Moroccan BBQ leg of lamb

Moroccan BBQ leg of lamb


Serves: 4-6

Preparation Time: 40 minutes + 1 hour/overnight marinating time

Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes


1 cup Yoplait Greek Style Yoghurt, plus extra to serve

2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1.3kg boneless leg of lamb, butterflied

1 cup rice and quinoa mix

1 cup red grapes, halved

1/2 cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts

2 spring onions, sliced

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon


1. Combine yoghurt, Moroccan seasoning and garlic in a large bowl or snap-lock bag. Add lamb; turn to coat. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight, turning occasionally.

2. To make the salad, cook rice and quinoa mix according to packet instructions. Allow to cool before combining with grapes, walnuts, onions and parsley. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a screw-top jar and season to taste. Shake until well combined and toss into the salad.

3. Heat a barbecue, grill pan or grill to medium-high heat. Grill until meat is cooked to your liking (10-15 minutes per side for medium-rare). Rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing and arranging on a platter.

Serve lamb with grain salad and drizzle with extra yoghurt.


Rice and quinoa mix is available in the rice section of the supermarket.

Any single or combination of grains can be used. Barley, rice, freekah or even lentils make excellent alternatives. Couscous would also work well.

Marinating any meat in yoghurt has a tenderising effect and gives a succulent result.


Cakes: To Cut or Keep

Cakes: To Cut or Keep

Cakes: To Cut or KeepCakes: To Cut or Keep

It’s up to you how much cake you provide, whatever configuration the cake takes. However, if you wish to save a tier, or significant portion of cake for celebrations following directly on from your wedding – or perhaps for a future event – then you obviously need to allow for that when ordering from your cake specialist.

In my own business, For Heaven’s Cake, I have re-iced tiers after some months, or in one case 1.5 years – for various occasions. Tradition used to ‘dictate’ that a layer was set aside for the christening of the first baby – but it could be that you simply want to enjoy more cake further down the track for a birthday, intimate dinner, or anniversary …

Saved cake is best kept by first wrapping it in foil, then cling film or into a box, and dating, before placing in the freezer. In the case of well-brandied fruitcakes, these will keep for many months in an airtight tin, or are also successfully frozen.

Recently I provided mini iced portions of fruitcake for a wedding, (aside from the main creation) and each was presented in its’ own separate cute box, and given or sent to friends and family who were unable to attend the wedding.

This used to be commonplace but happens less now – a forerunner to the “goody bag”.

If your cake is to be served as the only dessert, then clearly more will be needed. In the event that you prefer that all of your wedding cake is eaten at the reception, then ensure that you only order what you require and no more – it’s quite common to over cater, especially if there are other sweet temptations on offer. It’s a shame to spend a not insignificant amount of money on a special creation, to then have it overlooked because nobody has room left in their tums!

Whether you opt to cut or keep, be sure to savour, and enjoy.


Catering Terms – Knowing the Difference

Catering Terms – Knowing the Difference

Knowing the DifferenceKNOWING THE DIFFERENCE


It’s worth remembering these points before you get started:

• Provide a variety of foods to please all appetites and tastes.

• Check with guests regards food intolerances – do you need gluten free options?

• Try to provide a mix of hot and cold food.

• How long is your function and what time of day is it?

• Is your event formal or informal?

And remember – you are not in the kitchen at your own event, so preparation is a key ingredient.

The amount of food you require per person depends on how long your guests will be milling before the main meal, whether there is indeed a main meal to follow, and whether that main meal is light or more full. As a general guide allow 3-4 canapés per person for pre-dinner drinks of an hour’s duration or four pieces of finger food per person per hour for a cocktail or standing event.

A popular option, if you do not have the time or space for a sit down meal, is to have a standing or grazing menu consisting of a combination of the following styles eaten over the duration. This allows guests to mingle, encouraging a fun and fluid atmosphere.



Finger foods often include miniature pies and burgers, spring rolls, petit, sandwiches, little pizzas or skewers, arancini, tarts etc.

They’re generally fairly filling items, often around two to three bites, ensuring your guests feel like they’ve eaten rather than just nibbled.

If dinner and dessert aren’t being served, you could include ice cream cones, small pastries, cookies or other sweet items to be served in the last 45 minutes of your event. This also helps to signal the winding down of your event – as does turning the lights up, music off and opening the front door.



Traditionally served on a toasted bread base, there are a huge range of bases that can be substituted – rice cracker, rosti, cucumber rounds or wonton crisp.

However, it is a single delicate bite where you can let your imagination run free. Use a small shot glass for soup sips, a Chinese spoon for a petit duck salad or a rosemary sprig to skewer prawns.

Because canapés are generally created as one-bite morsels, it’s very easy for guests to indulge while still holding their glass of bubbly and a napkin.

Your canapé dishes could include little tartlets, delicate cigars, savoury cones, blinis, or a host of bite sized delicacies!



Knowing the DifferenceThe dishes themselves are obviously more filling – they’re mini meals – and guests will usually need some sort of utensil to eat them with, although something like fish and chips can be nibbled using the fingers.

Your bowl food dishes could include a salad, pasta or noodle options, soup or gazpacho, risotto or a variety of seafood dishes.

You can either individually portion these dishes as we would or, for ease of service, salads can be served on a large platter for guests to help themselves or a hot wet dish like curry or tagine can be placed on low setting in a slow cooker for self service.


A simple way to fill up later in the evening is a carvery station.

This can consist of a glazed ham, a roast sirloin or leg of lamb kept warm in a very low oven, then carved and served with warm rolls, salad fillings, accompaniments and chutneys.

To compliment the carvery, we often serve small salad cartons for the vegetarians, gluten free guests or those wanting a lighter option.

If you’re planning a seated meal, stay tuned and find the info you need right here.


The Ultimate Shave

The Ultimate Shave


Men face the same challenge every day – getting as close a shave as possible without irritating the skin. In order to tackle hard-to-reach areas where hairs can grow in different directions, men often have to go over the same part of their face or neck repeatedly during shaving, causing skin sensitivity and irritation.

To combat this, the Philips Shaver Series 9000’s innovative and unique contour detect technology features three shaving heads that each flex in eight different directions. This flexibility means the Shaver 9000 can detect and follow every contour of the face, for a precise shave that catches and cuts up to 20 percent more hairs in a single pass.

The Philips Shaver Series 9000 includes patented V-Track Precision Blades that gently guide hair into the best cutting position for the closest result – even flat-lying and different lengths of hair. The AquaTec Wet & Dry seal lets you choose between a wet and dry shave. The advanced charging system gives two options: 50-minutes of running time after a single one-hour charge, or quick charge for one full shave. Includes a SmartClick

Precision Trimmer for perfect moustache and sideburn trimming. The S9111/26 model features the SmartClean PLUS system for easier and more hygienic cleaning. At the touch of a button, it cleans, dries, charges and lubricates the shaver, so it shaves like the first time, every time.


Hen & Stag Events

Hen & Stag Events


By Michelle Gras

Imagine leaving the city and foregoing the usual Hen or Stag nights for a weekend of luxury, pampering, indulgence and adventure, all organised for you.

Waiheke Island offers you the opportunity to partake in a special pre-wedding weekend, staying in one of the luxury private homes or one of the resorts. It’s a weekend you, your friends and family would never forget.

Forget about themed restaurants, rowdy nightclubs, sore feet, ridiculous outfits and how to get home – instead think fresh air, amazing scenery, the best food and wine, luxury, and memories you will treasure forever. Waiheke can cater to all wedding pre-parties but luxury, adventure and the best times are the priority.

The ladies can get picked up from the ferry and transported to your weekend accommodation.

Arriving on a Friday night, the oysters and champagne would be on ice waiting for you while you take in the magnificent views. Indulge in a fully catered dinner or head out to one of the great restaurants on the island. Revel in a night of dancing and frivolity with your besties, or perhaps kick back and enjoy a few girly movies in the comfort of a gorgeous home. That’s the time to bring out those hen outfits and paraphernalia – no public humiliation, no queues, no taxis, no stress.

Wake up on Saturday to a fridge stocked with all you need for your favourite breakfast. To fill the  day, you could have a yoga instructor come to the house, or you could explore one of Waiheke’s stunning walks, enjoy a pampering session or indulge in manicures and pedicures. If you’re up for a new experience, why not try making your own perfume, bath bombs or lip balm before lunch!

Get picked up by your private driver, taken on a wine tasting tour of Waiheke or lunch at your favourite venue – this may be the time to find out a few secrets and share stories about the bride or groom to be. At day’s end, head to one of the bars for a nightcap – then home again to a fridge stocked with chocolate and bubbles!

The lads will enjoy kicking off the dust of the working week by jumping on the ferry with their mates. Better still, how about a helicopter trip … enjoy a few beverages on board before being whisked to your accommodation of choice for the weekend. We know the guys won’t want to muck about in the kitchen, so how dinner out, or catered in a way that leaves you with nothing to do but enjoy yourself and contemplate tomorrow.

Fishing, diving, golf, or something more adventurous – the choice is yours on Waiheke. Head out on a fishing charter with one of the local boats, find the best spots to drop your lines, and enjoy a chilled out day on the water. You want to fly across the landscape on an eco- zip, pit your archery or paintball skills against each other, visit one of the breweries or perhaps test your wine knowledge and add to your cellar collection with Waiheke’s finest wines.

Saturday night could include a gourmet BBQ – if you were lucky enough to catch fish or haul a prized cray or two, a seafood feast could be on the cards. There could be a big game on the telly or that poker game you keep talking about – lunch on the loser the next day? You can always hit the town knowing it’s only 5 to 10 minutes home – no one gets lost on the way home or goes missing in action.

Why not indulge in the ultimate boys’ dinner at a vineyard – imagine seafood, gourmet meats and a cheese platter to finish, all washed down with Waiheke’s finest reds, while recalling memories, the loss of your bachelorhood and the antics that go along with it.

Sunday could see you heading home with a chilly bin full of fish, a case of wine or speciality beers and great memories. No dodgy photo’s or personal damage … or maybe there will be … have you seen what those paintball guns can do?

Consider making the weekend simultaneous for both parties – that Sunday lunch sure could hold true of the saying “What goes on tour stays on tour”. Note to self – delete those selfies!

Waiheke Island – where personalised weddings and events are made all the more memorable.


Seasonal Weddings

Seasonal Weddings

Seasonal WeddingsIN SEASON

By Rebecca Murray

Make an informed decision on the timing of your specialday.



• There’s a good likelihood of fine weather and a sunny day.

• Better weather offers a choice of outdoor locations for ceremonies and receptions.

• Summer weddings lend themselves to a variety of colours and themes.


• A hot summers day can turn sticky and uncomfortable for your guests. Ensure you provide shade and drinks.

• A popular season, Summer is super busy. You may need to book 2 years in advance for your preferred venue and suppliers.

• If you are getting married or taking your photos in a public place, expect to have a few spectators.

Best Tip: If there are no trees or manmade structures for shade, consider parasols. Cool bottled water will definitely be appreciated.



• Many couples favour the rich colours autumn heralds in, and use those within their theme or as a base for a colour palette.

• Chances are the weather will hold, and you’ll avoid the sweltering heat of a summer day.


• The weather can be a little more unpredictable. A brisk wind or light shower may affect outdoor ceremonies, so a back-up wet weather option should be considered.

• You may find a little less variety for your outdoor photos in terms of colourful or vibrant landscapes – everything will be gold, yellow and brown.

Best Tip: Make the most of the natural autumn landscapes in your photos. Stand out amongst the fallen leaves.



• You may find that you can get a discounted rate for a wedding as there are generally fewer bookings.

• You can really amp up the heat and atmosphere inside your venue with an open fire and tons of candles.

• Snow can make for great images.

• You can vary the colours from the warm tones of red and gold, to the icier blues and silvers.


• It’s cold! While you can use this to your advantage, getting your guests excited about it can be hard.

• There’s a distinct possibility of rain – your photographer may need to hang around for longer (as will your guests) while you wait for a shower to clear. And don’t forget the frizzy hair!

• You may not be able to get outdoor photos at all – have an alternate in mind.

• You may be restricted on venues that offer wet weather options.

Best Tip: Plan, plan, plan! If possible, have your ceremony and reception in the same location to avoid travelling and getting in-and-out of vehicles, and make sure you and your guests will be warm and comfortable.



• Fresh new grasses and flowers create a beautiful backdrop for ceremonies and photos.

• With so much new growth around, spring weddings can take on a variety of themes and colours.

• Venues and suppliers are less busy so you may not have to book so far in advance.


• The weather can be unpredictable.

• Outdoor ceremonies are a possibility, but make sure you have a wet-weather option on hand.

Best Tip: Take advantage of nature’s bounty and incorporate spring freshness into your theme.


Wedding Injuries

Wedding Injuries



Apparently, the dance floor is one of the most dangerous places with hundreds of cases of girls falling off their high heels, men pulling muscles while attempting their John Travolta moves, dancers slipping on wet floors thanks to spilled drinks, and toes being trampled on.

And, while we know it’s great to catch the tossed bouquet, is it really worth sustaining an injury over? Apparently, yes!

That said, ACC maintains that many injuries occur before the wedding even begins. Back strains from moving tables, lifting cases of wine, carrying musical equipment and falling while putting up lights and decorations are just some of the examples listed.

Wedding-day cricket matches, running races and sack races also ended in injuries, while food preparation led to cut fingers, and there were chipped teeth on foreign objects lurking in cakes and other wedding meals.

Some claims related to swallowing wedding rings (go figure!), people being hugged too tightly and tripping while filming the event. You’ve surely all seen those disastrous YouTube clips of the photographer landing in the drink while walking backwards filming the happy couple!

Injuries could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, nuptials or not, said ACC’s general manager of insurance and prevention services, John Beaglehole.

“Just being aware of that can act as a prompt to do simple things to reduce the risk, such as cleaning up spills, taking care when lifting heavy objects and using sharp knives, and drinking responsibly,” he said. “And maybe restrain the Miley Cyrus moves if you’re wearing heels on the dance floor.”

It’s safe to say that many injuries won’t be put down as wedding-related … they can only be identified as such if the injured party specifically mentions they were at a wedding or involved in the wedding preparations.

So, this wedding and party season, head Beaglehole’s advice to reduce your risks! You don’t want to be the one who puts a damper on the party.

Identified wedding-related injuries, 2010-2012:

• Dancing – about 160 claims.

• Falls – about 100 claims.

• High heels – about 30 claims.

• Cuts from knives – about 15 claims.

• Wedding dress (putting on, lifting, tripping over) – about 13 claims.


The Guest List

The Guest List


By Nicky Luis

If you are experiencing cold sweats and dread when thinking of your guest list – don’t worry as you are not alone! So many couples have issues when dealing with the tricky challenge of managing their guest list, and the challenges come in many shapes and forms. Which one are you facing?

It just keeps growing

Often the number of guests being added to the list is ever-increasing and, more often than not, this is due to family influences. Parents often want to invite friends and (distant) family members to your wedding who you may not necessarily want at your nuptials. I often say to my couples that the guests attending the wedding should be there because their presence will make my couple’s day that much better and more memorable. If not, they should be questioning why that guest is being invited. For the couple, this is a good test of working as a team and standing up to your respective families, politely standing your ground, and asserting that as a couple you are controlling the final guest list.

It did not say “and Partner” 

When you send out an invitation to a single guest and you have addressed it solely to that person, what do you do if they RSVP for themselves and a partner? It’s quite simple really – send a note, email or make a phone call to say that you are delighted that they will be able to join you in celebrating your marriage, but due to “venue capacity limitations/budget restrictions” (insert the most applicable response), the invitation is just for them and not for a partner, and you sincerely hope they will still be able to join you. Again, you want to have people at your wedding who will make your day better by being there – having a complete stranger there is not going to do that.

I don’t want HIM at MY wedding

Oh, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this line! Admittedly, it is normally from a fairly irate bride and she is often referring to a close friend of the groom. A small point here: It is not just her wedding – it is his wedding, too. Often when I have sat and chatted to my distraught bride about this “fiend” who dares to show his face at her wedding, I discover that she has not even spoken to the poor groom, who is completely oblivious to her distress.

Ladies (and, yes, I am stereotyping here), you do need to talk to your fiancés about how you feel. As much as we wish they had the superhuman ability to read our minds, the fact is that they don’t. And it may come as a bit of a shock to you to understand that there may just be one or two girlfriends on your list who he is not all that thrilled about. Some key cornerstones to a great relationship are communication and compromise – so it is a great idea to talk to each other about any “fiends” who may have made their way onto the list – the most common one is the drunk, loud Uni friend who always tells the most inappropriate jokes. This way your Superman can have a quiet word to the offensive brute far in advance, thus causing you the least amount of distress.

And if there are any ladies (or men) whom your groom finds objectionable, you have the opportunity to have a little chat with them, too. Remember, while your friends are incredibly important and you always need to have them in your life, both you and your partner need to be respectful of each other’s feelings. You are a team now – that is why you are getting married.

Over the years, I have discovered that when it comes to couples who are trying to handle tricky guest list situations, they usually sit and stew on the problem, getting more and more worried. It is far better to make the decision jointly as to what you are going to do and take action immediately. You can then move on to other wedding matters and decisions. Do remember that it is a joint decision. There will be many times as a married couple when you are going to face family pressure, conflicts, friends being difficult, etc – this is a very good opportunity to have each other’s back and show what a strong couple you are.


Hanging Floral Chandeliers

Hanging Floral Chandeliers


By Virginia Thompson

When it comes to decorating an event space, always examine the venue from every angle. Every nook, cranny and surface is a design opportunity, and that includes the ceiling.

Decorating a ceiling may not be the first thing on your décor list, but it does present a unique blank canvas just waiting to be transformed. Just like the rest of your venue, the roof space of a ballroom, large hall or marquee can be customised to suit your wedding.

If your budget allows, suspending oversized floral displays overhead is about as good as it gets. Large wreaths of flowers and foliage, perhaps with hanging threads of single flowers draping down, will take your guests’ breath away.

Around the world we’re seeing lots of suspended floral décor, and there are lots of clever ways to use this technique.

For starters, you don’t have to cover the entire ceiling with suspended flowers – this would be very expensive to do and most likely outside the average budget.

That said, if you are hanging flowers in larger quantities, you will need very few flowers elsewhere in your venue. Instead of lavish floral centrepieces on your tables, keep things below simple.

By hanging a few flowers from existing chandeliers at your venue, you can create that extra touch of elegance and whimsy without breaking the bank. Working chandeliers will create additional ambiance; if there are no chandeliers, consider adding fairy lights or using candles.

When suspending flowers in place of centrepieces, you can dangle the flowers one-by-one or create a floral curtain. The flowers should end above guests’ eye level when seated, to avoid hindering conversation on each table. If the ceiling doesn’t soar, make sure you only suspend over tables, thus avoiding a few banged heads!

Hanging floral centrepieces adds a layer of luxury and detail to any wedding ceremony or reception. The overall look is a visually interesting alternative to tall centrepieces.

Be bold, and use some of the countless variations of this hanging flower trend. No matter whether your wedding is an ultra-elegant occasion or rustically casual affair, they’re perfect for adding drama to your décor. Some indoor venues will be perfect for hanging decorations, boasting high ceilings with beams, without requiring even the slightest change. Some may require an extra touch of creativity, but your floral designer is bound to have a solution.

Don’t confine this idea to indoor weddings – consider it for decorating a gazebo or marquee, a porch or portico. Make the most of the natural canopies created by overhanging branches or trees!

Take the flowers off the table and into the air for a truly stunning and unique look!


Vows that Wow

Vows that Wow


By Rochelle Fleming

One of the key components of the day, and what truly makes your day special, are the vows that you share with your future husband or wife. It’s the one time during the ceremony where people really will be listening intently as you say those heartfelt words to your partner.

There are typically four standard questions I get asked around vows and I’m going to answer these for you:

What structure works best?

The form or structure that I believe works well and represents a good example is the following:

I, Name, take you, Name, to be my wife, my partner in life and my soul mate.

I will treasure our friendship and love you today, tomorrow, and forever.

I will trust you and respect you

I will laugh with you and cry with you.

I will love you faithfully and unconditionally through the best and the worst, the difficult and the easy.

Whatever may come, I promise I will always be there for you.

The above is an example that follows the structure of :

• Legal – Legally you are required to say I take you to be my husband / wife

• Promises – what you will do in the marriage.

In addition to the above, you could:

• Add something personal about your bride / groom along the lines of – “Life wouldn’t be so fun and interesting if it wasn’t for you” .

• Add humour into the promises – “I promise to always put the toilet seat down”.

The key is to make sure your vows are concise, hold meaning and are personal to the two of you.

Do I have to memorise my vows?

No, it’s not a great idea. In my years of experience as a celebrant, there has only been one bride who successfully memorised her vows. If you are confident speaking then I recommed you to say your vows to each other holding one another’s hand; the other hand holds a cue card with the vows on, to refer to if you need to. The alternative would be to repeat your vows after the celebrant. However, I only recommend this to those who are not confident as it can sound repetitive, especially if the same vow is written by the bride as the groom.

Should I write my own vows?

The majority of couples I meet with want to write their own with guidance. There are a plethora of research avenues on bridal websites and blogs. Additionally, your celebrant will provide a few ideas or samples to get you started with writing your own. I always collaborate with my couples as to how they want to approach their vows.

Do we say the same vows or write them in secret?

This is your one opportunity to share your vows / promises with your partner in your own words. In saying that, it is important to chat to your partner about the key promises that you want to make to each other in marriage. You need to both be on the same page! You may decide to write the bulk of the vows together, with a few personal lines separately; or to completely write them on your own and send them to me separately to be shared with each other on the day for the first time.

Your vows are an important aspect of your day as well as of your life together as husband and wife. Take the time to make them words to live by!