Recipe Category: Issue 202
Oysters are a special-occasion treat and while they are often at their best in winter, when they are full-flavoured and meaty, I do like Pacific oysters up until Christmas. Mahurangi Oysters is the family-run operation of Lisa and Andrew Hay, who sell oysters from April through to December and in the lead up to Christmas their oysters are fat and creamy and a more mellow option for those who are a little hesitant.
I can’t bear to cook oysters so they are most often served raw, but I do on occasion like a little topping such as a jelly and if it is paired with a crisp crumb of something salty that, too, is a delight. A crisp, flinty and dry sherry such as manzanilla is a delicious combination with oysters and that is what I recommend to use here.
I often think that escabeche should be called the entertainer’s best friend as it’s one of those dishes whose flavour improves with time. Make it early on the day or the day before for a more pronounced flavour, just be sure to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Do use a quality vinegar with a good balance, as something too acidic will make this rather unpleasant. I prefer to use an oily fish here. For a more luxe version add some saffron to the liquid.
These mini gluten-free tarts are the perfect nibbles to have with drinks. This buttery, flaky, gluten-free pastry is based on a recipe by Aran Goyoaga from her cookbook Cannelle et Vanille.
This salad screams of festive times and New Zealand summertime. I used homegrown landcress from my garden, but watercress or rocket with their lovely peppery notes would be awesome too.
In this frozen version of the much-loved chocolate sponge roll, I’ve utilised beautiful New Zealand-grown boysenberries to flavour an Italian-style semifreddo which fills a gluten-free chocolate sponge. Can’t find any boysenberries? No worries, use any berry you can get your hands on. For those ice-cream lovers out there who love homemade ice cream but don’t own an ice-cream machine, semifreddo is your new best friend. It is rich, creamy, mousse-like and very addictive.
You can find dried ground horopito online or at selected specialty food stores, but if unavailable, omit and use finely ground black pepper instead.
Sweet, floral, creamy and indulgent, this cheese-less ‘cheesecake’ is just the thing to make when you’re looking for a plant-based dessert that doesn’t skimp on flavour. For best results soak the cashew nuts in water overnight, or if you’re in a hurry, cover nuts with boiling water and set aside until the water is cold before using.
Rillettes of smoked fish or salmon are always great for a quick nibble. Usually my standby is fish with crème fraîche and some horseradish, but sometimes I like to keep it dairy free. Using roasted cherry tomatoes with some garlic, some of which is blitzed then added to the fish, makes for a sweeter and softer version. This recipe makes more roasted cherry tomatoes than you’ll need, but I think they are perfect for using later in the week to toss through some pasta with fresh basil.
Salmon makes for an impressive dish especially when cooked as a whole side. For a lush, more snazzy option I might top the fish with some salmon roe if available, but this also works well for weeknight meals using smaller pieces of salmon. Leftovers might find their way into rice paper rolls with the addition of rice vermicelli. The caramel and the undressed salad can be made ahead of time then finished when required.