With these cakes and desserts I wanted to give you a twist on classic Kiwi pastries, but also go a bit deeper and explore the concept of New Zealand, the land and sea around us.
Slow seafood is a new one for us. Up until now, kaimoana has been more of a fast food – a quick fry in butter, a moment over the coals, a swift steam.
Did he just say curried pineapple ice cream? Yes he did. Ryan Henley, chef de cuisine at Pescatore, explains that it’s one of the innovative dishes that make up his new menu at Christchurch’s longstanding fine-dining restaurant at The George.
It is from where we come and those who have come before us that we truly gain our strength and place.
Does the thought of a recipe for Spam horrify you? Until I suggested using it in the musubi here I had never tasted it.
Sometimes, when I feel I have had endured the chef’s philosophy and eaten a tweezer-tortured plate of food one too many times, I close my eyes and imagine my happy place, one where all the food makes sense. Boulcott Street Bistro is just that restaurant.
I have a fascination for, and healthy addiction to, noodles. In their many guises they provide endless opportunities for discovery, as well as a tasty textural vehicle for whatever ingredients the season and your location permit.
‘Eat less meat’ Is a common message nowadays, both for health and for the environment and I have been cutting down on meat in home cooking for a long time now. I always hover somewhere around wanting to be a vegetarian because of animal welfare issues, but also really enjoying, say, a bloody good steak.
Bring on summer – lazy afternoons at the beach or pottering in the garden with the sound of cicadas and the warmth of the sun – I cannot wait! For me, summer entertaining is all about making life easy so that I can get out and make the most of the longer days.
Easy cooking is what summer-holiday meals are all about for me. Seafood in particular makes for fast, flavour-forward dishes. Mostly I’m happy with a piece of grilled fish and a simple salad, especially if the fish has been freshly caught, but there’s also a time when I hanker for a kick of heat in the food and sharp, clean and fresh flavours from plenty of Asian herbs.
Iced desserts are kinda my thing – I love the simplicity of the ice-block- making process, the gratification one gets from scraping frozen syrup to form granita and the instant joy from blitzing up frozen fruit to form quick, healthy, instant sorbets.
When I was growing up my parents often had friends over for dinner. The vegetarian 80s classics always came into play: there would be brown rice salad with curry-powder dressing, a big green salad using vegetables from our garden, if I was lucky Mum’s famous kumara and carrot slice would also be on the menu and dessert was often crumble or cake with whipped cream.
The barbecue has been the centrepiece of the Kiwi summer routine for decades – and for good reason. Every country has their own version of barbecue, where smoke and fire are the transformative elements and, traditionally at least, these cooking methods have been accompanied by a strong social element. There’s something about the sound and smell of something cooking over fire that draws people in.
In a nation sorrounded by waters full of fish, it’s good to have a restaurant where seafood is front of mind. Wellington’s Ortega is such a place and it’s a much-loved institution. The look is authentic Portuguese bistro – a mosaic- tiled floor, marine-blue walls complete with mounted fish and an eclectic mix of fishing portraits, glass fish floats, subdued and clever lighting.
My cooking is understated and old fashioned. I like to present a hero ingredient in a way that adds to its natural beauty and doesn’t distract from it. I don’t use foams or gels and I like to use herbs and edible flowers as part of the dish, which is easy when you have a kitchen garden but also when you have a planter of herbs under the window.
When the test came from The Sugar Club executive chef Josh Barlow at 2am, “Does Heston have any dietary requirements?” I realised, that in the mad panic to get my mitts on Heston, I’d forgotten to ask. Surely not? How hard can this be?
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.
With today’s culture of rock-star chefs (and sometimes super-sized egos to match), and in an industry which can be tough on junior staff, it’s refreshing to meet a chef who spends much of her working life hidden behind the scenes, who cares about developing and mentoring those under her charge and who uses her skills to help in the community.
Let’s be honest, Prego is an institution as much as it is a restaurant. For 32 years it has not only been a stalwart of Auckland’s restaurant scene, but an integral part of the cultural landscape of Ponsonby Road. Amongst the ‘boom- and-bust’ cycle of the hospitality industry, it’s a forever restaurant, reassuring you by its mere presence as if nothing could ever happen to it.
Spring is a difficult time of year when cooking seasonally. Nothing is quite ready, yet after a cold winter of heavy, rich flavours everyone is craving the green, white and incredibly peppery and fresh flavours and colours of early spring. You can call on a few bits preserved from seasons before, but when trying to reflect time and place through food, it can be challenging.
Tracy Whitmey talks to a young chef bringing fine-dining techniques to traditional Lebanese food. The menu note sums up entirely what Gemmayze Street is all about: A large part of Lebanese heritage and culture is conveyed through our food and the way we share a meal with our loved ones. Gemmayze Street symbolises the pillars of any Lebanese gathering: food, hospitality, love and family.
Of the current buzzwords, ‘passion’ is tossed around with abandon these days, but when Simon Levy describes his dish of clams as food that “hugs you, just embraces you” it shows that his heart and soul are poured into INATI, the Christchurch restaurant he owns along with his wife, Lisa.
Alice Neville meets the chef bringing a modern take on Korean cuisine to Auckland
It's been discovered as a mystery of the soul, a complex sadness, a sense of collective injustice mingled with a feeling of hope and the ability to silently and stoically endure hardship.