What wuth the widding theah wasn’t much time for eatung out un NZ (In Zid). Stull, theah was plinty of gud food going...
...OK, so this would be a lot easier if I’d studied linguistics, but you get the point.
From Sydney I made a short trip across the ditch for my cousin Matt’s wedding; this was the main reason for my visiting the southern hemisphere, although you would be forgiven for thinking filling my stomach was the primary motive.
While I didn’t have much time to eat out in NZ, the Brown’s know how to do good food well and so I still managed to fit in most of my favourite quintessentially New Zealand dishes (namely fishes).
The highlight of the wedding canapés were the whitebait fritters.
Fresh New Zealand whitebait, lots of it, held together by egg and possibly a little flour (although if there was any I certainly couldn't taste it). The fritters were lightly seasoned and served simply, just as they should be, with lemon and tartar sauce.
The wedding buffet included a range of salads and vegetables, gremolata chicken with tomato relish and beautifully cooked roast beef, so rare it was practically walking off the plate.
Despite all these wonderful things, I had eyes for one thing only; the crayfish.
I probably had more than my fair share, although not as much as a certain person (you know who you are) even more enamoured with the tasty crustacean than I. In fact, there was plenty more over the course of the weekend, so we needn’t have worried.
The BBQ crayfish tails, brushed with garlic, coriander and chilli butter, were lovely, but I liked the crayfish best as it was served on the wedding day; poached in boiling, salty water, which seems to lock in the moisture, and served chilled with lemon and aioli. The fresh, succulent flesh speaks for itself, so much so that even the condiments are not strictly necessary.
For dessert the wedding cake was accompanied by vanilla ice cream and boxes and boxes of fresh raspberries from a nearby orchard. The raspberries were absolutely divine, so sweet and juicy that I could have eaten a whole bowl of just those alone.
Later, after dancing and much more drinking, trays of sausage rolls and party pies appeared for those still standing; what an inspired idea! I must have had three or four in less than five minutes and enjoyed them so much that I woke up craving a full size meat pie for breakfast. Sadly, the pie I got was rather disappointing; too much (dry) pastry filled with gelatinous gravy dotted with almost indiscernible titbits of mince. However, all was redeemed when I had a bite of the steak and oyster pie my Dad got in the Rai Valley on the drive back down to Christchurch. I recommend stopping there if you are ever passing through, Dad rates the mussel pies too.
Another place we like to stop on the road from Nelson to Christchurch is The Store at Kekerengu. This is more for the setting than the food:
Since we were in a rush we just got premade snacks – a pizza-style panini and a slice of quiche – neither of which were anything special.
As I am always passing through when I stop here I have never eaten from the full menu so that may be better. I can't couch for it myself, but my friend Claire said that she had a delicious soup there once. Either way, with a view like that, who cares?!
On our last evening our friends in Christchurch treated us to an Indian feast, and when I say feast I mean it:
Everything was delicious so it is hard to choose a highlight, but a sucker for meaty curries, I have to say the Kolhapuri lamb was my favourite:
The condiments were great too –mango chutney, raita, pickles... and a fantastic concoction of apples, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, and mint which has no name because our friend had invented it that day.
Next morning, I had a great coffee (a pleasant surprise after rural NZ) and Eggs Benedict, which is invariably served with bacon rather than ham in NZ. I am a traditionalist and prefer ham, as I think holindaise is already rich enough without being paired with ham's saltier, greasier relative. That said, they did serve the dish with two very thick slices of ciabatta which helped to soak it all up.
Oh, I almost for got the fush & chups! The Smokehouse in Mapua is well renowned for its delicious smoked fish and mussels, but locals know that for a take away to feed a cast of thousands, fish and chips are the go. On the day after the wedding, when the BBQ crayfish were not enough to feed the hungry beer drinkers, the newlyweds quietly disappeared returning soon after laden with fish, chips and battered mussels. The food disappeared rather less quietly and so quickly that I didn’t get a photo I’m afraid.
So wuth whitebait frutters, crayfush, frish birries, In Zid ice cream, meat end mussel pies, In Zid lamb, albeut Undian style, end fush & chups, thet’s prutty much all bases covered. I dudn’t hiv eny apricot chucken, but thet’s no great loss us ut, eh?