By: Blonde Two
Tonight, Norm and I are having a dinner party. It happens a lot over here, the Kiwis are a very sociable bunch and when the wine is as good as NZ wine is (go and buy some if you don’t believe me, Waitrose have a good stock), you need every excuse you can find to open another bottle.
My big plan was to have a barbecue. It is winter here so I was in for some odd looks because I was going to insist that everyone sat outside by the pool. The difference in temperature acclimatisation between Auckland (it is very different further South) and the UK is such that I could have sat in a smart dress while everyone else huddled in rugs and merinos (not the actual South Island sheep, you understand – just the jumper).
This excellent plan has fallen through because, despite the fact that I often winter sunbathe here, there was a big thunder storm last night and it is still raining. Even this hardy Dartmoor Blonde doesn’t fancy a soggy steak – like the food, the rain is bigger here.
With dinner parties on my mind, I thought I would give you a small account of what I like to eat while I am here;
1. Giant vegetables – not so much down in parts of the South Island but my bit of New Zealand is a market gardening area (hence my year of pumpkin and kiwi fruit picking) and one of my first “must do’s” when I get here is always to visit the Chinese vegetable shop and choose a giant cabbage (they don’t cost $20, that is to show the size and prove that is a NZ citizen). Golden kiwi fruit are always my next purchase – bred to be hairless, the skin is still bitter but they are delicious beyond belief.
2. Sea food – Kai Moana (kie-mow-anna). There is so much available here, it is hard to choose but my favourites include green lipped mussels (giant again and live in tanks in the supermarket), oysters (with a hint of lemon and chilli sauce) and shrimp. Norm always gets a stock in for me – just think how big my brain must be after a month of eating all that fish.
3. Steak – I am not usually a huge red meat eater but in New Zealand, the meat is pretty good. So good, in fact, that the other day I took some of the beef that Norm was going to use to feed the dog, off him and made it into a delicious people casserole (no people were harmed) – the secret ingredient here was a bottle of Tui beer (not made from the birds of the same name but nearly as good as Jail Ale). In the old days, Aunty and Norm had their own beef in the freezer but that doesn’t happen now – although I have picked out a particularly tasty looking cow with a quiff and named him Elvis the Edible just in case things change.
So that is what NZ Blondes like to eat while they are here – come and try for yourself! Oh yes, there are also lovely places to eat out here but there is one very important thing to remember; The red stuff in the plastic tomato on your table will be Wattie’s Tomato Sauce which is quite different to Heinz Ketchup. I could write a whole blog post about that!