Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Missing the Cream in the butter

If there is one thing that is missing in Marlborough then it is the lack of a local diary or milk factory. We still have vibrant milk industry that delivers by truck to Christchurch everyday and then it is processed and trucked back to us the following. As with all things in all regions it takes years time to build up localism and confidence in local food distribution but only a matter of a couple of boardroom decisions to take all of that away.

I am prepared to take a bet, put my hand up, be the first customer and  official taste tester (somebody has to)  for locally made Butter or Yoghurt from milk produced in Marlborough. In fact why stop there – I will personally cook a 10 course degustation (not devastation !) dinner and provide the wine to the first company or business people that sets up a commercial diary. There is something special about tasting something that you know has not been churned through the giant industrial machines of modern food production systems. I am not saying lets go back one hundreds years ago and be total self sufficient in all of our hunting, gathering and foraging – but lets have the choice, from our region or from far away

People said it would not happen, people said that it could not be done, people said that it was on the wrong day, in the wrong place, to windy, to hot, to cold, to short, not big enough and not enough choice. I think that the Jennie Crums and Sandra Morrits of the world should take a bow, they knew that nine years ago that if you support the people in your community, they in turn would support you – you need to lead by example, not by what people cant do, but by what communities can do. If you need proof that our region is ready to have a commercial diary operation then just go to the Farmers' market where you will find thousands of Hungry Localvores hunting, gathering and foraging ever Sunday morning from 9 am to 12 noon sampling the very best of what our region has to offer

Home-made butter

double cream (it is easier to make butter with older cream)


  1. Take the cream out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature for about half an hour.
    2. Pour enough cream into a jam jar (choose the largest jar you can comfortably hold) to come a third of the way up the sides. You need to leave plenty of airspace so the cream can really move around.
    3. Screw on the lid tightly. Now shake the jar up and down and all around so that the cream bounces against the lid. It is important not to stop shaking until the butter starts to form.
    4. First you will feel the cream slop around in the jar, then you will notice that it stops slopping and goes silent. At this stage you just have whipped cream. Keep shaking. Pretend you're playing the maracas! It may take ten minutes or it may take half an hour.
    5. All of a sudden the sound and the sensation will change. You'll have a big lump sloshing around in a thin, watery liquid. The lump is your butter and the liquid is buttermilk. Carefully open the lid and take a look inside.
    6. Now you have to wash your butter under the cold tap. Drain the buttermilk off into a mug and fill the jam jar with cold water. Swirl the lump of butter around in the water and pour the water carefully away. Do this again and again until the water is clear.
    7. Put the butter lump on the board and press down on it with the back of a wooden spoon (or use your hands) to force out any buttermilk still inside. This is important, as any buttermilk left inside it will make it go sour.
    8. You can now mould your butter into a shape, wrap it in greaseproof paper and keep it in the fridge, or eat it straight away. Perfect to spread on thickly cut Debrood bakery bread


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Strawberries in Season

There is a time of the year when you know that the last of the winter blues have been shrugged off, the time of the year when the sun radiates a warmth you have not felt for a number of months, and while the rest of the country is being rained on, the sun is shining over Marlborough.

Spring is here and I have been pleasantly surprised, as have the hundreds of people who buy them at the farmers market every Sunday, by the fact that we can buy great-tasting strawberries so early in the season.

In fact, we are one of the first places in New Zealand to be able to purchase these sun-drenched, flavoursome berries.  The best thing about strawberries is that one is not enough and with each week that goes by they get better and better.     Now, I am not one to gossip, but I have heard that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you'll soon fall in love.  In France, strawberries were thought to be an aphrodisiac.   A soup made of strawberries, thinned sour cream, borage and powdered sugar is served to newlyweds.  Hedgerows hydroponic strawberries are currently available and I know that Jones' outdoor grown strawberries are not far away from being ready.   There is a difference in size, taste and flavour and that is part of what makes nature unique.  Just like people, fruit comes in all different sizes, shades of colours and intensity of flavours. We take the products nature gives us and we use them for what they are good at now.    My favourite way to eat strawberries at this time of the year is to very gently heat them in batter, which makes them taste even better!

Buttermilk Pancakes with Spring Strawberries  4 persons 

2 cups Flour

2 T sugar

2 eggs

1 t Baking Powder

½ t Baking Soda

1 ¾ C Buttermilk

3 T Melted butter

1 large punnet of Marlborough Strawberries

1 c Natural Yoghurt

Juice and Rind of 2 lemons

Icing Sugar to sprinkle

In a Medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients twice.  Make a well and add whisked eggs, butter and buttermilk.  Leave to sit for 15 mins and then add strawberries,  do not over mix.  Spoon into a lightly greased heavy pan and turn once.  Mix Yoghurt and lemon together.  Stack onto serving plates and dollop on yoghurt and sprinkle with icing sugar

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A great night out for a great cause!

Farmers Markets New Zealand Food Inc Movie

This Wednesday at 8:30pm NZ will see the premiere of the movie Food Inc.

It is probably the most important food movie of the last few years and is creating huge discussion overseas.

Food Inc is a movie about the food we eat. It challenges us to think about who grows it and what modern
developments in food production mean to our health and our environment.

You can see for yourself what all the talk is about by attending the open night screenings throughout
the country.

Farmers Market New Zealand is hosting this premiere in celebration of the new growing season and $5 from
every ticket sold will go directly to your local Farmers Market.

Greystone Wines from the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury will be providing a free glass of wine at
each of the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch screenings.

For more information and to purchase your ticket for only $20 go to www.fmnzfoodinc.org.nz.

Show support for your local food producers and have a great night out at the same time.

Proudly supported by:
Radio Live - Farmers Markets New Zealand Food Inc Movie Greystone Wines - Farmers Markets New Zealand Food Inc Movie

This email was sent to membersfarmersmarkets.chris@blogger.com on behalf of your local Farmers
Market. You can instantly unsubscribe from these emails
by clicking here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

FOOD inc October 14 th Nationwide - Press release

October the 14 th, 8.30 pm at all good
Cinemas nationwide

FMNZ is pleased to announce they have secured the premiere screening of the movie "Food Inc" as a nationwide fundraiser forNew Zealand  Farmers' Markets throughout the country. The premiere screening is to celebrate the new growing season and will happen on Wednesday 14th October.

Food Inc is a movie about the food we eat. It challenges us to think about who grows it and what modern developments in food production mean to our health and our environment.

The director Robert Kenner draws upon the searing reportage of authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) There are stories of heartbreak and outrage, but the film carefully channels these emotions towards opportunities for activism. Watching FOOD, INC. gives you a strong appetite for better meals.
The overriding message to take away from the film is that each of us has the ability to vote on this issue every day –at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Farmers Markets throughout the country are giving New Zealanders an alternative to industrialised food systems and a reminder that we don't need to create factory farms to feed ourselves.

NZ Farmers Market chair Chris Fortune sees this movie as an important milestone as part of the international increase in awareness around where our food is from. "October is the month when many of our smaller, regional markets are beginning again after a winter break. It's also the month that really symbolises spring for food producers- the beginning of a new growing season, and a time of hope and promise. We think it's a perfect time to ask everyone to just take a moment to think about the choices they make when they buy their food. This film is the perfect vehicle to highlight that we all have that choice".

He also asks: "Is this the path that New Zealand is heading down as we move into a more Americanised style of food production? Alternatively do we look at the European Model of embracing the local food producers around them and using them as the heroes and icons of the dinner table?"

This movie premiere is a chance to have a great night out while supporting farmers markets and small food producers at a local level. It's a way of educating yourself and funding your local farmers market for the next season at the same time.

Premiere screening tickets are $20 and $5 of every ticket goes back to your local farmers market. Go to www.farmersmarket.org.nz for details on where to purchase your ticket.

Greystone Wines from the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury is also proud to support the premiere screening of the movie "Food Inc" in conjunction with The NZ Farmers Market Association.

Marketing Manager Angela Clifford suggests "Food Inc is a movie that asks you to think about where your food comes from, to question the industrialisation of food and to support small producers who "grow their own". Greystone asks you to do the same for wine!"

For more information please contact:

Chris Fortune
NZ Farmers Market Association
Ph: 021 935 995

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Premium Venison

Of all of the places that I have worked and travelled there are few that can boast the fact that they have a outlet where you can purchase wild meats, small goods and value added products with a smile and the reassurance that this is the " real thing"

Premium game have been in the business for over a decade and I have been fortunate enough to be able to supply my guests with everything from Rabbit, Hare, Venison, Thar, Goat and Follow – everything wild and everything  natural .  Over the years I have served up thousands of meals that incorporate wild meats including buffets for several hundred people at a time as a way for people to try something that is not readily available through supermarkets.  In this time I have only ever had one of my customers send there meal back to the table complaining that we had served up up bit of "old cow".  Now when the menu states that is a premium game product then I would like to think that the integrity of the Chef and the supplier are both at stake and I am happy to worth with the customer to ensure that he leaves my establishment happy.  A sample of the raw product was supplied - nope still "old cow", a copy of the delivery invoice is supplied - nope still "old cow"  and so my question to my customer is "what do I have to do to prove that the meal you were served is what we say it is" .  My Customer states that he would need a sample to take away to be tested – "not a problem sir" is my response – where as the customer duly pays his bill (sorry folks there is no refund if you eat your entire meal and then complain)

One the phone the next morning to my supplier, premium game, they are happy to send me a sample of one of there choicer cuts of venison which is duly dispatched to my Customer. Having   satisfied another customer my job is done – until I receive a letter from his lawyer threatening to sue me for sending offensive material through the post -  well he said he wanted a sample and a sample he received – maybe it was  not what you will find  in the supermarket but in some places of the world the venison pizzle is considered a delicacy. 

You can purchase product from on of my favourite producers every Thursday at the Twighlight farmers market in market place from 3 pm until 5.30 pm

RECIPE                  VENISON SHANKS                                                                          

QUANTITY                           UNIT      INGREDIENTS                                                    BRAND

400                         G             ONIONS                                                              

400                         G             CARROTS                                                            

300                         G             CELERY                                                 

1                              TBSP      CRUSHED GARLIC                                                            

10                           ONLY     VENISON SHANKS                                                          

6                              ONLY     BAY LEAVES                                                       

6                              ONLY     THYME SPRINGS                                                              

2                              TBSP      TOMATO PASTE                                                               

2                              CUPs RED WINE                                                               

12                           ONLY     PEPPERCORNS 

100 MLS               GRAPESEED OIL                                               




Chris Fortune
(03) 579 3599 Home

021 935 995 Mobile

www.mfm.co.nz (marlborough farmers market)


Chris Fortune
(03) 579 3599 Home

021 935 995 Mobile

www.mfm.co.nz (marlborough farmers market)


Friday, August 28, 2009

Farmers Markets World-wide pledge

Monday, 24 August 2009 11:43

Farmers' market leaders from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Great Britain meeting at the 3rdNational Australian Farmers' Market Conference in Victoria this week, pledged today to establish and uphold standards for farmers' markets and to create a platform for the exchange of information and best practice that will support the global, sustainable development of the farmers' market movement.

From left: Rita Exner, Chris Fortune, Miranda Sharp, Gareth Jones, Darlene Wolnick, Sophie McNeill, Richard McCarthy

The group will initiate an open forum and invites local food producers, market organisers and supporters to participate in positive exchanges that will help to improve local economies and communities through farmers' markets, and provide greater access to locally produced food for all.


FARMA's Gareth Jones was among the speakers at the conference. Others included Richard McCarthy from Crescent City farmers' market in New Orleans, USA, whose experiences with Hurricane Katrina four years ago mirrored those of the population around Melbourne during 'Black Saturday's' forest fires last summer.

The organisers and speakers at the event took the opportunity to formalise future relations with a communique highlighting the urgent need for a rebalancing and relocalising of food around the globe in the interests of reducing carbon emissions and improving diet, livelihoods and the environment.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cabbage - why we love to hate it

The enduring memories of our childhoods often  come back to haunt us, that of cabbage being boiled for hours and the kitchen smelling of sulphur and a grey soggy mess appearing on the plate.  We would be served this unpleasant texture one night, stir fried the next night  and then even in the school lunch box the next day if it was not consumed (and mums and dads wonder why it is not consumed!).  We were told as children it would  keep our hair shiny (and?) and if we did not eat all of our vege we would not get any pud (we did not have pudding very often then)

It is a common fact known to the Greeks,  that grape vines, source of wine, do not flourish when grown near cabbage. The Greeks converted this agricultural knowledge to myth, the myth told of the god of wine, Dionysus, who wandered to Thrace accompanied by his loyal followers . Threatened by Dionysus arrival, Lycurgus captured both Dionysus and all the Bacchae.  To revenge this action, Dionysus had Lycurgus driven mad.  Not in his right mine, Lycurgus mistook his son for a vine and cut his son to pieces. Learning what he had done, Lycurgus wept, and from the tears that fell to the ground sprang cabbage.

It is interesting that the Egyptian Pharaoh used to consume immense quantities of cabbage before setting out for a night of merriment and drinking. They believed that consuming the cabbage gives them freedom to drink more alcoholic beverages without fear of its adverse side effects. This ideology still stands today, with people still practicing the use of cabbage cooked with a bit of vinegar as a cure for hangovers. 

This may explain why Alister sells so many cabbages at the market, it could explain why my hair is not shiny and it could be the reason why there are not many cabbage growers in the Marlborough region.   It could just explain that while you cant force little kids to eat their cabbage the  first night the fear of getting it as left over three days in a row is far greater than any smack as part of good parental correction

BRAISED RED CABBAGE                                                                


200                         G             ONIONS (THINLY SLICED)                                                                             

1                              TBSP      CRUSHED GARLIC                                                                            

800                         G             RED CABBAGE                                                                  

200                         G             BROWN SUGAR                                                                               

200                         MLS       WHITE WINE VINEGAR                                                                 

200                         MLS       RED WINE                                                                           

1                              TBSP      SALT                                                                     

1                              TSP         BLACK PEPPER                                            







Friday, July 3, 2009

FMNZ Update and Chairpersons report 2009

To all Farmers Markets and Food Producers of NZ

FMNZ is pleased  to announce the success of our Buy local Campaign which has seen the majority of Farmers markets in NZ commit to Authenticity  - " An Authentic Farmers' Market is one which consists of at least 80% certified local stallholders".      This includes Feilding Farmers' Market, Farmers' Market Taranaki, Southern Farmers' market, Orewa Beach Farmers' Market, Hamilton Farmers' Market, Cambridge Farmers' Market, Marlborough Farmers' Market , Wairarapa Farmers' Market, Christchurch Farmers' Market, Oxford Farmers' Market, Whanganui Farmers' Market, Parnell Farmers' Market, Nelson Farmers' Market, Waipara Valley Farmers' Market, Little River Farmers' Market, Central Otago Farmers' Market..........just to list a few.

FMNZ with sponsorshop from our new webprovider Marketground we  will soon be going live with our Buy Local milestone 5, that of a national database of Authentic Farmers' markets and food producers of NZ.  For more information on the website development or Authenticity please contact Kerryn directly at  secretary@farmersmarket.org.nz

Chairpersons Report FMNZ 09 (abridged below and full copy available from FMNZ website)

Looking back 12 months ago it would have been hard to imagine that the world would have been plunged into economic depression, that swine flu was the animal favored disease of the year and that general  food prices would have increased by 12 to 30%,  and also that Bernadine Prince would want to endure another 17 hour flight to join us on the other side of the world for a Farmers Market forum.  While both large and small countries have struggled with social and economic issues I have yet to hear of a real farmers market in NZ who has not increased in either local food producers or customers, or a real farmers markets who has had to close it doors or pull in its high flying executives and close their expense accounts. 

While the past has been written only by our success and failures we must look forward to the next 12 months and beyond to ensure that what has begun with passion and commitment is now actioned and driven by great business and organisational skills, for passion is something that can not be bought or sold.    FMNZ is a inclusive organisation and we were founded on the belief of sharing information.  We need to share the right information in a manner that emulates what our organisation and individual markets really stand for that.   Value; not just for our farmers who sell their crops each week, but to our consumers who support our farmers each week, rain or shine.  When we  talk about Value we are often confused with what high street does, value in the money sense, therefore we need to promote the value in the social sense, the value of what our farmers' markets do to enliven and make our communities prosper, what the value of children who attend our markets and interact with food and what this does to the culture of our communities and the value of what keeping real money in local communities does for the whole social structure of NZ and beyond. 

No farmers' market organiser or manager would have envisioned that when they had the great idea of putting a Farmers market in their back yards that they would be the catalyst for the way people change their lives as the social values of a farmers markets are felt over a greater area of NZ and the world.  This applies to our smallest markets with just one stall in Diamond Harbour to our largest farmers markets in Southland and Northland and cuts through all boundaries of social behaviour.  The real benefits of Farmers markets are sometimes misunderstood or poorly communicated due to a number of reasons, the main being that we as managers and organises  are in the business of providing a venue for our farmers to be able to sell directly to consumers. This does not mean that we should not be doing everything we can to promote the full circle of the food chain, and we can see this  happening in our communities and markets with gardens in schools, communities gardens plots, box systems, sustainable agriculture programs and localvore awareness

I implore that our members put faith into the executive of FMNZ to enable for them to do what we have been entrusted to do, to promote and to educate the benefit of Farmers markets and local food distribution systems.  I believe that we have the expertise and we are beginning to have the resources available for us to make a real difference in the way the people shop on a regular basis.  While FMNZ can not be held responsible for the weather at your markets each week we do need to be held responsible for the protecting of the words "farmers' markets" and the real value of our markets, that of being a food market where local growers, farmers and artisan food producers  sell their ware directly to the consumer.  Vendors may only sell what they grow, farm , pickle, preserve, bake, smoke or catch themselves within a defined local area.  

Authenticity is our main issue moving forward and  the energies of the buy local contributions and the 6 milestones have all led  to Authenticity and what it means to farmers and consumers. I implore to all people who eat, (which is everybody)  to embrace food as a part of our culture and life, that when you sit at the table that you commuincate, laugh, cry, get angry, be happy, network, negate and most of all support our farmers and food producers as a part of our families and as a integral part of our communities

For any further enquires regarding FMNZ and for prompt service please e-mail or contact



Chris Fortune

Chairperson FMNZ




Chris Fortune
(03) 579 3599 Home

021 935 995 Mobile

www.mfm.co.nz (marlborough farmers market)


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Press release: Out Break of "human Flu" on the farm

Pandemic  Out break of "human flu" on the Farm – eat more vegetable soup

New Flash:  A deadly out break of "Human Flu" is now spreading through out the world and all animals have now been quarantined  into their  barns and pens.   Spokesperson for FARMS (Friendly Animals Responsible Mentors Syndicate),  Shrek the sheep issued the following press  statement  "Humane  flu is a respiratory disease of Humans caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in Humans. This outbreak is also affecting Farm Animals. The current spread of the disease in  farms and some parts of the world have put health officials on alert. Here are some symptoms associated with Human Flu, and ways you can prevent it.  First, we recommend frequent hoof  and paw washing and trying to stay in good general health. They recommend getting plenty of sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, drinking fluids, and eating healthy foods such as vegetable soup.   All farm animals are advised to avoid touching humans and pens that may be contaminated with the flu virus"

" it is important that we keep the mad cows separate from the bird flu victims who are still recovering.  There is a rumour that Scratchy Cat Flu and Noisy Dog flu will be the next victims of  serious outbreaks for diseases in the next 24 months so we urge all farm animals to be looking  for any symptoms of cats that scratch and dogs that bark, and to ensure that they are also quarantined until farm officials are able to substantiate these rumours.  I urge all farm animals to go about there daily duties, drink lots of Vegetable soup  but be vigilant for  any human approaching your farm as they may be carriers of the deadly Human Flu"


Recipe for Vegetable soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 small kumara, chopped

2 potatoes, chopped

3 sticks celery, chopped

1 1/2 cups pumpkin, peeled and chopped

6 cups vegetable stock, or one packet vegetable soup mix with 6 cups water

Cooking directions

Heat the oil in a saucepan.  Cook the onion and carrot for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree with stick blender, mash with potato masher, or blend in food processor but make sure the you keep the texture.  To be eaten with a grain of salt

Food lovers food

Recession food

There is always something about having to work hard  for your dinner, mother nature dictates that she protects her children from the hungry mouths of many  and the chest nut is in defence league of its own.  Those that spend the time enduring the prickles, removing the husk or "burr" will be rewarded with a savoury sweet reward that is unlike many others tastes.   While they have been staple diet in past cultures they are mainly passed on as hard to deal with and not to the taste of the masses – being neither a strong or pronounced flavour they do go well with turkey, quail, mushrooms and bacon in the form of a stuffing or farce or compliment chocolate, vanilla and cream as a sweet delight

One  of the main issues with the chestnut is that it gained a reputation of "food for poor people" as it was a staple part of the diet until the cereals and potato became the crop of choice, however if you wanted to feed a retreating army in the year 401 BC then the Chestnut was considered to be the carbohydrate of choice.

Seasonal fruit and vegetables come and go but there is a real affinity of preparing and roasting or using Chestnuts,  is not for the fainthearted but once you have experienced the real taste of good quality fresh chestnuts then you can see that for a little bit of effort the rewards are well worth it.  Who knows in the time of economic hardship we may just find that the chestnut emerges as the recession hunger buster on the dinner tables of the high flying executives who lost sight of reality on there way up the ladder


 1 egg

1/2 C milk

1/4 C Vegetable oil

1 C chestnuts (peeled and chopped roughly)

1 med apple

1 1/2 C wheat flour

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt


1/3 C chestnuts (chopped fine)

1/2 C brown sugar         Heat oven to 180  deg c


Prepare 3 mini-muffin tins with non stick spay or butter.  Beat egg, stir in milk, oil, chopped chestnuts, chopped apple.  Beat in remaining ingredients.  Make nutty topping by thoroughly mixing chopped chestnuts and brown sugar.  Set aside.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of topping on each.  Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from pan onto a cooling rack  before storing in a airtight container

To respect the carrot

Integrity  of a carrot


Take me as a simple thing,  I believe in what you say to be true,  in the carrot world

Take me at face value, I believe that you expect to be treated the same as how you treat others in the garden

If you provide a good growing environment then I expect you to grow well, and strong with the others

If you weed , nurture and  respect other carrots and vegetable  around you then you would expect the garden to thrive around us

If you provide me with organic (natural) food and fertiliser then I will grow healthy and strong

If you provide me with conventional food and fertiliser (man made) then I will grow healthy and stronger faster and may or may not have a have a complications later in my life depending on my uptake

When the weeds starts to appear in our garden I would hope that they are removed in a natural way and that it is for the benefit of all

When somebody enters into the garden and starts pulling out the weeds then there is more room for that garden to grow strong and for all to prospere from the extra light and

I will treat other carrots beside me with respect and integrity while in the garden and until such time as a new crop is sown and the time has come to leave the garden

for the love of Quince

Apple of Love 

There is one fruit that has a special place in my kitchen and has so for a number years although its true history dates back to  ancient Greece where it was held in such high regards that a Greek bride would nibble a quince to perfume her kiss before entering the bridal chamber, "in order that the first greeting may not be disagreeable nor unpleasant"

If you have ever tried to eat a raw quince you will be disappointed as they are tart and astringent and do need to be be cooked – although a novel way to solve this is to do what they do in South America, where a quince is used to play an informal beach toss-and-swim game, usually among young teens. When mixed with salt water a mature quince will turn its sour taste to sweet. The game is played by throwing a quince into the sea. All players race to catch the quince and whoever catches it, takes one bite and tosses the quince again, then the whole process gets repeated until the quince is fully eaten.  While this may not be as popular in the cooler waters of NZ during the Chilly autumn it may be a way to entice our younger generation to try the fruit of the love gods

The key with quinces is to put them time aside to prepare them, poached quinces, quince paste and jelly, quince pickles and quince cakes are just a small  selection of what you can do with them and you will be rewarded with there lingering  frangrance and aroma long after they have been sealed in there preserving jars

Quince Paste

Ripe Quince



2 T Lemon Juice per 4 quince (optional but recommended as it helps with the setting of the pectin)

Method: Peel and core quince, like you would an apple, place the seeds and skins in a muslin bag and put into a large pot.   Cut quince into large chunks and cover with enough water to cook through until soft enough to pierce. Drain water and puree the fruit through a sieve, with a masher or in a food processor.  Weigh the puree and add equal amounts of sugar in weight as the puree in a pan and cook (while stirring constantly) until the mixture starts to get very thick. If you want a thick quince paste that can be sliced, cook until the mixture starts to pull away from the pan. Be careful, when fully boiling, it can be very hot and spurt out and stick to your skin so try to cook it on the lowest heat possible to avoid being scalded.  The best test is, if the paste does not come together again when you create a line through the mixture with a spoon, then it is done.  Pour paste it into a non-stick pan to cool or a pan lined with good parchment paper or even in individual muffin pans.  Keep in a cool dark place 

In the Pickle

Whats black and white, black and white, black and white and green?


As a child I still remember the hot days that we were dragged into the field in the hot sun and tortured under the pretence that we would be able to enjoy these small green things later in the year once we had done a hard days work.  Now I know that today most children would associate pickles or pickled cucmber with a Mc Donalds burger that can be left to the side of the tray, often taken for granted as another way of mum and dad getting me to eat my greenz


There is only about 4000 years of history behind the pickling process so we still have much to learn about this humble vegetable  (and yes there are the confused that refer to them as a fruit).  We know that Pickling ferments foods with beneficial baceria for flavor, that it is a process of preserving food for later use and that it normally has a tart or acidic flavour to it.  Now it does not have to be a cucumber to be in a  pickle – it could be miso pickles from japen, duck eggs from China, pickled pigs feet in USA, pickled herrines in Scandinavia and my pesonal favourite the Bobs Pickle Pops which consists of frozen pickle juice that you can also buy in lemon and lime, jalapeno and cherry flavour from Texas. 


With out toutruing ourselves by eating Pickle Pops the easist way to experience the pickle at its best to take some the bounty from the garden and do it yourself, easy, low cost and a great way to enjoy at any time of the year.  The Answer is – three zebras fighting over a pickle


Pickled Cucumbers


4 large cucmbers

150g salt

6 cups water

4 cups white wine vinegar

1 T salt xtra

2 t corriander seeds

2 t black peppercorns

5 T fresh dill or fennel chopped


Wash and slice the cucmber into a large bowl, dissolve the salt in the water and pour over the cucumbers, leaving for 24 hours.  Bring the vinegar to the boil with the one Tablespoon of salt and spices and leave to cool,  Drain and rinse the cucumbers then pack into sterlised jars, sprinkling the fennel between each layer.  Pour over the vinegar and seal


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Havelock Mussel Festival 09

There are some things that one should not do in a torrential downpour at a festival.  One should not run around blindly trying to get everything packed away so that they don't get wet – they will get wet.  One should not head for there cars at a fast pace through sodden dirt – they will get wet and dirty and one should defiantly not stay defiant and just sit where they are with the expectation that it is just a passing shower, they will get wet, dirty and very cold

Those that did the right thing ended up at our Aquaculture cooking theatre,  at the mussel festival  and not only did they  stay dry but were treated to tastings of Marlborough Mussels, Oysters and New Zealand King Salmon.   I have done cooking demos all over NZ in many different locations  but this was the first time that I have done one while standing in two inches of water (my guests hoverer were dry),  while competing with ABBA being blasted in the background and mother nature throwing a torrential thunder and lightning downpour at us.  Not that this was a problem as being true professionals we just opened another bottle of Hunters Champagne and kept yakking about the virtues of our Aquaculture industry and the fantastic region of Marlborough

Now all of those people scurrying past us trying not to get wet (they were getting soaked) might have thought something was a bit odd, there was laughing, slurping, ooohhhing, aaahhhhing  and tastings coming from the Aquaculture tent,, there was a man (thanks Bill Floyd))  poking the ceiling with a umbrella, to move the water that was collecting in the corners, another man (thanks Chris Choat)  holding the sides of the tent out to so that we would not get electrocuted with thousands of volts of electricity while the chef was explaining that one of the reasons we live in Marlborough region  is the highest sunshine rate in NZ. 

Well done to all of the organisers and volunteers of the Havelock mussel festival 09, well done to the community for supporting it and for the Industry for getting in behind it and I am sure that next year there will be something else that tests the foundations of one of best organised and run festivals of NZ, lets just hope that it is not another thunderstorm!

Marlborough Greenshell mussels with Tomato and Sauvignon Blanc and Kelp pepper

500 g Ripe Tomatoes

100 g Cucumber Grated

100 g Red Pepper

2 Cloves Marlborough Garlic

50 g Fresh Crust-less bread

Marlborough Salt and Black pepper

¼ C Marlborough red wine vinegar

¼ C Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

3 T Marlborough Olive oil

1 T Course Kelp Pepper

Chop all ingredients finely and mix in a large bowel with seasoning,  add more vinegar to taste for a tangier version, Steam open Mussels and toss with NZpacho and sprinkle with Kelp pepper and fresh lemon wedges.

½ Shell Oysters with Champagne and Chive Sabayon

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1/2 cup Champagne

Marlborough Salt and Freshly ground Black pepper

2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives

Combine all of the ingredients except chives in a stainless-steel bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and spoon over the oysters, sprinkle with chives



Wild Fennel Salmon Gravalax wtih salt water cream and grisini


This is a timeless recipe for salt curing fresh salmon, there are hundreds of variations and everybody has their favourite "secret" ingredient. Ie Star anise, Gin, Brandy, mustard seeds. 

Rule of thumb is three parts salt (natural sea) to one part sugar

For 1 side of salmon

1 ½ cups salt

½ c sugar

1 T Black Pepper

3 T fresh dill or fennel

Mix salt and sugar, black pepper and 2 T finely chopped dill.  Pin bone salmon, leaving skin on.  Place 2/3 of salt mixture ontop of salmon and 1/3 under and cover with gladwrap and press with a firm weight over night (tins of fruit) in the fridge.  After 24 to 48 hours rinse off the salt and pat dry.  Press remaining 1 T finely chopped dill onto salmon surface and then using a sharp knife slice as thinly as possible on a large angle.

Serve with Salt water cream and Grissini sticks

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keeping a secret

Keeping  a secret

When you know something that everybody else wants to know then it is always hard to keep your end of the bargain so with great anticipation the Inaugural Artisian Cuisine Awards 2009 were announced last week and my secret was now broadcast to the rest of NZ

Flying  to Auckland in early December 2008 I skipped breakfast as today was going to be a culinary journey of epic undertaking, with over 100 tastings on the table from bread to kina, bacon to rhubarb fizzy  this was not a day for the faint hearted .  Two strong black coffees later and the  judges comprising of myself, Cuisine editors, Lauraine Jacobs and Ray Mc Vinnie, Brett Fullerton and Al Brown with Enzo Bettio donned forks and napkins to find NZ top artesian food producer. 

Sipping, slurping, dribbling and a little drooling were the order of the day and the top ten products were put aside so that we could resample later.  Sheep's milk ice-cream, Kina Pickle (sea eggs), Farm house cheeses (with photos of the cow that produced that milk), NZ ultra hot wasabi paste and Happy Valley Butte r where all great but we were only interested in the very best that NZ had to offer

It was exciting to see the emergence of a real NZ style of food products, and even more exciting to see 2 Marlborough products in the top ten.  Premium games Wild Rabbit sausages (boudin blanc)  was just squeezed out by overall winner, Salumeria Fontana Sicilain Sweet fennel Sausages  and that left Sherrington Cheese and Uncle Joes walnut spread (I judged Uncle Joes Walnut Oil as the supreme winner in the Canterbury Olive oil awards last year and this is another of there great products!) .   My personal favourite was the Kina Pate from Northland that was unique and had a real kiwiana taste and flavour to, but please don't tell anybody otherwise it will be sold out and I wont be able to buy any

Th only problem with awards is that now that my secret is out of the bag I am going to have to look even harder to find more unique and wonderful artesian products for my kitchen !!  Well done to all Marlborough and NZ food producers and to all of the consumers who vote with there feet at more than 40  Farmers' markets  each week around NZ


Artisan food producers Awards 2009 

100 Unique Artesian Food Products as voted by NZ Consumers

8 Judges with hunger pains

16 cups of strong black coffee

8 Forks and teaspoons

Chopping board, breadknife and serving spoons

I tub of Sheeps' milk ice-cream

Method – Slice, dice, cut and scoop the Artesian Food products into small pieces.  Taste, discuss, argue, agree to disagree and slurp.  Dissect each and every product down to tiny detail – is it sour – sweet – bitter – confused – salty  - dry  or tannic , record all results and then announce the winners through National media.  Promote and educate to the consumers of NZ that we do have a vibrant and growing food community

Take the ice-cream and Taste ( a small amount) – while I am sure that people who are allergic to cows milk will love it there are some things that we are just not ready for (unless you like the smell of damp wool sheds)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Regal Salmon Menu

Trio of Regal Marlborough Salmon

 Highlighting the versatility and ease of which finger food and easy to prepare ingredients can help with all of your entertaining needs weather you are catering for 5 or 50 guests

Regal Pastrami with Pickled Cucumber

Macerated Marlborough Regal Salmon in Orange Juice and cardamom with salt water cream

Cold Smoked Regal Salmon Crepes  with spinach cream frache


Regal Marlborough Salmon Fillets with Kelp Pepper Crust,  Salsa Verde, Summer Greenz and NZ Olive oil crushed chats potato

Using fresh salmon from the Crystal clear waters of the Marlborough Sounds, Filleting and demonstrating easy  to add value components that compliment the health and Highlighting the versatility of the fresh natural seafood

Sujon Blackcurrant Duo with Manuka Honey and Bee Pollen

Sujon's AOK™: a wonderful invigorating antioxidant kickstart to your day!  Highlighting the ease and benefits of using  NZ grown and produced Blackcurrants – mixed with manuka honey and bee pollen from the Marlborough Sounds

Friday, February 6, 2009

to drup or not to drup that is the question

Now if you were to tell me that Almonds were not actually nuts but drupes instead I would look hesitate only a little before thinking that you had been in the hot Marlborough sun just a little to long.   Well technically almonds are not a nut but a drupe and are grown through the Mediterranean and warmer parts of Europe as well as the largest producing  areas in California.   The Industry is so large that over one million bee hives are bought in from around America just for the pollination of the Almond trees in Feb(this accounts for around half of the bee hives in America).

This Billion dollar almond industry may only be one days trading on the stock exchange but who would have guessed it – you can not buy raw almonds grown in the USA as of last year, they now have to be steam pasteurised or chemically treated with the same chemical used to make plastics.  This was made law after outbreaks of salmonella in American Almonds although  it does not apply to imported almonds or almonds sold from the grower directly to the consumer

This is the only county in the world that requires there drupes to be pasteurised and exports over 70% of it products around the world (and labelled accordingly )  - so it comes back to the consumers who will have the final say – but only if they are aware of all of the details – and I cant possibly do that in 250 words so I will just stick to the simple stuff and buy local produce

Marlborough Almond Pesto    

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, from Heaven Sent

50g whole blanched almonds, from Riverina Almonds

salt and fresh ground black pepper from Information stall

50g basil leaves, roughly torn, from Living Concepts or Mississippi herbs

3 tbsp  firm cheese, grated, from Sherrington Grange

150ml Marlborough extra virgin olive oil, from Stanton’

lemon juice, to taste from your tree

In a mortar in Pestle (or you can use a food processor but do not over process)  pound the garlic and almonds with  a little salt.  Add the basil leaves, a few at the time, pounding and grinding the leaves against the side of the bowl.   Stir in the grated cheese and mix well.    Beat in the olive oil and lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

plump things with a navel

The long hot days and nights are starting to deliver the summer goods, the cherry season Is about to finish, Marlborough sweet corn will be on the tables soon (you can already buy corn in the supermarkets but  the best corn tastes truly great when it has been pickled less that 24 hours prior to eating), juicy peaches, nectarines and plums are now at their best and there is a abundance of which means better prices as we can pick our own or buy them in bulk for preserves.

 Genetic evidence shows that  the history of  tomatoes were herbaceous green plants with small green fruit with a centre of diversity in the highlands of Peru and while this may not be true for NZ tomatoes (except for winter time) they are now grown all around the world.   The first domesticated tomato was a little yellow fruit, ancestor of L. cerasiforme, grown by the Aztecs in Mexico, who called it xitomatl (pronounced shi-to-ma-tlh), meaning "plump thing with a navel", it is otherwise know as the s "wolf-peach or  "wolf-apple", as they are a major food of wild canids in South America.  While we know them simply as red tomatoes there  are hundreds of varieties around the world that grow in all shapes, sizes and colours from black in Russia to Rainbow in Europe.  China is the largest produce of tomatoes in the world, easily tripling the production of its founders in America

My Favourite way of eating tomatoes, simply sliced and served on toast with marmite, Marlborough flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper, my two year old likes them raw, al natural , and the 6 year old likes them processed into sauce and spread onto everything – my wife enjoys tomatoes  slow roasted and turned into a soup or braise, who said that kiwis were not world leaders in gastronomy with tastebuds like these

Tomato Relish



1 kg tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 kg onions, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons mustard powder

2 cups vinegar

2 tablespoons cornflour



Place all ingredients except for cornflour into a saucepan and boil for 30 minutes. Mix cornflour to a paste with a little water and add to the tomatoes, stir to combine and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.