AOTEAROA (NEW ZEALAND)
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Kia Ora koutou katoa and welcome to our first. Blog. Ever. If you haven’t already, check out the About Us and Around the World pages that tell our story and how we've gotten here.
Our first stop is our home in Aotearoa (New Zealand), ‘Home of the Long White Cloud’. That’s right folks, New Zealand, although often mistaken as a state of Australia, is in fact a country, a very incredible one at that. To many, New Zealand conjures up images of rolling green hills, snow-capped peaks, beautiful sandy beaches and rugged coastlines. Sprinkled amongst these are millions of sheep, kiwis (in fruit, bird and human varieties) and delicious wines. On a clear day we’re fortunate to see most of these from our beach house in Christchurch.
For the foodie, New Zealand’s culinary innovation, cultural diversity, and award-winning produce make it an exciting destination. Yet when it comes to naming a national dish most New Zealanders struggle to name something in the same way the Spanish claim Paella, the Japanese, ramen and the Austrians, Wiener Schnitzl. Instead, our national food revolves around our English colonial past, meaning fish and chips (pronounced ‘fush‘n’chups’), meat pies, Sunday roasts and a cup of English breakfast tea to wash it all down. And, worthy of mention, of course, are some of New Zealand’s more fun creations such as the hangi (a traditional Maori form of underground cooking), chocolate fish, marmite, pineapple lumps and goodie goodie gum drop ice cream.
To begin our journey, we have chosen to feature a Kiwi lamb roast with locally grown vegetables, paired with a 2013 Church Road Merlot Cabernet Malbec blend. Internationally renowned for it’s Bordeaux style red’s, this Hawkes Bay winery is one of the country’s oldest and happens to be close to Aaron’s hometown, Havelock North. The vegetables include kumara, New Zealand’s favourite tuber, also known as sweet potato in other areas of the world. Our dessert selection is pavlova, a large meringue covered in whipped cream and fruit, with a hot brew of tea to round it out. For any non-Antipodeans, the pavolva has long been a source of hearty disagreement between New Zealand and it’s big brother, Australia. See our country trivia to read more about the controversy surrrounding this tasty kitchen creation.
Our lamb roast is inspired by New Zealand Honey Co., a local Dunedin company. They have married Kiwi flavours of Manuka honey and blackcurrant jam to bring a “contemporary twist on a family favourite.”
Our pavlova recipe comes from New Zealand’s own, Annabel Langbein, known for her great source of healthy, down-to-earth meals that are characterized by fresh seasonal ingredients. We highly recommend following her tips and tricks on making the perfect Pavlova. We also recommend making this dessert the day before or you won’t be enjoying it until the next morning since it must have time to cool and set. Furthermore if you’re looking for the best New Zealand wine to pair with your roast then a good place to start is Michael Cooper’s 25 not-to-be-missed New Zealand Wines. A Pinot Noir or medium to full-bodied Merlot or Syrah will always match well with lamb
Lamb Roast ingredients:
1.5 kg leg of lamb
5 tbsp New Zealand Honey Co. manuka honey & blackcurrant jam *
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
4 medium onions, sliced **
8 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 cups liquid (water, juice or wine)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 chopped kumara (red, gold or orange variety) – replacement: sweet potato
2-3 chopped potatoes
2 carrots **
Lamb Roast method:
1. Pre heat oven to bake at 160°C / 320°F
2. In a deep roasting dish, arrange the sliced onion and sprigs of rosemary.
3. Pour in the liquid of choice.
3. Prepare the lamb roast by rubbing the New Zealand Honey Co. manuka honey & blackcurrant jam all over the roast. Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. Place lamb leg on the bed of rosemary, and drizzle the olive oil over the meat.
4. Bake for 4 hours.
5. Take out of oven and rest for 20 minutes before carving.
* Can’t get your hands on New Zealand Honey Co. Manuka honey & blackcurrant jam? Try making your own jam and mix it with local honey. Karla experimented with this and whipped up a fantastic blackcurrant preserve featuring pinot noir wine (see below). Cooking is all about being creative, so feel free to substitute any ingredients you see fit and then share your experience with us.
Blackcurrant preserves recipe
1 cup pinot noir
1/8 cup lemon juice
½ cup of apple pectin
6 egg whites, at room temperature **
pinch of salt
1½ cups caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup fruit compote
Fresh fruit, chopped
1. Heat the oven to 180°C / 356°F (not fanbake).
2. Line a baking tray with a baking mat.
3. Place the egg whites into the clean bowl of an electric mixer.
4. Add the salt and beat until stiff.
5. Slowly add sugar while the mixer is running. Beat for about 10 minutes at high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy – it should be thick enough not to fall from the mixer.
6. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
7. Use a big spoon to drop dollops of meringue onto the baking mat. Form into a circle of meringue, making swirls with the spoon on the top rather than flattening to a neat tidy disc.
8. Bake at 180°C / 356°F for 5 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 130°C / 266°F and cook a further hour.
9. Turn off oven and leave pavlova to cool in the oven.
** Save your egg yolks to use in another recipe. Freeze the off cuts from your onion and carrots to make a vegetable broth at a later date.
While your roast is in the oven, check out some fun facts about New Zealand:
The most celebrated of desserts in New Zealand is the pavlova, a meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit slices. It was named in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who visited New Zealand in the 1920s. For decades, there has been controversy between Australia and New Zealand over where it was invented. After years of research, the recipe does indeed seem to be of New Zealand origin (from a New Zealand recipe book), but it was named by the wife of a hotel pub manager in Western Australia. (See Peter Oettli if you disagree)
There are seven times as many sheep as people living in New Zealand, the lowest ratio since 1930. The ratio is considerably higher than any other country with Mongolia following next with four times as many sheep as people.
In 2006, an Australian man tried to sell New Zealand on eBay at a starting price of AU$0.01. That sounds like a pretty good deal!
We love travelling around New Zealand, visiting both new and old time favourites at any opportunity. We feel blessed to live in such an amazing place and are passionate about sharing our adventures with others. Some of our bucket-list recommendations include:
Hire a campervan and road trip from Christchurch, the city rising from the rubble, to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown. Stop for delicious Barker’s jam and Talbot cheese tastings in Geraldine, breathe in the alpine splendour surrounding the Church of the Good Sheperd at Lake Tekapo, take a polar bear plunge in the turquoise blue Lake Pukaki, scale the Mueller Hut Trail for stunning views of Mount Cook, sip some world-class Pinot Noir in Cromwell, bungee jump off the Kawarau Bridge (home to the world’s first commerical bungee operation), and eat a Fergberg (or two) in Queenstown.
Grab your camping gear, togs (swimwear) and sense of adventure and paddle your way through the Abel Tasman National Park. Watch glorious sunsets from the golden beaches each evening and catch a glimpse of New Zealand’s epic glowworms.
Ever dreamed of having your own hot tub on the beach? Then Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel is the place for you. This exotic beach sits atop a geothermal hot spring allowing you to dig a hole in the sand as warm water fills it up. You can relax in your personal beach-front hot tub, cool off in the crystal clear surf, and explore many of the nearby walking tracks and equally beautiful beaches.
Make your way to the rugged and untamed Catlin coastline for the chance to swim with Hector dolphins, spot yellow eyed penguins, fur seals and roaring sea lions, and view an ancient fossilised forest.
Tell us about your New Zealand experiences and trivia and keep your eye out for next week’s adventure in Australia! Join our subscribers list to receive updates on new posts.