New Zealand food paradise

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New Zealand really is a food lovers paradise. It’s not that well known as a foodie destination, but that is only a matter of time. There is so much good to choose from. Different regions have their own specialties, as climate and soil changes quite a bit across the country.

Nz dairy is well known in the world and the largest % comes from the central north island. If you can get your hands on some raw milk, you have to try it, it tastes like heaven.

Venison, which is what the prized NZ deer meat is called, mainly comes from Canterbury on the South Island, whilst Kiwifruit is mostly grown in Hawkes Bay. And don’t forget the seafood. Lobster and whitebait from the south island, snapper and kingfish from the north.

And lucky for everybody living or visiting NZ there are many world-class restaurants using this local produce where you can taste it in the best way possible. The french cafe for example (http://www.thefrenchcafe.co.nz/) in Auckland, was voted as one of world’s top restaurants behind one in Spain, UK and France. Wellington has more cafes and restaurants per Square meter then New York and there are many celebrity chefs that have restaurants here in nz that are still very accessible, like Al Brown and Peter Gordon.

New Zealand really is an undiscovered foodie paradise!

N

Jerusalem Artichokes, nice to meet you!

 

Freshly harvested Jerusalem artichokes

Freshly harvested Jerusalem artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes don’t look very appealing. Their flowers do, it’s just like a sunflower. Right yellow and tall. Very pretty.  And if you didn’t know you wouldn’t go digging for the root once the flower had died off. And you would certainly not expect that it is edible! But it’s worth digging for them, cleaning them up and cooking with them.

I got introduced to these knobbly roots in a little local restaurant just up the road. I loved them so much that I had a chat to the Maitre d’ about what they were and how they grow. He gave me a handful to try to grow them myself. Which I did! You basically just stick them in the ground and they will start growing. And growing.. Once you have them it’s hard to ever clear them all out as they create little tubers that go  everywhere and grow their own flowers. And so on. I you don’t have enough space, make sure you contain them in a pot or so, otherwise they’ll take over.

I use them generally as I would use potatoes. I scrub them, cut the ugly parts off, but leave most of the skin on. then roll them in olive oil, some rosemary, and salt and pepper and roast them at 190 for 20-30 minutes.

I’m so glad I got introduced !

J

Outworn Graduation gowns

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Its uni graduation time in Auckland. There are black gowns everywhere. Students looking like they are by no means ready to enter the labour market are celebrating their uni degree by dressing up in a long black gown and a cap and parading through the mains streets of Auckland.

NZ is a lucky country. Basically everybody who wants to, can go to university. Yes you’ll build up a debt, but unemployment in NZ  is pretty low, so you can pay that off pretty quickly afterwards. There are degrees in all sorts of areas that would not necessarily have been seen as academic years ago and are still not in most European countries. It doesn’t mean the skill learned is not valuable. It maybe should just not be a uni degree nor should it follow the academic traditions like the formal graduations. The only reason it does is because tradition is just applied : we’ve always done it this way.

For some reason NZ likes their education traditions. Take all the incredibly ‘important’ school gala’s, where girls are expected to basically dress as if they are getting married, with all hairdo, nail polish and expensive limousine transfers bells and whistles attached. The amount of grief and unnecessary expense it causes! Becaue if you’re not there dressed as a princess, you are ‘missing out’. And this is not only at the last year of high school, there are at least 3 years you have to go.
The other week somebody told me there was a formal graduation ceremony they had to attend from day care with presents and all. Really?

I can see this is my practical down to earth Dutch mind at work here. The mind that questions traditions for traditions sake, all having to dress in the same uniform (and paying big bucks for it too) because heaven forbid individual expressions amongst a group and yes, mandated unnecessary expenses too.

I am very happy for all of them that they have passed their exams. Education is fantastic and  achievements should be celebrated. But do they really have to be so traditional, so regulated and so costly and commercial? Go celebrate, do it your way and not because others tell you to put on that outworn gradation gown again.