Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fika With Me

Tucked in the heart of Birkenhead is the most delightful little place. What was once one half of Dutch Delight has now become one of my favourite cafes. Judging by the amount of regulars that visit, it is obvious that it has become the new favourite in the area.

The interior is simple and welcoming. The wooden tables and white stools are inviting. The big chalkboard explains their dining philosophy:

"'Fika' to us. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. It is a window of opportunity to appreciate good things in life."

Below are a few of our favourite dishes.

Spicy Chai Latte - $4.50, Orange Juice - $5.00
The coffee here is always on point. The spicy chai here is the best I've had in Auckland - creamy and not too sweet. The juices and smoothies are also great picks - Green Power is my favourite.

Chili Scrambled Eggs - $17.00
Your usual scrambled eggs gets a makeover with the addition of chili peppers. The chili adds a touch of freshness to the creamy eggs but does not add an excessive amount of heat. The eggs are well complimented by the gourmet pork sausage and crunchy ciabatta. I must admit that I didn't touch the tomato relish very much as I thought the dish didn't need it.

Good 'V'agel - $14.00
The second page of the menu has a great selection of toppings for Best Ugly Bagels. The option of halloumi, vine tomatoes, basil pesto and cream cheese is one of the better vegetarian options I've seen around Auckland. The pesto and tomatoes are full of flavour and the ciabatta is perfect to soak up the delicious juices.

Fika Bene - $17.00
The Fika Bene is Jason's favourite dish. The eggs are perfectly poached and the creamy hollandaise goes well with the streaky bacon. Despite all of these wonderful tasting components, the homemade hash brown is the hero of the dish. The incredibly crunchy outer shell is thicker than normal and covers a roughly mashed potato with varied texture. Mmmm...

Hot Chicken Bagel - $15.00
Lastly, my favourite dish - the Hot Chicken Bagel. No matter how much I want to branch out, I mostly always end up ordering this dish. The seasoning on the crispy chicken is better than the Colonel's secret spices and is accompanied by a fresh mango salsa. This is what I would recommend to anyone who visits for the first time - whether you are there for breakfast or brunch.

Fika With Me is definitely worth a visit. The food is fantastic, the coffee is great and the staff are super friendly.
Come and say hi to the friendly owner and barista :)

 Fika With Me can be found at 5 Birkenhead Ave, Birkenhead, Auckland.
Fika With Me Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Monday, February 8, 2016

One Hour Spicy Pickled Cucumber

Happy Chinese New Year, my friends!

If you have someone Chinese in your family, you will no doubt have been overfed at some sort of New Year celebration. This is our version of Christmas.

For Chinese New Year meals, I usually play the part of mum's sous chef and get to contribute a few small dishes to the main meal. This year, my contribution was a spicy pickled cucumber. 

I learned this recipe from a new friend last year and it has been part of my menu whenever we have braised pork, dumplings, BBQs and any dish that requires a nice fresh component. 

What I love about this recipe is that it is so quick to make and impressive to look at. In fact, I love this recipe so much that it has replaced my very own.

Laoganma Spicy Chili Sauce and Chinkiang Vinegar

The secret to this great tasting pickle is some Laoganma Spicy Chili Sauce and Chinkian Vinegar.  The Vinegar is a type of black rice vinegar from Jiangsu Province in China and tastes like a more earthy version of balsamic vinegar. 

Laoganma is probably one of the most well known spicy chili sauces in China and is my favourite addition to dumpling sauces, noodles and stirfry dishes. It is a fragrant blend of chilis, soy beans and other goodies ready made for your meals (note: I am not being sponsored by them or anything, I am just a major fan girl).

Step 3: adding all the ingredients
If you're having a meal involving many rich dishes, why not give this recipe a go? 

One Hour Spicy Pickled Cucumber
(Adapted from a family recipe)


1 telegraph cucumber
2 Tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
3 Tablespoons light soy sauce (I prefer Pearl River Bridge brand)
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 Tablespoon Laoganma spicy chili sauce


1. Thinly slice the cucumber on the diagonal, 2/3 way through.
2. Turn the cucumber over and thinly slice 1/2 way through.
3. Place the cucumber into a seal-able tupperware container and add the remaining ingredients.
4. Close the lid and shake vigorously.
5. Place container in the fridge for 1 hour, removing halfway through to shake again.
6. Prior to serving, cut the cucumber right through with a pair of food scissors to separate it into bite size pieces.