Tag Archives: BBQ

Sensational Summer Salad

Hands up those who have eaten the grain Quinoa (pronounced Kin Wah). It’s apparently one of the most easily digested foods on the planet. Being vegetarian, I’d attempted using this grain in meals before, but been completely underwhelmed.

Next question. Who has tried Pomegranates? Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t either. Cutting one open for the first time was an experience, and getting the seeds out of the fruit is hard work, but rewarding.

CelesteReviews Pomegranates

Pomegranate Seeds

This summer, I started a new relationship with both of these foods, mixed together into a sensational summer salad.

Now, the best thing about Summer is being invited to loads of BBQ’s and sampling all the goodies that everyone brings. I’m not sure if it’s the whole ‘having twins’ thing, but we didn’t get invited to many BBQ’s this year. However, supporting the theory of quality vs quantity, I discovered this fantastic salad at the first BBQ event of the summer season. A friend of a friend dished up this gorgeous salad, and I couldn’t get enough. Over the months I’ve made tweaks here and there, and am more than happy to share with you my version of the Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad.

CelesteReviews Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 handful of shredded baby spinach leaves
  • 1 handful of craisins
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (cut in half and bash with rolling pin to remove, or use a teaspoon to delicately scoop out – Oh and don’t wear a white shirt while removing the seeds either way).
  • 1 handful of chopped walnuts

Wash the quinoa in a fine sieve. Drain and simmer in a saucepan with the vegetable stock. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until quinoa is soft and liquid is evaporated. Put aside to cool.

CelesteReviews Salad Dressing


For the dressing, whisk together:

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or I’ve also used white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses (found at any good specialty food store, or I purchased via TradeMe.co.nz)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

To serve:
Place quinoa in a bowl and fluff with a fork. Add spinach, craisins, pomegranate seeds and walnuts and mix. Pour over dressing and toss through. It even tastes great as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Totally scrumptious and full of all the so-called ‘superfoods’ – walnuts, spinach, quinoa.

It is such a fun, tasty, colourful salad that I even served it alongside the traditional Christmas roast fare at this in-law’s Christmas Day festivities. I managed to get almost all of the meat loving males of the family to add a serving to their plate, and some even went back for seconds.


BBQ Master

8 Northcroft Street, Taupo

It was nice to know that not too much has changed in Taupo since we left six months ago. On a recent trip back to the great lake we decided to meet some friends at a new addition to the town’s dining scene – BBQ Master. Now, I didn’t think a BBQ in autumn was really a smart move, and unfortunately, I was right.

The concept: you fill a bowl with your choice of veges and meat, throw a few sauces into the mix, take it to the chef at the hotplate, and he cooks it for you, then repeat as necessary. An all you can eat Asian BBQ.

BBQ Master - Taupo

The first combination you make is really trial and error, and with that experience under your belt, the second attempt can only get better (although one attempt was enough for me). The other thought on the second trip to the BBQ hotplate, was to try everything that didn’t fit into your bowl on the first time around.

My BBQ creation was lovely – courgette, mushrooms, broccoli, pineapple and cashews with satay sauce.  The husband enjoyed a meaty dish of chicken, pork and bacon with chilli oil and satay sauce. Even ‘Miss Doesn’t Do Spicy’ enjoyed her creation of beef, tomatoes, peppers and cashews, and as she put it, “your food is really only as good as your choices, so if you didn’t like your combination, it’s really your fault.” She’s so right, and there are so many choices and combinations to be made.

Vegetarian BBQ Dish

My vegetarian BBQ creation

Along with the ‘make-your-own-bbq’ dish there is also soup, seafood, other Asian dishes (spring rolls, fried rice, a tough and icky looking egg foo yung and noodles) along with other random things like chips and macaroni cheese.

Although the concept of this restaurant is sound, it was the finishing touches that let this restaurant down. Firstly we were greeted at the door by a scummy looking fish tank, complete with fish, but only about a tenth of the water the tank should hold – doesn’t bode well as far as first impressions go.

Throw in an annoying vegetarian (me) that is trying to explain to non-English speaking chefs that I want my food cooked on a clean hotplate that doesn’t have any meat residue from the previous guest (not sure how well that discussion went, although there was lots of smiling).

Then add pretty average service – our plates not being cleared away very quickly, ‘clean’ plates with little bits of ‘something’ still attached to them, and Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ screaming from the sound system, and this probably isn’t a place I’d return to again in a hurry.

Chefs at BBQ Master

The BBQ Masters

Did I mention that the office door was open for public viewing of an absolute mess? Plus the whole family (about 4 generations), were just hanging out at a kitchen table in the open kitchen area, in full view of customers, brushing children’s hair, playing, etc – not really what I’d call a professional eating establishment.

My other gripe was that you don’t actually end up sitting down together with your diner group to eat, as someone is always absent; filling their plate, or waiting in line for their dish to be cooked. It definitely didn’t work for a ‘catch up dinner with friends’.

If you are a big eater, and love your seafood, then you’d probably get your $27 worth of all you can eat, but I was left feeling a little bit ripped off. I can understand that it would be a good choice, however, if you needed a work function venue to feed loads of burley men.

For me the highlight of the evening was the fresh pancakes, straight from the pan onto your plate. I added soft serve ice-cream and chocolate sauce to my dessert – yum. I wonder if I’d eaten several helpings of pancakes, if I would have gotten my money’s worth?

And speaking of money’s worth. Don’t forget to take your Taupo Card, as you get a free fizzy or handle of beer with your main.

In a nutshell: Pretty average. Lacks atmosphere. Think Valentines, but with the ability to choose your own dish.