Sunday, 10 April 2011

Lavarock - A Great View & Dining at Lake Taupo

The road trip through the North Island had us arriving in Taupo with growling bellies and in need of a quick meal if we were to ever make it to Wellington at a somewhat hospitable hour.  We had taken in a visit to the Huka Falls and my limited photographic skills could never take in the majestic colour of the water. It was a real treat and one that my husband morosely reminded us that we never knew when we will ever get back to them again, and given my last visit was a child, it hit a raw nerve.  It was that raw nerve I suspect that buoyed me into buying enough kiwiana in Taupo to fill another suitcase.  Given it was mid week on our arrival I didn't hold out much hope of finding anything too special to consume. The town was also preparing for the Ironman due that weekend and a few early competitors had started arriving, despite the influx of visitors there is a sleepy quietness to Taupo. 

We decided to park up and take a wander near the lakeside, my tired driver Mr T was in the mood for a pub meal so to whet his appetite we headed towards the pub on the main corner. We chanced upon Lavarock - a cheerfully decorated cafe that seems to be hidden among its garish neighbours.


View Larger Map

The Lavarock is part of a growing chain in New Zealand known as the Stonegrill. The group adopts the concept of cooking at the customer's table on heated volcanic rocks. There are no cooking oils or fats used in the process.  We decided to start the meal with some simple bread & dips as it had been a long few hours since our swim in the surf at Papamoa Beach and our stomachs were grumbling.  Quite a delicious start with a freshly baked loaf, lightly seasoned with rosemary, rock salt and olives. The accompanying spreads of olive oil, balsamic, dukkah, butter and a babaganoush were tasty & moreish. As we had to hit the road before it got dark we decided to share a seafood grill  - a lovely plate of fresh seafood arrived on the sizzling stone.  It came with fries and a dipping sauce, and we orders steamed vegetables on the side. It was a race however to get the scallops, prawns and mussels off and consumed before being over done on the stone. The seafood was delicious and fresh however the dipping sauces did little to improve on the great taste.  A satisfactory meal was had and in the time we dined a number of guests started to arrive. Paying the bill was a slow process, an extremely slow one so we grabbed some coffees and a delicious slice of lemon cake "to-go"on our long drive southward.  The breakfast menu looked good too - hopefully our next trip to Taupo will give us a chance to sample it - if we don't get to and you do please let me know what you thought okay?!

Posted via email from Radhika's posterous

The Espressoholic Chocolate Silk Cake... My Chocolate Coma

I will always have a keen bias toward my old hometown Wellington, this small capital city of New Zealand has a fascinating and vibrant cafe culture. My desire for good coffee developed early (well as early as my mother permitted but it didn't take long to embed itself).  In the 90s Wellington's night life also captured a nation - with great dining and popular clubs, bars and lounges to go to, it was a great place to go out and spend your misspent youth!  Dancing for hours on end and arriving home as the sun came up was more common than not. The compactness of the city and relative safety meant it was more than accessible and I would often have friends from the bigger, faster and more populous city of Auckland coming to Wellington to "have a good time".  

The two sides of Wellington always came nicely together with late night cafes like Espressoholic. This place was an institution, its future and survival making the city's papers buoyed by loyal patrons eager to see its survival.  It has moved yet again since I left town and I have not had the pleasure of visiting it at its latest home.  But the memories are there and I was delighted when an old friend of mine posted a copy of the infamous Espressoholic Silk Chocolate cake. This insanely rich and decadent cake can swiftly put you into what I like to call a "chocolate coma", and it had that effect when I recently made it for a friend's dinner party - 3/4 kilo of Lindt chocolate will do that to you.

There are some modifications I would make to the recipe - I wasn't happy with the base (skill rather than recipe) and would be tempted to try it without one at all or using a tried and true biscuit base from one of my cheesecake recipes.  The chocolate silk is divine and I can see myself experimenting with it in a number of different desserts. 

View Larger Map


250g packet plain sweet biscuits
125g butter, melted
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cocoa
750g dark chocolate
250g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
4 eggs

1. Place biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crumbed.

2. Mix together melted butter and chocolate chips, then combine with biscuit crumbs, cinnamon and cocoa.

3. Press crumb mixture into the base and sides of a 23cm springform cake pan. Refrigerate until cold and firm.

4. Gently melt the chocolate, either in a microwave or a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just-simmering water.

5. Mix together the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Whisk eggs, then add to butter and sugar.

6. Pour chocolate into butter mixture and mix well. Pour chocolate filling into the base and the smooth the surface.

7. Chill cake in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours. Cut into thin slices with a hot knife before serving.

Posted via email from Radhika's posterous

It's Not a Dirty F-word and Can Help You be Persuasive

Persuasion - it can be elusive as a Saturday night lotto win but powerful enough to gain you a seat at the high stakes table. Have you ever wondered how some people can manage to be so convincing and yet their message isn't really that captivating, interesting or significant? They must be Fascinating?

According to Sally Hogshead, a mistress of persuasion and veteran of the advertising industry, we have seven potential Fascination triggers: power, trust, mystique, prestige, vice, alarm, and lust. Each trigger leads to a different style of communication, and a different type of relationship.  And it doesn't end there, you can be Fascinating by being YOU!  By understanding and perfecting your personality triggers you can craft an influential message.

Carrying out research on 1,059 people, Hogshead (who proudly embraces her name) developed the F-Score - a test that you can take to find out how fascinating you are.  In reality the test which you wou can take here  can help you identify which of the seven triggers you naturally apply in your own life and how to harness them to aid your influencing and persuasive skills.  Your results will include your primary, secondary and dormant triggers.  

I enjoyed and giggled at my primary trigger and am aware that like most tests, our responses can  be as aspirational as accurate.

Hogshead's book "Fascinate" is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  And pardon the pun, it should make for a fascinating read!

Posted via email from Radhika's posterous