Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Autumn Season has arrived now that.......

Summer is just about to finish, March is officially the start of Autumn and you will be able to feel the coolness sneaking through in the middle of night. The days are thankfully still long and hot which is perfect for ripening grapes and the main crops of all of our  fruit and vegetables  - Sweet corn is at its best after a long summer of ripening, Royal Gala Apples are now available, crispy and sweet, tart and juicy.    Zucchinis, Scaloppini’s, onions, carrots, beetroot  are in full flourish.  Omega Plums and NZ Table grapes have now come on stream and are in abundance.

Jim tannock for photo credit

It is in the spring that we sow all of these seeds, the flowers are pollinated and the long slow process of growing begins.  Summer provides the heat and more importantly the light to allow for successful harvests of our edible products. At this time of year, the word plentiful is on the tip of the tongue and while the end-of-summer crops are still in abundance,  along comes some of the most flavoursome ingredients that nature can offer.   Time is the ingredient missing from most recipes today, the time to slow down and enjoy what we have around us and just what is in season, what taste the best and is seasonally cheaper than other times of the year –  we forget when one season starts and another finishes as other things consume our lives.

The name for autumn in Maori is  Ngahuru, an archaic word for ten. This is because autumn started during the tenth month (February–March) in the traditional calendar. Ngahuru is also the name for harvest, which occurred at this time and you put away food (preserved) for the cooler months of the year.  While we may not preserve and store food like we used to do it is something that more and more people are turning to as both a relaxing, social and enjoyable lifestyle choice,  so that they too can capture the real flavours of a season and then enjoy them at a later time. 

Sweet and sour tomatoes and apples
These will go perfectly with white meats and garden vegetables, either as a side dish or mixed with rice or other grains to make a tasty salad.
500 g green tomatoes (unripe toms)
4 green chillies, cored and seeded
2 onions, finely diced
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 cooking apples, peeled and diced
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup white wine vinegar

To skin the tomatoes, pierce their skins, place in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let them stand for 3 minutes. Drain, peel while hot and chop finely. Heat the oil in a medium-size frying pan, add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until thick and puréed. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal for later use. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Your mojo is one of your most important assets; it is your charm, energy, vitality, zest, drive, zip, zing, spirit, verve, pizzazz, punch, passion, oomph, power, get up and go, vigour and feistiness.
Whichever way you look at it your mojo is what makes you stand out from everybody else.
Your mojo is that spark which is the difference between having just a good day and a great day.
You may misplace your mojo from time to time but you must never, ever let anybody borrow it.
Top chef Jonny Schwass has mojo, and it was a great pleasure to host him here in Marlborough last weekend.
Ten years ago he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and spent the next year on a heavy treatment of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
That time was a real awakening for Jonny and cancer made him realise that we only have one life to live, so since then Jonny has kept his mojo close by him.
Jonny specialises in local and regional food and we took time out from the busy kitchen go hunt and gather sweetcorn from Birch Grove Farm in Rapaura and strawberries from neighbour Mrs Jones.
We shucked Marlborough oysters from Tio Point and sliced hot de Brood Bakkers bread baked right here in Blenheim.
We are so lucky that Marlborough has mojo, Marlborough food producers have mojo and we must never ever let anybody steal that from our fantastic region.
People bottle Marlborough mojo every day and send it around the world.
We are so lucky that we get to drink and eat Marlborough every day!
4 red peppers – bell or any other non-spicy red pepper
1-2 slices stale white bread - crusts trimmed if very dry
2 tsp red chilli flakes or 3 hot red or green chillis
3-4 cloves Marlborough garlic, peeled
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Marlborough rock salt
1 cup extra virgin Marlborough olive oil
1/4 cup (approximately) water or chicken broth
Splash of white wine vinegar to taste
Slice the garlic cloves thinly and break bread into quarters and set aside.
Process the peppers, cumin, garlic slices, hot pepper flakes and salt in a food processor or blender to create a paste. While blending, drizzle in olive oil gradually. Alternately add small pieces of the bread and small amounts of water or broth until the sauce is thick, but not as thick as a paste. Add 1-2 tsp vinegar or more, according to taste.

Taste of Good Books - Chris Fortune NZ Chef

Taste of Good Books - Chris Fortune NZ Chef: "To celebrate Marlborough Wine Festival, Bookworld Blenheim is hosting an evening of Marlborough food and wine tasting on February 10. Wine critic Belinda Jackson will discuss wine and food matching, and Chris Fortune will talk about his enthusiasm for local food and for recipes that demonstrate the unique taste and flavour of Marlborough food.
Tastings of his recipes will be available, and copies of his cookbooks and of cookbooks by other Marlborough authors will be on sale.

Visitors will be able to taste Auntsfield wines and place an order at 20 per cent discount for their favourites.

The event has been co-organised by store assistant Janet Steggle.

'We are trying to tie in events with what's going on in the community,' she said.

'Obviously the focus here is on the local aspect of the Marlborough Wine Festival and the Marlborough Farmers' Market.'

The event opens at 5.30pm, with a talk starting at 6pm.

Those wanting to go should call 5784909 by Tuesday, February 8 to reserve a place.

Entry is by gold coin donation to Marlborough Community Hospice"