2017 – We're up for it! What you do in the privacy of your own home, is, well, your own business, except I’m rather proud of what happened in mine. Yep, we danced away the end of 2016, and welcomed in the opportunities a new year offers while chasing away the bad bits! When my head hit the pillow at 3.30am on the 1st of January my heart was still dancing. Of course, in the morning, my head was full of rocks, or at least that’s what it felt like. But never mind! There’s nothing like a good dance to kick-start a new year, followed by ‘hair of the dog’ the next day, and lashings of leftovers and all that …
2000 and 17, or 20 17, whichever way you want to grab it, made an impressive entry around our way with plenty of smoked fish, avocados and corn, buckets of berries and mounds of stone fruit. And there are beans and tomatoes, eggplants and zucchini flowers and masses of sprightly herbs, pretty edible flowers and freshly-dug garlic from the garden and from the gardens of my friends. It’s a good time to eat well. Food is bright, fresh, flavoursome and plentiful. Share what you’ve got in your garden with neighbours who would welcome a little extra produce, invite friends over for drinks and easy nibbles and enjoy the summer. Oh, you poor babies in the cold … just check out the Shared Kitchen winter offerings on the Home Page under the categories Winter and Autumn. There’s plenty there to warm your toes.
So what are we featuring to herald in the new year? Holy Guacamole that’s what. Yes, yes, not a new saying I know, but I am using Holy as in revered, divine … because guacamole is a state of mind, the perfect thing to serve any time, to anyone, for any reason, but especially in summer when avocados are at their peak. Just smash them up with some lime juice and a jot of chilli, or go all out and add in extras. I love Aussie pineapples. You can no longer tell if a pineapple is ripe by plucking out the centre green leaf as all the leaves are lopped off to make them safe to enter NZ (not a grizzle, it spoils the beauty, but it’s a necessary preventative), so how do you tell when a pineapple is ripe? And how do you prepare a pineapple and get out all those pesky bits? Pineapple prepYou’ve got to try this Pineapple & Pepper Saladwith its chipotle muscovado glaze. Colourful. Juicy. Sweet & hot. Addictive. Stick a couple of pork chops or cutlets alongside, and add a dollop of guacamole, and weeeeeeee! She’s good.
If you’re wanting to serve something a little more fancy than a tub of ready-made hummus or dip with drinks, give the Smoked Fish & Caper Dipa whirl. It’s creamy, though not rich, with loads of flavour from dill pickle, capers and herbs. Keeps a couple of days, too, but you’ll be back to the fridge nibbling at it until it’s all gone. Cooking Classes. Yes, I’m always banging on about them, because they are good. Great value. Inspiring. Informative. Delicious. All of that. And you should get yourself along to one while there is plenty of choice. Our 2017 round h got off to a great start with a sherry tasting at Casita Miro followed by a cooking class and lunch at mine. People tell me it is a fab way to spend a day. So bring some friends over to Waiheke, join us for the tasting and lunch, then go off and explore the island. It’s magic. If you are on the island for summer, grab a group of friends and book a private class. Hope to see you here. Happy happies to you and yours – Let’s rock 2017!