All posts filed under: New Zealand


Going “Down Under” with an Easy Kid’s Lunch

Throwing together a Down Under lunch requires just a few fun ingredients. My kindergartner loves a good cheese sandwich (don’t we all!?) so this week I smeared her sandwich bread with sticky, salty yeast extract like they do in Australia and New Zealand (I couldn’t find Aussie’s preferred version, Vegemite, so I used Marmite, the version preferred in Britain and New Zealand). Let the record state: ooey gooey cheese paninis with yeast extract are also grand! The salty smack goes a long, long way; don’t overdo it! Next, leftovers came to the rescue. On the side are leftover sweet potatoes drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. In New Zealand and parts of Australia they call sweet potatoes “kumara.” The shining star of the meal came from the fruit basket: one shiny Granny Smith apple. These green beauties were first cultivated in Australia in 1868. What an easy, authentic addition to the lunch box. The container came back empty, so I’d say her lunch “down under” was a success! Tips & Tricks: Ava’s lunch is vegetarian but others might enjoy tossing the sweet potatoes …

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Monday Meal Review: New Zealand

THE SCENE Anthony Bourdain tumbles down a steep sandy embankment on the New Zealand shore, drug down by the weight of his four wheeler. His body twists and flops like a rag doll, swapping places with the four-wheeler in a death-defying dance. He finally manages to leap out of the way, narrowly escaping a bone crushing end by mere seconds.  As the scene replays in slow motion, I white knuckle the couch and hold my breath. One really bad word escapes my lips – consider it a foul-mouthed prayer for his safety – followed immediately by “thank goodness that’s not me.” Seriously. What a lucky, lucky man. I’ve toppled a motorcycle twice now – once during a track day and once on the street. I have zero interest in a GSXR 750 landing on me, let alone a four wheeler. But then I think about my reaction. That fleeting, knee-jerk thought: “Thank goodness that’s not me.” The show was filmed years earlier and half a world away, yet my desire for self-preservation kicks so hard, I find myself a little …

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Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad | Kumara

When I read that New Zealander’s love “kumara,” I wondered what this dreamy word could mean. When I found out kumara are simply a variety of New Zealand “sweet potatoes,” I was thrilled. Sweet potatoes are on my “will-eat-any-time-of-day-for-any-reason-especially-for-my-last-meal” food list. Not many foods make that cut. Today’s salad takes inspiration from New Zealand’s love of barbecue. For color I combined two kinds of sweet potatoes on the grill before tossing them with bacon, green onion, and a quick, zingy honey mustard dressing. This is grilled sweet potatoes, dressed up for a party in your mouth. P.S. Since I couldn’t get my hands on actual kumara, I used an orange fleshed sweet potato and a white fleshed sweet potato. This makes for a really pretty salad. If you do the same, be sure to watch the cooking times. Some varieties tend to cook quicker than others. P.P.S. New Zealander’s love grilled lamb, especially with rosemary. I’d highly recommend serving these kumara with our Grilled Greek-stye Lamb from back in the day. The lamb is seasoned with rosemary, …

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Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

Hokey Pokey, it would seem, is not just a toddler’s dance. Down Under, it’s a beautiful, fluffy, yet crispy piece of confectionery delight enjoyed from New Zealand to England.  Even Nigella Lawson loves a good nibble of this treat – straight out of a gift box, in the car – from time to time. Traditional recipes use golden syrup, but since I don’t have any of that, I used honey which gave the hokey pokey the most incredible,  buzz-worthy flavor and just about turned me into a honey bee. Friends at my writer’s group suggested it tastes somewhat like peanut brittle without the peanut. All the tiny air holes make it crunch like a wafer, though. In my reading, I found that many people have trouble making this sweet treat, even though there are only three ingredients. As with any candy making, a good candy thermometer is a great idea, although I double checked my reading by dropping the candy into a bowl of ice water and found that to be more reliable. You’ll see. P.S. You can crumble hokey …

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Pavlova with Summer Berries & Kiwifruit

Summertime means running barefoot through sprinklers, nibbling fresh fruit, and shining your smile all the time, even when you’re sleeping. It means laying your back, watching bubbles of clouds dot through the sky. And today we’re eating one such cloud. Pavlova. Named after a Russian ballet dancer, this meringue “cake” takes center stage, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, like berries, kiwifruit, mango, or even passionfruit. Both New Zealand and Australia lay claim to inventing this famous dessert. I’m happy to say that I’d eat Pavlova any which way – even if it was invented on the moon. Since we’re making Pavlova in honor of our New Zealander Global Table, we’ll be adding slices of fresh kiwifruit (be careful not to call it kiwi, as that is the state bird as well as a nickname for local New Zealanders). Kiwifruit is a major export of the island nation. P.S. Make this when you need it, to ensure a crackly exterior and soft interior. P.P.S. Make a big pot of hot tea to drink with this. Or coffee. Unsweetened. …

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Menu: New Zealand

Here are three food tips I learned from New Zealand, inspired by our thoroughly delicious Global Table. 1. All desserts are 100% better whipped up and inflated, whether done with air or chemical leavening. 2. Everything tastes better grilled. While I didn’t think sweet potatoes could rock my world much more, I was wrong. Grill ‘em. Just grill ‘em. 3.  Don’t say you’re going to eat a kiwi. A Kiwi is an endangered bird – the national chirper of New Zealand. Kiwi is also a nickname for the people of New Zealand. Say you’re going to eat kiwifruit instead. Much, much better and 99% less likely to land you in jail. Now for our menu… what sounds good to you? Grilled Sweet Potato & Bacon Salad | Kumara [Recipe] Thick, grilled slices of sweet potatoes tossed with green onion and bacon. Serve with a quick, zingy honey mustard dipper-dressing. On second thought, maybe this isn’t a salad. Maybe it’s just nummy potatoes with a few friends. Pavlova with Summer Berries & Kiwifruit [Recipe] A cloud of sweet …

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Beach at Punakaiki, New Zealand. Photo by Ville Miettinen.

About the food of New Zealand

With her long line of rugged, scraggly mountains, New Zealand looks like the backbone of the world. Perhaps this is why she was chosen as Middle Earth for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and continues to capture the imagination of people all over the world. If I were a hobbit New Zealand is definitely where I’d choose to live. Even if I were not a hobbit (which I’m not), I’d love to explore this beautiful land. Of course, I might have to wait a few months as it is winter Down Under right now and I’m rather enjoying my Oklahoman summer. Once you settle in, a long list of nummies await you, many of which are also beloved in Australia. The food is a combination of Pacific Rim (see map) and European, particularly British. For starters, there’s an incredible love of all things barbecue, whether it’s fresh seafood, lamb, burgers (don’t forget the pickled beets), or something as simple as grilled asparagus or sweet potatoes. There’s just one thing. They don’t call sweet potatoes “sweet potatoes.” Known instead …

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