervous – the job is definitely not easy, but grateful for the opportunity to grow both in my career and as a person. As for my love life (wink wink) things are going smoothly. You know, S is another reason why I’m not regularly blogging. I used to be this maniac (sometime I still am) who wanted to do absolutely everything and I had to keep reminding myself: Anisa, you can do anything but you can’t do everything! Being around S is changing me. He is an incredibly relaxed being.  I’m not going to lie, at first this drove me a little crazy – I needed him/us/me to always be doing something! Overtime though, I have come to appreciate his way of doing things. Like my brother-in-law once said, true, life is short but life can be very long also. In other words, it’s okay to unwind once (or twice) awhile (yes, this means you too!) xx
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This is funny. So, I always prefer homemade muesli (for every meal if I could actually). But here is S forcing some of his famous scrambled eggs on me. The picture above is last week and the picture below, from my time in Nashville 6 months ago. image-3-png-10
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Major touristing at Christchurch Museum.
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After a warm coffee at Sign of The Kiwi Cafe, we are not cold, we swear!
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Waiting for the food…
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My number one supporters in every single decision I have ever made. You know what I think is good parenting? Trusting. Mum and dad, I love you both with my entire being. Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
An Indian friend of ours once said Corianders is the best Indian restaurant in Christchurch, and we agree!Processed with VSCO with c2 presetBetter than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
~Japanese Proverb (Sunrise at work)

We Will Love

How is it July already?!
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The best way to spend a Saturday morning in Christchurch? Utopia Ice with your lover.
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Followed by a romantic stroll through Mona Vale , of course. Processed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Is it just me or is this the weirdest thing ever? A duck in a tree?! Now you don’t see that everyday (or do you?)
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Another angle…Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
Even in winter there are roses!Processed with VSCO with c3 preset
His and hers, Nandos.
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Soroosh’s super cool photography.
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My favourite dinner is breakfast. And my favourite person doesn’t mind (yay).
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Packed his bento like a good Japanese wifey <3

Superfood Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowls

Talented family all around! Forget Acai bowls, this morning mama and I had delicious and absolutely nutritious superfood ViBERi (my auntie and uncle’s business) smoothies in cosy and beautiful Miami Valley Pottery (Soroosh’s cousin’s business) bowls xxProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 presetProcessed with VSCO with c3 preset
Superfood Blackcurrant Smoothie Bowls
Serves two 

2 frozen bananas (using frozen bananas gives them a delicious ice-cream consistency)
3/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 unsweetened yoghurt of choice (I used coconut yoghurt)
2 heaped tsp ViBERi freeze-dried blackcurrant powder

Whizz together in a high-powered blender (might take a bit of patience if using frozen bananas) then top with favourites (I used Ceres Organics Paleo Breakfast Mix) xx

What Do You Treasure?

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I was SO nervous!
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Finally in Christchurch *love heart eyes*
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First stop, Black & White Coffee Cartel where a little printed sign advised us there’d be no avocado (two words which should never be together) this season. Alas, our bagels were delicious and S particularly liked the NZ bacon nomnom.
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Next, one for the bucket-list. Though rather simple, I had always dreamt of visiting the Riccarton Farmers’ Market with bae. It is truly one of my most favourite places in Christchurch.
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If tea is a hug in a cup, porridge is a cuddle in a bowl, I say. Alll better. Full tummies and grateful hearts. I got the rsf, V, and df option and S ordered the spiced apple, toffee sauce, and walnut crumble porridge.
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When S sent the above photo to his family group chat, his brother asked if that was an egg atop my porridge…Hehe nope! Just honey and yoghurt.
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Things have been pretty surreal, neither of us can actually believe S is finally here. Last night we dined at Tutto Bene. The food was good and the company even greater. We had a lovely French waitress and S mentioned the wonderful paradox of having a French waitress, working at an Italian restaurant in New Zealand serving a table of Persian, Kiwi, and American diners. How beautiful is that? Unity in diversity.
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To Be Human Is A Powerful, Profound Thing That Deserves A Lot Of Patience.

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This sweet card was made by my even sweeter five year old student. Did you lovely people have a memorable Mother’s Day? This year I decided not to make a big Facebook announcement for my mama, instead I wrote this (incase you and I aren’t Facebook friends):

I don’t want to post a generic message about how I love my mum and how lucky I am to have her (which I do and which I am) this Mother’s Day. Instead, I want to acknowledge all of my friends who either live far away from their mothers (I know from first-hand experience how hard that is) and those whose mothers are no longer with us. I wish you calmness and strength <3
Image (3)Mum’s breakfast at Untouched World – a lovely modern cafe with high-quality ingredients and a romantic fire.
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Absolutely in love with my Dr. Seuss preschool teacher uniforms because I absolutely love him! Who is/was your favourite childhood author? (A question posed to me by Soroosh the other day to which I actually replied Paul Jennings).
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Kids say write the darndest things!
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“Stained glass” butterflies made with black cardboard paper, coloured tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Super easy, are instructions needed?
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New favourite CHCH eatery! This $12 split pea soup (topped with caramelised onions) served alongside Bellbird bread and carrot butter from Gatherings was 10/10.