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A taste of Italy: La Dolce Vita

The borders may be closed, preventing those much-anticipated overseas escapades but that’s not to say you can’t get your European fix.



La Dolce Vita Italian Cooking Classes, owned and run by Clotilde Romano, is your ticket to the world of Naples, Italy in Sumner, Christchurch.

A culinary adventure in her wonderful kitchen where, in a fun atmosphere, you will cook and taste authentic food made with passion.

Classes run for two hours and include antipasto, primo piatto and dessert.

Try your hand at several techniques, from making fresh egg pasta dough to turning out gorgeous little potato gnocchi.

Not to mention the beautiful authentic desserts Classic Tiramisu or Citrus Amalfi Panna Cotta.

Whether it’s for a hen’s do, couple’s night, family fun or just because, make La Dolce Vita your next event location.

Book your own night with friends, from Monday to Sunday or just join a class.


From garden to plate

A dozen renowned chefs, a mystery box cooking challenge using local and garden-picked ingredients, a bespoke outdoor kitchen and a locally grown ‘picking pantry’, Grow Ō Tautahi Food Ambassador Jax Hamilton is inspiring visitors to look to their gardens to ignite their cooking.


Jax will run the MacRae Landscape Design Garden Kitchen over the three days of Grow Ō Tautahi – Christchurch’s free Garden Festival in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from 20-22 March 2020.

Each day of the festival, four new chefs will be challenged to create culinary delights from a mystery box of fresh, vegan or vegetarian ingredients – no meat or fish – and what they can pick themselves from surrounding gardens.

Visitors will glimpse into the creative minds of professional chefs and take away ideas and inspiration for their own dinner plates.

“You really don’t need a lot of space to grow a few herbs and ingredients that can put a ping on your plate,” Jax says.

“I want to share my food philosophy of ‘straight from your garden to your table’. A lot of the time we don’t know where our food comes from – but with a little inspiration I think we can encourage a healthier approach to cooking.”

Jax will lead the cooking demonstrations and help audiences engage with top chefs from around Christchurch and the South Island.

“All of our chefs will cook in a bespoke outdoor kitchen designed by the award-winning Davinia Sutton – we’re so lucky to have her involved; she has a real sparkle, like so many people around the Grow table.”


Creative Culinary Co-working

Tired of sitting in your air-conditioned office on these beautiful, sunny summer days? Then, it’s time to head to New Brighton and try social co-working, where you can enjoy both the ocean breeze and a panoramic sea view.



For the past three years, collaborative manager Rebecca Tavete has operated the co-working space, Argo, at 1/215 Marine Parade and new venture, Level One right next door has been operating for the past 18 months.

From traditional work stations to café co-working, the two work seamlessly together, offering a range of memberships to suit most budgets.

The aim, Rebecca says, is to “bring community back to big business”.

“It’s the biggest thing city workers say they miss,” she says. “It’s all about work-life balance. You can get out of the office, come and work by the beach, connect with other co-workers and return with a revived energy. We have panoramic views and are literally across the road from the ocean.”

From $40+GST per month, digital nomads can café co-work all day long and enjoy perks, like free tai chi classes.

At the same site, Level One, is now available to host open mic nights, makers’ markets, weddings and special birthdays.

“It’s all one, really,” Rebecca says. “We’ve created a synergy between the two spaces and the momentum is building.”

If you’re interested in hosting an event at Level One, or would like more information about co-working, check out the website or phone 03 423 3170.


On the out

In the warmer months it seems we spend as much time outdoors as we do in. So why not open up those patio doors and make the most of outside life by creating a haven for alfresco living?



First things first – it’s important to prioritise investing in quality outdoor furniture and accessories; think of your outdoor area as an extension of your living space and style accordingly.

And remember, comfort and function are two of the most important attributes conducive to relaxation and entertaining, and should be at the forefront of your furniture decisions.

When it comes to seating, hanging furniture is bigger than ever in 2020 – this year’s trends look to modular and dynamic styles such as swinging day beds/sofas and classy hammocks.

Opt for weather resistant and anti-fade fabrics for all outdoor seating, and ensure there are enough side tables to accommodate for drinks and nibbles.

Premium umbrellas – particularly cantilever ones – are perfect for maximising your outdoor space and providing that much-needed shade from New Zealand’s searing sunshine.

For 2020, large swathes of singular materials are out and mixed materials are in.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting with multiple metals – copper, brass, aluminium and chrome are the types you’ll want to take advantage of.

Choose natural materials in earthy, neutral tones to complement surroundings – cane, bamboo and wicker pieces are expected to gain further momentum in 2020 for this very reason.

Living features such as vertical walls of plants and hanging herb gardens give you plenty of extra space for growing your favorite plants while also serving as an attractive addition to your landscape.

Succulents are back on trend and are a low-maintenance option either potted or arranged in hanging planters.

Don’t forget – kitchens are no longer restricted to the interior of your abode.

Modern alfresco dining calls for more than just a solo BBQ and a dining table; hot plates set into a stone island make cooking – and entertaining – easier than ever, while a traditional pizza oven is an asset that can be used all year round.


Street food mecca: Asian Garden Kitchen

Family dining with a distinctive and casual feel is not to be missed at Commi on the corner of Colombo and Somerfield Streets.


Asian Garden Kitchen


This little gem is a street food mecca where you can sample dishes from China, Vietnam, Thailand, India and Malaysia, so you’ll find something to please everyone in the family and it’s all served in a casual and cosy environment.

At Hoi An House in Halswell Road, the popular Thai and Vietnamese selections are now available for lunch dining in or taking away from Wednesday to Sunday. The seven nights full service and fine dining interior is complemented by the garden terrace, plus the function room can seat up to 80 people, or be split into more intimate spaces.

Asian Garden Kitchen in Harewood teaches individuals and groups to make the restaurant dishes authentically and to professional standard at home.


Book online at


Pete Evans

Dishing the drama: Q&A with Pete Evans

Pete Evans has been cooking his way around Australia – and in fact, the world – since the age of 19, before being thrust into the global spotlight 10 years ago when he and Manu Feildel started dishing the drama on
My Kitchen Rules.


Pete Evans


Known affectionately as Paleo Pete, the Australian chef, author and television personality most recently headed the award-winning documentary film The Magic Pill which shows the impact food can have on people’s health, now streaming globally on Netflix.

While he’s courted controversy for his mission to cheerlead the caveman diet into the mainstream, at the heart of Pete’s philosophy is a desire to encourage others to embrace a happier and healthier lifestyle.
We caught up with Pete about his food and life philosophies.


What are some of your favourite healthy recipes?
I can’t go past simple ingredients such as seafood and meat and then team them with some organic vegetables either in a soup, a roast, a barbecue, salad or a curry.


How would you sum up your food philosophy?
Simple and nourishing.


What are some of the key things you do to keep healthy and well during the year?
Mainly a species specific diet is key for optimal health. I also focus on emotional wellbeing and removing negative patterns and beliefs and creating greater awareness about self. Being so motivated and successful, how do you prevent yourself from burning out? I live a very simple life – love of self and others, great connection with other people, simple diet and living in alignment with what it means to be human.


What attracted you to cooking?
It was a life skill that I believe everyone should have the ability to learn.


What are you looking forward to in the tenth season of My Kitchen Rules?
Some more great cooking and entertainment.


Why do you think people have connected so strongly with you and what you do?
Truth always resonates with people and I always speak my truth and then it is up to someone how they interpret that for themselves.


What is the most fulfilling or enjoyable aspect of what you do?
I would say living each day to the fullest in the moment and expressing myself creatively and having loving relationships is very fulfilling.


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
More breathing, more sleeping, more eating, more loving, more learning, more teaching, more movement, more play and more fun!



Kumara & Zucchini Fritters

Kumara & Zucchini Fritters

For many of us, annual holidays jetsetting around the world are the time to let go and forget about the diet. For others it’s the time to focus on health and wellness. But according to Hayes & Jarvis, we can have our cake and eat it


Kumara & Zucchini Fritters


The travel expert has released a study into the most well-rounded cuisines throughout the world, making it easy to find globalised cuisines that are as healthy as they are delicious.

Although New Zealand ranked slightly lower than Australia overall in eleventh place, it proved to have the best dinner option, serving up kumara fritters. So we hunted out our favourite recipe.

An easy and popular meal option that can be made ahead of time and perfect for the lunchbox, vegetable fritters are a great way to pack some nutritional punch into your day. Crispy and golden brown, these kumara and zucchini fritters can be served as a side dish or appetiser and they’re easy to customise to use up any leftover vegetables



2 medium-sized kumara – grated
1 small zucchini – grated
1/2 onion – grated
2 cloves garlic – chopped
2 tbsp chives – chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper – to taste
Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Dill Yogurt Dip
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground pepper – to taste



Combine grated kumara, zucchini, onion, garlic and chives in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add heaped tbsp of kumara mixture to hot oil, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Press gently with spatula to flatten. Cook until crispy, browned and kumara is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes per side, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Dill Yogurt Dip
Meanwhile combine sour cream, yogurt, olive oil, dill and salt and pepper, stir to combine.

Serve fritters with Dill Yogurt Dip and garnish with fresh dill.



Blackberry & Lime Macarons

Blackberry & Lime Macarons

Blackberry & Lime Macarons



For the macarons
3 egg whites apx 100g
3 tbsp caster sugar
110g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
1 tbsp meringue powder/egg white powder
1/8 tsp almond essence
Purple gel food colouring

For the blueberry and lime curd
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
60g unsalted butter cubed
100g or scant 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, or 2 yolks and 1 egg, beaten
2 limes, zest and juice



Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine ground almonds with the icing sugar and run through a food processor to ensure both are finely ground. Set aside. ‘Age’ egg whites by microwaving them for 20 seconds. Place into a mixing bowl and add the meringue powder. Whisk to frothy peaks with an egg beater. Once voluminous, add the caster sugar gradually, beating well between each, until stiff peak stage.

Switch to a spatula, add almond extract and a dollop of the food colouring gel. Sift half the icing sugar/almond mixture on top and gently fold in using the spatula. Sift in the rest of the icing sugar/almond mixture and continue carefully folding it in until batter looks smooth.
To test consistency, lift the spatula up and watch to see how the trail of batter running off it falls into the bowl. A soft trail that takes five or six seconds to ‘melt’ back into the batter is ideal. If it just sits on top, it’s not ready. Overmixing can yield thin batter that won’t hold its shape when piping.

Fit a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle and fill with the batter. Pipe 3cm wide rounds of batter on the baking sheets, leaving a small space between each. Lift and drop baking sheets onto the bench a few times to knock out any air bubbles and to level them into smooth discs. Leave for up to two hours until they form a skin.
Place them into an oven preheated to 140 degrees C and cook for 18-20 minutes, ensuring they have risen and have their characteristic macaron ‘frill’. When ready they should be firm on their frilly bases. When ready they should lift off the parchment and have a smooth base.


Curd filling
Place the blackberries in a jug with a half teaspoon of water and microwave for about a minute on high until bubbling. Blitz cooked blackberries to a fine liquid then stir in the lime juice to cool it. Set aside.

Place butter in a bowl over a barely simmering pan of water, not letting the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Once it begins to melt, stir in the caster sugar and continue to cook over low heat until the sugar melts into the butter and loses its grainy appearance.
Stir in the blackberry/lime juice mixture. Add the beaten eggs, lime zest and beat. Gently cook the curd for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly until thick.

Pass the curd through a sieve to remove and lumps and zest and pour into a hot, clean jar. Put the lid on and allow to cool completely. Pair up the macarons with a dollop of the cooled curd in between each pair. Enjoy.



Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Blueberry Cheesecake Bars: Recipe

Creamy lemon cheesecake bars swirled with blueberries on a simple biscuit base. Careful, this may become a new favourite!


Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

1.5 cups basic biscuits
6 Tablespoons or 90g melted butter
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar

450g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup caster sugar
Zest of 2 medium lemons
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil with some overhang and set aside.
Crust: Using a food processor or blender, process biscuits into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter and sugar. Press into the lined pan and bake for five minutes. Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
Filling: Beat the cream cheese for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the egg, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract and continue to beat until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the blueberries and spoon the filling onto the crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set and the edges are lightly browned. The bars will be very puffy but will sink slightly as they cool. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature on a wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.



Classic Cookers

Oven Envy: Classic Cookers

When it comes to creating culinary excellence, Classic Cookers is turning the heat up, with a range of hand-built electric ovens that combine traditional looks with modern technology.

Classic Cookers


Manufactured in Gloucestershire, England, Everhot heat storage range cookers are cast iron cookers which steadily transfer the heat from their core into their ovens and hotplates, meeting all your cooking needs with exceptional energy efficiency. Yes, that includes slow cooking, baking, roasting, grilling or pan cooking, all at once, on one range.

In the Bramleys Road showroom, Brendon Rowe-Mitchell opens the door of one oven to reveal a digital control panel, a striking contrast against the mid-century aesthetic of its exterior. The basis of heat storage range cookers is that they stay on 24/7, using less electricity than a traditional oven. You can set precise temperatures, set it to a timer, or shut it down in summer.

Serious cooks love the graduated hob top. Rather than changing temperature dials, the difference between simmering and boiling is the pot’s positioning on the stove top.
The 60mm is the baby of the range, designed to fit a standard oven space. It features two ovens and a graduated cast iron hob top. As the size increases, so too do your options. Ovens, plate warmer, induction hobs and simmer plates become opportunities to customise your cooker. A colour palette of 16 provides opportunity to further make it your own.


If you are looking to make a statement in your kitchen, hit the road and visit Classic Cookers at 151 Bramleys Road Flaxton, phone
03 310 6534 or check out