Monday, 30 July 2007

Carlo Petrini

The New Zealand Herald has a story about Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement, something which is close to the Nihowera heart. It is a great read!

Thanks to Mel for the tip!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

New Zealand Wagyu Beef

It recently came to my attention that New Zealand is producing Wagyu Beef. This is exciting! Firstlight is the company distributing New Zealand Wagyu beef.

When I lived in Japan for a few months I often saw this fatty looking beef for sale, however I was never tempted to buy the highly marbled , and expensive, cuts. Fast forward ten years, and I am excited to see such meat at the butcher. I usually trim all visible fat from my steak before cooking, not being a fan of the taste, prefering all sides of the meat to wear a beautiful seared edge.

You can buy New Zealand Wagyu beef at Meat on Tory in Wellington.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Punjabi Spell

For those of you in Wellington interested in Indian food there is to be a demonstration of Punjabi Cuisine at Little India on Monday 23rd July, Tuesday 24th July and Wednesday 25th July at 7pm :

Chef Jugnu Gill, who is also a very successful entrepreneur will demonstrate and prepare a special three course Punjabi meal for the attendees.
Details here.

Mid-winter Christmas Feast Menu

Bron and I are so pleased to present the following menu for the Mid-winter Christmas Feast of 2007 :

Gravlax - from lemonpi, a delicious and gorgeous way to start a feast.

Traditional Roast Chicken - from Homemades, a fragrant and celebratory main course.

Christmas pudding - from Laws of the Kitchen, a great example of Christmas pudding.
Dark Chocolate and Orange Muffins - from Milk and Cookies, beautiful muffins with such Christmas flavour.
Paime - from TriniGourmet, a fantastic dessert to add a delicious and exotic note to your Christmas feast.
Jellies - from so so simple food, a clever and light dessert perhaps to refresh your palate.
Aren't we lucky to be able travel around the world with such talented cooks for the Mid-winter Christmas Feast of 2007? Thank you to everyone who sent us recipes for the Nihowera Mid-winter Christmas Feast.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Price of Milk

Milk in New Zealand increased in price this week. This price increase has been attributed to increased commodity demand from China, the ongoing drought in Australia and more land in America being used to grow corn for ethanol instead of farming dairy cows.

So milk is even more expensive, more per litre than petrol. I wonder how this affects people, will people have to cut down or ration something so good, perhaps choosing to drink, or give their children, cheap softdrinks?

Sunday, 15 July 2007

6 of My Favourite Culinary Podcasts

As I walk to and from work I listen to a podcast, generally one of a culinary nature. Listening to a broadcast on a topic in which you are interested is a fabulous way to learn. Here are 6 of my current favourites :

  1. Deconstructing Dinner
  3. KCRW Good Food
  4. Eat Feed
  5. Hunrgy Magazine
  6. Off the Broiler

Thursday, 12 July 2007

How I gave up glad wrap

Reducing your packaging is good not only for your wallet - less disposable things to buy - but also the environment. Here is an example - how I gave up glad wrap.

Every time you tear off a piece of glad wrap to cover a bowl or plate of left overs it is more than likely that you will only use that piece of plastic once and throw it away. There are also concerns about the impacts to your health of the plasticizers in the plastic leaching into your food.

These are some substitutes for plastic wrap that I now use :

  • When leaving bread dough to rise cover with a damp tea towel.
  • Put a plate over a bowl of left overs in the fridge.
  • Buy small stainless steel containers to carry snacks to work.
  • Reuse glass jars to keep halves of lemon or other small items.
  • Wrap things in a tea towel to store or transport.
I have not actually missed glad wrap since that last sticker telling me I had almost run out rolled off the tube.

There is much debate regarding the environmental impacts of manufacturing plastic versus the washing of an alternative. But it seems to me that washing with a biodegradable washing powder is a much better option.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Reducing your packing usage

Do you find yourself getting annoyed with how much packaging you throw away? I did and I decided to do a few things about it. Here are some ideas :

  • I bought a couple of reusable shopping bags and tried to remember to take them with me when I went shopping. This is made much easier if you get a nifty fold up one that will fit in your handbag. My mother used to have a lovely orange and brown one, mine is a little less dated in chic black and white.
  • If you shop somewhere like Commonsense Organics choose to use the recycled bags at the counter that other like minded people have returned to the shop.
  • Take your own containers to refill with things such as dish washing liquid and shampoo.
  • Choose to use permanent stainless steel, glass or ceramic rather than throw away plastic containers to store things at home or to take your lunch to work.
  • Use fabric napkins instead of paper. I now take a fabric napkin to work to use for my lunches during the week.
Look out for some more posts around this theme and of course your tips are always welcome!

Monday, 9 July 2007

If you would like even more inspiration for your Mid-Winter Christmas Feast then pick up a copy of Tamasin's Kitchen Bible by Tamasin Day-Lewis.
Christmas is covered in a dedicated chapter with recipes and a timetable. From the planning a month or so out and the making of the pudding to the count down to the Big Meal itself, you are in very good hands.
Of course there is much, much more to this book than just how to have a low stress Christmas.
Actually, unsurprisingly with its biblical title, pretty much most aspects of cookery are covered : simple things that children can make, basic skills, classic dishes and more.
I reach for this book most weeks at some point whether it is for inspiration, a recipe or for something to read with a cup of tea.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

A Mid-Winter Christmas Feast

I enjoyed a Mid-Winter Christmas Feast with some good friends yesterday, would you like to see our menu?

Turkey, brined and roasted according to this recipe
Potatoes roasted in goose fat
Roast pumpkin and kumara
Brussels sprouts with toasted almonds
Cranberry sauce
Bread sauce
Sausages and prunes wrapped in bacon
Sausages wrapped in bacon, baked on bread stuffing

Mince Pies
Cheese, dates and port
Mulled wine
As you might imagine there were many of our favourite Christmas foods included in the menu, from more than two families. It was just great to see and share what other people must have for Christmas - luckily we all pretty much agreed. But as you can see we had to have the two lots of sausages - but damn they are good cold the next day!

Remember to send us your favourite Christmas dishes for our Mid-Winter Christmas Feast - the details are here. I can't wait!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Bottled Water

Take a look at this article and see what it takes to bring you bottled water. Interesting. Scary. Wrong?

Summed up very well in this article on Boing Boing focusing of Fiji Water, topical here in New Zealand now :

"Fiji Water produces more than a million bottles a day, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have reliable drinking water."

Monday, 2 July 2007

Mid-Winter Christmas Appeal

Please bare with me, I have a few questions for you all tonight!

  • How much do you spend on food every week?

  • Do you believe you create a healthy diet every week?

  • How many adults, adolescents, children are you feeding with your weekly groceries?

  • A recent Otago University Study estimated the cost of a basic healthy weekly diet as being NZ$50 for an adult male; $48 for an adult female; $64 for an adolescent male; $53 for an adolescent female; and $41 for a 10 year old child.
    How then do minimum wage hard working families or pensioners survive, or have the least bit of a chance achieving a healthy diet?

    The government recently launched a $67 million campaign to combat obesity, to encourage New Zealanders to eat well and eat less, but where's the programme for those who don't get enough to eat?

    My City Mission newsletter arrived in the weekend, and the Missoner shares a story about an elderly woman who recently lost her husband, I'd like to share the story with you.

    Together they were on a pre-tax pension of $277 a week. She and her husband were lead to believe by previous government that they would be able to live on the pension. But then her husband died and her rent increased and now she has to manage on $97 a week!
    Of course she ought to move into a flat, but she has lived in the same small house for the past 27 years and her garden still provides most of her food. But when winter comes and the garden stops producing and her house needs heating; that's when she comes to the Mission to get a little help from her friends.

    Now the Mission does amazingly well from caring generous folk donating at Christmas in December when the weather is balmy and the vegetables in her garden are growing strong and granting her an ample supply. Thankfully the Mission is really good at budgeting too, however they still don't have enough to go around and therefore unfortunately they can't help everyone. They have to pick and choose who's most needy. More and more pensioners are no longer able to cope on New Zealand Superannuation. They need help from the mission and they need this help most during these cold winter months, a time when traditionally donations are at their lowest.

    Please help me with my Mid-Winter Christmas Appeal and donate as much as you traditionally donate in December or more! and make Winter 2007 a Mid-Winter Christmas for all New Zealanders!

    Delia Smith's Christmas

    Delia Smith's Christmas begins "If there's one person in the world who probably needs this book more than anyone else it's me. For years now my own Christmas preparations have been to say the least, fragmented and fraught: recipes here, notes there..."

    Well I think that this is true for any foodie! So many ideas, so little time! Christmas is certainly a major highlight in the foodie's year, so why not indulge in it twice and hold a Mid-Winter Feast!

    Delia Smith's Christmas offers absolutely divine recipes for all the classic Winter Christmas Northern Hemisphere dishes including variants on Baked and Glazed Hams, Roast Loin of Pork, Roast Sirloin of Beef, Turkey, Duck, Pheasant together with delicious recipes for the traditional accompaniments, vegetables and sides. There's also a large section dedicated to a Vegetarian Christmas, Cocktail Canapé, Pickles and Chutneys, Classic Christmas Baking, Cakes, Gifts and Desserts.
    Over 130 recipes in whole!

    However what makes this book truly unique is Delia's sensible shopping lists and planning guides to get all the ingredients and all preparations done in time and with the least amount of fuss and standing in supermarket queues! Perhaps not such a problem in July, however useful all the same!
    It even includes an hour by hour guide for the "Last 36 Hours" to ensure your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day go without a hitch.
    Oh and what to do with all those leftovers? Never fear Delia has a totally delectable answer to each and every one of them too!

    Sunday, 1 July 2007

    How to Hangi

    Nigel from Curious Kai has put together this definitive guide on Hangi, "a traditional Maori way of cooking food done in a pit using heated stones and/or pieces of iron, with water or leafy vegetation thrown on to to produce steam." hanging-out-for-hangi.html is a fantastic account with loads of photos and a flickr slide show to boot! A must see!