Our Abundant Hauraki Gulf

It’s incredible that in a country surrounded by sea that New Zealanders, from home cooks to restaurant chefs, need to reach for imported sea salt.

Imported salt and pepper in The Foodie Inc's pantry

Imported salt and pepper in The Foodie Inc's pantry

One Sunday morning Greg Beattie from Hauraki Salt Company was at a farmers market watching a chef showcase fresh local produce.  Surprised to see the chef season dishes with sea salt from England, Greg caught himself wondering... what if a local artisan sea salt was available. 

Auckland's Hauraki Gulf at sunset (photo supplied)

Auckland's Hauraki Gulf at sunset (photo supplied)

With a background in horticulture and landscape design Greg has always felt a close connection with nature, insisting from a young age that he have a patch of the family garden to call his own.  At seventeen, his very first garden maintenance job was for a successful entrepreneur and his wife who owned a large home and garden in the country. One morning over coffee his client said, “Greg it’s fantastic what you do for us in the garden but working in the service industry you will be forever trading hours for dollars, what you really need is a product. It’s the only way you can really leverage your time.” Thanking him for his advice, Greg said he would keep it in mind.

Four years ago Greg suddenly fell very ill and was off work for almost a month.  Being a self employed landscape gardener trading hours for dollars, his financial health suffered, alongside his own. During his recovery Greg had plenty of time to think and remembered the advice from 20 years earlier – what he really needed was a business he could grow and generate income from, that didn’t require hands on involvement.   Scribbling ideas and searching the internet for inspiration, nothing really took his fancy.  Frustrated he put it aside until that day at the farmers market.

Greg wading to sea water (photo supplied)

Greg wading to sea water (photo supplied)

Hauraki Flake Sea Salt is the first artisan salt product in New Zealand; with no additives it’s nature at its best. Hand-harvested and made it small batches, it takes 4.7 litres of salt water to make 100g of flaky sea salt.  After the water is collected from the Hauraki Gulf, the salt making process takes around 24 hours. Five hours of boiling, then a further 19-20 hours in the salt pan on a low heat – the long slow evaporation helps form larger salt crystals. Given it’s a 24 hour process, with things happening at the same time every day, it’s an easy process to follow to maximise production efficiencies.

Available in 100g bags for your home pantry

Available in 100g bags for your home pantry

To get your hands on this new product go to Hauraki Salt Company's website  – you can purchase online or from one of retailers listed.  If you want to see you local food store stock Hauraki Sea Salt, send Greg an email and put them in touch.

What's not to love about a local product that's made from an abundant and sustainable natural resource.

Michelle

Eggs, flour and lots of love

On a blustery autumn afternoon, faces peer through the glass captivated by the rhythmic movement of the soft dough under her palm.  Gathering inside, stories are shared of pasta machines still in boxes; some unopened, others used once or maybe twice.  One classmate admits her first attempt at pasta was so inedible that her family gave her the workshop voucher for Christmas. Two ladies had simply been told by their respective daughters to turn up at 409 Mt Eden Rd and to remember to take an apron – early Mother’s Day presents. 

Stefania Ugolini from Pasta & Cuore punctuated the two hour hands-on workshop with a brief history of pasta and tales from her upbringing in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. We were delighted (relieved) to hear pasta requires two pantry staples – eggs and flour, but must always be made with love.

Stefania outlining the workshop

Stefania outlining the workshop

Our workstations... ready to go

Our workstations... ready to go

Eggs and flour in exact proportions

Eggs and flour in exact proportions

Stefania shared her techniques for the best way to mix dough with a precisely weighed flour to egg ratio.  Kneading required a 90 degree turn, fold, then gentle knead until smooth – never flip the dough.  Roll from the middle to the edge making an oval – never a circle – as this fits neatly in the pasta machine. She also explained the best knife action for cutting the final dough into basic shapes such as tagliatelle, pappardelle and taglioline; with tips on the best way to store and cook the pasta.

My dough going through the pasta machine

My dough going through the pasta machine

Drying the pasta... time for a quick coffee downstairs

Drying the pasta... time for a quick coffee downstairs

Stefania explaining knife technique

Stefania explaining knife technique

A proud moment with my tagliatelle

A proud moment with my tagliatelle

My tagliatelle

My tagliatelle

Making pasta nests

Making pasta nests

Stefania's tagliatelle nest is the one on the right

Stefania's tagliatelle nest is the one on the right

Delighted with my tagliatelle, a simple lemon, chilli and caper sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan was the perfect partner for a delightful dinner the next day.

Saturday night dinner

Saturday night dinner

Pasta & Cuore run two pasta workshops – basic and filled pasta – for up to eight people.  For more information and details of the next workshop dates, click on the website link below:

Pasta & Cuore – Handmade Heartmade

409 Mt Eden Road
Mt Eden, Auckland

Before this novice attempts to make pasta at home, the pasta machine, still in its box, needs to be collected from a friend.

Enjoy!

Michelle

Crunchy Piccolos Potatoes

If you like crunchy roast potatoes... you’ll love this simple recipe using delicious ‘Piccolos’ potatoes.  Thanks to Potatoes NZ who gave them to us at the NZ Guild of Foodwriters market day last week.

Cutting hasselback potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 small potatoes (piccolos are perfect size)
  • 20 grams butter
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt, generous sprinkle
  • 4 Tbsp finely grated fresh parmesan
parmesan cheese

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Put each potato in the bowl of a wooden spoon (this means you don’t accidentally cut through the potato) and cut at 3mm intervals.
  3. Melt butter and olive oil together in small fry pan and heat until it sizzles.  Add the potatoes cut side down, then turn and coat with the butter oil mixture.
  4. Transfer to oven proof roasting dish and sprinkle generously with salt and rosemary.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then check flesh is soft.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fan bake for a further 10 minutes to melt cheese and for a lovely crunchy skin.
  7. Serve hot with pan fried crispy skin salmon and sautéed greens (or your choice of meat or chicken).

Note: cooking time will vary depending on size of potatoes. 

Crunchy piccolos potatoes

Crunchy piccolos potatoes

Enjoy

Michelle

The Chef and the Foodlovers

Twenty foodlovers, one chef and some trusty side-kicks cooked up a storm in the Electrolux Chef’s Secrets tent at last week’s Taste of Auckland 2016.  Marc Soper from Wharekauhau Lodge shared the recipe for one of his signature dishes – Manuka bark smoked Ora King Salmon, goat’s cheese, gin, local garden fruits and vegetables – for us to recreate.

Ora King Salmon three ways

Ora King Salmon three ways

Welcomed by Julie Biuso and a punchy, passionfruit vodka cocktail this hands-on class kicked into action.  Divided into small groups – knife technique, smoking expertise, presentation and plating skills came to the fore, with the end result looking and tasting pretty impressive.

Vodka cocktails to get things underway...

Vodka cocktails to get things underway...

Our delightful host, Julie Biuso with Michelle from The Foodie Inc

Our delightful host, Julie Biuso with Michelle from The Foodie Inc

Smoker in action (lid lifted for photo)

Smoker in action (lid lifted for photo)

Mastering the plating technique

Mastering the plating technique

Getting the plates perfect

Getting the plates perfect

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Our shared lunch was enjoyed with a glass of Single Estate Pinot Gris from Ara Wine, and to finish a sweet surprise from Miann

Our shared table

Our shared table

Miann provided the most mouth-watering dessert

Miann provided the most mouth-watering dessert

The Electrolux Chef’s Secrets are a fabulous way to interact with chefs at Taste of Auckland. and brilliant value for money, only $15 each.  It will be interesting to see who heads the line-up next year – can’t wait!

Michelle

Sunshine, Seafood and Taste of Auckland

When you head off to a food and wine festival with someone as passionate about New Zealand food, wine and local produce as you, you know there's going to be lots of food talk and even more eating!  What wasn't anticipated was just how much seafood would feature on our Taste of Auckland line-up. 

As 10am ticked over, the gates opened and everyone turned left to grab their 'crowns and wine glass' but with a fear of missing out on a seat at the table with Marc Soper from Wharekauhau Lodge, we headed straight for Electrolux Chef's Secrets tent to secure our spot for a late lunch (more on this event in another post).

Manuka bark smoked Ora King Salmon, goats cheese, gin, local garden fruits and vegetables

Manuka bark smoked Ora King Salmon, goats cheese, gin, local garden fruits and vegetables

But before lunch there was time to drop in on the guys at Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar where we were delighted to be their 'testers' for the first oyster fritters off the grill for the day... chased down with fresh tuatuas.

Oyster fritters

Oyster fritters

Freshly shucked Mahurangi oysters

Freshly shucked Mahurangi oysters

Fresh New Zealand tuatuas

Fresh New Zealand tuatuas

Te Kouma Bay oysters at Fish Restaurant looked oh so tempting.... but how many oysters can one eat in one day.

Fish's Ora King salmon & Te Kouma oysters with dashi whip and coriander

Fish's Ora King salmon & Te Kouma oysters with dashi whip and coriander

But with clams escargot on our minds we wandered to ParisButter.  Thankfully we wanted clams... one person had bought ALL the Dulce de leche creme brulee just after opening!

ParisButter Boys

ParisButter Boys

Clams Escargot,,, clams escargot butter

Clams Escargot,,, clams escargot butter

Of course there is so much more on offer than seafood including cooking demonstrations with Yael from Ima Cuisine in action Friday afternoon...

Yael plating up tasters of her Israeli chicken and rice

Yael plating up tasters of her Israeli chicken and rice

Israeli chicken, rice and salad 

Israeli chicken, rice and salad 

...local food producers, wineries and more...

Lalele's vegan gourmet popsicles

Lalele's vegan gourmet popsicles

'Summer' offers us Beekist tomatoes and haloumi

'Summer' offers us Beekist tomatoes and haloumi

Puhoi Valley's Kawau Blue Cheese

Puhoi Valley's Kawau Blue Cheese

A little sweet indulgence from Scratch Bakers

A little sweet indulgence from Scratch Bakers

But you'll need to discover that for yourself... Taste of Auckland runs until Sunday 20 November 2016 with two sessions Saturday, and one Sunday afternoon. 

And if you scroll down you'll see a priceless photo of Bri DiMattina Food Adventures.. the moment Bri realised how ridiculous checking her steps was, considering where we had walked and how much we had eaten!

Bri checking  her steps

Bri checking  her steps

Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle

 

 

 

The Local: Rosebank Coffee and Kitchen

Industrial estates and arterial routes, the domain of lunch bars, high vis vests and work boots are not where you would expect to find the most divine french toast ever – it was almost too beautiful to eat!

French toast, banana toffee, mandarin, grand marnier and salted cocoa crumble

French toast, banana toffee, mandarin, grand marnier and salted cocoa crumble

Unassuming from the outside, the tinted glass sliding doors open to reveal a cavernous light-filled space – a high stud with black acoustic panels juxtaposed with concrete walls, beams, lots of glass and feature lighting.  Clever seating zones create spaces for work (plugs galore) and business meetings; communal tables encourage conversation, and there is table service for those who have time to sit back and relax.

Rosebank Cafe 1
Rosebank Cafe 2
Rosebank Cafe 3

One of the owners, Carlos said their focus was on creating a welcoming neighbourhood cafe – for local people and businesses alike.  Friends and families meet for coffee, or indulge in a leisurely breakfast, brunch or lunch. Somewhere local businesses can take clients out for a lunch, without the hassle of driving into the city and finding parking; they're licensed too.

Open for breakfast and lunch Monday – Saturday and dinner Thursday and Friday nights, it’s a beautiful space with a truly inventive menu created by Johannes Carroux – the dishes below were captured on their way from the kitchen to eagerly waiting customers. The counter food looked pretty spectacular, and there’s a dinner degustation-style menu launching soon so a return visit is definitely on the cards.

Line caught fish with broccoli and quinoa fritters with sunflower and miso butter

Line caught fish with broccoli and quinoa fritters with sunflower and miso butter

Scampi with garden vegetables and greens, crushed potato with nut butter vinaigrette

Scampi with garden vegetables and greens, crushed potato with nut butter vinaigrette

If you live or work anywhere near Avondale then Rosebank Coffee and Kitchen on the corner of Rosebank Rd and Jomac Place should definitely become your local.  Open Monday - Saturday, for more information phone 828 6110 or www.rosebankkitchen.co.nz.

If you think your local deserves some glory, comment below and tell us why it’s worth going out of our way to check it out.

Michelle

ps don’t forget to put those clocks forward on Saturday night!

 

 

Day Trips: Waiheke Island

With summer nipping at spring’s heels – it’s less than two weeks (25 September) until daylight saving commences in New Zealand – a day trip to Waiheke Island before the holiday crush is the perfect initiation.  Thirty five minutes from Auckland’s ferry terminal to the wharf at Matiatia Bay, you arrive in less time than it takes most Aucklanders to drive home at the end of a working day.  Jump on board and relax; grab a coffee or even a beer.  Wonder at the sanity of fishermen who rhythmically bob up and down in their aluminium tinnies, patiently waiting to snare their dinner, as the city skyline disappears.

The headland at Matiatia

The headland at Matiatia

Buses meet all ferries and their routes take in the villages and key points of interest dotted throughout the island.  But if you can convince someone to be the nominated sober driver, hiring a car at Matiaita wharf (book ahead for weekends and summer holidays) gives you the flexibility to get off the main roads, take in breathtaking vantage points and explore at your own pace.

Cactus Bay

Cactus Bay

Cowes Bay

Cowes Bay

Undeniably, a sojourn to Waiheke Island would not be complete without a visit to a winery or two. With more than 24 wineries dotted throughout the island (vineyards map) you are spoilt for choice: from wine tastings and cellar doors, to vineyard restaurants, long lunches, shared platters and picnics on the grass. Late last summer with UK visitors in tow, we took in the breathtaking views and a glass of chardonnay from Te Whau Vineyard’s veranda before meandering to the other end of the island to Passage Rock Wines for a leisurely lunch.

Te Whau's verandah

Te Whau's verandah

View from Te Whau's verandah

View from Te Whau's verandah

Friends at Passage Rock Wines Cellar Door

Friends at Passage Rock Wines Cellar Door

Lunch amongst the vines at Passage Rock

Lunch amongst the vines at Passage Rock

Te Maketu oysters

Te Maketu oysters

Passage Rock's blue cheese and pear woodfired pizza

Passage Rock's blue cheese and pear woodfired pizza

There are countless ways to fill a day, a weekend or a week on Waiheke Island from beaches, watersports and golf to cafes and restaurants, artisan producers, local artists and galleries and more. But if you fancy a day trip, Waiheke is accessible and simple to navigate, and there’s always a little more sunshine than the mainland – well, so we are lead to believe!

Sunshine, sand and swimming at Sandy Bay

Sunshine, sand and swimming at Sandy Bay

Shoot your cake!

One of the things to love about “foodie people” is their willingness to share – recipes, where to source great produce and specialist ingredients, favourite places to eat, drink and visit – and more importantly a willingness to share their story and knowledge at events and workshops.

On Tuesday night at Vanessa Baxter: Kitchens without Boundaries’ Foodie Network Event, three speakers shared their passion for their business:  Lisa King from Eat My Lunch, Joe Swatland from Rebel Food and Vicky Te Puni from The Workshop.

Vicky from The Workshop (Facebook & Instagram) spoke about creating your own mini studio at home, and how to use ‘key’ and ‘fill’ light when taking food or product images.  This inspired me to share my cake photos (raw and untouched by photoshop) from the ‘Shoot Your Cake!’ workshop Julia and Vicky ran a couple of months back.  Funnily enough, this workshop was where I first met Vanessa! 

Julia and Vicky from The Workshop.

Julia and Vicky from The Workshop.

Like-minded foodies and cake bakers gathered at Studio One Toi Tu one Saturday morning in May, with a single goal in mind – to take better cake photos.  There were so many things to consider:

  • The story you want your image(s) to convey
  • Building the audience's rapport through content and images
  • The best use of backgrounds and colours to evoke an emotion
  • How to maximise the use of natural light
  • Varying the camera angle to make an impact
  • Getting the props and styling right
    • and many more...
Overhead shot... no props

Overhead shot... no props

Playing with props and camera angle

Playing with props and camera angle

The impact of a black background... my favourite shot

The impact of a black background... my favourite shot

Who ate the missing cupcake? (taken with iPhone)

Who ate the missing cupcake? (taken with iPhone)

Creating negative space and focusing on one hero cupcake

Creating negative space and focusing on one hero cupcake

A simple flat lay (taken with iPhone)

A simple flat lay (taken with iPhone)

Playing with props and angles

Playing with props and angles

We got to ‘eat our cake’ too.  Thanks to Jackie from Cake & Co who provided beautifully decorated cakes for the shoot, and for us to take home too.  A big thank you to Fossick and Forage for the props, without them our images would have been a little bare.

For information on the next ‘Shoot Your Cake!’ workshop click here: The Workshop.

Michelle

 

 

Eating Nelson

With friends heading off on holiday to Nelson in the next few weeks, this was the gentle nudge needed to share a few favourite eating places from our May trip to Nelson and Marlborough.  Whether you plan to eat out every night or simply grab provisions from the local farmers’ market or farm shop for a relaxing night in, there is no shortage of outstanding cafes, restaurants, wineries and local food producers to tantalise your taste buds.

Flying in early evening, we were delighted to discover Harrys on our first night out in Nelson; a short stroll from the Consulate Apartments, our home for the next 9 days.   A little chilly to be sitting outdoors in May, we grabbed a table inside.  The casual eatery had a convivial relaxed atmosphere with its Asian-style fare, and a drinks list jam-packed with local wines, boutique beers, and a very tempting cocktail list.

Harrys' fusion fare

Harrys' fusion fare

Later in the week we enjoyed lunch with a view, quayside at The Boat Shed Cafe.  Seated outside on the covered balcony, it was a tough decision choosing from their all day dining menu.  It’s a great place to watch the sun set too.

The outside bar at Boat Shed Cafe

The outside bar at Boat Shed Cafe

View from the port along to Boat Shed Cafe in distance

View from the port along to Boat Shed Cafe in distance

You can't go past New Zealand whitebait

You can't go past New Zealand whitebait

On our only wet day away – Nelson is after all the sunniest place in New Zealand – we walked into the city for lunch at Urban Eatery.   Shared plates, a glass or two of wine and a chat with the chef made for a relaxed and laid-back vibe.

Miso cured angus beef

Miso cured angus beef

Striking graffiti wall in Urban Eatery

Striking graffiti wall in Urban Eatery

But if after a few days out and about you fancy a night in, then mark Wednesdays in your calendar, as that’s when Nelson Farmers Market kicks into action in Morrison Square (10:30am – 3:30pm).  Be delighted with the freshest fruit, vegetables and eggs to Neudorf Mushrooms saffron milkcaps – they keep their amazing form and colour when cooked – to macadamias and walnuts, fresh sourdough breads and pastries, and so much more seasonal produce. 

Neudorf saffron milkcaps... retain shape and colour when cooked

Neudorf saffron milkcaps... retain shape and colour when cooked

If you've hired a car, take a 30 minutes scenic drive north from Nelson to Mapua Wharf, where you’ll find an array of restaurants, cafes and a microbrewery,  arts and crafts and The Smokehouse – delicious hot-smoked seafood and pates perfect for your sharing platter if you fancy a night in.

Mapua Wharf

Mapua Wharf

The Smokehouse at Mapua Wharf

The Smokehouse at Mapua Wharf

Don’t forget to stop off at Mapua Country Store for local produce and Wangapeka Family Dairy for delicious award winning artisan cheeses on the way back.

Wangapeka Family Dairy

Wangapeka Family Dairy

Enjoying a night in... hot-smoked warehou from The Smokehouse

Enjoying a night in... hot-smoked warehou from The Smokehouse

And if you simply fancy a takeaway, the seafood pizza at Milton Street Takeaway is absolutely scrumptious, and you can grab a cheeky beer or wine at the Sprig & Fern pub next door while you wait – it’s a popular takeaway but the wait is worth it especially when you can grab a quick drink too.

Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more posts on wineries, events and taking the scenic route around the Nelson and Marlborough region.

Enjoy your week.

Michelle

 

Avocado Abundance

“Fill the boot!”  Heading back after a long weekend staying with friends at Tea Tree Orchard, Rangiuru the car boot was laden with avocados and other produce.  Family, friends and fellow foodies were lucky recipients of fallen bounty – little did we know the avocado famine would be over so quickly!

Fallen bounty ready to fill the boot

Fallen bounty ready to fill the boot

Wintry weather played havoc with this year’s avocado harvest.  Fallen fruit littered orchard floors with the picking season still a few weeks away (mid-late August onwards). Orchardists waited patiently for moisture tests to confirm their crop was ready to be picked, and prayed the weather would be kinder too.

Avocados litter the orchard floor

Avocados litter the orchard floor

Friends at Tea Tree Orchard, Rangiuru last week handpicked their first crop since purchasing the seven acre property in late 2015.  Trays and trays, 2600kgs of bright green shiny avocados – that’s a whopping 13,000 (approx) avocados – were delivered to the wholesale distributor.  Graded and combined with crops from other small producers into a pool, growers receive a percentage of the take, based on the volume supplied. The avocados are then on-sold and distributed to retailers, ready for consumers to purchase.

One day's pick - 300kgs avocados

One day's pick - 300kgs avocados

Grown all year round, Hass is the main avocado variety produced in New Zealand.  Exported from late August through until the end of March, they are in plentiful supply for the local market over summer too.  Avocados are unique in that while they are harvested mature (9-12 months), they don’t ripen while attached to the tree.  Rarely do you see long stalks on the avocados in retail shops.  Once picked for the domestic market and de-stalked, the avocados take 8- 10 days to ripen, ensuring they are perfect to eat when you purchase them.

Hard to believe this is how a bunch of avocados start out

Hard to believe this is how a bunch of avocados start out

Ready to be picked

Ready to be picked

With their avocado trees needing a significant prune – cut back by a third to half their height – Tracey and Martin have made a call to sacrifice next year’s crop to maximise growth in future seasons, and pruning was underway as soon as the pick was over.

Pink marks where the trees will be pruned

Pink marks where the trees will be pruned

Trees hard pruned back, once avocados were picked

Trees hard pruned back, once avocados were picked

So while last month even die-hard avocado fans struggled to justify the cost of a single avocado; today avocados are back in abundance – even if they do look a little worse for wear.  Enjoy them while you can as next year’s crop will be smaller, with 2018 forecast to be another bumper year.

Michelle

Spicy Tangelo Jam-a-lade

Earlier in the year, Fiona Hughes and Jani Shepherd from Gatherum Collectif hosted a wonderfully relaxed gathering of fellow foodies under the trees in Fiona’s garden.  With Kylee Newton of Newton and Pott back in New Zealand on holiday, and a recently launched book – The Modern Preserver – we were delighted with tales of her passion for turning seasonal produce into something that will last; while we enjoyed endless cups of tea accompanied by freshly baked scones topped with Kylee’s preserves and softly whipped cream.

Under the trees
The Modern Preserver

So when gifted a large bag of the sweetest tangelos by my fabulous friends, Tracey and Martin from Tea Tree Orchard, Rangiuru I took my inspiration from Kylee’s book and with a little bit of trepidation, experimented with herbs and spices to add flavour.

tangelos
  • 8 cups thinly sliced tangelos
  • 3 cm piece fresh ginger grated
  • 1 large lemon zest & juice
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 cups jam (preserving) sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves plus extra sprigs for decoration
spices
  1. Cut the ends off the tangelos and then cut in half.  Slice into thin (3mm) semi-circles.  Discard any pips.
  2. Put slices into a large heavy-based pot with the grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and water, then boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and then cook for 30-40 minutes until the peel has softened.
  4. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and remove the seeds.  Stir the seeds through the sugar then add the sugar and vanilla pod to the pot, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  5. Boil, stirring continuously for 20 minutes until the mixture has thickened and darkened in colour.
  6. Use the wrinkle test to check if the mixture has set to your desired consistency.  When ready, take off heat, remove vanilla pod and skim off any surface scum.  Stir through thyme leaves and let sit 5-6 minutes.
  7. Ladle into warm and dry sterilised jars, add small sprig of thyme to each jar and then seal with lid. Wipe jars to remove any residue, and label.  Refrigerate once opened; unopened jars will last 6 months.
Spicy tangelo jam-a-lade
Spicy tangelo jam-a-lade 2

Why jam-a-lade... it turned out thicker than marmalade, with a jam-like consistency! Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle

 

 

Eat Sandringham

Skittery rain and gusty south westerlies prevailed.  A wintry Auckland day one would rather spend indoors than out, but it had taken some serious diary juggling to get all three of us together that Sunday afternoon.

An unremarkable strip of shops line the junction of Sandringham and Kitchener Roads but as we discovered on our three hour walking tour, looks can be deceptive.  As we descended on the local community centre with a dozen or so fellow foodies, our guide Lisa Loveday from Eat Auckland served up a delightful mango lassi – a refreshing palate cleanser of natural yogurt, cardamom and pureed mango.

First stop on the Sandringham Food and Spice Tour was Mumbai Chaat, a regular feature in Metro magazine’s top 100 cheap eats.  This vegetarian Indian restaurant’s extensive menu with scant descriptions was a deliberate ploy to get diners to engage with the staff, our host’s family and ask questions about the food and its origin.  The feather light puffs of Sev Puri, and the crispy Dahi Puri topped with yoghurt signalled the start of an afternoon of tingling taste buds. 

Dahi Puri

Dahi Puri

Sev Puri

Sev Puri

A short walk to Bawarchi we indulged in Sandringham Village Festival 2015’s best chicken biryani, before heading to the Village’s best kept secret, Satya Spice Market

Sandringham's best chicken biryani

Sandringham's best chicken biryani

Spice, chai and organic shop

Spice, chai and organic shop

Not only does Satya Spice Market have an amazing array of more than 80 spices – single or blends ground and roasted to order, a peek behind the curtain revealed the perfect place to relax and indulge in a cup of chai.

Curious... take a sneak peek

Curious... take a sneak peek

Relax with a chai tea

Relax with a chai tea

Excited to find baby aubergines, red turmeric and inexpensive bags of fresh coriander at Valley Fruit & Vege Market – Fiji grown produce in abundance.  Highly recommend Top in Town Market  for dry and fresh ethnic ingredients at amazing prices too.

Fijian grown produce at Valley Fruit & Veges

Fijian grown produce at Valley Fruit & Veges

A stunning array of pungent curries at Shuhb was followed by mouth-watering vegetarian nibbles, flavoured with coriander and coconut at SaattveekTaste of Sri Lanka’s Idi Appa Kottu was a hit, with the vegetarian rice noodles made by pushing the mixture through a stringhopper mould / ural. 

Alu wadi (spiral) & sabudana vada at Saattveek

Alu wadi (spiral) & sabudana vada at Saattveek

A stringhopper mould / ural used to make rice noodles

A stringhopper mould / ural used to make rice noodles

Idi Appa Kottu

Idi Appa Kottu

The Afghan kebab at Paradise, our final destination for the day, ensured there was no need any dinner.

Our final stop at Paradise

Our final stop at Paradise

Meeting the passionate and enthusiastic people behind the restaurants and food markets, tasting authentic specialities, and hearing their story really brought to life the amazing ethnic diversity of Sandringham Village.

If you fancy spending a Sunday afternoon in food heaven, click here for more information.  Lisa and her team really know how to create a fabulous foodie adventure.

Michelle

ps Eat Auckland latest offering – Balmoral Dumplings and More Tour

Farmers Markets – what’s the attraction?

Local food and produce markets are a way of life all over the world – often a social ritual where the stallholders know your name, your favourite ingredients and when to tempt you to try something new.  With food and produce markets throughout the country, thousands of us descend upon local farmers markets each week so what’s the real attraction here in New Zealand?

Driven by purchasing the freshest produce, supporting local producers, looking to purchase artisan products or simply escaping for an hour or so, many people are regulars at farmers markets.  On Saturday mornings at Tauranga Farmers Market (and others too) people patiently queue at the entrance waiting for 7:45am to tick over.  Early birds get the ever so popular fresh blueberries and free range eggs; sold out signs greet those who arrive mid-morning, while stallholders sit and chat in the sunshine, patiently waiting for 12 noon packdown to roll around.

Authorised people only before 7:45am

Authorised people only before 7:45am

Join the queue on a Saturday morning at Tauranga School

Join the queue on a Saturday morning at Tauranga School

Friendly vibe at Tauranga Farmers Market

Friendly vibe at Tauranga Farmers Market

For others, even ardent fans of farmers markets it’s a morning out driven by a need for truly fresh produce, a particular ingredient, meeting a coffee for a friend or simply that it’s been too long since the last visit.  Sometimes planned, sometimes impromptu we’re not what could be defined as regular market goers even if we love local farmers markets.

Out of town on holiday it’s the perfect opportunity to sample local artisan products.  A recent long weekend staying on a friends’ avocado orchard near Te Puke, we were spoilt for choice with Te Puke, Tauranga and Mt Mauganui farmers markets all within driving distance.  At Tauranga Farmers Market we were lucky to grab some local award winning cheese, Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza Cheese (Katikati based raw milk cheese makers), Small Batch hazelnut butter and loads of fabulous fresh produce.     

Award winning cheese - Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza

Award winning cheese - Blue Monkey from Mount Eliza

Small Batch Nut Butters

Small Batch Nut Butters

Local avocados of course

Local avocados of course

Peaches galore...

Peaches galore...

Weather dependent (it’s drizzly and grey here on the Coromandel today) we hope to head to Thames Market (facebook) Saturday morning.  For information on just a few of the farmers markets visited by The Foodie Inc click on links below:

If you have a favourite local food and produce market you wish to share, feel free to comment below.

Enjoy your weekend.

Michelle

 

 

Cookbook Journeys

Some people simply love to devour cookbooks from cover to cover. A friend who is an avid cookbook collector has bookshelves and boxes full of cookbooks but doesn't actually cook from them.  With a keen interest in tracking down out of print and classic cookbooks, she gets more pleasure from perusing the pages – from author notes and tips to glossy enticing photographs, interesting lists of ingredients or unusual cooking methodology. 

Others might spend hours reading them from cover to cover to mark which recipes to make. Then later making notes on recipes they tweaked when cooking.  But one thing that all cookbook lovers enjoy is reading the author's story, understanding their philosophy, motivation and inspiration behind the book.

For a recent assignment for my Le Cordon Bleu, Masters of Gastronomic Tourism I reviewed the first cookbooks of four contemporary New Zealand authors.  Click Cookbook Journeys to read their stories.

Hope everyone has a great week.

Michelle

Day Trips: Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park

With a steady stream of overseas visitor this summer it’s fantastic there are so many fabulous places to visit within an hour of Auckland.  A long time favourite is Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park, discovered a few years back when working on a photography assignment.

One sunny Friday late in January we headed north. With a little time on our hands we made a detour to Tawharanui Regional Park.  Admiring Anchor Bay’ sandy beach with its gentle rolling waves, the water looked so inticing.  The midday sun was harsh – sticky and hot as we chastised one another for not throwing our togs and towels in the car.

Anchor Bay

Anchor Bay

It was time to head to Brick Bay Wines, Snells Beach for a late lunch where you can dine in the spectacular glasshouse overlooking the pond or al fresco under the trees in the garden.  There’s even a wine tasting area – The Row if you have time and a pre-designated sober driver.

The Glasshouse

The Glasshouse

View from The Glasshouse

View from The Glasshouse

Wine Tasting - The Row

Wine Tasting - The Row

Take your pick from shared plates or platters, tasty sandwiches and salads, cheeseboards, and tempting desserts.  And if you’re an early bird the brunch menu looks delicious too. But to avoid disappointment, especially on weekends, don’t forget to make a booking online The Glasshouse Kitchen.  And of course it wouldn’t be a vineyard lunch without a glass of two of Brick Bay Wine – we can highly recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Rosé.

Dine al fresco and indulge in a glass of Brick Bay wine

Dine al fresco and indulge in a glass of Brick Bay wine

Spoilt for choice from fresh salads to chill lime squid

Spoilt for choice from fresh salads to chill lime squid

Salted caramel pecan slice or 'guilt free' raspberry, coconut & cashew cheese cake

Salted caramel pecan slice or 'guilt free' raspberry, coconut & cashew cheese cake

For those with energy after a leisurely lunch, Brick Bay Sculpture Park is open 10am – 5pm daily.  Allow 1 hour to walk the 2km trail through native trees and enjoy more than 40 contemporary sculptures by NZ artists, all available for sale. While much of the trail is canopied with native trees, bright yellow sun umbrellas are available to protect you from the rays while walking in the open.

Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Auckland, you’ll find Brick Bay at Arabella Lane, Snells Beach, click here for directions.

If you do get the chance to visit Brick Bay Vineyard and Sculpture Park would love to hear what you think.

Michelle

December / January: Magazine Recipes

While most of New Zealand enjoyed their long summer break I was toiling away on assignments (due late December and mid-January) for my second Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism paper, catching up with overseas visitors and flat tack with my day job so decided the Blog needed a holiday too.

But that didn’t mean cooking from favourite magazines or experimenting with new ideas and flavour combinations took a back seat.  Here’s a round-up of some of the magazine recipes used over the holiday season.

Christmas Day

Planning food for Christmas Day is something I thoroughly enjoy.  My family have got used to be allocated tasks or acting as sous chefs on the day.  This year we kept the menu simple:

Fragrant spicy rub

Fragrant spicy rub

  • Whole BBQ snapper stuffed with fresh thyme, garlic and limes and served with a sauce verte (Cuisine Magazine November 2015 #173)
Fresh snapper

Fresh snapper

Sauce verte

Sauce verte

  • Raw Zucchini, Asparagus and Apple Salad with Shredded Mozzarella and Israeli Couscous, an adaptation of a salad from Dish #57
  • Beetroot & pumpkin salad with sumac yoghurt & pomegranate dressing from Taste Magazine #112
Lemon pavlova from Simply Nigella

Lemon pavlova from Simply Nigella

Comfort Food

It’s not very often that you’ll find me whipping up a beef and mushroom stew, let alone in the height of summer but with a friend just out of hospital requesting some comfort food (her partner is vegetarian) I turned to a winter issue #61 of Dish magazine for inspiration. Loosely based on a beef, mushroom and oyster dish, I omitted the oysters, doubled the amount of portobello mushrooms then late in the cooking added a can of cannellini beans to make it a complete meal, ready to reheat and eat.  And it was freezer friendly too.

Beef and mushroom stew

Beef and mushroom stew

Milestone Birthday Celebration

Towards the end January we celebrated a very dear family friend’s 97th birthday with Rhubarb and Poppy Seed Cake from Dish Magazine #50 (recipe here).  Using the freshest rhubarb, picked straight from the garden, the lightly spiced rhubarb syrup drizzled over the cake before serving makes the citrus and poppy seed cake beautifully moist, with the yogurt and sour cream layers a welcome change from whipped cream.

Rhubarb Poppy Seed Cake with yoghurt and sour cream

Rhubarb Poppy Seed Cake with yoghurt and sour cream

Fish Tacos: Favourite Summer Dish So Far

Sticky and humid summer evenings in Auckland call for less time in the kitchen and time spent outside searching for that elusive breeze.  Here’s my take on fish tacos. Wrap the soft tacos in foil and warm in a slow oven.  Finely slice red cabbage and carrots. Pan fry snapper fillets, lightly seasoned with cumin and lemon.  Place on a bed of raw cabbage and carrots on each taco. Top with a punchy and fragrant coriander, lime and chilli mango salsa (recipe on instagram) and slices of ripe avocado.  Tightly wrap up your taco – dinner prepped, cooked and ready to eat in under 30 minutes.  Perfect for long summer evenings.

Coriander, lime and chilli mango salsa

Coriander, lime and chilli mango salsa

Spicy fish tacos

Spicy fish tacos

Looking forward to Waitangi Weekend and cooking up a storm.

Michelle

Explore Wellington Markets

Every weekend, up and down the country thousands of people flock to farmers market.  For many it’s simply a weekly ritual – fresh local produce straight from the growers and the opportunity to meet the food producers themselves. For others it’s more of a social outing – meeting friends, exploring a market for the first time or simply getting out and about on the weekend.

If you’re in Wellington over the summer holiday make time to explore the local markets.  City Market in the Chaffers Dock Building Sundays 8:30am – 12:30pm provides a line-up of local food and beverage producers, from whitebait fritters (highly recommended) and savoury crepes, to macarons, cheese, nut butters and more.  Your taste buds won’t go home disappointed.

Enjoying a whitebait fritter dockside

Enjoying a whitebait fritter dockside

The perfect brunch - tomato, basil and cheese crepes

The perfect brunch - tomato, basil and cheese crepes

Then take a walk over the bridge towards Te Papa.  We were delighted to discover a line-up of food trucks and stalls from the infamous House of Dumplings to paella, Greek savouries and bacon butties to real berry ice cream packed full of berries, plenty of choice for Sunday lunch.

Food stall alley

Food stall alley

Queues at House of Dumplings

Queues at House of Dumplings

Dumplings hot off the grill

Dumplings hot off the grill

Waiting in anticipation of tasty Greek street food

Waiting in anticipation of tasty Greek street food

Enjoying a real fruit berry icecream

Enjoying a real fruit berry icecream

And while you’re there, don’t forget to grab everything you need for a picnic, BBQ or simply your weekly provisions from Wellington’s oldest market – Harbourside Market, open every Sunday 7:30am – 2pm in the carpark next to Te Papa.  From fresh fruit and vegetables to breads, cheese and deli meats; you can even grab fish fresh from the back of Nino’s fishing boat.

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Harbourside Market

Fresh fruit and vegetables from Harbourside Market

Fresh fish from Nino's fishing boat

Fresh fish from Nino's fishing boat

Look forward to exploring more Wellington markets in January.  For more information on other Wellington markets visit WellingtonNZ

Michelle

Food Styling Workshop

One of the things I love about food and photography is meeting other like-minded people.  In mid-November a food styling workshop in Tauranga provided the perfect opportunity to combine a long weekend away catching up with friends in the stunning Bay of Plenty and attending Unna Burch from The Forest Cantina’s workshop at 145 The Strand with twenty or so other foodies.

Fellow foodies gather at 145 The Strand

Fellow foodies gather at 145 The Strand

Having met Unna at Cook the Books earlier in the year, I was feeling both inspired and nervous. The stark concrete floor at 145 provided a blank canvas; the grey, grainy concrete a contrast to the soft muted tones of the props and the foliage laden table.  This workshop was going to definitely going to extend the boundaries of my styling capabilities.

The props and foliage table

The props and foliage table

Eggs from The Forest Cantina's chickens

Eggs from The Forest Cantina's chickens

After an inspiring conversation about how she had gone from little known blogger to published food writer and photographer in under two years, Unna demonstrated the art of creating a photogenic food installation with her preference for overhead shots and lots of white space. Unna talked us through composition and how adding or removing one element could make a significant difference to the final image.

Unna's story

Unna's story

Demonstrating her technique

Demonstrating her technique

Unna's simple yet stunning piece

Unna's simple yet stunning piece

Next, the opportunity to create our very own photo worthy piece using props and foliage from the table and delightful sweet treats from Dani at Spongedrop Cakery in Mt Maunganui. Of course we were allowed to nibble on the stunning selection of cakes, slices and marshmallow and the decadent cheeseboard throughout the workshop too.

Playing with positioning of props

Playing with positioning of props

A close up

A close up

The final photo

The final photo

Fellow foodies' creations

Fellow foodies' creations

Who can resist this cheeseboard?

Who can resist this cheeseboard?

My biggest takeout from the workshop was always style the shot for the angle you intend taking the photo from. Personally, my preference for food shots is a 45 degree angle rather than overhead and I often take photos at various angles before deciding which one to use.  Take a look through The Foodie Inc Instagram feed; it really comes down to what angle works best in a given situation as often the dishes are plated by someone else.

Funnily enough my favourite shot from the workshop is actually a close up of the raspberry studded marshmallow – a minimalist shot where the food is the hero.

Spongedrop raspberry marshmallow - my favourite shot

Spongedrop raspberry marshmallow - my favourite shot

I hope you enjoy the small selection of photos taken at the workshop.  Until next time, have a great week.

Michelle


November: Magazine Recipes

With two weekends away in November – caught up with friends in the Bay of Plenty and had a fabulous afternoon with Unna Burch from The Forest Cantina at her food styling workshop in Tauranga, then last weekend, a long weekend in Wellington – there has been plenty of eating out and little time to discover new recipes.

So funnily enough both recipes this month (yes there are only two) are from “Flash in the Pan” in the latest Cuisine Magazine (#173 Christmas issue) where Olivia Andrews delivered quick and clever midweek ideas. There were leftovers for lunch the next day too.

First up was ‘Cauliflower Steaks with Haloumi, Spinach and Almond Salad’.  Not a piece of meat in sight so perfect for meatless Mondays.  Couldn’t resist topping with early season fresh asparagus too so really was a complete meal; simply delicious cold the next day too. Key trick to the steak was to ensure that a chunky piece of core held the florets together. 

Meat free Mondays... cauliflower, asparagus, haloumi and spinanch

Meat free Mondays... cauliflower, asparagus, haloumi and spinanch

Just opened the Cuisine Magazine to ensure the descriptions are correct and realised the recipes are side-by-side on the same page – that’s definitely a first! ‘Dukkak Crusted Chicken with Pistachio Potatoes & Herbed Yoghurt’ hit the mark – prepped and on the table in under 40 minutes.  Crispy new potatoes served with pan fried chicken breasts sprinkled with Maggie Beer dukkah – a souvenir from my Master of Gastronomic Tourism residential trip to Adelaide earlier in the year.  Dressed with a honey, lemon and herb infused yoghurt and a scattering of fresh herbs.  Certainly wasn’t complaining about cold sliced chicken served on salad greens with tomatoes the next day either.

Honey, lemon and herb infused yoghurt 

Honey, lemon and herb infused yoghurt 

Dukkah crusted chicken

It’s hard to believe there are less than 20 sleeps until Christmas.  If you’re anything like me, Christmas shopping is still on the “to do” list but menu planning for the big day is almost done; it’s important to delegate some tasks when you’re working up until 23 December. Promise to share our Christmas menu soon.

Keep your eyes peeled for more on the blog about those weekends away... coming soon.

Michelle

Sweet or Savoury Sensations

Fancy a sweet sensation – crumpet, cake or cocoa or are the savoury flavours of paella or a hearty pie more your style?  Victoria Park Market has it all.

Last weekend saw the reopening of Vic Park Markets (facebook page).  Sunshine, live music and an amazing array of stallholders lined the laneways. People waited patiently for soft freshly made crumpets from Kraken Crumpets. The 10 minutes wait to sink my teeth into the sweet indulgence of nutella and banana was worth every minute. Judging by the swarm of happy faces, savoury toppings of bacon and egg, salmon and cream cheese, hummus sundried tomato and olive proved popular too.

Kraken Crumpets

Delicate fresh flowers topped gluten free carrot cakes at Baker & Co’s cakery. The dizzy array of slices had all but sold out when we wandered back later in the day.

Baker & co

Watching the toasted vanilla bean marshmallow melt in front of our eyes, then sandwiched between spiced crackers, the guy with the blowtorch looked like he had made the s’more just a few times before.  Perfect paired with a hot cocoa sundae from Goodnight Cocoa.

Goodnight Cocoa
Goodnight Cocoa
Goodnight s'more 3.jpg

If beef and blue cheese is more your thing, sink your teeth into a Heaven Scent Pie.  With mouth-watering flavours such as Moroccan lamb tangine and coconut chicken and cashew if that doesn't get your tastebuds tingling then the spicy aroma of paella next door just might.

Heaven Scent Pie

While Better Butter’s claim to be the toast improvement specialists, if you’re looking for a different ice cream topping, we hear that the cashew and coconut nut butter hits the mark.  It tasted pretty good on its own too.

Better Butter

Brought to you by the team behind Little Big Events, the legendary Vic Park Markets (facebook page) are back, every Saturday 9am – 2pm at 210 Victoria Street West. 

Victoria Park Market is definitely the place to meet friends next weekend. Love to hear what you think so feel free to comment.

Michelle