Tag Archives: Salad

A Solid Foundation

Foundation Bar Kitchen Lounge
Maahanga Drive, Te Awa

I’m always let down by my food experience when dining at chain cafes and restaurants that are part of a shopping centre, It’s all the same, and the vegetarian selection is ho hum. So, while at The Base / Te Awa Shopping Centre on our ’24 Hour Child-Free Hamilton Break’, I went in search of something original to fill my belly, and was pleasantly surprised to discover Foundation Bar.

Firstly – it’s funky. Interesting decor with bright green accents, along with great background music that had me tapping my toes and singing away to some classic Kiwi beats (ie, ‘Crawl’ by Atlas and Fur Patrol’s ‘Lydia).

We placed ourselves at a high table with stools in the enclosed outdoor area, to enjoy the sun, sip our beers and watch the world go by.

The menu is vast, with separate brunch, shared platters, pizza and kids menus to accompany the main dishes available.

I was impressed that there was a slightly unusual vegetarian main on offer – twice baked blue cheese souffle ($18). The souffle was tasty, but what blew my socks off was the salad. Apples, grapes, snow pea shoots, microgreens, topped with toasted hazelnuts and a honey dressing. Out of this world! If anyone is friendly with the kitchen staff, I’m keen on receiving a copy of this recipe.

CelesteReviews Foundation Bar Hamilton

Twice baked blue cheese souffle

Always one for surprises, my usually carnivorous hubby chose the Vegetarian Pizza ($22). Roast vegetables, feta, pesto and parmesan covered in rocket on a crispy base. I was glad my main was a small portion, so that I could indulge in a couple of slices myself, because it was absolutely delicious.

CelesteReviews Foundation Hamilton Pizza

The staff were attentive, friendly and service focused. I was having trouble deciding on which boutique beer to order, and they gladly provided me with a small sample to help me decide.

Apparently a new menu will be released this week, which gives us a great reason to return. We will be back!

Top Tip: It’s in the Entertainment Book.

In a Nutshell: Brilliant food, outstanding service and a great atmosphere. Hamiltonians should definitely check out Foundation Bar this summer.

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.