Blog

ANZAC recipe

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on April 13, 2018

ANZAC Day is celebrated in New Zealand on the 25th of April. ANZAC Day is a national remembrance day in New Zealand and Australia that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. 
ANZAC biscuits were sent to soldiers abroad by wives and woman's group as the ingredients did not spoil and kept well during the naval transportation.
These delicious sweet, oaty biscuits are still enjoyed today and we have got the recipe for you

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

1 cup white flour

1 cup white sugar

125 g butter

2 Tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp boiling water

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a baking tray or line with baking paper.

Combine the oats, coconut, flour, and sugar together in a large bowl.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together. Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water and add to the butter mixture. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together.

Roll teaspoons into balls and place on the tray, allowing room for them to spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, cooking one tray at a time.

The Big Foody's Top 6 Favourite Autumn Adventures in Auckland

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on April 13, 2018

The temperatures are starting to cool down but we are still experiencing beautiful sunny days.
The beautiful crisp autumn air is perfect for adventure in Auckland at this time of the year. The Big Foody's top picks are:

 

BRICK BAY one of the most exquisite places for relaxed dining, beautiful wine, delicious fresh and local food in their glass house cantilevered over a peaceful pond. The service is impeccable, the wine beautiful and the surroundings just magical. Not only the food and wine is worth the visit, but the Sculpture trail and gardens positioned in their grounds is a an opportunity not to be missed. Enjoy the 2km walk around the trail admiring the contemporary artworks (which are also for sale) by leading New Zealand artists and then finish the day off with delicious platters, cheeseboards and some sweet treats with a glass of their own Brick Bay wine or locally roasted coffee.

 

 

 

RANSOM WINES in the Matakana Wine Region is definitely worth a trip just north of Auckland. A small family-run winery, all of their wines are made with grapes grown on their Mahurangi River Vineyard. Each vintage is unique and celebrates the wines variation from one vintage to the next. Enjoy their wine tastings at their purpose built contemporary cellar door and winery with captivating vista views. Make sure you accompany the wine with their fantastic menu including platters featuring locally produced fare designed to accompany as well as focus on the flavours of their wine. Ransom winery is a small family run winery with their vineyard planted in 1993 and their first vintage in 1996. 

 

 

CLEVEDON FARMERS MARKET is the perfect place to spend a relaxed Sunday morning. Run every Sunday (except for Easter and Christmas) between 8:30am and 1pm at the Clevedon Showgrounds it will tempt you with the best seasonal and local offerings of fruit & vegies, freshly baked pastries and bread, great espresso coffee, meat, fish, cheese's, sauces, eggs, confectionary, wine, fresh flowers and the list goes on. And even better yet, every Sunday is slightly different!

You can sample the freshest produce and then fill your baskets or bags with what your taste buds so desire, you will surely come away with a colourful and interesting assortment of goodies to enjoy.

But be sure to be there early, as the best of the best will sell out by mid morning!

Running since 2005, the Clevedon Farmers Market now offers at least 50 stalls to its Sunday morning visitors with an array of top quality and fresh produce from local producers and growers.

Top Tip: Take your goodies with you on a picnic in the beautiful Hunua Ranges (see below)

 

TAKAPUNA is where you will find a laid back atmosphere, white sandy beach, a fresh water volcanic lake and a whole heap of seaside cafe's serving anything from gourmet international fare to your traditional kiwiana fish and chips! You will find yourself immersed in a haven of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs with the triangle of Hurstmere Road, Anzac Street and Lake Rd.

The shopping is not bad either with high end specialist stores featuring anything from designer footwear to swimwear to New Zealand wines.

Lake Pupuke is a volcanic fresh water lake that is popular for non-motorised water sports and has many adjacent parks to picnic at. It also features the Pump House where you can watch a show, feed the black swans or enjoy the cafe.

Other top tips from us here at the Big Foody Food tours to enjoy in Takapuna include, paddle boarding or kayaking either on Takapuna Beach or Lake Pupuke, enjoying a walk along Takapuna Beach or visiting the Takapuna Sunday Market.

 

TASTEBUD TOUR Now is the time to book yourself a Big Foody Food Tour. It's Feijoa season and beautiful autumn produce is bountiful. You'll taste some of New Zealand's top cheese's and your tastebuds will have a field day with amazing flavours. The Tastebud tour is a driven tour, so simply sit back and enjoy the ride, while stopping off for some sensational tastings! A highlight of this tour is seeing behind-the-scenes of the Auckland Fish market, we visit anywhere from speciality shops where the chefs shop, chocolatiers, cafes, farmers markets, artisan producers and much much more. Our experienced, passionate and fun guides love to show off our vibrant sights and sound of the city and Auckland region and if there is anything specific that you want to see or taste, make sure that you ask our guide for advice, they are always more than happy to help.

You will also get an introduction to Auckland's history, architecture, culture and quirky stories and characters.

Book a tour now

 

HUNUA RANGES are beautiful at this time of the year. As the temperatures are dropping, now is the time to explore this beautiful native forest and explore the streams, waterfalls, wildlife and vista views less than an hours drive south of Auckland and perfect to combine with a trip to the Clevendon Farmers Market! With perfect picnic spots and great walking tracks, the Hunua ranges will keep you captivated on a sunny Autumn day.

The Hunua ranges is the largest native forest in the Auckland region and is cared for by the Auckland regional council.

Feijoa Jam Recipe

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 21, 2018

EASY Feijoa Jam

 

Ingredients

1kg Feijoa’s

1 kg caster sugar

¼ cup water

1-2 vanilla pods

1 stick of cinnamon

Juice of 1 lemon

 

Method

Peel and slice the feijoas and place into a saucepan with the sugar.

Slit the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the pan, add the pod.

Add the water, Cinnamon stick and lemon juice.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit is soft, then increase the temperature and boil for 8-10 minutes.

Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick, then pour into sterilised jars and seal.

Hot Cross Buns

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 21, 2018

Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

4 cups high grade flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp each ground allspice, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg (I like mine quite cinnamony so will add more!)
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp dried yeast
1 cup warm milk
100 grams softened butter
2 eggs
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips or mixed fruit

Cross paste

½ cup flour
1 tblsp butter
¼ tsp baking powder
about ¼ cup milk

Sugar Glaze

2 tblsp sugar

2 tblsp hot milk

Method

Put the flour, salt, spices and brown sugar into a big bowl and mix together.
Stir the yeast and milk together and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
Beat the eggs and softened butter into the frothy mixture.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix vigorously to form a soft dough. Mix the mixture for 1 minute. Add the raisins and mix in well. 
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with greased gladwrap. Set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured board and divide into 16 equal portions. Roll into balls and place on a greased baking tray with about 1-cm between each bun.
Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for another 30 minutes until well risen. Brush with milk and pipe thin crosses of Cross Paste (instructions below) on top of the buns.
Bake at 190ºC for about 20-25 minutes. Just before taking out of the oven, spread some sugar glaze over them (instructions below). Cool on a cake rack.


Cross paste
Sift flour and baking powder together. Rub in butter. Stir in enough milk to make a thick batter that can be piped.
Sugar glaze
Dissolve 2 tablespoons sugar in 2 tablespoons hot milk.

An Amazing Week

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on March 20, 2018

Hawkes Bay is one of my favourite places in New Zealand. The colours, the countryside, the people and of course the food lure me back year after year. This year a group of 20 came with me as we discovered the culinary joys of this stunning region and onwards to Wellington.

Our tour started off at the 2017 Cuisine Magazine restaurant of the year Pacifica. Run by couple Jeremy Rameka and the gorgeous Natalie Bulman, Pacifica is a modest but sophisticated restaurant on Marine Parade. Four days before we all sat to dine, Jeremy had competed in and completed the Taupo Iron Man competition. A gruelling task for for a trained athlete let alone a man who spends all day in a kitchen. We were awed by a homemade pasta dish served with a sweetcorn and mozzarella cream that had us all oohing and ahhhhin as we ate it.

New friendships were forged and as we met the following morning, the revolting cyclonic weather that whipped our hair into different directions than it would normally be, could do nothing to dampen the spirits of the group. Our courageous bus driver successfully navigated the gusts to take us up to the Te Mata peak, where group photos had everyone in fits of giggles.

The highlight of the Friday was definitely our trip to Cape Kidnappers. Our trip around the gardens had to be forgone by the winds and rain, but the amazing garden team had gathered some of the native herbs and plants, their heirloom vegetables and salads and little alpine strawberries for us to try. Did you know that growing strawberries in a pine needle mulch will improve their flavour? No nor did we!

Our four course lunch kicked of with a very fresh bluff oyster served on a bd of samphire. I love love love samphire especially slightly pickled. This was delicious!

We went on to be wowed by a kaffir lime broth poured over a piece of mouth watering kingfish and an amazing lamb main course.

Yoghurt panna cotta and rosemary roasted peaches made the perfect dessert and we finished with local cheese the Sleeping Giant sheep cheddar.

The banter between chef, maitre’d and waiters kept us all entertained and we left wishing we could afford the $17,000 / night accommodation! What a treat of a day it was.

Feijoa Cake

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 15, 2018

Feijoa Cake

This is the most beautiful moist cake, perfect with a cup of coffee or tea and to make it even better, it is egg free (for those that are allergic to eggs!)

 

2 cups plain Flour

¾ cup Brown Sugar (packed firmly)

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

3 tsp Cinnamon (depending on how strong you like your cinnamon, I’ll sometimes even add a 4th tsp)

Approx. 8 - 10 scooped out Feijoas, mashed

½ cup vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil)

½ cup milk (can be substituted with soy, rice milk etc if needed)

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Grease a ring tin (a loaf tin can be used, but may need longer to cook).

Combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

Mix together Feijoa and oil until well combined.

Add the Feijoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk to create a just-moist mixture.

Place into the pre-greased baking tin and even out.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until cooked.

Gently sift some icing sugar over the top.

ENJOY!!

Feijoa's, Feijoa's, Feijoa's - The Big Foody Food Tours favourite line up of Feijoa products!

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 15, 2018

Feijoa's, Feijoa's, Feijoa's - The Big Foody Food Tours favourite line up of Feijoa products!

 

We LOVE Feijoas here at the Big Foody Food Tours! Anything Feijoa! And when they are not available fresh (because of their extremely short season), we LOVE anything Feijoa flavoured!!!

 

Here is a list put together by our Feijoa loving team here at the Big Foody Food Tours of our all-time favourite Feijoa-flavoured products.

 

 

 

 

  • Macey’s Feijoa lollies

 

 

  • 42 Below Feijoa Vodka - this is made by actual made by the actual essence of feijoa fruit! This essence is created by vapourising the flesh of the fruit and turning the fruity steam produced into a liquid essence which is then infused into the vodka! Great on the rocks or mixed it in a cocktail.

 

 

Have we missed anything?

What are your favourite Feijoa flavoured products?

Join us on a Big Foody Food Tour and we'll make sure you get to try some Feijoa products!

Some of our favourite Feijoa flavoured products!

The Big Foody's top 8 ways to indulge in Feijoas

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 14, 2018

The Big Foody's top 8 ways to indulge in Feijoas

New to Feijoa's or looking for ways to use up the kilo's of them scattered throughout the garden?

Here are out Top 8 favourite ways to indulge in Feijoa's;

  • Make a Feijoa Cake
  • Serve them on top of some Greek Yogurt (for breakfast or dessert) or on top of your cereal.
  • Smoothies!! Feijoas in smoothies are the best! and can be used as a substitute for bananas in smoothies as they have a very similar consistency.
  • Make a Feijoa Crumble
  • Stew them with a little bit of brown sugar and pour them over some Vanilla Ice-Cream for dessert, or Hokey- Pokey ice-cream for a real New Zealand treat!
  • Jam them - try this fabulous Vanilla and Feijoa jam
  • Freeze them, so that you can have the above all-year round! (tips on how best to freeze them on our website now).

 

Join us on a Big Foody Food Tour during the Feijoa season (between March and June) and we will go to the utmost effort to get you sampling Feijoa's!!

Freshly baked Feijoa Cake - delicious!!

Feijoas!! An Autumn Jewel has arrived

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 14, 2018

Feijoa’s!! An Autumn Jewel has arrived!

 

Finally we have started to see Feijoa’s starting to ripen on their trees, laying on the dewy grass under their trees in the morning waiting to be picked up and even our local fruit and veggie shop has as a small offering available to purchase.

 

But what are these Feijoa’s that New Zealanders seem to have such a cult following for?

A pretty ordinary (looking at it from the outside) green, egg-shaped fruit, but what's inside is a delicacy that has a long-awaited cult-like following every year. With a very distinctive but yet very complex flavour distinction, the inside of the fruit is juicy and made up of a clear gelatin-like seedy pulp, that becomes firmer as you get closer to the edge of the skin, with a grainy texture. The texture can be described as a mix between a pear and a guava and with the taste being described anywhere from sweet, tart, sour and of course juicy somewhere between a strawberry, pineapple and guava and with the odd person even tasting a hint of mint!

There is one thing that we can definitely say and that is that a Feijoa tastes like a Feijoa!! An indescribable, unique and complex taste! One that should definitely be on everyone’s to try-list at least once!

 

Feijoas are however not a native to New Zealand, but originate from southern South America namely southern Brazil, Uruguay, western Paraguay and northern Argentina. Feijoas need a very specific subtropical climate to grow and this is why even in New Zealand, Feijoas are not abundant throughout the whole country, finding Feijoa in Christchurch for instance is a complete rarity.

The first Feijoa were actually collected in the wild rainforests of southern  Brazil by a German botanist in 1815. They were introduced into New Zealand over a hundred or so years later in the 1920’s.

 

The cult- following of Feijoas is intensified, by the very short season that they are ripe. The Feijoa season starts in March and goes till June (these days we are very luck by the number of different varieties available to us, giving us continued fruiting trees throughout that season). To make matters worse for Feijoa lovers, Feijoas are also very prone to bruising, so unfortunately very hard to keep (or travel long distances).

 

Delicious to eat fresh, make jams or bake with! Feijoas’ are a definite favourite here at the Big Foody Food Tours. Join us on a tour in March to June and we will go to the utmost effort to get you sampling Feijoas on our tours!

Not available fresh? New Zealand is obsessed with ‘feijoa flavoured’ products! Try our favourite and their bestselling Feijoa Chocolate from Bennetts at Mangawhai, Simply Squeezed’s Feijoa Smoothies readily available in Supermarkets or Macey’s Feijoa lollies available in most dairies.


 

Fresh New Zealand Feijoas

It's the Season for Bluff Oysters...

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on March 07, 2018

It's the Season for Bluff Oysters...

Don't miss it, NOW is the time to be feasting on the best oysters in the world!

Why are Bluff Oysters the best? They have a specific plumpness which is totally unique and a sweetness that you can only get from the waters around Bluff. As with any oyster they can be cooked, but we think it's a waste. A little squeeze of lemon or a shallot and chardonnay vinegar drizzle is simple perfect!

For the perfect Bluff Oysters, prepared in the perfect way, we recommend heading to;

The Shucker Brothers in the Ferry Building on Quay Street,

Depot - of course!

Culprit and

Marvel Grill.

 

Bluff Oysters and Pacific Oysters are both on offer at this time of the year, but it is the Bluff Oysters that have the fanatics coming out in droves. Bluff Oysters (also know as dredge oysters) have a much tighter harvesting season (March - August) than the Pacific Oysters and are fished under very tight controls from the Foveaux Strait at the bottom of the South Island.

Bluff Oysters have been commercially fished from the Foveaux Strait since the late 1880's but have have seen better days.

At the end of last year MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) ordered the oyster farms in Big Glory Bay, Stewart Island to be closed down and dismantled after the discovery of a killer parasite, and unfortunately the farms will not be allowed to return in a bid to protect the wild oyster fishery market in the Foveaux Strait.

Luckily, Bluff Oysters grown on the dense gravel and coarse sand  bottoms of the Foveaux Strait have been kept are parasite free and we can continue dining on these delicate and succulent oysters.

Other differences between Bluff Oysters and Pacific Oysters include:

Bluff Oysters vary in colour from white to dull purple to brown. Their left shell is ridged and cupped, while the right shell lies flat and has scaly layers. Inside, the shell is luminous and the flesh has shades of white, grey, gold and black. The creamy coloured meat is super delicate and succulent.

Bluff oysters are hermaphrodites meaning that they have both male and female sex organs & spawn in summer and settle on the seafloor in the Foveaux Strait.

Pacific Oysters on the other hand, spawn and settle in brackish, estuarine waters and are commonly found around New Zealand (most commonly found and farmed around the North island) and widely distributed around the world. Their entry to New Zealand was accidental, however we believe that even though they can be found worldwide, our Pacific Oysters in New Zealand are the best! Pacific Oysters shells are off-white with bands of yellow, brown or purple and their flesh is light in colour with a black mantle margin.

New Zealand has ideal growth conditions for Pacific Oysters. With ideal conditions, our New Zealand Pacific Oysters can have rapid growth and reach meat weight of 20 grams in 15 to 18 months and are therefore highly sustainable.

Oysters are high in protein and essential amino acids and offer a great natural source of zinc.

Our March visitors to our Big Foody Food tours have been extremely lucky to have been treated to Bluff Oysters by our fantastic foody partners whom we stop by on our tours. Have you been thinking of joining us on a tour and love oysters? Make sure that you book one this Bluff Oyster season (March - August) so that you don’t miss out on the delicacy that is Bluff Oysters.

 

Over at the Big Foody Food Tours in Portland, Oyster season is upon them also and Laura and her customers will be sampling PNW oysters to compliment their charcuterie tasting. So if you you anyone you know is traveling to Portland, Oregon any time soon, make sure that you book in a tour with Laura to catch the oysters at the other side of the pacific!

 

Fresh Bluff Oysters on Marvil Grills seafood tasting platter on our Big Foody Food Tours Tastebud Tour