Ima Cuisine X Sawmill Brewing

Heading away to Matakana for a few days and escaping the day-to-day, the plan was to slow down – relax, read, write, walk etc. – do as little as possible after a hectic few months.  Excited to discover Sawmill Brewing’s head chef Will Michell was hosting a dinner with Yael Shochat from Ima’s Cuisine, and knowing the five course dinner was in collaboration with Leigh Fisheries, a night out was too enticing, even if flying solo.

North of Matakana village, the Sawmill Brewery – independent and New Zealand owned – is set back from the road with the countryside its backdrop.  With its relaxed vibe, the Smoko Room and family-friendly external courtyard, where you can enjoy their extensive range of handcrafted beers and shared plates, are housed adjacent to the custom-built brewery, the entrance and bar providing a birds-eye view of the working brewery.

 Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room

Sawmill Brewery and Smoko Room

 The working brewery is immediately beyond the bar

The working brewery is immediately beyond the bar

Handed a Vienna Lager on arrival, it matched perfectly with the pan fried snapper in falafel crumb served with tabuleh and labneh in baby cos and the fried oysters with samphire and lime dressing.

Welcomed into the Smoko Room, two long communal tables were set for the night’s festivities.  Our place cards the perfect talking point for getting to know fellow guests.  One diner will definitely remember that next time he books under “Zephyr & co”, that it is exactly what the card will say, much to the amusement of his wife!

 The Smoko Room

The Smoko Room

What followed was a delicious pairing of seafood and beers (or wine for the non-beer drinkers) with chefs and producers speaking; the dishes and beers introduced between courses.  Convivial company and generous pours (for the non-drivers) meant conversation flowed easily with lots of friendly banter and laughter.

 Will (head chef Sawmill) and Yael (Ima Cuisine) explain the menu

Will (head chef Sawmill) and Yael (Ima Cuisine) explain the menu

Courses two to four, from left to to right: Smoked kahawai & kawakawa dolmades with mackerel & a pickled clam salsa; Haraimeh with baby Challa; Scorpion (grandaddy hapuka) with vine leaves, apple, capers and fennel.

The evening finished with a delightfully light orange blossom crème caramel topped with sesame crunch and accompanied by a fresh orange salad with orange ricotta Katayif.

 To finish... creme caramel

To finish... creme caramel

When people choose to collaborate to produce something really special and are generous with what they bring to the table, our expectations are always exceeded.  We were not disappointed – a fabulously entertaining and hospitable evening all around.

Dining in Smoko Room

Sawmill’s next collaboration dinner is at the end of July, when a group of culinary students will take over the kitchen and together with local secondary school students running front of house the Smoko Room will become their restaurant for a night. 

But if you simply fancy a few beers and shared plates, check out their website for opening hours and menus here – Sawmill Brewery.

Enjoy!

Michelle

ps excuse the grainy photos, the lighting was set for dining and we were all too eager to indulge than capture the plates!

 

 

Eat, Drink Craggy Range

Heading to Hawke’s Bay last November an invitation to explore the kitchen garden, chat with the new head chef and of course, eat and drink at Craggy Range Winery situated on the banks of the Tuki Tuki River, was an amazing way to kick off the NZ Foodwriters' conference and Summer F.A.W.C!.

 Craggy Range Winery from Te Mata Peak lookout

Craggy Range Winery from Te Mata Peak lookout

 Dine alfresco on Terroir's terrace

Dine alfresco on Terroir's terrace

Handing us a glass of 2015 Craggy Range Rosé, we embarked on a leisurely walk through the vines to the kitchen garden – one imagines kitchen hands easily clock up their steps each day, as they run back and forwards fulfilling last minute requests for freshly picked vegetables and handfuls of herbs – set within lush protective hedges.

 2015 Craggy Range Rosé

2015 Craggy Range Rosé

 A walk amongst the vines

A walk amongst the vines

 Te Mata Peak makes a dramatic backdrop

Te Mata Peak makes a dramatic backdrop

Aaron Drummond, General Manager and Casey McDonald Head Chef talked us through the change in direction for Terroir Restaurant – a more relaxed atmosphere and an increased focus on showcasing locally sourced produce – something we experienced firsthand as we enjoyed an array of tantalising dishes served as shared plates with Craggy Range wines to match.  The potato focaccia was such a hit, the recipe is included at the bottom of this post if you fancy making it yourself.

 The kitchen garden

The kitchen garden

 Stunning array of leafy greens and fresh herbs

Stunning array of leafy greens and fresh herbs

Sitting on the terrace we devoured dish after dish of locally sourced Hawke’s Bay produce, and enjoyed catching up with other members from around the country so much, that a planned visit to the wine cellars was something that would need to wait until next time.

 TukiTuki venison tartare with tarragon and fried anchovy

TukiTuki venison tartare with tarragon and fried anchovy

 Calamari and fennel salad

Calamari and fennel salad

 Hohepa haloumi with vine roasted beetroot & burnt honey

Hohepa haloumi with vine roasted beetroot & burnt honey

 Rauhine Ranges salt baked milk-fed lamb with herb pesto

Rauhine Ranges salt baked milk-fed lamb with herb pesto

 Poached meringue with rhubarb and sheep milk yoghurt

Poached meringue with rhubarb and sheep milk yoghurt

Ensure you visit Craggy Range Winery when you’re in Hawke’s Bay – if you’re keen to see the kitchen garden, ask if it possible when you book your table – you won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

Michelle

ps Foodwriters NZ were guests of Craggy Range Winery, but as with every The Foodie Inc post, the views expressed here are those of the writer.

Recipe Resolution is back

New food books are always eagerly devoured cover to cover within days, with recipes keenly marked, but when the stack of books acquired in past 12 months are vying for attention with the towering magazine pile teetering precariously on the three legged coffee table – placement is absolutely critical, otherwise a magazine avalanche and an upended table results – the time has come to bring back My Food Magazine Resolution.

December provided the perfect opportunity to use some of those marked recipes.  With meringues simple to make, easy to transport and a crowd pleaser every time, Fiona Hugues’ cappuccino meringues from the November / December 2017 Taste Magazine #126 made an appearance no less than three times during Christmas festivities.

 Made 70 for a Christmas party

Made 70 for a Christmas party

 Sandwiched together with Cathedral Cove cacoa bean coconut yoghurt

Sandwiched together with Cathedral Cove cacoa bean coconut yoghurt

Christmas Day this year was a simple affair – salads and seafood – and possibly meringues for dessert! The peach, mozzarella and Israeli couscous (swapped out the fregola) salad from #126 Taste Magazine and Yael Shochat’s (Ima Cuisine book released mid 2017) Mediterranean slaw were perfect partners for a smorgasbord of baby octopuses, prawns and scallops.

 Peach mozzarella and Israeli couscous salad

Peach mozzarella and Israeli couscous salad

 Baby octopuses dancing in the wok

Baby octopuses dancing in the wok

With the humidity proving a challenge over January, the less time spent in a hot kitchen the better.  Clare Aldous’ buffalo sauce online or in Dish magazine #76 – a firm favourite on chicken wings – made the perfect sauce for fresh sweetcorn or drizzled over leftover sweetcorn, crispy bacon and salty feta.

 Sweetcorn, bacon and feta topped with buffalo sauce

Sweetcorn, bacon and feta topped with buffalo sauce

Finally, for this recipe roundup a variation on Dish magazine #64 Fresh Cherry Crumble Tart (note shown as individual tarts in magazine).  After a false start earlier in the week when the pastry (round one) collapsed in the humidity – resulting in a boysenberry and chocolate parfait (forgot the photo) – friends would have been none the wiser had the kitchen bench not been covered in flour! Round two – attempted to re-roll the refrigerated pastry – an epic fail so round three was a quick trip to the local supermarket for pastry sheets! Voila one Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Tart to share with family visiting from Australia.

 Fresh cherry and chocolate tart

Fresh cherry and chocolate tart

Of course there were plenty of other dishes made, and shared with family and friends over the past couple of months, with lots of local market visits, but that pile of books and magazines are calling out to be used.  It’s time to broaden our everyday menus and use more of those marked recipes.

Watch this space and please help keep the recipe resolution on track throughout 2018.

Michelle

Winery Lunches, Hawke’s Bay

With more than 70 wineries in Hawke’s Bay – New Zealand’s oldest and second largest wine growing region – deciding where to sit back, relax and enjoy a leisurely lunch takes almost as long as the lunch itself. Heading to Hawke’s Bay to catch up with friends before F.A.W.C. there was no shortage of opportunities to indulge.

Friends who had relocated to Waiohiki were keen to go somewhere local. Church Road Winery was a short drive from their new home and bed and breakfast, Omaranui Garden View.  Hawke’s Bay turned on a stunner of a day so we grabbed a table on the terrace overlooking the picnic area.  It wasn’t hard to envisage the domain dotted with people enjoying wine and platters on summer weekends, but given it was a Tuesday we had the serene backdrop to ourselves.

 The grand entrance

The grand entrance

 The dining hall and tasting room

The dining hall and tasting room

 Perfect picnic spot

Perfect picnic spot

With nowhere else to be, we meandered our way through an impressive menu – punctuated with local artisan produce, each dish was perfectly paired with a Church Road wine – after all we had several months of catching up to do. It was the perfect excuse for being last to leave.

Travelling solo the next day, I drove the short distance from Havelock North to Clifton – the gateway to Cape Kidnappers and the gannet colony – and the Te Awanga wine growing area; home amongst others to Elephant Hill, Rod McDonald Wines and Clearview Estate wineries.

 Looking out to Cape Kidnappers

Looking out to Cape Kidnappers

Today’s remit was a casual lunch, somewhere a lone diner wouldn’t look out of place.  Turning into Clearview Estate a group of cyclists moved aside; the uneven gravel under their wheels revealing the unmistakable clinking of wine bottles hidden in their backpacks nestled in the woven baskets.  Suddenly, memories of a hilariously funny afternoon biking through the vineyards more than 10 years ago came flooding back, but that’s a story for another day!

Umbrella shaded tables in the courtyard were in high demand.  The cyclists headed for a wine-tasting – undoubtedly not the first of the day – before settling in for what looked like the beginning of an all afternoon lunch; the Takaro Trails car was in the carpark so this may have been their final stop.  With so much more to see and do, crab sliders with a lightly chilled Pinot Gris were the perfect combination, before heading to my next stop.

 Indulge in a wine tasting at Clearview Estate

Indulge in a wine tasting at Clearview Estate

 Crab sliders and a cheeky Pinot Gris

Crab sliders and a cheeky Pinot Gris

If you’re staying in Havelock North, Black Barn Vineyards is just around the corner. Take your pick from wine tastings, a leisurely lunch or simply grab some provisions from their store.  Their growers market, set amongst the trees, is a great way to kick off a Saturday (9am-noon) during summer.

Friday afternoon to kick off the Foodwriters NZ conference, we were guests of Craggy Range Winery, where we were treated to a smorgasbord of dishes created by the new head chef Casey Mc Donald, so keep your eyes open for an upcoming post.

Some handy links:

Hawke’s Bay Trails - Napier and Hastings | NZ Cycle Trail

Hire bikes:

Hawke’s Bay Wines – great source on information and maps etc

Grab a food and wine map from the local information office, it’s far easier than using your mobile.

Enjoy!

Michelle

2017 in Review

The Foodie Inc had ambitious plans for 2017 – a foodie bucket list of sorts – but really an excuse to explore more of New Zealand’s food and wine scene.  The goal was something new each month, but one couldn’t resist indulging in some old favourites too.  Admittedly, blogposts were infrequent – studying for Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism took up every spare moment – so please enjoy a few photographic highlights from last year, with more foodie adventures to be shared very soon.

A 35 minutes ferry ride delivered us to Waiheke Island for headland Sculpture on the Gulf.  Thought provoking sculptures, stunningly spectacular views and if the trip wasn’t field research for a university assignment due three days later, a leisurely winery lunch would definitely have followed. 

Volunteering at the New Zealand Cheese Awards, learning how to make pasta with Stephania at Pasta Cuore and blending our own wine (got our names on the bottle) with The Hunting Lodge’s crown blend rose challenge were more hands-on experiences.

Persistent rain and mud underfoot didn’t detract from the captivating experience and fabulous company at Monique Fiso’s intimate dinner party – Hiakai – the photos simply don’t do the evening justice, but then the lighting wasn’t designed to be camera friendly.

Exploring outside Auckland saw The Foodie Inc Go Wild in the Waikato (NZ Foodwriters trip and photo credit), attend The Seriously Good Food Show in Tauranga in July and finally made it to F.A.W.C. Hawkes Bay in November. 

In early August “a truffle hunt” in Canterbury’s Limestone Hills with Rosie the Beagle and a decadent five course truffle-infused lunch at Black Estate, 2017 winery restaurant of the year really did knock one off the bucket list!

And when you live in Auckland you can’t ignore: Auckland Restaurant Month from Street Eats to restaurant takeovers and simply an excuse to indulge in special menus and catch up with friends; The Food Show in Auckland in July; and let’s not forget Taste of Auckland in November.

So what is The Foodie Inc planning for 2018?  Ticking a few more things off the ever-expanding foodie bucket list and aiming to share four new posts each month:

  • More stories about local food producers like Hauraki Salt Company and Tea Tree Orchard
  • Must see / do destinations or experiences, like the once in a lifetime night at Hiakai
  • An event, a cooking class, a farmers' market or a food truck like The Rolling Pin for you to check out for yourself
  • Sharing recipes cooked or created in the previous month in Recipe Resolution

Thanks for supporting The Foodie Inc – your feedback is very much appreciated.   Look forward to sharing more memorable food and wine experiences and places to explore in 2018.

Enjoy!

Michelle

2017 Auckland Food Show

Let’s face it, people often inadvertently move in circles. The day at The Food Show, started and ended with donuts. 

 Donuts from  The Pie Piper  and  Doornuts

Donuts from The Pie Piper and Doornuts

The leisurely meander through the halls of The Food Show with foodlovers Genie, Bunny Eats Design and Bri Dimattina Food Adventures entailed many looped routes as we strolled from the Fresh Market to the Healthy Hub to the Artisan Village and everything in between. 

 Hot and cold smoked  Aoraki Salmon

Hot and cold smoked Aoraki Salmon

  Leaderbrand  living wall

Leaderbrand living wall

  The Olive Lady 's green pickled peppers

The Olive Lady's green pickled peppers

We tasted and then tasted some more, talking to fellow foodies and producers along the way.  Cameras were always at the ready, stallholders became accustomed to displays being rearranged, and products being lined up, always obliging with a smile or friendly banter.

 Cameras at the ready for  Good Buzz Kombucha

Cameras at the ready for Good Buzz Kombucha

 Spotted Morgan from Bonnie Oatcakes helping out at  Fix & Fogg  stand

Spotted Morgan from Bonnie Oatcakes helping out at Fix & Fogg stand

 Rubs from  Wild Fennel Co

Rubs from Wild Fennel Co

  Thomson Whisky  tastings while we wait for our cooking class to start

Thomson Whisky tastings while we wait for our cooking class to start

We even made ourselves lunch at the Casa BarillaCooking School which was heaps of fun – free but pays to book.

 Casa Barilla Cooking School

Casa Barilla Cooking School

 Ready to cook...

Ready to cook...

 Italian sausage & mushroom penne

Italian sausage & mushroom penne

Thanks to The Food Show for the complimentary ticket to Thursday’s opening day. The Food Show runs until Sunday 30 July.  For tickets and information go to www.thefoodshow.co.nz

This photo journal shows just a handful of the amazing food and wine producers so we hope you choose to travel The Food Show in circles – you might be surprised what you notice the second time around! Enjoy the show.

Michelle

ps caught up with the girls at Mamas Donuts on the way out... lucky to be gifted a bag of mix on last week's 'Go Wild in Waikato' foodwriters trip 

  Mamas Donuts ... looking forward to making these at home

Mamas Donuts... looking forward to making these at home

Dumplings and more

Anticipation grew waiting for a friend to arrive, as did the queue of people who meandered from local commercial businesses to The Rolling Pin's regular Friday lunchtime gig in Ellerslie.  In fact anticipation had been growing since the Vegan Food Fair back in April when spoiled for choice – friends devoured Buddha's Delight dumplings and slaw with squeals of delight – while we stood side by side eating something equally divine from a different food truck.

 Lucky locals queue for Friday lunch

Lucky locals queue for Friday lunch

 Join the queue

Join the queue

 The Rolling Pin team in action

The Rolling Pin team in action

Thanks to The Rolling Pin for the opportunity to take a friend to lunch.  A passionate vegan who lives locally, she was excited by the flavour combination of the Buddha's Delight dumplings – bean curd, shitake mushroom, pumpkin, bok choy and cabbage, and especially that spicy sauce – so much so she's convinced her teenage children would love them too.  Although between us, they might not be able to go past the Penang Pulled Beef dumplings.

 Buddha's Delight and that slaw

Buddha's Delight and that slaw

 Buddha's Delight

Buddha's Delight

And the "more"... yes that slaw!  Asian slaw topped with crunchy fried shallots and crushed peanuts and a secret spicy sauce – that slaw was a sensory sensation on its own.

To find out where The Rolling Pin will be each week check the The Rolling Pin - Facebook page. Available for private and fundraising events too.

So close to home, dumpling Fridays could become a regular rendevous!

Michelle