Thursday, October 23, 2014


a special place to learn to cook in a
stunning waterfront location in one of
New Zealand’s most beautiful seaside
villages. The cooking school runs
indulgent one-day classes, covering
more than 18 styles of cuisine, focusing
on local and seasonal produce. From
planning a meal to sourcing quality
ingredients from di. erent markets, the
Akaroa Cooking School shows guests
how to prepare food that is elegant,
nutritious and delicious. Matching
award-winning local wines with each
dish completes the experience. It is
all about bringing real food back into
everyday life.

About the authors:
LOU AND ANT BENTLEY met in London,
where they were both working in the
corporate sector. With a shared passion for
food and travel, and inspired by the ‘gastropub’
revolution then sweeping the city, as
well as the new wave of British chefs who
were advocating fresh and locally sourced
ingredients, they began to dream of a
new way of life. After attending a cooking
school in Chiang Mai in Thailand, the seed
was planted to do something similar in
New Zealand: to teach people how to get
back to basics, grow their own food, get to know where their food comes from, and
then take it home and create a delicious meal to share. Returning to New Zealand
permanently in 2006, they established the Akaroa Cooking School in 2009.

The publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce one of the recipes from the book:

Pan-seared chicken thighs  with apricot and pistachio stuffing, wrapped in prosciutto, with kumara purée and quince jus

Chicken thighs stuffed with ricotta, dried fruit and nuts, then wrapped in salty sweet
proscuitto and roasted,  make a great  combination  of flavours.


Quince jus (page 207)
200g ricotta
3 Tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
4 Tbsp chopped dried apricots (or cranberries)
4 Tbsp pistachios, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 free-range boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 slices proscuitto
2 tbsp olive oil
Kumara purée (page 204)

Make the quince jus, and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl mix ricotta, breadcrumbs, garlic, chopped thyme, apricots, pistachios, half a teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste the mixture and make sure that it has enough seasoning.

Place each chicken thigh between two pieces of cling wrap and bash to flatten  out so that  each  thigh is even in thickness. Spread ricotta mixture over meat, and then roll up. Then roll a piece of proscuitto around each thigh and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Once the oil is sizzling, add the chicken and turn every 2 minutes until the chicken is golden on all sides
Remove the chicken parcels onto a roasting tray and cook in the oven for 1520 minutes, or until just cooked through. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and rest it for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the kumara purée.

To plate and serve

Asparagus or green beans
Kumara purée (page 204)
Cooked chicken (this page)
Quince jus (page 207)

Cook the greens in lightly salted water until just tender.

Spoon kumara purée into the centre of 6 warmed plates and top with the sliced chicken and a few greens to the side. Spoon over the quince jus and serve immediately.

THE AKAROA COOKING SCHOOL - Harper Collins NZ - $49.95

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