So add this to the list of things for Aussies and Kiwis to fight over – the flat white. Along with lamingtons and pavlova we both lay claim this antipodean beverage, something I always took for granted as the most boring of the espresso-based drinks. I never realised the flat white had such controversial origins, nor the fact that it would one day become the coffee of choice for hipsters from New York to London.

But the flat white is not the reason I decided to visit Allpress’s flagship store in trendy Ponsonby, Auckland; frankly, I couldn’t care less about flat whites, miniscule coffees are more my scene. I’d been a fan of Allpress ever since I came accross it’s Sydney Roasterie in Zetland. When I first bloogged about them, I cited them as the Kiwi export I’d most like to call my own. So I was excited to check out their teensy Ponsonby store and see what’s what.

auckland coffee

We arrived on a rainy I’m-not-sure-what-day-it-was, as we spent the majority of our trip to NZ drinking and thus time ceased to have much meaning. Ponsonby road is a strip of cafés and restaurants with an up-to-the-minute but kind of upmarket feel – a little bit Balmain with a touch of Paddington. But smaller. And quieter. Allpress is a narrow shop with a few stools inside and outside and a couple of tables. From what I can tell, they only serve coffee and biscuits.

coffee auckland

I’m glad I was travelling with our Texan host, who doesn’t drink the coffees Senhor R and I do (a macch and a piccollo, full cream, no sugar if you ever want to shout us). It gave me an entirely different take on the place than I would’ve had if I’d just gone with Senhor R. Ms Texan stepped up to the counter and ordered her standard fare – a large trim (skim) flat white with two equals, in a takeaway cup. Only to be told they don’t have large cups. Or equal. Or trim (skim) milk.

Now, I know there are places with only one size of cups, and places that don’t stock equal. Or maybe they don’t have syrups, or soy milk. But it seems really fricking WEIRD to me to run a cafe that prepares nothing but coffee and not to offer your customers skim milk. I also think it’s weird that the people working there didn’t think this was weird, if you know what I mean. This wasn’t announced anywhere, a la Bar Italia et. al. This wasn’t a voluntary simplicity/freedom from choice philosophy they just…don’t…have…skim. Or soy. Or equal. Or large cups.

My coffee was good, Senhor R’s was too milky. Ms Texan’s? Well, it was too creamy, small and sugary, if you really want to know. I’d go back for sure, but I doubt she will, which is a shame as she live in Auckland.


Allpress Coffee
266 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
+64 9 376 4726
Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm
Saturday 8.30am – 4.00pm
Sunday 9.00am – 3.00pm

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#pavbloghop

I have to admit that I’m a little bit surprised by my own cooking these days. There are times when it is just so damn…traditional. I find myself saying things like ‘the classics are classics for a reason.’ The cookbooks I’m collecting are published by the Australian Women’s Weekly. I find myself craving things like a sausage. On white bread. With tomato sauce. Could this be my palate’s backlash against the multicultural Australian table? Will I be reduced to eating meat and three boiled veg the rest of my days?!

#pavbloghop

Somehow I don’t think so. Although I enjoy the pleasures of a simple meal as much as the next minimalist cooking guru, I don’t think my love of fresh baked bread with butter is going to kill off my longing for a good Vietnamese feed, adapted from the real deal or not. Another thing to remember is that while some food may seem exotic to me, they’re just business as usual for those that grew up with them.

All this is really just a roundabout way of saying that when I signed up for today’s pavlova blog hop, I knew I wouldn’t be getting fancy. I knew I’d be sticking with ‘old faithful’, The Australian Women’s weekly 4 egg pav. I’m lazy, so I knew I’d be topping it with whipped cream and frozen raspberries and nothing more, even thought there’s nothing I like better than what I consider the classic pav fruit combo: passionfruit, mango, banana, kiwi fruit and strawberries.

#pavbloghop

Raspberry Pav (From The Australian Women’s Weekly)

4 eggs whites (tip: separate them in a separate bowl, pouring them into the bowl you will beat them in one by one. Nothing worse than having to chuck out 4 yolked whites rather than two)
1 cup sugar

300ml cream, thickened or pure
3 teaspoons icing sugar mixture
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Frozen raspberries, to top – I used close to two cups

Preheat your oven to 120°c (110°c fan forced). Line a flat tray with baking paper, draw a 15-20cm circle on it if you like.

Make sure everything (bowl, beaters) is completely dry. Beat the eggs for about 10 minutes on high speed, until firm-ish peaks form. I use an electric hand beater, this may take less time with a standing mixer, I have no idea.

Add the sugar bit by bit, still beating. Wait until the sugar is completely dissolved before adding more. I did this in about 5 lots, it took about 3 minutes.

Shape your pavlova on the tray, levelling it so that it has a flat top. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, turn off the oven, open the door and allow the pav to cool completely in the oven.

Meanwhile, whip together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

When the pav is completely cooled, carefully peel off the baking paper, place on a plate and decorate. It’s great served immediately or over the next few days.

What about you? What’s your fave ‘traditional’ recipe?

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We all have that New Zealand export we’d just love to claim as our own. It may be an actress, band, TV show or recipe. It won’t surprise you that my case, it’s a coffee roaster.

Allpress Espresso started in New Zealand, now has a roastery in Zetland, Sydney, has opened a café in London and is slowly spreading its brand to cafés all over Sydney. They even have an iphone app to help you track down their brews.

Much like Flint and Steel, Allpress Espresso in Zetland is a coffee roaster as well as a café, but in the case of Allpress, it’s more than a hole-in-the-wall. It’s all slick stainless steel, marble bench tops and sheets of glass, industrial-chic with a touch of retro fitting right into its Zetland surrounds. You can see right through the cavernous space to the roasterie and watch them work their magic on the beans. Or, you know, forklift sacks of coffee around. Whatevs.

It’s one of those places where I’ve never had a bad coffee but at the same time, the last few times I’ve stopped by it’s been less than stellar. I don’t know how to explain what I mean, but the coffee tastes ‘rushed’ these days. That said, I’m a huge fan of their Carmelo and City Espresso blends which I often buy for home use.

The focus may be on the coffee but there is also quite a good menu of things like pastries, sandwiches, cakes, artisanal breads and breakfasts like soft-boiled eggs with sourdough soldiers, avocado and ricotta. It’s the kind of food I’d refer to as ‘assemblage’ rather than cooking but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty.

Allpress is one of those places where you want to time your visit carefully. Like many of my faves its closed on Sundays. Unless you’re into waiting for a table, on a weekday, the pre-work coffee rush is a bad time to go, and on Saturday it’s not so great to show up in the morning as the breakky/brunch crowd takes over. I’ve had quite good luck at 2pm, but then again, maybe I should just learn some patience.

What NZ export would you like to claim as your own?

Allpress Espresso
58 Epsom Road, Zetland 2017
(02) 9662 8288
Monday-Friday 7:00am – 3:00pm
Saturday 8:00am – 2:00pm

Allpress Espresso on Urbanspoon

Yesterday Lorraine over at Not Quite Nigella described the special treat of being given 20 cents to buy something at the school fete and tossing up between honey joys, pikelets, toffees and other assorted goodies, eventually choosing whichever was the biggest. This reminded me of another nostalgic gastronomic occasion – kids’ parties, where the unfettered appetites of small children are allowed to run wild.

When I was a child, my parents would let me and my brothers have a party with our friends every second year, and we’d always get to choose a cake out of the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Birthday Cake Cookbook, which, incidentally is one of The Age’s most influential Australian Cookbooks. The cake, be it a train, a Disney character, a doll or a swimming pool filled with green jelly (this was way back in the olden days before blue jelly was invented) would take centre stage amongst the mini frankfurts, party pies, sausage rolls, butterfly cakes and fairy bread on the table. This was one of my favourites, I think I had it for my 5th birthday.

Kids’ parties were never the place to worry about nutrition. Many a picture of me graces the family albums wearing a crooked party hat and an insane sugar-fuelled grin, my mouth smeared with tomato sauce and a trail of hundreds and thousands down the front of my party dress. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fairy bread is another of the few Australian/New Zealand recipes, along with Pavlova and Lamingtons that are entirely unique to their region. It’s something you just take for granted and never give a second thought until someone presents a plate of it to you, and then it takes you back to that place of sugar-fuelled madness not exclusively reserved for children. I have wanted to post a recipe for fairy bread for a while but it’s so easy to make it hardly seemed worth recording. Then I realised that there are probably thousands of recipes that have been forever lost because people thought they were ‘too obvious’ or ‘just common sense.’ To be fair, fairy bread has appeared all over the web, even on U.S. superblog The Kitchn, an arm of Apartment therapy so it’s in no danger of being lost any time soon. But I still want to post it myself, because I love it.

The key to fairy bread is soft, mass produced bread- no other kind will do. Also, make sure you use hundreds and thousands, the round, crunchy rainbow sprinkles rather than the flat ones. Always be sure to spread the butter all the way to the crust. And finally, rather than sprinkling the hundreds and thousands over the thinly-buttered bread, pour them onto a plate and dip the bread in, allowing the sprinkles to stick.

Fairy bread
1 loaf of fresh, soft, white bread
Softened butter (or margarine if you must)
1 large packet of hundreds and thousands

Pour the hundreds and thousands into a plate or flat bowl. Spread as many slices of bread as you like with a layer of butter.

Dunk the bread into the hundreds and thousands, butter side down. Shake off any excess. Cut the bread into four triangles.

Serve to whoever is closest. It’ll be demolished in 5 minutes flat.

What’s your favourite childhood party food?

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