Weekend food: Produce report, fresh on the shelves and more

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Produce report: NZ vegetables
Pick of the week is Beauregard kumara. Like potatoes, the skin of kumara is full of nutrients and should not be discarded. Scrub the skin to remove blemishes and dirt, then cut into slices or chunks and cook as usual.

Recipe suggestion: For a healthy, effortless meal try making steamed kumara with wild rice and a tomato, chilli sauce. Cook 2 cups of wild rice, as per packet instructions. Slice golden kumara with the skin on and steam until tender. Blend 1 tbsp. of each of the following- nut butter, miso paste, lemon juice and maple syrup along with 1 tomato, 1 garlic clove and 1 tsp. of chili powder to taste. Mix wild rice, kumara and sauce together in a bowl and enjoy- it may not look very pretty but it sure is tasty.

Other top veggie buys are celery, leaks, carrots, red onion and butternut squash. Celery is great to eat to fight boredom or because its miserable outside. It is around 90% water so you are hydrating and it takes more calories to chew and digest celery than it contains.

Also look out for witloof, also known as chicory. It has a slightly bitter, nutty flavour that differentiates it from lettuce and adds a punch of flavour to salads. Choose and store it in the same way you would lettuce.

NZ fruit
Pick of the week is avocados, which are fantastically cheap.

Recipe suggestion: If you are running out of avocado ideas, have a sweet tooth and are looking for ways to eat a ton of ice-cream without feeling guilty, make a refreshing avocado sorbet: Slice 3 avocados into thin strips and place on tin foil, cover with 2 tsp. of fresh lime juice to keep them from browning- this also adds flavour to your delicious treat- fold the tin foil into a small packet so the avocado is completely covered, freeze for at least 4 hours. Make a simple syrup using 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, bring to a boil then simmer until the sugar is dissolved, around 3 minutes, set aide and allow to completely cool. Once cool, add 1 cup of sugar syrup to 1 cup of finely chopped coriander and the zest of two limes. Pour the liquid and the frozen avocadoes into the blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Serve immediately.

Other top fruit buys are green kiwifruit, Bosc pears, Clementine mandarins, tamarillos and lemons. Green kiwifruit skin is actually healthy ; the fuzzy fibre helps bind and move toxins from your intestinal tract.

Also look out for Jazz apples, which are fabulously crunchy and waiting to go into the lunch boxes. Studies show that eating an apple is more effective than caffeine at keeping you alert and awake.

Imported produce
From Australia, try courgettes, Pink grapefruit and Minneola tangelos. Pink grapefruit is tart and tangy with an underlying sweetness. They are a great form of vitamin C and high in antioxidants. Add to a salad, fresh juice or add to coriander and chilli peppers to make a tropical salsa.
- Supplied by Turner & Growers


Heilala Vanilla is extending its product range with a coconut oil. The company has partnered with the Tonga National Youth Congress, with support from Oxfam NZ, which provides oil processing equipment to produce the 100% pure Virgin Coconut Oil for the global market. Heilala Vanilla director Jennifer Boggiss says it’s a natural fit. “We share the same brand story of origin and traceability from Tonga and it also directly benefits many of the vanilla farmers we work with,” she says. Heilala 100% pure Virgin Coconut Oil is made using fresh coconuts, not dried copra. After the coconut flesh is grated and dried, oil is extracted using the cold pressed method, not heated or fermented. Coconut oil can be used as a cooking ingredient, replacing butter or other cooking oils. It’s also great for raw, vegan and paleo diets. Available in 300g jars. RRP $11.95 from selected retail stores or online at www.heilalavanilla.co.nz/shop


Monteith’s brewers have created a seasonal milk stout that evokes nostalgia from the West Coast’s pioneering Celtic forefathers. Velvet Stout is a voluptuous, full-bodied and warming beer with a generous touch of cocoa to balance. A mix of oats and chocolate roasted malts give the brew a smooth silky flavour with soft, rich bitterness. Monteith’s head brewer Tony Mercer says it’s one of the brewery’s most balanced creations. “It’s silky, yet smooth and has just a touch of bitterness. For good measure we topped it off with a good dose of cocoa, to give it that extra something special.” The 4.9% (ABV) dark beer is available nationwide in 500ml single bottles at RRP $6.29.


Perfectly matched to seasonal favourites, roasts of red meat, slices of strong cheeses and sizzling cuts of wild game, the Allan Scott Hounds Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 epitomises heart-warming winter cuisine. It is carried on a rich oak base with soft aromatics in dark cherry, ripe berry fruits and cocoa. Allan Scott Winemaker Matthew Elrick credits keen attention and hard work. “It’s a concerted team effort starting at pruning and every small step through to selection of only the best oak barrels of Pinot Noir from our Hounds blocks,” he says. “We want the Hounds Pinot Noir to reflect the best of both the vineyards and the vintage from which the grapes have come. The cooler than usual temperatures of 2012 particularly suits Pinot Noir grapes because they can hang out longer allowing flavours to develop and strengthen without getting too high a sugar (hence alcohol) level,” he says. RRP $31. Available from Glengarry Wines or online at www.allanscott.com

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