Food

Ru­ral Matakana, north of Auck­land, is show­cas­ing its foodie tal­ents with a new fes­ti­val and cook­book.

New Zealand Listener - - CONTENTS - by Lau­raine Ja­cobs

Ru­ral Matakana, north of Auck­land, is show­cas­ing its foodie tal­ents with a new fes­ti­val and cook­book.

The com­mu­ni­ties and vil­lages on Auck­land’s pe­riph­ery are an ex­cel­lent day trip or week­end away for city dwellers, and farm­ers’ mar­kets at Cleve­don, Hob­sonville and Matakana have be­come foodie mec­cas. Matakana, where I spend half my time, is pre­par­ing the in­au­gu­ral Feast Matakana. Dur­ing the fi­nal week of Septem­ber and through the school hol­i­days, food pro­duc­ers, farm­ers, restau­rants, cafes, brew­eries and winer­ies are join­ing forces to pro­mote the re­gion.

Two lunches fea­tur­ing top chefs Ben Bayly and Makoto Tokuyama will be held in pri­vate homes, and sev­eral restau­rants will hold art-themed din­ners.

Cafes will highlight lo­cally pro­duced food and bev­er­ages and of­fer spe­cial “Matakana plates”, and the Satur­day morn­ing farm­ers’ mar­ket in the vil­lage will have ex­tra en­ter­tain­ment. The event also in­cludes last year’s sell-out oys­ter and wine fes­ti­val at the Matakana Coun­try Park, along with many other spe­cial events and din­ners. See tinyurl.com/ NZLMatakana.

As in most small New Zealand towns, the lo­cal school is the beat­ing heart of this com­mu­nity. And, as a fundrais­ing ini­tia­tive, par­ents, chil­dren and sup­port­ers of Matakana School have united to pro­duce The Vil­lage Ta­ble: Recipes and Sto­ries from Matakana (Matakana School, $49).

The book, which took three years to pro­duce, has recipes from lo­cal fam­i­lies, grow­ers and ar­ti­sans as well as in­trigu­ing pre­vi­ously un­told sto­ries, in­clud­ing one about a lo­cal veg­etable-swap group who meet each week to ex­change sur­plus fare from their gar­dens, and an­other about a reg­u­lar shared-plate din­ner for re­tirees in the tiny Point Wells com­mu­nity.

With pho­to­graphs of the sur­round­ing coun­try­side, beaches and farms, along­side por­traits of food and com­mu­nity he­roes, this book is a vis­ual de­light.

Each chap­ter is about a dif­fer­ent “vil­lage ta­ble” – places where the Matakana com­mu­nity comes to­gether to share food and friend­ship. There are more than 130 recipes rang­ing from fam­ily favourites to the sig­na­ture dishes of renowned lo­cal chefs. To or­der a copy visit thevil­lagetable.co.nz.

These recipes are from the book

and were pro­vided by two Matakana fam­i­lies. The O’Sul­li­vans used to sell these tacos at the weekly farm­ers’ mar­ket and now make them around the fire at home when they catch fresh fish in Kawau Bay. Their salsa is the star of this dish, so set aside some time to pre­pare it. The Mackys share their easy chick­pea salad, which is a hit with friends and fam­ily.

FISH TACOS

600g gurnard fil­lets (or other white fish) sea salt and black pep­per olive oil

SALSA

¼medium red onion

2 large toma­toes

2-3 medium to large cap­sicums

(any colour but at least one red) ½tsp­sugar

1 tsp red wine vine­gar

½tsp­fish sauce salt and ground black pep­per COLESLAW

¼small white cab­bage

¼small red cab­bage

2 car­rots TO FIN­ISH tor­tillas (we love Tio Pablo brand) 6 tsp aioli small bunch co­rian­der

1 lemon or lime, finely sliced finely sliced chilli sea salt and black pep­per

To make the salsa, finely dice the red onion, toma­toes and cap­sicums, then com­bine to­gether in a bowl.

Mix in the sugar, red wine vine­gar and fish sauce, sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per, then re­frig­er­ate un­til needed.

For the coleslaw, finely slice or shred all the in­gre­di­ents and mix to­gether, then re­frig­er­ate un­til ready to use.

Sea­son the fish with sea salt and pep­per, then grill on a bar­be­cue or over a fire, or cook in a lit­tle olive oil over gen­tle heat in a fry­ing pan.

Quickly heat the tor­tillas on the grill or in a small pan so they are warm but not crunchy.

Spread one side of each tor­tilla with aioli, add a large spoon­ful of coleslaw, top with some grilled fish, driz­zle with salsa and gar­nish with the co­rian­der, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and some sliced chilli, if de­sired.

Serves 6.

Wine match: Matakana pinot gris.

SWEET AND SAVOURY CHICK­PEA SALAD

800g canned chick­peas, rinsed and drained 1 large car­rot, peeled and grated

1 cup blanched green beans (fresh or frozen) ¹⁄³ cup dates, diced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp honey

1 tsp lemon zest

3 tbsp lemon juice

1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed or­ange juice

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1⁄2 tsp fresh chilli, chopped (op­tional) pinch of salt

¼cup pars­ley or co­rian­der (or both), chopped

Place the chick­peas in a bowl and add the car­rot, green beans, dates, cumin, turmeric, honey, lemon zest, cit­rus juice, olive oil, chilli and salt, then toss well to com­bine.

Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing if needed and leave to mar­i­nate in the fridge for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, add the fresh pars­ley and co­rian­der. Serves 5-6.

Wine match: rosé.

Clock­wise from top left, sweet and savoury chick­pea salad; fish tacos; the Matakana oys­ter and wine fes­ti­val; the farm­ers’ mar­ket.

Makoto Tokuyama

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