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

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