Category Archives: Food and Drinks

My Homemade Gumbo


homemade gumbo

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by My Utensil Crock


Dearest Sultana,

Last month I participated in “the Growing Edge” a link up party and was thrilled to look through the other entries and even tried out Fried Egg Tofu by Nom Nom Panda (which was a great success in my house) and I’m very tempted to try out This was Dinner’s Homemade Potato Gnocchi when I can find some time.

So this month, after trying out that super delicious gumbo Read the rest of this entry

Strawberry Picking


Strawberry Farm

Dearest Sultana,

My husband has a customer who is also a friend who owns a strawberry farm. Come strawberry season we would be welcomed down to his farm and given baskets to pick strawberries to our hearts content Read the rest of this entry

First Tastes of Gumbo



I was recently invited by Genie of Bunny Eats Design to participate in “The Growing Edge

Our Growing Edge is the part of us that is still learning and experimenting. It’s the part that you regularly grow and improve, be it from real passion or a conscious effort. This monthly event aims to connect and inspire us to try new things and to compile a monthly snapshot of what food bloggers are getting up to.


After rereading the criteria, I believe this post will fit in nicely.

October’s Growing Edge host is Alice from Nom Nom Cat.

Hi Alice, your Ratatouille looks magnificent! Please accept my submission:

Dearest Sultana,

A little while ago I wrote about my first attempt making enchiladas and Casey Webb of said I should try Gumbo next. Read the rest of this entry

Day Trip to Devonport


Dearest Sultana,

May has been sick all weekend. It started with a mild fever on Friday which became quite high by Saturday and slowly improved on Sunday. This meant that we were home bound all weekend.

On Monday she was all better but I wanted to keep an eye on her so I kept her at home. Four days of being cooped up in the house with these two girls was beginning to wear on me though so I decided to make a trip to Devonport with the two.


Read the rest of this entry

My Enchilada Adventures


Dearest Sultana,

In NZ, we don’t really get exposed to much Mexican food. I mean I often buy the Old El Paso kits and since I don’t know any better, they’re pretty good for me. Last few years though, it seems like there has been an emergence of Mexican culture and foods. One I have gone to quite often is Mexico nearby Britomart (they have a few more branches now), I don’t know if it’s authentic but to uneducated me, it seemed authentic enough and really good. The menu keeps changing and there is always something new and interesting to try. The ingredients are really fresh and the herbs and spices aromatic and memorable. In a way, it is like Indonesian food where the spices are strong and flavoursome too. Unfortunately the prices are a bit more than what I can afford on a regular basis, so it’s reserved for special date lunches with my sisters only.

So when I came across a recipe for homemade chicken enchiladas by Comfort Cooking Aboard, I was very Read the rest of this entry

Kayak Fishing Tuesday


Dearest Sultana,

Kayak Fishing Tuesday has finally come and gone and the weather delivered on it’s promise. It was a bright sunshiny day. My husband left home at 5AM and launched at 6.10AM on Sullivan’s Bay.


The water was calm and he said in there was a flurry of snapper activity the first hour but there were no more bites after that. He stayed on for a while longer, trying to catch some Trevally but to no avail.

Here’s his catch:


Not bad!

He shared some with his co-workers and brought home 3 snappers.

He scaled and gutted them, then passed them onto me. I cut them into steaks and put them in the deep fryer.


Sorry for the colour of the photo. I only have my phone camera. It sure tasted good though. Moist on the inside, crisp on the outside. We all feasted on fish tonight, the kids loved their fish, which was so good to see. They are usually a bit picky when it comes to fish. It was nice eating fish again after two weeks off. I think this is the beginning of another great fishing season. My husband is already planning his next fishing trip this Saturday.


Ice lemon tea


Dearest Sultana

Feel pretty good today. Did some grocery shopping in the morning then went home, got June to bed and started juicing 5 kg worth of lemons. To freeze and use to make lemon juice. More on lemon juice in a sec.

Used my food processor, even so it took me about 40 minutes! Thought I’d be done in no time with my recently discovered old-new food processor. Its been sitting in its box for the past 2 years, since before we moved  to this house really.

So last week when I had a peep into its box I became inspired and so today I decided to mass juice lemons (while they’re still in season and cheap), make a batch of German bratknoddle and another batch of meatballs. The food processor did cut down on some of the messy time but I still spent almost 4 hours and by the time I was shaping the meatballs to go in the oven, I was getting a headache and getting nauseous from the garlicky smell of the choritzo sausage meat that went into the meatballs. And the meatballs were cooked just in time for school pick up time.

So back to the lemon tea. I have a lot of weaknesses regarding food (and drinks to a lesser degree). I know I eat too much but I love food and I love comfort food even more, starchy foods, soups, foods that remind me of childhood. Of all the yummy things I can think of, iced lemon tea is all the way somewhere the top of the list.

I only started drinking lemon tea back when I was in school in Singapore. Its a common drink there, all kinds of brands. It was sold as a soft drink and was everywhere. When we moved to NZ, I really began to miss it and at first I couldn’t find any of it in NZ, over time they started importing it but they didn’t import “Seasons” which was my favourite brand, later on they imported Pokka lemon tea but it doesn’t taste quite like I remember it. And then later on Lipton started selling in the supermarkets, but even that wasn’t quite right. Oh and for a short time Coca-cola produced a lemon tea brand too, I think it was called Nestea and that was quite good but was discontinued. Sigh…

Strangely enough I never thought about making my own… I must have tried but got discouraged when it wasn’t how I liked it.

Fast forward many years later, tried again and hit the perfect recipe. And its so very simple, I have no idea why it took me so long!

Four ingredients: water, sugar, tea, lemon juice!
I used to use English Breakfast tea and that works very well but lately I’ve been experimenting with one bag English Breakfast and one bag Earl Grey and I really like it. I don’t know, maybe the bergamont from the Earl Grey will become too strong overtime and I might go back to the original recipe but for now I’m sticking with it. I also discovered on Garden Betty that adding a pinch of baking soda gives the tea a better and smoother taste. To be honest, I can only taste a very slight improvement but any improvement is good and it only takes me a second to add a pinch.

So the revised recipe for my Ice Lemon tea:
1 bag English Breakfast tea
1 bag Earl Grey tea
500ml just boiled water
Sugar, lots of it (I use about a cup but its a matter of personal choice)
Pinch of baking powder
3 juicy lemons, squeezed
Water to top up
Mix boiling water, tea bags, sugar and baking powder in a big jug and allow to steep.
Add cold water and lemon juice.  Mix and you’re done!
I like to use this a bit like a cordial and pour half of this mix and half water on to a glass of ice. Keep jug in fridge.
Especially good on a hot summers day, but its just the beginning of spring and I’m already making it a few times a week.

PS. When I’m feeling a bit bad about my sugar intake, I use a mix of granulated stevia and regular sugar.