Contemporary New Zealand food and wine offers the world a distinctive cuisine arising from our geographic location and unique cultural heritage.
Being positioned in the Pacific and close to Asia, but with a strong British and European heritage, we have evolved our own unique style of fusion food that applies cooking techniques from around the world to New Zealand’s exquisite produce, spiced up with a dash of Kiwi ingenuity.
Swept by wind and rain, basked in sunlight, on the edge of the planet deep in the Pacific, New Zealand is brimming with fresh, clean, abundant bounty.
Our raison d'etre is simply to grow great food – we gave kiwifruit to the world, as well as feijoas and tamarillos. New Zealand sauvignon blanc is famous, our bottled waters rank in trace components with the best, our dairy is arguably the most prolific globally, our lamb is legendary and our unique sea species are as pure as you can find on the planet.
New Zealand’s fresh, clear waters are the source of many seafood delicacies, including our world-famous green-lipped mussels and succulent scallops.
This impressive salad makes a few scallops go a long way, but you can replace them with seared prawns or even six rashers of bacon that have been cooked until crisp and then crumbled. If it’s not asparagus season, simply double the amount of snow peas.
It’s a perfect dish for when you want to be organised. The asparagus and snow peas can be cooked a couple of hours before you eat, the scallops seared up to half an hour ahead of serving and the Citrus chilli dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5–7 minutes
Ingredients: 24 spears fresh asparagus, tough ends snapped off
100g mangetout (snow peas), trimmed of stringy bits
50g rocket leaves
1 large just-ripe avocado, cut into chunks
24 fresh scallops (or more as extravagance allows)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon or lime
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp citrus chilli dressing (see below)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Lightly salt the water then drop in the trimmed asparagus and return to the boil for three minutes. Add the mangetout to the pot for the final 20 seconds of the cooking time. Do not overcook.
Drain then immediately cover the vegetables with cold water (this helps to capture their vivid green colour and crunchiness). Drain the vegetables thoroughly. Arrange the rocket leaves on a serving platter and place the asparagus and mangetout on top. Top with the avocado chunks.
Mix the scallops with the lemon or lime zest and season with salt, pepper and sugar (the sugar helps the scallops caramelise without overcooking). Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frypan until it is very hot and cook the scallops for about 30–50 seconds on each side – they should be browned but still soft. Don’t overcook them and don’t overcrowd the pan – you may need to sear them in two batches.
Pile scallops on top of salad, drizzle with 4 tbsp citrus chilli dressing and toss. Divide between six serving plates and serve at once.
Citrus chilli dressing:
Place 4 tbsp each of orange, lime and lemon juice in a large jar with 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, ground black pepper and 1 small red chilli, seeds removed and flesh very finely diced. Shake to blend and chill until ready to serve. This dressing is great with seafood, chicken or salad greens and keeps for up to a week in the fridge (makes 125ml).
Pavlova is a classic New Zealand dessert, but I like to add a twist by making it in individual servings. They’re handy because you can cook them up to a week in advance, store them in an airtight container and add the cream and fruit topping before serving. Top with a tropical kiwifruit salad for a true Kiwi touch.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes: 6–8 individual pavlovas
6 eggs, at room temperature
A pinch of salt
375g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
100g dessicated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml cream, chilled
Tropical fruit salad (see below)
Make sure the bowl and beater of your food processor or electric mixer are clean and dry without a skerrick of fat. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites in the food processor or electric mixer. Add the salt and sugar and beat for about 10 minutes until shiny, glossy and very thick. Beat in the cornflour and vinegar for a few seconds, then quickly and lightly fold in the coconut and vanilla (do not beat as the oils in the coconut may deflate and soften the mixture).
Drop big spoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared tray, making six to eight individual pavlovas. The thicker you make them the more marshmallowy they will be in the middle. If you make them thinner they will be more chewy. Swirl the top into a spiral pattern with a fork or spatula. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 130°C and bake for a further one hour, until the shell is crisp to the touch.
Turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas to cool in the oven for at least two hours. If you’re not serving them the same day you can store them in an airtight container for up to a week. They can also be frozen for later use.
To serve, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Place spoonfuls of whipped cream on top of the pavlovas and spoon the Tropical Fruit Salad over the top.
Tropical fruit salad:
Cut the skin and fibrous eyes from 1⁄2 pineapple, then remove the centre core and cut the peeled flesh into tiny batons. Peel 3 kiwifruit and cut the flesh into tiny dice. Mix together with the pineapple and the pulp from 4 passionfruit. Tropical fruit salad can be kept for several hours in the fridge and brought back to room temperature before serving, as these fruits will not discolour.
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