Red Rice, Wild rice, Brown Rice, White Rice


Rice is a staple I have always used. In the Netherlands rice is as common as potatoes, due to the many great influences of good and fairly bad historical ties that Holland used to be involved in. Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles, and later through more noble influences like the intake of refugees from places like Ethiopia, Turkey and Morocco.So I grew up enjoying and learning to make dishes like nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice) and nasi trafasi ( the surinam version with prawn paste and tamarind)

In New Zealand lucky for me, due to the large Asian and Pacific influence, rice is also a very well integrated staple. Here I discover new varieties, like Red Cargo Rice, black rice and white glutinous rice. It’s great to try and find the best recipe for the different types. Apparently there are 40,000 rice varieties!

I had a mixture of jasmine, red and black rice with freshly grilled salmon, spinach, cucumber and a light yogurt lemon vinaigrette the other day. It looked cool, and tasted even better. What’s your favourite rice variety?


Quinoa and the rise of the new old grains


Quinoa came to my attention years ago, as a great alternative to white rice and pasta’s. Since then a new “old’ grain seems to pop up every few months and become really popular. In the last year I’ve tried Millet, Amaranth, Freekeh and Farro, and all are introduced as the next best thing with a lot of great information about their ancient history and health benefits. It’s pretty remarkable really that we’ve ignored these grains for such a long time. I must say I do like it all, as I love variance, especially knowing that they come with some great vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is probably still my favorite, closely followed by Freekeh.

I use Quinoa hot like a risotto, cooked with herbs in a good veggie stock, mushrooms, onion, cherry tomatoes and some grated cheddar. Or just as a side dish to a nice spicy sauce. Tonight it was a prawn and smoked salmon salad, with some quickly seared Kale, mushrooms, onions and ricotta.

Later this week, i might mix it with some freekeh and make a moroccan stew, with lots of spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon and smoked paprika. Have you discovered any new old grains lately?

Oysters, oysters, oysters


Oysters, what can I say. I know the French say their oysters are top of the world, but I am guessing they have not tried the NZ ones yet! Pacific oysters, rock oysters, farmed ones, wild ones, and don’t forget the flat shelled deep sea very chunky Bluff Oyster. You can wake me up at any time to try any of these.

One of the best oysters I ever had were the wild ones we picked and opened ourselves at a lodge we stayed at in Marlborough Sounds. Those were small but oh so flavoursome rock oysters. These days my favourite oyster has to be the Kaipara oyster, farmed in the Kaipara harbour in a very sustainable way. But I am always willing to try any other ones.

I eat them the only way that you can really enjoy the flavour to its fullest, just with a squeeze of fresh lemon. I can’t justify putting them in batter and frying them. what do you think?