Thursday, 14 October 2010

Mel's food blog 14th October 2010

I thought I would write a little blog because before I came to New Zealand I didn’t realise how many different foods are really Kiwi.

Those Charlie and I have tried so far are:

Hokey-Pokey Ice Cream – This iconic Kiwi Icecream is mainly vanilla but is stuffed full with Cinder Toffee – the stuff that’s inside a Crunchie bar. It’s really good – not too sweet.

According to Wikipedia: "Hokey pokey" was a slang term for ice cream in general in the 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries in several areas — including New York and parts of the UK — specifically for the ice cream sold by street vendors, or "hokey-pokey" men. The vendors, said to be mostly of Italian descent, supposedly used a sales pitch or song involving the phrase "hokey pokey", for which several origins have been suggested, although no certain etymology is known.

Gingernuts Now, I’m really not sure why these biscuits would be considered to be really Kiwi, but I believe that Kiwi’s eat more gingernuts than any other biscuits. I like a good gingernut as much as the next person so I like that they are so popular here!!

Anzac Biscuits These biscuits are made with coconut, oats, flour, golden syrup, butter, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. They were apparently made as food to be sent to the ANZAC troops (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) as they were made of ingredients which do not spoil easily and which also would be nutritious and keep the soldiers going.
Anzac Biscuit Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
I cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)
Anzac Biscuit Directions
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or approx 375 degrees F).
Grease a biscuit tray or line with baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
In a small saucepan over a medium heat (or in a microwave proof jug or bowl in the microwave), combine the butter and golden syrup until the butter has melted.
In a small bowl, combine the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda.
Add the bicarb and water mixture with the melted butter and golden syrup.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix thoroughly.
Dollop teaspoonfuls of the biscuit mixture onto the greased baking tray.
Don't forget that the biscuits WILL spread during baking, so make sure you leave room for them to spread!
Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven.
Allow the Anzac biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Lemon and Paeroa This carbonated lemonade-style drink is totally popular here, it originates in a place called Paeroa in the Coromandel Peninsula. The spring water from here is apparently very special, here’s the story of it’s history from their website:

“The chance discovery of the spring of mineral water in a cow paddock near the confluence of the Ohinemuri and Waihou Rivers, known as the Junction, was followed by frequent visits to the hole in the ground from which palatable water could be obtained for the taking. That was long before anyone thought of commercialising the product."

“The writer and his lady friend struck upon the happy idea of taking a lemon or two in their pockets and adding lemon juice to the mineral water anticipating the future use that delectable refreshing drink “Paeroa and Lemon”.

“Paeroa and Lemon was enjoyed by some of the early residents of Paeroa to quench the thirsty and on occasions to relieve a bilious attack”.

A report compiled by a noted Government balneologist A. S. Wohlman, OBE, MD., BS (London) in 1904 stated:

“The Paeroa spring is a large warm effervescing spring of similar nature to the Te Aroha spring, but containing 73 grains of magnesium bicarbonate to the gallon."

“It is good for dyspepsia and pleasant to drink and in older times had the reputation among the goldminers of the district as a Sunday morning drink after a Saturday night “burst”. It can be beneficial for constipation."

The Paeroa spring water as a mild alkaline water with iron salts and was valuable for medicinal purposes and as a table water. He was not sure anyone would go to the expenses of bottling it, especially with the large amount of tea which was drunk in the colony.

“The Paeroa water analysis was: Temperature 80deg. F.; fair effervescence of CO2; pleasant sweetish taste. Magnesium bicarbonate, 73 grains per gallon; sodium bicarbonate, 39.4; calcium bicarbonate, 35.5; ferrous bicarbonate 1.6; total solids 167.8.”

Yet another early recollection about 1906:

“A favourite Sunday walk was to the mineral spring near Junction Wharf. The spring filled a small grassy well, the overflow going into the nearby creek. The usual thing was to have a drink there and take a bottle home. This property was taken over by a Mr Fewell who started bottling the water. This was the beginning of Lemon and Paeroa.”

Lamingtons We actually had these in Australia rather than here in New Zealand (we’re not counting the terrible specimens we had in Whangarei), but these chocolate or raspberry covered spongecakes are great – especially when cream is added to the inside! They are coated in desiccated coconut and are just fabulous. Apparently Aussies and Kiwis fight over who first made the lamington.

NZ Marmite This is very different to the British version of Marmite, it’s somewhere in between Vegemite and Marmite. It’s OK, but my heart will always remain with Mymate Marmite.

KiwiFruit We have had some really amazing, juicy ripe kiwifruit since we have been here – a world away from the solid dark green ones we buy in the UK. These were originally called the Chinese Gooseberry and came (duh) from China. But in a master-piece of marketing, the New Zealand farmers started producing them for export and called them the Kiwifruit as China was out of favour in the west. You have to call them kiwifruit rather than a kiwi – that’s an iconic bird or a person from New Zealand!

Kumara This type of Maori potato is really lovely, we have had kumara chips from the chip shop but you can also have them in the usual sorts of potato dishes.

There are some Kiwi specialties which we haven’t tried yet but are going to try as soon as we can:

Pavlova – meringue with cream and fruit
Chocolate Fish – Marshmallow covered in chocolate, shaped like a fish
Pineapple Lumps – Weird looking sweet – I think it’s choc covered too,
Jaffas – orange coated chocolates popular snacks at the movies.
Afghan Biscuits – Chocolate and cornflake biscuits with walnuts on top.
Whitebait – often eaten in fritters.
Paua – A kind of shellfish, the shells are often used in jewellery.

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