18 November 2010

Floriditas

Floriditas is my favourite cafe anywhere, hence why it gets a post all to itself plus over the weekend we managed 3 breakfasts and 2 dinners there! Great coffee, great food and great atmosphere.  This wonderful little establishment can be found at 161 Cuba St in Wellington.
Cuba St is one of Wellington's oldest thoroughfares and is named after an early (1840) settler ship to New Zealand, the Cuba. It was once the route of the Wellington trams. The middle section of the street was closed to traffic in 1969, and is now the bustling Cuba Mall. Since 1995, Cuba Street has been a registered Historic Area under the Historic Places Act 1993, with numerous buildings being of historic significance.  It is one of the more bohemian areas of Wellington, and has an eclectic collection of cafes, op-shops, boutique, small fashion stores, art galleries, and music shops.

Floriditas is full of old world charm, you could be in a cafe in Paris or some other grand European city.  Very bohemian chic with high ceilings, tiled walls and tall frosted windows, they even serve tea in proper china tea cups.

Flo's, as it is affectionately known by locals, is relaxed and casual with a focus on seasonal food that is simple and delicious with fresh, bright flavours, and all sourced from the finest suppliers both local and around NZ delivering fresh, vibrant flavours.  They open for breakfast and go right through to dinner and go from day time cafe to evening restaurant seamlessly.

So our first morning there was only one place to go for breakfast to kick off our weekend in Wellington.  Long blacks for Dad and me and a cup of English Breakfast for Mum.  For me scrambled eggs with Akaroa smoked salmon, smoked mackerel hash with poached eggs for Dad and for Mum, asparagus, poached eggs and hollandaise.  All delicious.  Tempted by all the pretty little cakes on display but managed to resist...this time anyway, whether that will last the whole weekend is any one's guess!

Headed back in the evening for dinner.  The aim was not to over indulge too much so we passed on entrees, however the desserts proved too much to resist and were so worth it.  I had the Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto and Gremolata Crumbs.  Creamy with perfectly cooked, crisp bright green asparagus and the gremolata crumb the perfect finishing touch, as always a little lemon zest in just about anything works a little magic. Gremolata is a traditional Italian flavouring.  Simply finely chop some parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  Great in breadcrumbs as with this risotto or as finishing to touch to fish, chicken or stews and casseroles. Just add before serving to give any of them a bright tasty lift.

Will be trying this one at home before asparagus season is over and luckily enough it appears in their new cookbook Floriditas - Morning, Noon and Night.  Yes of course I had to buy a copy!

Asparagus and Parmesan Risotto and Gremolata Crumbs

Ingredients
Serves 2-3

For the gremolata crumbs
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp butter, melted
Salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

For the risotto
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200 g arborio rice
1 lt vegetable or chicken stock, hot (so this will also work for my veggie friends!)
20 thin spears of asparagus, cut in to 2 inch lengths and sliced again lengthwise
Juice of 1 lemon
100 g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions

In a heavy based saucepan saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter on a medium low heat until translucent, don't let them brown.  Add the rice and toss around the pan to coat the grains with the oil and saute for a few minutes.  Season with salt.  Start adding the stock, adding half a cup at a time, stirring until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Add the asparagus towards the end of cooking, as you still want it bright green and with a little crunch.  Once all of the stock has been absorbed, add the lemon juice, Parmesan and parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  For the gremolata mix all the ingredients together.

Serve the risotto in shallow bowls and sprinkle over the gremolata crumbs.  Buon Appetito!

For dessert we couldn't go past the Brown Sugar Pavlova and Cointreau, Oranges and Pistachio Sprinkles and the Churos and Valrohna Dipping Chocolate...seriously if you love chocolate it is almost impossible to go past Valrohna anything.  The pav was crunchy on the outside and a chewy in the middle, just how I like it.  And the pistachio sprinkles were no ordinary pistachios they were caramel coated and the perfect foil for the orange.  As you can imagine dessert heaven.  And then the churos...fresh,  warm donuts dipped in Valrohna dipping sauce were donuty chocolatey heaven.  Being Wellington the advantage is that you can walk almost anywhere within the city centre which is just as well with all the temptations on offer.



Back for breakfast number 2 and Floriditas home baked 5 grain bread with champagne ham off the bone, poached eggs and hollandaise.
They also have the most delicious marmalade made with real Seville oranges that give that beautiful tart flavour.  Mum and I were very curious to find out where the get their Seville oranges from as we have never been able to find then here in NZ.  They get them from a grower in the Hawke's Bay and take the whole crop!

Our last evening in Wellington and I know there are so many places we could have gone, but Floriditas has just become such a favourite we like to make the most of it while I am in Wellington.  We all decided on nibbles and entrees to leave room for dessert.  So to start chicken and thyme croquettes and salty bread sticks with a white bean puree.  The white bean puree was especially good, rich and creamy and the perfect combo with the thin and crispy salty bread sticks.

This was followed by  zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and chives for me.  Love zucchini flowers and they are just so good stuffed and fried.  Crispy on the outside and all the ricotta and chives oozing on the inside.  For Mum Split Pea and Fennel Soup which was fresh and fragrant, a really lovely Spring soup, and for Dad a Chicken and Pork Terrine with Red Pepper Mayo and Pickles.  I loved the pickles.  A combination of gherkins, capers and onions all chopped up and served on crostini.  A tasty sharp accompaniment for the terrine.


And to finish more pav, churos (just as decadent and delicious the second time round!) and branched out with a third dessert: Affogato with Amaretto and Espresso.  Simple and delicious.
So there is only one way to finish this post and that would be with a recipe from their cookbook.  Feeling like practicing my baking skills and haven't made scones in years so thought I would give these cheese and rocket scones a go as they would make the perfect light dinner with some of my  Carrot, Coriander and Orange Soup.

Cheese and Rocket Scones adapted from Floriditas Morning, Noon and Night with a few tweaks and tips from Mum.

Ingredients
Makes 8 enormous scones!  I prefer smaller ones and this made 16.  If going for larger scones add a few more minutes to the cooking time.

450g flour
4 1/2 tsp baking
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
Small pinch cayenne pepper
115g cold butter diced
250 - 350 ml milk
2 1/4 cups grated cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
40g rocket roughly chopped
(I also added 1 egg as this is what makes a good scone great, next time I will be using 2 eggs)

Directions


Pre-heat oven to 190C
Sift the flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt and pepper
Rub the butter into the flour
Add the grated cheese and rocket and mix a little until they are lightly coated with the flour
Add the eggs and then just enough milk to bring the dough together
Turn on to a lightly floured bench and lightly work, don't over work as you want light and fluffy scones.  Cut in to whatever shape you like.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with a little extra cheese.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Let them cool or dig right in with some butter!  Not bad for my first effort in well over a decade.  Next time 2 eggs and even daintier little scones.


 Enjoy!

8 comments:

  1. Yum - looks incredible. makes me want to book a flight to Wellington right now!!

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  2. Yes you must must go if in Welly!

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  3. It does look like a great place to eat, I love zucchini flowers too and have always wanted to make them myself but never been able to buy them......I suppose I wil have to grown them myself!

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  4. Brilliant place to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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  5. @peasepudding,,,,hoping to have lots of zucchini flowers soon,,,certainly a heap of plants planted!

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  6. YUM I love this place. Haven't been for anything except breakfast, but I intend on doing so asap - AND I've lived here for 6 years! Glad your enjoyed your trip

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  7. @ heartbreak pie,,,you must. Their desserts are amazing.
    PS: Like your blog, made me smile & laugh :)

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