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Big Fish

A group of Chefs from around the world gathered close to two impressive fire pits dug on a grassy slope in the Upper Moutere Valley. Cuisine’s newly crowned Future Food Legend, Monique Fiso, was helping to dig up a feast she’d prepared, which had been slow- cooking all day in a traditional hāngi pit. Alongside, a dozen magnificent sides of cedar-planked Ōra King salmon were slowly roasting in the heat and smoke of an open fire pit.

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48 Hours in Nelson

You probably already know that Nelson is the original home of the internationally acclaimed phenomenon known as WOW (World of WearableArt). And although the event now takes place in Wellington each year, the WOW Museum here in Nelson – conveniently located on the way from the airport into town – hosts a wonderful collection of award-winning entries.

Recipe

Zaatar-Roasted Cauliflower with Babaganoush & Pickled Shallots

Charring the eggplants directly over gas until blackened gives the most amazing smoky flavor to the babaganoush. However, if you don’t have gas or access to a barbecue I’ve offered an oven grill alternative. You’ll find shallots at most supermarkets. They’re slightly sweeter and milder than a red onion, but if you’d prefer, use red onion instead. To keep this plant-based, use brown rice syrup instead of honey in the babaganoush.

Recipe

Hibiscus-Rose Soda

You can find dried hibiscus flowers and rosewater at specialty food stores. Hibiscus is high in vitamin C and makes a great tea if you find yourself wondering what to do with any leftovers. Simply pour a cup of boiling water over approx 1 teaspoon dried flowers and steep for five minutes before drinking. Add a touch of honey or sugar to sweeten if desired. I find you can get two brews from the flowers before they’re destined for the compost.

Recipe

Braised Fennel with Crispy Chickpeas & Saffron Basmati

This dish is packed with flavour and is light but also very comforting. The braised fennel is based on a recipe in Deborah Madison’s cookbook Vegetable Literacy, however I’ve used ghee in place of olive oil and butter, and simplified the dish a little. If you’d like to keep this plant-based, use olive oil instead of ghee – though not quite as flavourful, it’s still delicious. If you’re soaking and cooking dried chickpeas, allow at least one day before cooking to soak.

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