Weekend food: Produce report, new products

NZ vegetables
Pick of the week is cauliflower. Once overshadowed by broccoli, cauliflower’s impressive array of nutrients and recipes has seen it shine in the spotlight of late. It is packed full of fibre, magnesium, vitamins C and K, foliate and carotenoids. When selecting cauliflower, choose those those surrounded by green leaves as they are better protected and will be fresher. Keep in mind the flavour of cauliflower is best on the day it is purchased.

Other top veggie buys are fennel bulb, celery, leeks, kumara and witloof. Fennel bulb has many health benefits, including reduced anaemia, indigestion, bathroom troubles, menstrual and respiratory issues. It is a rich source of iron and potassium as well as naturally occurring essential oils, anetol and cineol.

Also look out for celeriac; a type of celery harvested for its roots, it has a uniquely delicious flavour and can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked as soup or mashed as a side.

Receipe suggestion: For something slightly different try Jamie Oliver’s celeriac smash. Peel and cut celeriac root into 1cm cubes. Place a pot on a high heat and coat the bottom with oil, add celeriac along with two finely sliced garlic cloves and a handful of fresh thyme, toss to allow the oil to coat the celeriac. Stir and cook for around five minutes to give the dish some colour. Turn down to a simmer and add 3-4tbsp. of water or vegetable stock, cover and allow cooking for around 25 minutes, until tender, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir around with a fork to smash (but not quite mash).

NZ fruit
Pick of the week are Navel oranges. These are well into the season with great crops coming out of Northland. They are full of sweet juice.

Recipe suggestion: For a healthy chicken marinate, combine fresh orange juice and zest along with chopped garlic, sage or bay leaves, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a small amount of orange marmalade. Coat meat and allow it to sit for a few hours.

Other top fruit buys are Granny Smith apples, green kiwifruit, Bosc pears, Jazz apples and Packham pears.  Granny Smith apples are perfect for cooking, especially in pies, as the high acidity allows them to hold their shape. Also look out for lemons. Meyer lemons are starting to slow as they have a shorter season than other varieties. They have a sweeter juice and a less acidic taste that makes them great for cocktails and salad dressings. Yen Ben lemons are in full swing. This variety is great for culinary uses as they have a “true” lemon taste with lots of bite that enhances other flavours. The zest of Yen Ben is exceptionally oily and fragrant, so be sure to add it to your cakes and muffins.

Imported produce
Mexican Kent mangoes, US grapes and Australian Minneolas are all in good supply. Grapes help protect the skin from damaging UV rays. On a lower level, grapes are also anti-inflammatory and good for muscle recovery after a workout. -- Turners & Growers


Mother Earth has added packs of Natural Walnuts and Deluxe Mix Hearth Vitality to its range. Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, both of which are associated with better memory, brain and heart function.“A growing body of research suggests [these ingredients] in walnuts may help counteract cognitive degeneration and perhaps in the future potentially reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says nutritionist Sarah Hanrahan, of the the NZ Nutrition Foundation,. “Antioxidants and omega-3s have also proven to be healthy for the heart, as they play a part in lowering cholesterol levels and can reduce the oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body.” Adding walnuts to oatmeal, vegetable dishes, cheese platters or just eating them on their own as a healthy snack are easy ways to include them in your daily diet. Mother Earth’s Heart Vitality is a combination  of walnuts, macadamias, almonds and a little dark chocolate.


Muffin Break has launched a Gourmet Tartlets range that are made with a reduced amount of egg, cream and pastry. They come in eight choices, including Chorizo and Caramelised Onion – a match of salty and sweet; Leek, Mushroom and Capsicum – creamy and vegetarian-friendly; Bacon, Mushroom and Mustard – a flavour kick; and Chicken, Capsicum and Red Pesto – an ideal winter warmer. RRP $6.90


Whittaker’s and Griffin’s have created a limited edition Hundreds and Thousands block of white chocolate that tastes like the Cookie Bear biscuit. The chocolate is mixed with biscuit pieces and loose hundreds and thousands to give it the authentic texture and flavour. Marketing manager Holly Whittaker says, “This is a fun and delicious new product that is unique on the market. Griffin’s and Whittaker’s are both New Zealand producers that successfully compete with large-scale international importers. We have our New Zealand fans to thank for that and we thought they would enjoy us teaming-up to create a special treat.” Both companies were founded 119 and 150 years ago respectively and have both become iconic New Zealand brands. (Griffin’s has just been bought by a Philippines company.) The blocks are available for three months until round October 20

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