I love the lead up to Christmas and summer. As the weather improves and the days lengthen, everything seems somehow easier and more festive. I often like to gather 10-12 people together for relaxed drinks followed by a help-yourself dinner like this one.
A perfect piece of cheese is a simple pleasure and NZ cheesemakers work tremendously hard, with passion and dedication, to give us that.
It would be fair to say that I enjoy a good cocktail and, of course, I love food – so I jumped at the chance to create some racione-style dishes to pair with the exciting cocktails created by Peter Lowry and Laura Walker of Wellington’s Forresters Lane.
Nothing Signal Spring more than the bright pink stalks of rhubarb. For me it wasn’t love at first sight, though; as a kid I didn’t like the boiled- to-death way my mum prepared those stalks from the garden that were more green than pink. It wasn’t until much later in life that I came to love rhubarb.
As soon as I started to think about spring salads the ideas were flowing, mostly fed by my attraction to varied textures and strong flavours. I was pretty pleased with my ideas, then a couple of days later I revisited them and thought, “Actually, are these technically ‘salads’?”
I adore globe artichokes. When I see the first of the spring artichokes, I can’t help but feel excited. Usually I prefer a simple preparation: the classic way to deal with them is to simply boil or steam them whole until tender, with a few aromatics such as thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns in the water.
Most of the people I know who aren’t hardcore food people dislike offal, often to the point of revulsion. Many of us grew up not having to eat offal; there were plenty of other options available and it was probably easier for parents not to have to fight that battle.