Category Archives: Competitions and Giveaways

March Favourites + Win Five Double Passes to the Tesselaar KaBloom Flower Festival

It’s been such a fantastic month. With two birthdays in the house and the countdown to Easter, it’s been a month of blessings and celebrations in our home.

Our little boy turned nine, and we celebrated with a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Yarra Valley. I am sure most of you have seen the photographs or read my blog post by now. It was such a magical experience and another item ticked off our bucket list.

Up in the Air! (A Hot Air Ballooning Experience with Global Ballooning Australia) - thespiceadventuress.com

Courtesy – Global Ballooning Australia

My birthday celebrations are almost always revolved around food, and this time we celebrated with a fabulous dining experience at Grossi Florentino (Grill). A delicious Tuscan experience at an iconic Melbourne restaurant!

Grossi Florentino (Grill), Bourke Street, Melbourne – a Tuscan Experience / thespiceadventuress.com

Easter celebrations were rather low key, just catching up with some friends over the long weekend. But we also had a fun time at the Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival in the Dandenong Ranges.

Everyone’s familiar with the annual Tesselaar Tulip Festival, but for the first time this year, the farm fields have been opened out to the public for more than just tulips. Imagine rows and rows of so many different types of colourful flowers in bloom. The festival is on only for a short period; March 30 – April 15, 2018.

A stunning display of colour and spectacular views abound with fields filled with blossoming Begonias, Petunias, Sunflowers, Hollyhocks, Dahlias, Snap Dragons, Delphiniums and many many more….

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

There’s plenty of activities lined up for the children, with each week taking on a different theme. We attended the Chocomania weekend, but there’s also the upcoming family fun days, music concert days, flower expo etc…..

Lots of great food options too which makes it a great space for a day trip with friends and family. And especially with the school holidays on, it’s perfect for a relaxing fun day with the kids.

The folks at Tesselaar have been very generous to giveaway 5 x double passes to 5 lucky readers. Isn’t that simply great!

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

Tesselaar KaBloom flower festival - thespiceadventuress.com

To take part;

  1. Subscribe to the blog using your email address
  2. Comment below which is your favourite flower along with your email id (to get in touch with you if you win)

Terms and Conditions:

  • Competition open to all living in Victoria, Australia and 18+ years of age.
  • The competition will run from Apr 3rd to Apr 4th The winners will be notified by email and direct messaging and if I do not hear back within 24 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Do share the competition details with your friends too. All the best!

Getting onto the other favourites now;

It’s also been a month of easy cooking and more packed lunch boxes. And two recipes that I cooked often and also shared on my social media was this delicious, tangy lemon rice and a spicy scrambled cottage cheese dish, fondly called paneer bhurji in India.

Lemon Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Paneer bhurji - thespiceadventuress.com

Some of the other recipes I intend to try out soon are these;

I am just a huge fan of devilled eggs!

We go to IKEA just to feast on these meatballs, and now I have a recipe to make it at home itself.

This garlic capsicum chicken is just perfect with my veggie fried rice

This risotto has my name written all over it.

And this pasta can be my alter ego.

I think I am more in love with the photograph than the actual cake.

These chocolate sprinkle cookies are just stunning.

 

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Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

A crazy title, isn’t it? I can explain…..

Months ago, when I attended the ‘Kids Business Blogger’s Brunch’, I was introduced to Flexo – a unique rigid construction brick and flexible tendon combination toy for children. The mum mode was switched on and I spent a considerable time learning more about Flexo; all for my Lego crazy son’s sake.

Lego is serious affair in our home. It is not just a toy, because it makes its presence felt everywhere. And it always takes up my favourite spot on the couch, not to mention the floor!

We do encourage his Lego craze in a responsible manner as he has always exhibited much creativity with it. He is never happy to stop with the catalogue, instead goes on to constantly make thoughtful designs, projects etc… using it as a base to express his creativity and imagination.

And Flexo seemed to be the perfect addition to it.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Suitable for children above the age of six, Flexo is compatible with Lego as well as similar construction bricks. Apart from keeping your child engaged and away from unnecessary screen time, Flexo can be a good tool to develop fine motor skills along with fostering imagination and creativity in your child.

Also plays an important role in developing patience! I find many kids these days lack focus and concentration and toys like these have helped my son immensely with both of these. And when he gets onto a project, he is quite determined to get it done right returning back to it again and again rectifying mistakes till he is satisfied. Indirectly, I feel that this is a great skill to equip my son with.

The range of movement that Flexo tendons provide makes it a very unique addition to the brick enthusiasts. It’s available in different pack sizes and colours too. There are so many creative ways to use Flexo and can really lift your Lego creations up a notch.

The folks at Flexo were very kind to send me samples so that I could put it to the test before sharing my opinion here. When I gave it to Adi, there was only one condition I had – he needs to create something using Flexo and Lego that I can use for blogging. And this is what he came up with….

A little cute bowl for his food blogger mom!

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

So of course I did what I do best….make something that he would love to eat and also can be presented in his new Flexo bowl.

Considering the shape of the bowl, I decided to make Chocolate Tim Tam balls. We made these during the Christmas period (though I am so late in posting it here) which explains the Christmas decorations Adi insisted be a part of his bowl.

These chocolate balls need just three ingredients; Tim Tams, cream cheese and melted chocolate. It is one of the easiest treats to make and are fabulous edible gifts any time of the year.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 packet Tim Tam (Double Coat); use any variety you wish to
  2. 250gms cream cheese (softened)
  3. 300gms dark chocolate buttons
  4. For decoration
  • Grated chocolate
  • Sugar hearts
  • Edible silver balls

Method:

  1. In a food processor or using a rolling pin, crumb the Tim Tams and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and mix well to combine.
  3. Take a heaped tbsp each and roll into balls and place on a paper lined tray.
  4. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or longer till firm.
  5. Melt the chocolate buttons using the double boiler method or a microwave. Stir well to ensure that the chocolate mixture is smooth and without any lumps.
  6. Using two forks, coat each ball in the chocolate mixture, allowing the excess to drain and place on the paper lined tray.
  7. Garnish using the grated chocolate, sugar hearts and edible silver balls.
  8. Allow to set at room temperature and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

Giveaway Time!

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Flexo, I have two packs (Flexo standard pack orange and standard pack grey) valued at $180 to giveaway to one lucky subscriber. So if you have a Lego crazy kid at home, this would make an awesome gift.

To enter:

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id
  2. Comment below ‘what’s been the best Lego gift your child has ever received?’

Rules:

  • Giveaway open only to Australian residents
  • End date: Feb 11th, 2018
  • The winner will be randomly chosen and notified through email (so make sure you subscribe using your email).

All the best!

This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified by email. 

Flex it with Flexo + a Recipe for Chocolate Tim Tam Balls (and a Giveaway too!)

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne)

Fabulous 2018 folks!

Hope all of you are having a great start to the year. I have, for sure, begun the year with much positivity, happiness and enthusiasm for work, family, friends…..everything about my life.

While I do not set resolutions, I do set a lot of goals at regular intervals throughout the year. And one of my major goals for this year is ‘balance’.

As work progresses and so does my family and social commitments, I realize that I can stay on top of my game only if there is a balance between all these parts of my life. When you have a business of your own, it’s very easy to spill over work into family time and vice versa. So that’s where I am going to strive and strike balance. Better management and clear cut division of time so that my family does not feel I am working all the time.

Have you set any goals for yourself this year?

Speaking of family time, I am so excited to take Adi to his first ever circus show – Silvers Circus, touring Melbourne currently.

Circus was a big thing in my childhood. We hardly had choices like today when it came to kids entertainment so going to the annual circus show in town was a huge thing. And most often, we would be taken from school like a picnic and I would get pocket money from my parents to buy cotton candy or some popcorn – and oh my, that was a big treat.

Surprisingly, Adi has never been to a circus and when Silvers Circus got in touch, I was so excited. I know we are going to have a fabulous time for sure.

Owned by Swiss born Anna & Anton Gasser, Silvers Circus began its journey 40 years ago and has evolved into one of the Top 10 circuses of the world. Stunning artists, Las Vegas style illusions, innovative stunts, humor, modern production techniques and much more, the Silvers Circus is a captivating experience for the young and old alike.

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

January Favourites + a Giveaway (Silvers Circus, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

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Silvers is currently touring Melbourne with shows at two locations, Mornington Peninsula (ended) and Dingley (January 31st to February 25th) with multiple show timings.

And they have been extremely kind to sponsor a giveaway i.e. one family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) for three different families to any show of their choice. Isn’t that awesome?

(This giveaway has now ended, and the winners have been notified by email)

So some rules;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email address (you can find the subscribe button at the top right hand side of the blog)
  2. Leave a comment below about what’s your most memorable experience visiting a circus.

Unfortunately, this one’s only for the Melbourne subscribers. Giveaway ends February 4th midnight and winners will be picked through a random draw and notified through email and on my social media channels.

Let’s hop on to top picks for the month of January;

This traditional South Indian dry chutney is super delicious and healthy.

5 easy steak marinades – and I love each one of it.

Indian style Nachos; yeah bring it on!

Baked but super crispy chicken wings; you definitely need this recipe in your life.

More fried chicken!

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is back on. Lots of interesting stuff and tickets are selling like hot cakes.

Do you have only one child? Why aren’t you having more? Won’t your child feel lonely? I am so tired of these questions. This article makes perfect sense and our reason is the second one ‘trust your gut’.

 

November Favourites (and a Spice Tailor Street Food Kit Giveaway)

What a fabulous month it has been!

It’s been crazy hectic as my parents were leaving back to India which meant a lot of travelling amidst other things. And that’s why you have not seen me here for quite a while now.

Since I have not been working much the whole of last month, everything has piled up on the work front, so pardon me if I am going to bombard your inbox with posts on most days. There are lots of recipes, brand collaborations, product reviews etc…. in the pipeline and I assure that you guys are going to enjoy it all.

Let’s start this month’s favourites with a giveaway (which I know is exciting for all of you!)

Spice Tailor recently launched their Street Food Kits, which are a take on the famous kathi rolls that are a street food delight across the length and breadth of India.

The kathi rolls (originally invented in Kolkata/Calcutta) became an instant hit across the country as it was delicious and so easy to customize it for each one’s liking. Basically, it’s like a wrap that is filled with all sorts of deliciousness and can be either vegetarian or non vegetarian.

The Spice Tailor kits come in three different flavours – Tangy Punjabi, Classic Tandoori and Spicy Chettinad. I tried out the Tangy Punjabi and Spicy Chettinad…..and it was difficult to pick out a favourite. Each kit comes with six whole meal wraps, a stir fry sauce or marinade to cook the protein, chutney and a spice blend.

For the vegetarian version, I used paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with the Tangy Punjabi kit and for the nonvegetarian version, I used chicken with the Spicy Chettinad kit. Super easy to make and on the table in 15 minutes, these kits were a lifesaver while we were travelling. The flavours were distinctly Indian which was great when travelling with parents who are not too experimentative with all cuisines. And kits like these are way cheaper when travelling as it greatly reduces the need to eat out at restaurants.

Spice Tailor Street Food Kit - thespiceadventuress.com

(A little disclaimer though….. I do not endorse any sort of meal kits as an alternative to everyday home cooking using fresh, in season produce. These are meant to be a help during those crazy busy days, when your health is not the best or while you are travelling).

Now, let’s get onto the giveaway part! I know we are all super busy this season so this giveaway is the perfect one for you during the holiday/travelling season. The Spice Tailor has kindly agreed to give away 14 meal kits to 2 lucky subscribers (i.e. 7 kits each per winner). Isn’t that really generous?

To enter the giveaway;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id.
  2. Comment below what protein/vegetable will you use for this meal kit

Competition open only to Australia residents (It’s Christmas guys, so if you live overseas, you can enter it on behalf of any of your friends/family living in Australia).

The last day for entry is 8th December, 2017 and the winners will be notified through my social media channels and private message on 9th December, 2017. So make sure you are following my social media handles if you aren’t already.

Getting on to the other favourites from last month:

Gratitude! That’s my word for this month of joy, sharing and thanksgiving.

People who are always late are more successful! Now I have the perfect excuse too….

Lusting after this bar cart from Pottery Barn.

I am obsessed over DIY table settings for any kind of party. Do check out my Pinterest page for loads of inspiration.

My favourite store to shop for Christmas decorations.

The Negroni has become so popular during the summer months, so it’s time we had an Aussie version.

I thought I had tried out all sorts of hummus recipes by now. Apparently I was wrong.

These potato skin egg boats would be perfect for entertaining.

Isn’t this the most gorgeous nachos in town?

Shireen’s Mangalorean plated series are back, and it’s as delicious as ever.

Edible gifts for Christmas are a great idea. How about these delicious simple syrups?

Totally digging this Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake for easy entertaining.

A ‘white’ hot chocolate! Isn’t this gorgeous?

 

Dandenong Market – A Slice of History in your Shopping Bag + a Giveaway ($200 Market Voucher)

 

Established in 1866, Dandenong Market is the second oldest and largest market of Melbourne. Often referred to as the Cook’s Market, it has always played a central role in the community – farmers, small business owners and public alike.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

My association with Dandenong Market began in 2013, the year I migrated with my family to Melbourne. Living a stone’s throw away, the market soon became my shopping haven. The vibrant and bustling scenes, fresh produce, spices, friendly vendors calling out their wares were all a reminder of my home in India. And those initial days of newness in a foreign land seemed to diminish away, instead replaced with a sense of belonging.

It’s my weekly trips to the market that has provided a lot of inspiration for the blog in those early days. Even today, a trip to Dandenong Market is enough for me to come back home feeling inspired and bursting with ideas. And that’s largely because of the amazing variety of produce that can be encountered here.

The bustling multicultural community lends a unique charm to the market making it a utopia for food lovers!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The market also conducts free Food Discovery Tours, a perfect way to go behind-the-scenes and get an exclusive glimpse into the everyday workings of a busy market. It also provides a deeper understanding of the produce, sustainability and interesting stories of the traders who runs these businesses.

With over 200 traders, the market is a bustling expanse and private tours like these can be of great help especially when you want to buy the best on offer. There are also different kinds of tours of offer and booking is essential even though the tours operate free of cost. Learn all about the tours and make a booking here.

I was lucky to be taken on a tour by Chef Tim Hollands, who is extremely passionate about Australian produce. In fact Chef Hollands is a well known food consultant and owner of Tim’s Foods and Tim Hollands Catering who is on a mission to introduce fresh Australian produce to the outside world. Food provenance and sustainability are very important to Chef Hollands and I could not have asked for a better tour guide.

Now as I mentioned, the Dandenong Market is huge and bustling with more than 200 traders and it would be impossible to write about each of them. So here is a photographic tribute to some of my favourite traders, shops and cafes to share with you.

(I have provided information regarding each place beneath the photograph, but you can also find more information about the traders here.)

Details of the giveaway for a $200 market voucher at the end of this post.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start the tour with a cup of coffee, shall we? Café Valentina by Melba Coffee is a great place to stop by for a cuppa of your choice. I especially loved the cold drip coffee and you may also like to take home some of their award winning roasted beans.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Hart’s Honey is another favourite of mine and I often stop by to replenish and stock up the honey section of my pantry. Owned by Joza Hart, the stall is very famous for the different varieties of honey like Iron Bark, Mixed Blossom, Red Gum, Leatherwood (from Tasmania) and Manuka (from New Zealand). Hart also stocks creamed honey and honey comb but my favourite is the Orange blossom honey for its citrusy undertones. Do stop by for a chat; Hart is great company and loves to talk about his products.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s a given that you will be shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables at the market. Do wander around the different stalls like Luppino Fresh (the oldest trader in the market), S&G Fresh, Alexander Produce etc… to see what’s in season and score a bargain. Markets are all about exploring so refrain from buying all the produce from just one place and rushing out unless you are in a hurry. For me, these braided shallots were the highlight of the day!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Sam’s Spice and Grocery….the most inspiring space for me in the market. I can easily spend hours here pondering over rows and rows of spices from all around the globe. In fact, most of my spice education happens here. A trip to Dandenong Market is worth it just to visit this store.

All of you know how crazy I am about seafood and Dandenong Market is one of my absolute favourite places to buy fresh seafood. Recommending two shops;

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The first is Hellenic Seafood, owned and operated by the Ganotis family. This is the place for sustainably sourced seafood, extremely high quality produce and my go to store for salmon, red snapper, oysters, mussels, clams etc….

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The second is Schwarze Seafoods, my next favourite because of the sheer variety of seafood available. Especially the place to visit if you are sourcing seafood for traditional dishes from other cuisines like Indian, Asian etc… And to all those who have asked me so many times, I get fresh sardines and mackerel from here most of the time.

There is a great selection of bakeries inside the market and my top two picks would be Baker Boys and Melina’s Bakery & Larder.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Baker Boys is managed by Jawad Zada who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban rule and arrived as a refugee here in 2001. Since he was a baker there, he continued in the same profession here, taking courses and doing apprenticeships to establish himself as a baker here. While you will find all sorts of baked goods in his shop, my absolute favourite are the Afghan style flatbreads with herbs and chilli flakes……a stunning combination with a delicious lamb curry.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Melina’s is my go to shop for sourdough and rye bread. There are so many different styles available especially for those who are interested in artisan breads and European styles. My favourite would be the plain sourdough which makes an excellent base for a rustic and delicious Bruschetta.

Apart from all the fresh produce, deli, meat and seafood traders, Dandenong Market is also home to other shops, a space often referred to as The Bazaar. This place can indeed be a treasure house if you are willing to spend a little time and walk through the rows of clothing, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, toys etc…..

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

One such store is Linda’s Workshop which specializes in fine pearl jewellery. Rows and rows of beautiful pearl jewellery that won’t break your bank!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

The Afghan bazaar is actually located in the meat and deli hall because they also stock a huge variety of Middle Eastern groceries but I would recommend looking at the ornate traditional homewares , tea sets and other kitchenware for such bargain prices.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are a book lover, then you must pay a visit to Volkan Books. Owned by Mustafa, this is a very popular space not just to buy books but also to swap and sell books. And if you bump into me there, do come and say hello.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And even though I have not personally used their services, I was drawn to the beautiful ambience at Christalignment. The staff is trained in supernatural healing, presence therapy, dream interpretations etc…..

If all that shopping and walking around has left you tired, then it’s time to indulge your tastebuds at the Market Square.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Let’s start with Saccha for a refreshing glass of cold sugarcane juice. Lez is a veteran of the hospitality industry and he definitely knows to mix his drinks. Opt for the plain freshly squeezed juice or try one of his signature drinks. Highly recommended!

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Food from all around the globe is on offer here and some of my favourites include The Grill (for delicious burgers and kransky sausages), Sansan’s Dumpling House (for handmade traditional dumplings, golden pies and soft Chinese buns), Andy’s Mauritian Hut (for dhal puri, curries and vadai/chilli cakes) and Fat Kebabs (for kebabs, Middle Eastern pizzas and the best lahmacun I have ever had).

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you like spicy, rich and bold flavours, then it is PiqNiq Hut that you must head to for delicious Srilankan food. All the traditional favourites like Kothu roti, devilled chicken, goat curry etc…. are available.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Finish off your meal with delicious freshly made doughnuts from the much loved Dandee Donuts, perhaps the most famous of all eateries at the market.

I also had some very interesting conversations, all thanks to the DSLR around my neck.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

Like this gentleman from Cairns who is visiting Melbourne and loves the Dandenong Market.

Dandenong Market - thespiceadventuress.com

And these two gentlemen who came here 30 years ago from Iran and now call themselves proud Melbournians. It was a joy to see the pride they had in their eyes while speaking of what a welcoming nation Australia is. Let’s keep it that way folks!

I can write forever about Dandenong Market but all good things must come to an end. And we have the giveaway to talk about too;

The folks at Dandenong Market would love to have you and so they are giving away a $200 market voucher to one lucky subscriber.

To enter;

  • Subscribe to my blog using your email id (the subscription box can be found at the top right hand corner on the home page)
  • Sign up to Dandenong Market newsletter here.
  • Leave a comment below stating you have done both.

The competition will run from 15th to 29th March, 2017 and the winner will be drawn on 30th.  Open only to residents of Victoria; the winner will be announced on my social media channels so make sure you are following me.

Good luck folks!

This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been drawn. 

Christmas Gift Guide for the Food Lovers + a Food Hamper Giveaway

I know it’s late for a gift guide but hey, I am sure there are plenty of last minute shoppers out there. And I really wanted to do this for all the food lovers out there who are looking for something unique yet simple and affordable for their food loving friends. And in Australia, we are indeed spoilt for choice.

So without much chit chatting, let’s get onto the task. And remember, there is an amazing food hamper waiting for you at the end of the post; you don’t want to miss out on this one.

The Spice People (Spices & Blends)

Based out of Melbourne, Liz Edgecombe is a passionate spice evangelist and my go to spice expert. We can talk for hours about spices, blends and flavour combinations. I have been personally using their spices and blends for more than 2 years now and vouch for the quality and freshness. In fact, 90% of all the whole spices I use are bought from The Spice People and I also buy many of their unique blends like French Vadouvan Curry, Greek Gyros etc….  So do check out their online store for some great deals and spice up your lives this festive season.

(The Spice People have also kindly sponsored 3 spice packs for the food hamper which you can check out below)

The Spice People (Spices & Blends) - product photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Eat me Chutneys (Chutneys & Preserves)

Most of you would have read my recent post about Eat me Chutneys. An epic social project for rescuing the bruised and unwanted fruits and veggies thereby tackling food wastage. Organic, fairtrade and sustainable, a jar of Eat me Chutneys is a perfect gift for any food lover. Currently, they are even offering complimentary shipping so don’t waste your time!

Eat me Chutneys - thespiceadventuress.com

Smoke and Roast (Flavoured Salts)

Are you a fan of smoked and flavoured salts? Then this is a great choice not just as a gift but also to use during this festive season. My favourite is the curry flavoured salt (of course!) which can transform your steaks, lamb ribs or seafood into something magical. Absolutely recommended for the barbeque season. Do check out this recipe that I did using the curry flavoured smoked salt.

Smoke and Roast (Flavoured Salts) - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Bondi Chai (Chai Latte)

Got a chai latte lover at home? Then a pack of the Bondi Chai is the best gift you can give this Christmas. It is Australia’s most awarded chai latte and comes in two delicious flavours – Club Cinnamon (my favourite) and Vanilla Honey. With very less sugar and naturally sweetened with Australian honey, the Bondi Chai is also gluten free and Halal certified. While the hubby enjoys this as a traditional chai latte, I enjoy it in my smoothies like this apple pear chai latte smoothie with a touch of cinnamon.

(Bondi Chai has kindly offered 2 packets of their chai lattes to be part of the giveaway hamper)

Bondi Chai (Chai Latte) - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Picky  Picky Peanuts

There is no way you will have a party without featuring the nuts (unless you have an allergy). So this festive season, let’s binge on some delicious Australian peanuts from Picky Picky. Such a cool name! Available in 5 different flavours – savoury honey roasted, tangy Mexican salsa, sweet chilli & lime, classic sea salt and sea salt & pepper. Delicious and locally made, these make excellent gifts and also great to serve at parties.

(And one lucky person will get to enjoy all the five flavours as part of the food hamper giveaway)

Picky Picky Peanuts - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Red Rock Olives (Artisan Olive Products)

Situated near the Grampians National Park, Red Rock Olives produces award winning premium quality extra virgin olive oil, artisan vinegars, olives and olive salts. I especially loved the flavour of the olive salts which come in two flavours – classic and chilli infused. A unique hand crafted Australian product that would make a great gift for any food lover. There are also special limited edition gift packages available for the season.

(Red Rock Olives has kindly sponsored one bottle of olive salt as part of the food hamper giveaway)

Red Rock Olives (Artisan Olive Products) - product photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Mork (Specialty Hot Chocolate)

What’s Christmas without hot chocolate? Agreed we have a summery Christmas, but hey there is no specific season for chocolate and we can enjoy it chilled too. Mork needs no introduction; a handcrafted product from the cacao artisans designed for pure sensory pleasure. Check out their range and also special gift packs for the season.

Mork (Specialty Hot Chocolate) - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Cookbooks

Cookbooks are an excellent gift option for food lovers. While there is no dearth to good cookbooks these days, my favourite picks would be these three;

  1. The Bangala Table (Flavours and Recipes from Chettinad) b y Sumeet Nair, Meenakshi Meyyappan with Jill Donenfeld
  2. Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou
  3. Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen by Guy Grossi

Cookbooks - photography - thespiceadventuress.com

The Craft & Co

The Craft & Co. is not a product but a unique space incorporating all facets of food and drinks. A one stop shop located in Collingwood, this place is a haven for local food producers. I could happily get lost here and never want to go back home. An eatery, bar, brewery, deli, distillery, winery, food store etc….. this is the place to go shopping this Christmas. I was there recently for the Christmas market (and have been bombarding all of you with pictures) and came home with so much delicious stuff for my party and unique edible gifts. So if online shopping is not your thing, just head over to Craft & Co to make the most delicious purchases this season.

The Craft & Co. Collingwood - thespiceadventuress.com

One of my best purchases of the day was the Craft & Co. Limoncello made in house in collaboration with the Gypsy Brewing Co. Handcrafted in small batches, each bottle is unique and adapted from a Chef Dom Marzano’s family recipe. A delicious tipple that is best served on ice after a meal or as a cocktail infused with lemon and mint for a summer party.

Craft & Co. Limoncello - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

And the folks at Craft & Co. have also generously offered one bottle of their Nero D’Avola, Heathcote 2015 towards the food hamper that will soon go to one lucky subscriber. This particular wine is slightly different to other Nero D’Avolas because of its unique lightness and smoothness on the palate. A pale beautiful red, it is medium bodied with hints of fresh red berries, plums, savoury spices and baked earth. Pairs well with blue cheese, antipasto and red meat.

Nero D’Avola, Heathcote 2015 - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Artemis Gin

Artemis is not the average bottle of gin that you would pick up in a random liquor store. It is a true artisan product handcrafted in small batches by Derv and Seb in collaboration with The Craft & Co.

In Derv’s and Seb’s words…….. “Artemis Distilled Australian Gin is juniper forward, classic London dry style, complimented by a few local botanicals and our namesake, Artemisia.  It is spicy, savoury, with a kick of citrus and a long finish with clove, nutmeg and ginger.  It is bottled at 44% alcohol, a little above the usual strength, to give the botanicals a little extra punch.  Artemis Gin is perfect in a G&T, sings when combined with Vermouth, which also gets its name from Artemisia, in a Dry Martini or Negroni, and the spices shine when paired with citrus in cocktails like the White Lady or Southside’

This gin was a revelation to my spice loving tastebuds……an explosion  of flavour that can only be truly described by experience. If you decide to buy just one thing this season, let it be a bottle of Artemis.

Artemis Gin - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Melbourne Hot Sauce

The undisputed leader of hot sauces in Australia! There’s a flavour for every taste bud from mild to fiery and when I say fiery, I mean it with flavours like Bhut Jolakia, Spicy Sanchez and Streets of Rage. While I did taste and enjoy the fiery ones, I wasn’t sure of my guests so came home with the milder Chipotle BBQ which has a beautiful sweet n’ spicy smoky flavour great as a dip or as a marinade. Special gift packs are on offer so do check it out.

Melbourne Hot Sauce - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Rum Diary (Spiced Rum)

There’s no way this gift guide will be complete without a mention of this season’s favourite find – the Spiced Rum from Rum Diary. Yet another revelation to my spice loving taste buds, this drink is handcrafted from the finest Caribbean rum and infused with local and native Australian spices. Also launched the pre-batch cocktails in 3 different flavours – Spiced negroni, Spiced old-fashioned and Spiced peach tea spritz. Highly recommended!

That brings us to the end of the gift guide; I agree it was a long one but I wanted to write a bit about each product as these are unique and produced by people who are passionate and take great pride in the work they do.

Rum Diary (Spiced Rum) - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Now onto the food hamper giveaway….

Food hamper giveaway - thespiceadventuress.com

So I have curated one food hamper to give away to one lucky subscriber of mine. The hamper valued at $150 contains some of my favourites (a few were featured above);

  1. The Spice People
  • Dried lemon myrtle leaves (1 pack)
  • French Vadouvan Curry (1 pack)
  • Persian dried rose buds (1 pack)
  1. Bondi Chai
  • Club Cinnamon (200gm)
  • Vanilla Honey (200gm)
  1. Picky Picky Peanuts
  • SeaSalt & Pepper (1 pack)
  • Sweet Chilli & Lime (1 pack)
  • Savoury Honey Roasted (1 pack)
  • Tangy Mexican Salsa (1 pack)
  • Classic Sea Salt (1 pack)
  1. Red Rock Olive salt
  2. Grampians Olive Co. Toscana Organic Extra virgin Olive Oil
  3. T2 Lemongrass & Ginger
  4. Caffe trombetta dal 1890 ORO coffee blend (Italian)
  5. The Alice Tea Co. Spicy Chocolate loose leaf tea
  6. Craft & Co. Nero D’Avola, Heathcote 2015 (1 bottle)
  7. Annabel Trends tea towel

To enter, all that you need to do is;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id
  2. Leave a comment below on what are your plans for this festive season and also your email id to get in touch if you are the lucky one.
  3. Spread the cheer!

Terms & Conditions:

  • You must be 18+ years of age and an Australian resident.
  • The giveaway will be open till Monday 19th, December 2016 midnight and a lucky winner will be chosen and notified on Tuesday morning. The winner must respond within 24 hours or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner will be picked by random draw.

This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been chosen.

November Favourites + a Giveaway!

Guys, can you believe 2016 is almost coming to a close?? Gosh…where has all the time gone? I am an year older and none the wiser!

The festive mood has finally kicked in. The Christmas tree will go up this weekend, I have started planning for my Christmas party with friends and there is a lot of joy and cheer in the atmosphere. That’s what I love best about this season – the feeling of joy and of hope that we live in a beautiful world and our lives are all good, inspite of everything.

So on that joyous thought, let’s head into my favourites for the last month but first, the giveaway!

I had the opportunity to meet and interact with the brand, Little Innoscents, at last month’s Kids Bloggers Brunch.  I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see an organic baby skincare range because I have always been extremely careful about taking care of my son’s hair and skin.

Antonette (Director of Little Innoscents) was very kind to provide me with some samples so that I could use and test it out myself before making any sort of recommendation to you guys. I have been using their products for over a month now and completely pleased with it because it is effective, natural, plant based and free from all sorts of nasties.

Little Innoscents Organic Baby Skincare Range - Giveaway Hamper - thespiceadventuress.com

Little Innoscents has been very kind to sponsor one of their best selling hampers to one lucky reader of my blog; the hamper contains;

  • 1 pack Baby Wipes – Ultra soft wipes with plant based ingredients, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E
  • 1 Milky Whites Toothpaste – Fluoride Free and no Artificial Sweeteners. My son’s favourite!
  • 1 Sun Lotion SPF30 – UVA & UVB broad spectrum protection. No preservatives, with zinc oxide as the only active ingredient. Contains Vitamin E, organic Green Tea, Cucumber and Rosehip extract.
  • 1 Hair Fudge – Yet another favourite in our household. My son goes gaga over this as he gets to style his hair looking all dapper. Made with Sandalwood and Orange Infusions, this one is alcohol, SLS and Paraben free which means that there will be no icky residues left behind on the hair.
  • 1 Hair and Body Wash – A refreshing Spearmint & Orange wash which is ideal for sensitive skin and those suffering from eczema. My son smells so good after a bath with this which ensures that there are lots of cuddles afterwards!

Little Innoscents Organic Baby Skincare Range - Giveaway Hamper - thespiceadventuress.com

So if you would like to win a hamper for yourself or to gift to someone this Christmas, then the details are provided at the end of this post.

But before that it is time for my November Favourites:

99 Food Photography Tips; I am practicing each and every one of these and it’s been of incredible help.

A new year is just around the corner and if you need some inspiration, these are the quotes that will do the job.

The power of listening! I need more of that…..

I love makeup but I like to own only a few products, ones I swear by. And the one I am loving at the moment and an all time favourite are these Clinique chubby sticks.

How cute is this drink dispenser; on my wish list and fingers crossed!

And this hanging chair is on the list too! A girl can dream right….

This is Nacho dream come true!

I am not much of a bread lover but these challah buns get me drooling.

Get some pork on your fork!

The perfect Christmas wine but I am partial to this old fashioned too.

These truffles would make awesome Christmas gifts

For days you want deliciousness and nourishment in a bowl

And this chicken dish in on my menu for the weekend

Little Innoscents Giveaway

To be in the running for this giveaway, here’s what you must do;

  1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id.
  2. Like the Little Innoscents Facebook Page
  3. Leave a comment below stating that you have done both and also your email id so that I can get in touch with you if you have won the hamper.

Rules:

The competition runs from December 2, 2016 to December 9, 2016.

The winner will be chosen by a random draw and will be notified on my blog, social media channels and also via email. If the person does not revert back within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

To enter, you have be 18+ years of age and an Australian resident (or you could gift it to any of your friends or family living here).

 

This giveaway is now closed and a winner has been drawn.

WWFreshBox by Aussie Farmers Direct + a Recipe for Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

‘So what do I cook tonight?’

How many times in a week do you ask yourself that question? I do…almost every single day. Friends often assume that meal planning is something I enjoy and ace at, being a food blogger. Definitely not, at least not most of the time because in addition to the everyday food, I have to plan ahead for the recipes that are to be created for the blog, clients etc…..

It takes me two days to get my meal plans and grocery shopping list in order and there are weeks when the whole exercise freaks me out. So you can imagine my excitement when I get a mail from Aussie Farmers Direct asking if I would like to review the new WWFresh Box that has been designed and created by Weight Watchers. Yes please….bring it on!

Aussie Farmers Direct and Weight Watchers – two brands that we are pretty familiar with and so I am not going into the details here. There’s plenty of information on their websites for the newcomers. Instead, I am going to talk about the WWFreshbox; this perfectly packed box full of absolutely gorgeous and fresh ingredients that has been sourced from local farms and food producers. And also, the printed recipes that got me really excited.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

So my choice was the Family Freshbox which includes ingredients and fresh produce to serve 5 meals for 4 people. I have been testing out and cooking from the WWFreshbox for the past couple of days using the Weightwatchers recipes that was included. And here is what I think;

(Aussie Farmers Direct has also offered a generous discount for all the subscribers of The Spice Adventuress. More details at the end of the post)

Pros:

  • No more meal planning – You don’t have to break your head wondering what you are going to cook each day and then shop around for ingredients. You get the ingredients delivered straight to your door with the recipes included. Definitely a time saver!
  • Choose from different types of WWFreshbox – there are plenty of choices when it comes to the size of the WWFreshBox designed to serve 2 or 4 people for 3 or 5 meals. Ensures zero wastage.
  • High Quality Fresh Ingredients – that are packed to perfection in a special temperature controlled box. Aussie Farmers Direct does a brilliant job at sourcing all the produce from local farmers which means that you not only eat healthy and fresh but also support the local community.
  • Free Delivery – Yup, you heard it right….free delivery to your door.
  • Excellent Packaging – Since all the ingredients are packed in a temperature controlled box, everything stays fresh till you reach home and put it away. The vegetables are packed neatly, in sealed containers where necessary and all the protein is in a special cover with gel packs. The gel packs inside can be reused and if you do not wish to keep it, you may leave it inside the box and place it outside on the day your next delivery happens.
  • Delicious and Healthy Recipes – I mean it guys, really delicious recipes. All the recipes are designed by the nutrition experts at Weight Watchers and includes the Smart Points so that you can keep track. And even if you are not watching your weight, you still can eat healthy. The recipes change every week so it doesn’t get boring at all. Every week’s recipes are updated on the website so you can check out that before placing your order.What I really loved about the recipes is that there is no compromise on flavour and taste as you can see from the dish I will be sharing with you guys shortly.

Cons:

  • Delivery can be an issue for those who live in apartments with unit numbers; the box will need to be delivered to a friend’s place or your business address. Also, delivery is currently not available in certain suburbs. Do check if your suburb is covered on the website.
  • No dry ingredients provided.
  • No exclusively vegetarian WWFreshbox.

Getting to my favourite part; the recipe that I tried out from the WW Freshbox and absolutely loved – Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

We are not big on kale in our house. I don’t mind it but the boys are not very enthusiastic about it and the only way I have been able to make them eat it is in a lentil curry. So with this recipe, I was both excited and apprehensive. But went ahead anyway, hoping the bacon will work its magic even if the kale fails.

And let me tell you peeps, we loved it!

This pasta dish was a winner on all counts – it was light, refreshing, healthy, low on calories and super packed with flavour. From prep to finish, on the table in 30 minutes. All thanks to Weight Watchers, we have found our favourite kale dish.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms

Serves: 4

7 SmartPoints® value per serve

Ingredients:

  1. 200gms dried pasta
  2. 5 tsp olive oil
  3. 125gms lean bacon (fat trimmed); chopped
  4. 1 red capsicum; chopped
  5. 200gms button mushrooms; sliced
  6. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  7. 2 small fresh red chilli; finely chopped
  8. 200gms kale; chopped
  9. 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  11. Salt; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per packet instructions till al dente. Drain (reserve ½ cup liquid) and keep aside.
  2. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes till the bacon pieces have turned golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add 2 tsp olive oil and add the garlic, chillies and capsicum. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the mushrooms. Cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes till the mushrooms have softened. Transfer to the same bowl as the bacon.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil and add the kale. Season with salt and cook covered for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Then add ¼ cup water to the kale, mix and continue to cook covered for another 2-3 minutes or till the kale has become tender.
  5. Increase heat and return the bacon and vegetables to the pan. Also add the lemon rind and juice; season with salt if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, half of the reserved liquid and toss on high flame for a few seconds.
  7. Serve warm

I served this pasta dish with a fresh salad made from cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander leaves, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

And if you would like to make this delicious recipe or make several like these, all that you need to do is place an order with Aussie Farmers Direct for the all new WW Freshbox.

Thanks to Aussie Farmers Direct, a special discount code has been offered to all the subscribers of ‘The Spice Adventuress’ (make sure you subscribe to my blog). Enjoy $25 off* with your first WW Freshbox. Use promo code ‘FRESHSPICE’ on checkout – T&Cs below.  

(Offer open to new customers. Minimum spend $65. For full T&Cs visit AussieFarmers.com.au. Valid until 31/08/2016. Order must be placed by 12 noon 30/08/2016.)

So go ahead, place your order today and enjoy fresh ingredients with healthy recipes, delivered straight to your doorstep. And if you prepare the above recipe, make sure to tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I may see it too.

Pasta with Kale, Bacon and Mushrooms - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Aussie Farmers Direct. All the opinions stated in this review are mine; hope it helps you make an informed choice. 

 

‘Food for Thought’ Campaign + a Review of Babu Ji, St. Kilda

Even though my blog started out purely as a recipe based one, over the past two years I have become more and more interested in all aspects of food like restaurants and dining out, growing your own food, local markets, regional food producers, farming stories etc…..

But recently when I was invited to the launch of the ‘Food for Thought’ campaign, an initiative by Opportunity International (Australia), it was taking a step towards one of my food philosophies – using food as a medium not just for sustenance but for the greater good of the world.

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Opportunity International Australia provides small loans to families in developing countries to steer them towards a path of financial independence and thereby a better quality of life. Founded in the 1970s by two businessmen, David Bussau and Al Whittaker, Opportunity has come a long way since offering innumerable families a new lease of life.

Opportunity works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes. And now the company has launched its unique ‘Food for Thought’ campaign which allows us foodies to contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

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For the launch of the ‘Food for Thought’ campaign, a small group of food and lifestyle bloggers, writers and social workers met at Babu Ji, a contemporary Indian restaurant located at The George Building
4–6 Grey Street, St Kilda.

Our host for the evening was Andrew Philp, Director of Philanthropy and the evening began with a short session of how Opportunity works and its rationale behind the ‘Food for Thought’ campaign.

I do not believe in mindless charity; giving away a few dollars here and there is not my idea of helping anyone in need. The money has to reach the right hands and be used to improve lives at a grassroot level, only then can there be progress. And this is why the work that Opportunity does appealed to me; it is not just another charity donating money and supplies. Instead, it helps families to set up a business or get employment by funding small loans which ensures that the people who receive the money do not take it for granted which is very important for real progress.

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So how does food play into all this?

Aussies love their food and we don’t need any more explanation on that front. We love spending time with our family, friends and even strangers bonding over good food.

‘Food for Thought is a great platform for people to come together to help others. Here in Australia we are so fortunate to share in the diverse cultures and cuisines available to us, so why not share your favourite meal with family, friends and colleagues and make a difference at the same time.’

So the campaign runs like this; host your own foodie event with your near and dear, whether it is a backyard barbecue, a Mexican fiesta, a curry night or a footy match party. Set a fundraising goal and help Opportunity raise $100,000 which translates to providing at least 1000 families with the opportunity to start a small scale business. You do not have a raise a huge amount (we are all struggling with personal stuff to dish out hundreds of dollars!); as little as $70 is enough to change a family’s life.

So be generous this season and let’s lend a helping hand to those in need while having a joyous occasion with our loved ones.

I am planning my foodie event soon and you will hear all about it on my social media channels.

Now, before we get to the giveaway part, I have to tell you all about the food we had at the launch event. I have often cribbed about the lack of ‘real’ Indian food here but that was before I stepped into Babu Ji.

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The food was brilliant; there’s no other word for it. And when I mean contemporary, it does not mean modern Indian cuisine. It means traditional Indian dishes using local produce served in an extremely beautiful manner and tastes absolutely delicious. The spread that Babu Ji put up for us was huge and there is not one dish that I can fault (that’s big coming from me because I am usually super critical of Indian food).

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Achari Fish Tikka (my favourite dish from the day), stuffed mushrooms and Gilafi Kebab

Achari Fish Tikka (my favourite dish from the day), stuffed mushrooms and Gilafi Kebab

Naan with a delicious dal, butter chicken, palak paneer and the works.....

Naan with a delicious dal, butter chicken, palak paneer and the works…..

And if you like your beer, then Babu Ji offers a unique experience of choosing your own craft beers from the chiller. This is wonderful news for the beer lovers as there are some real good ones to go along with the excellent food.

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I will definitely be revisiting this restaurant and will surely post a review. For now, here are a few shots of some of the dishes that we had that day…..

And now for the giveaway….

To celebrate the launch of ‘Food For Thought’, Opportunity has teamed up with renowned Melbourne (Babu Ji) and Sydney (Subcontinental) restaurants to offer you the chance to win dinner and drinks for four, on the house plus meet the chefs.

The prize for the Melbourne competition is food and drinks at Babu Ji up to the value of $300.
The prize for the Sydney competition is a banquet dinner for 4 people at Subcontinental and selected matching wines chosen by the restaurant. Not available Fridays or Saturdays.

Take my word for it; you want to win this one as I can personally vouch for the food especially at Babu Ji.

So to take part in the competition, you need to do two things….

1. Follow ‘The Spice Adventuress’ Facebook Page.
2. Visit the Food for Thought campaign page to register your details. All the terms and conditions of the competition can also be read here.

This competition is now closed and winners have been notified.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was invited as a guest to the launch event and the giveaway is sponsored by Opportunity International. But all the opinions and thoughts are entirely mine.

 

Babu Ji Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Season of Salt & Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe – a Review + a Giveaway

If there’s one hobby or passion of mine that has stayed constant over the years, it’s my love for books and reading.

I am happiest when curled up on my couch with a good book in hand. And no matter how tired or harried the day might have been, sleep would never come if I haven’t read a few pages. And ever since my love affair with food started, I have added cookbooks also to my list of must reads.

So very naturally, I got excited when Pan Macmillan Australia approached me to review ‘Season of Salt & Honey’ by Hannah Tunnicliffe.

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A novel of love, grief and antipasti; penned by a food blogger and writer…..do I need to say more??

Season of Salt & Honey is a heartwarming tale of young Francesca Caputo and her gut-wrenching yet beautiful journey through life, love and loss. After the death of the man she loved, Frankie feels an irresistible need to escape from her over bearing Italian American family. She takes refuge in an old wooden cabin set in the idyllic Washington forests, where she slowly begins to recover from her personal grief, where her past relationships take on new meanings and her path crosses with her forest neighbours, quirky and interesting fellow beings.

I connected with Francesca (Frankie) on so many levels (especially the relationship she has with her sister) which made the book even more delightful to read. Peppered throughout the book are Sicilian-American recipes which the foodie in me is just waiting to try out especially the ‘Roasted almond cookies’ and the ‘Spring risotto’. You ought to get this book just for these recipes.

Season of Salt & Honey is a light read but one that stays with you a long time after you have finished reading it. Hannah has a way with words that brings the characters alive as if you have known them all along.

I experienced a strange sense of sadness and joy at the same time after finishing this book. All of us have known grief at some point, especially the grief that comes with the passing away of a loved one. And no matter how difficult it might seem, we all move on too. And sometimes, it can be an eye-opener too as it was for Frankie when half buried truths came to life challenging her emotions once again. Does she give up or does she fight?

Season of Salt & Honey releases today (April 1st) and is available at all leading bookstores across Australia. Make sure to grab a copy!

This is Hannah’s second book, the first being ‘The Colour of Tea’. Love the titles of her books!

I had the opportunity to have a chat with Hannah and here’s what we spoke about;

Hannah Tunnicliffe_2_Copyright Jody Lidstone

1. A bit on the real Hannah Tunnicliffe…

She is a writer, a Mum, a wanderer, a foodie and a dreamer.

2. How did this writing journey start? Was it a conscious decision to become a writer or a random result of life?

Great question. I made a conscious decision to be and do something different but I was unsure what that something was. Previously I was the Director of Human Resources for a 4,000 employee business in Macau, China. After becoming dissatisfied and burnt out I finally decided to quit my job and actively follow my ‘natural curiosities’. I did a range of things including career coaching, fundraising for a local orphanage and eating a lot of macarons! At the same time I dedicated myself to writing 1,000 words a day. The sum of those efforts and days eventually became my first novel, The Colour of Tea (published by Pan Macmillan).

3. And food! When did you discover your love for all things food?

I can’t remember a time I wasn’t in love with food. I believe that food is our earliest memory of love and that ensures our ongoing fascination and affection for it. Nourishment and sensory pleasure – what’s not to adore?


4. Personally, I find the best kind of cookbooks are those which tell a story. So far, there has only been one that has fulfilled that promise. Now looking forward to yours…..where did the idea for this book come from? How excited are you with this project?

I am very excited! While food was always a strong feature in Season of Salt and Honey it wasn’t until recently it was suggested to me that I include recipes for some of the food mentioned in the story. So I got cracking on recipe testing! I have had requests for recipes from readers of my first book, The Colour of Tea so I am thrilled to include them in Season of Salt and Honey.

5. How different is this book from your first one, ‘The Colour of Tea?’

Season of Salt and Honey has a very different setting from The Colour of Tea – the cool and serene Washington State coastal rainforest vs. thriving, bustling Macau – but the themes in the books are similar and include love, grief, escape and hope. I also hope I have created characters that are as intriguing and endearing as my readers tell me they found those in The Colour of Tea.

6. In keeping with the characters and location, Season of Salt and Honey features Sicilian American recipes. Any particular reason behind choosing this cuisine?

Francesca (Frankie) Caputo, the protagonist in Season of Salt and Honey is Italian-American. Her father’s family are from Sicily and her mother’s family are from Calabria so the book contains Sicilian, Calabrian and American style recipes. All the recipes were created using food already mentioned in the story and many recipes are quite symbolic of the plot and the characters within it.

7. What is your favourite food/cuisine in the world? And your most memorable meal?

I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine (but will gladly eat almost anything fresh and delicious!) A memorable meal that immediately springs to mind was a dinner I had at The China Club in Hong Kong for my thirtieth birthday. Beautiful Chinese dishes served amongst 1920’s private club style décor while a jazz singer serenaded us and then wished me a very happy birthday. I was in heaven.

8. Currently settled in Auckland, NZ do you see the nomad in you packing bags soon again?

I am so happy to return to New Zealand after many travels abroad that I’m not looking to move anytime soon but…. you never know! These days my adventures are local – to food markets, galleries and museums, and taking road trips up and down the stunning NZ coastline.

9. Ria Voros and forkandfiction.com – how did this collaborative venture happen?

Ria Voros is a fellow author, Mum and food enthusiast. I met her during a writing course (she was the teacher!) and we became firm friends. When I suggested that we collaborate on a blog about our dearest topics – food and writing and books and family – she was keen as mustard. Ria writes wonderful children’s / YA fiction, you should check her out here: www.riavoros.com

10. Finally, what does the future look like?

I have no idea! I cross my fingers that it includes more books, more delicious food, a healthy and happy family.

Pan Macmillan has been generous enough to provide me with an extra copy of ‘Season of Salt & Honey’ to giveaway to one lucky reader. So while I am off to bake a batch of the almond cookies, you head over and take part in the competition. All the best!

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To be in the running for this giveaway, here’s what you must do;

1. Subscribe to my blog using your email id.
2. Leave a comment stating the name of your favourite book/novel. (Only entries with comments will be considered).
3. Cross your fingers!

Note – The competition is open for only Australian residents (sorry to my other readers). This giveaway will run from April 1st, 2015 to April 10th, 2015. The name of the winner will be notified on the blog and all my social media channels (if you aren’t following any, this would be a good time to). The winner will have 48 hours to get in touch with me; failure to do so will result in the drawing of another winner.

This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been chosen.

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