Tamarind and Apple Christmas Ham Glaze

Posted by on December 16, 2017

Tamarind and Apple Christmas Ham Glaze


Every year for the last 5 years I have got my ham from Manda Hellier at The Farm Gate Butchers who we see at the Parnell Farmers market every Saturday. My favourite glaze is a totally decadent, sticky and tangy sauce which makes the Christmas ham really stand out.



1 Granny Smith or other tart apple peeled and diced finely

1 jar of Jenny’s Tamarind Chutney (medium)

¼ cup apple juice

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard


Pre heat the oven to 200

Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl until combined.

Remove the skin of the ham leaving as much of the fat layer in place.

Score through the fat layer diagonally creating diamond shapes in the fat.

Line your baking try with a couple of layers of baking paper, placing the ham in the middle of the dish.

Baste with a couple of layers of the glaze.

Bake for 40 minutes basting the ham every 10 minutes with the glaze.


The Vineyard Cottages Summer Tart

Posted by on December 14, 2017

The Vineyard Cottages Summer Tart


As we get busier with the Food Tours and the Vineyard Cottages throughout summer, getting something on the dinner table for everyone to tuck into has to be quick and delicious.

The fridges are always full of cheese and cured meats and this tart becomes a weekly dinner, decorated with chive flowers and plenty of herbs and accompanied by a fresh green salad and thick french dressing.

Ingredients and Instructions

1 sheet of good quality puff pastry

1 baking tray


For the base:

2 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tsp capers

1 clove of garlic

1 roasted pepper ( we buy jars of them from the middle eastern store or make your own)

Zest of half a lemon

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


Blitz the ingredients together in a mixer until smooth. Add a little lemon juice to taste is required.



1 onion thickly sliced and sauteed until translucent

Pancetta or bacon rashers

Prosciutto / ham slices

Half a dozen sliced mushrooms

Grated cheese - Whatever you fancy. We had Provolone from 'Cassaro at Parnell Farmers Market' and some gouda to use up.

2tbsp milk


Mixed Chopped fresh herbs




Chive flowers



Preheat the oven to 180.

Grease the baking tray.

Score the pastry a couple of centimetres in from the edges on all four sides to allow the side to puff up.

Spread the pastry with the base and add the other ingredients with the cheese on last.

Brush the edges of the pastry lightly with milk


Into the oven for 20 mins or until the pastry has puffed up and turned golden. Transfer to a rack and leave to cool for 10 mins.

Scatter the chopped herbs on the top, pulling the chive flowers apart.

Slice and serve with a crisp green salad.


Strawberry and Elderflower Cocktail

Posted by on December 06, 2017

Summer Strawberrry and Elderberry Cocktail


With summer and Christmas nearly upon us, Strawberries are in full season here in New Zealand. To celebrate the glut of strawberries and the sunshine, we have come up with a super simple strawberry cocktail with ingredients found in most kitchens. Refreshing and perfect for a summers BBQ or picnic!

Elderflower is one of Elle's all time favourite flavours and this fresh cocktail can either be served in a martini glass or long with soda water.



Good Quality Vodka

Elderflower Cordial (Aroha is Elle's favourite)


Soda Water (if you prefer it long)




60 mls of vodka (2 shots)

15 mls of elderflower cordial

Shake over ice in a cocktail shaker

Serve in a martini glass with sliced or whole strawberries.


To make long:

Serve in a highball glass topped up with soda water and mint.


Introducing Sonja's Taste of Austria

Posted by on December 06, 2017

Sonja’s Taste of Austria, creates delicious sweet desserts and gourmet frozen meals inspired by Austria, homemade from local, fresh New Zealand produce.


Sonja’s passion for baking and cooking started from a very young age of 6 years old, where mud cakes garnished with daisies and dandelions were her expertise.

Her cooking and baking talents emerged over the years whilst growing a love for different cultures and their cuisines.

After her mother passed down her old Austrian cook books, a passion for the Austrian way of cooking and its’ cuisine became her love, a much indulged in hobby, in which she could relax, unwind and express herself and of-course hold some extreme dinner parties for her friends!

With Austrian inspiration behind her and fresh New Zealand produce at her fingertips, she lovingly creates beautiful sweet desserts that delight, and frozen gourmet meals that will satisfy anyone's appetite.

You will find Sonja at the Parnell Farmers market on a Saturday morning stocked up with the most divine treats and meals.

Although Sonja lives slightly out of Auckland, Sonja still adores Auckland “because it is vibrant and diverse”.

Since coming to live here, she has watched New Zealand evolve “from a place of plain simple food to a foodies paradise”.

“Farmers markets are the best showroom for all the wonderful products that are created”.

She loves to eat out at Yum Cha Pearl Gardens in Newmarket, and also enjoys Aucklands waterfront with its “abundance of great places to eat” and its stunning scenery.

Her most favourite place to eat however, is right at home, where she and her husband experiment with all the wonderful products found right here in New Zealand.

As well as finding Sonya at the Parnell Farmers market on a Saturday, make sure that you visit her website which you can order straight off, to either order from for pick up from the Farmers market or if you live in Tuakau, delivered straight to your door.



Cultural Evenings

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on December 06, 2017

On one of the first dry evenings we have had this spring, a group of international visitors here on business were invited to a truly intimate cultural experience at our home base Vineyard Cottages.

Legs of pork, chickens, kumara, potato and cabbage filled with coconut was piled into the pit on top of boiling hot volcanic rocks and covered with sheets, hessian sacks, palm leaves and earth. 3 hours later it was pulled from the ground and taken down to the lodge for everyone to tuck into.

Experiencing a hangi is one of the most authentic ways to experience New Zealand. It’s not a native New Zealand way of cooking but a true Polynesian one. Tucked away in amongst the vines of Waimauku our hangi evenings are the perfect way to try some of the most delicious food you will have in New Zealand.

This year has seen a great rise in the opportunity to try hangi cooked food. Monique Fiso has dedicated this year to extraordinary dining experiences around the country with her pop up restaurant Hia Kai. Rewi Spraggon, The Hangi Master opens a new hangi food truck in Auckland city later this month and at Taste of Auckland last month he and his team cooked gourmet hangis with a number of Auckland chefs throughout the festival.

From late summer onwards we will be doing a weekly hangi at Vineyard Cottages for our guests and anyone who would like to join us. Places will be limited to 25 per week and we will be doing pick ups and drop off from Auckland CBD.

The Big Foody's Top 6 things to do in Auckland during December

Posted by on December 05, 2017

December has arrived!


We love this time of the year at the Big Foody! We are super busy, hosting all of you, our lovely guests, and Auckland really brings it on at this time of the year! With the weather warming up, the sun shining, Christmas decorations popping up everywhere, everyone is heading outdoors and its starting to feel like Christmas is just around the corner (and it is!)

Here are our top 6 favourite things to do in Auckland in December and around Christmas time.


Christmas in the Park
Pack yourself a picnic and venture out to the Auckland Domain for ‘Christmas in Park' on Saturday 9th December. A free outdoor Christmas musical spectacular, a fabulous night out and of course the night ends with Santa arriving and fireworks extravaganza. 




Go for Ice Cream!

There is always a good reason for an ice cream treat with the weather warming up and you are never far from getting your hands on one in Auckland. Whether it’s a traditional kiwi Tip Top favourite from the local Dairy freezer (newly launched L&P Frujus are a Kiwiana must!), fresh berry ice creams made to order on the side of many of our state highways (Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries) or for those real ice cream gourmets there are plenty of of exquisite gelato bars around. One of our favourites at the Big Foody is Giapo, where ice cream is not just ice cream but a work of art! Check out one of our earlier blogs on Giapo - a first-timers experience.


Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries

    Christmas time in New Zealand & strawberries go hand-in-hand. You will not find a Christmas lunch or party without fresh, juicy strawberries being on offer. Whether it’s a delicious Pavlova covered in sweet strawberries, chocolate dipped strawberries or simply fresh sprinkled with some icing sugar or with a dolloping of cream.

The best thing after Christmas and before New Years is to go Strawberry picking! Most commercial strawberry fields open to the public from Boxing Day onwards and there is nothing better than warm juicy (dribbling down your chin juicy!) self-picked strawberries.

As one does, an excess is always picked!, so why not try out our Strawberry cocktail on our blog, perfect for New Years Eve!


Shop till you drop!

Auckland has plenty to offer for all those shopaholics out there. We at the Big Foody of course LOVE anything to do with FOOD! Our favourite foody shopping destinations include Scarecrow, Smith & Caugheys, Gourmet Heaven and of course Sababto. Looking for some special New Zealand products for the foodie in your life (or an extra special treat for yourself)? Head over to our blog, to find our top Christmas stocking fillers from Sabato.


Visit a Farmer’s Market

This is the perfect time to visit any of our Farmers Markets, with fresh produce being harvested daily (especially those big red strawberries) and Christmas delicacies on offer, our Big Foody Food Tours are just the place to taste, sample and get taste buds jumping for joy! The Farmers markets are also the perfect place to get your hands on any last minute or hard-to-buy-for Christmas gifts and goodies.


Enjoy our Parks and Beaches

Take your picnic and make yourself comfortable on anyone of our many parks and beaches. For some beautiful sunsets, make sure that you visit one of the west coast beaches at sunset. Other places to take you picnic basket include Auckland Councils Movie in the Parks starting later in the summer in January.

Top 5 Christmas Stocking fillers for any Foodie

Posted by on November 29, 2017

Top 5 Sabato Christmas Stocking fillers for any Foodie


From beautiful fragrant oils to the most seductive cheeses, delicious Pâté, mousses and pickles, relishes and chutneys and mouthwatering pastries served with intensely satisfying coffee, Sabato are purveyors of fine foods. Fine Foods sourced from around the world and every corner of New Zealand.

Our favourite treasures at Sabato are all New Zealand made and perfect for stocking fillers for the foodie in your life (or secrectly pop them in your one!) and include;

Hazels Hazelnut Oil, sourced from the finest South Island Hazelnuts and cold pressed into a “as-if-you-are-actually-eating-hazelnuts” oil. Super delicious dipped into Dukkah with bread or use your imagination making salad dressings and marinades.

Aromatics Wine Barrel Smoked Mushrooms

Smokey from the Manuka and the wine barrel oak and combined with aromatic wines, these mushrooms are a must for your next antipasto platter, risotto or paella.

Coppersfolly Pure Wasabi, is not your ordinary green ‘stashed-into-your-takeaway-sushi-box’ wasabi, this is the REAL stuff and you might even surprise yourself that you may even like it. Grown in Canterbury, New Zealand, it is not mixed with horseradish and contains no synthetic flavourings or colours. It goes beautifully with steak, ham, chicken, lamb, sushi, fish and seafood and on any great antipasto platter.

Stams Apple Syrups made with 100% pure New Zealand apples, produced in the beautiful Bay of Plenty and  with no added sugars this syrup is to die for! Try it drizzled over ice cream or pancakes or with roast pork or bacon, divine!

Line’s Knaekbrod Crackers, although Dutch sounding and very much a traditional Dutch fare, this delicacy is made right here in Auckland, New Zealand. Any topping goes perfectly or simply on their own they are absolutely moreish.

These are just a few examples that your tastebuds will discover on our exclusive samplings at Sabato.

We at the Big Foody are privileged to be able to treat our tour guests to these tastings, join us on one of our Big Foody Food tours to experience these ultimate taste sensations for yourself.

Book yourself a tour now


Joe-Ann's First Giapo Experience

Posted by on November 21, 2017

Joe-Ann's First Giapo Experience

Scents of rich dark chocolate waft through the air as I step into Giapo’s entrance, from there one can only be mesmerised by what is not just an ice cream, but a work of edible art. As we are treated to testers of the various most imaginative flavours, one can only trust one's gut to make a decision on which flavour to go with. With slight hesitation (as one flavour is as good as the next and this decision suddenly seems like a life and death decision) I decide on the Kiwifruit and Coriander sorbet. Yip Kiwifruit and Coriander! Dotted with edamame beans and sprinkled with poppy seeds! As strange as this combination sounds, it is the most rewarding flavour combination that my taste buds could ever have imagined!! The sweetness of the kiwifruit followed by the uniqueness that can only be fresh green coriander and the occasional soft crunch of an edamame bean or poppy seed. An absolute taste rendezvous!! Giapo’s ice creams are crafted to your specific order then and there, and let me tell you, you will not be disappointed, by the taste or its artistic flair.

Join a Big Foody Food Tour today  - the ultimate way to taste and experience New Zealand yourself.

Book Now



Meet some of The Big Foody's favourite New Zealand Foodies

Posted by on November 14, 2017

Tucked away throughout New Zealand, Artisan producers, who with the goodness of New Zealand's produce, create morsels that will leave your taste buds asking for more.

We at the Big Foody love discovering these innovative foodies and make sure that they become part of our tours, so that we can share their delights with you.

This month we showcase a few of our favourites, that we either visit or taste some of their products when you come along on one of our Big Foody Food tours.

We asked them questions about what they love about Auckland and it's food scene. Meet them below or even better, join us on a Big Foody Food Tour to meet them or their products in person!

First off, meet Jenny’s Kitchen Tamarind Chutney;

Jenny's Kitchen Tamarind Chutney
At the end of last century, on Waiheke Island (an island just off Auckland), Jenny Stewart created a Tamarind chutney that would go on to become "World Famous on Waiheke Island" and win a multitude of awards. Handed over and now owned and run by Cathy Knight and Grant Hunter since the late 1990's, Jenny's Tamarind Chutney is still going strong and exciting taste-buds everywhere! Cathy and Grant adore Auckland's geography, "To clamber up a Volcano (their favourite is Mt Eden) and watch the sunrise over the many islands of the Hauraki Gulf is pretty special. And where else can you jump on a boat and in less than an hour be on an island with its beautiful beaches, fabulous food and famous wine."
Their favourite place to eat is sitting on Little Oneroa Beach with a Dragon Fired Pizza, or in Auckland city itself they love Pla Thong Thai Restaurant in Mt Eden, which coincidentally is also their favourite food suburb "Mt Eden is spoilt for choice when it come to great places to eat".

Dan and Jo Pearson, owners and creators of Wild Fennel Co, makers of gourmet seasonings, recently relocated themselves down to Dunedin, but  are originally from Auckland and still have very fond memories of Auckland’s food scene;

Wild Fennel Co.

Inspired by traditional flavour pairing from around the world, Wild Fennel Co. is gourmet seasoning at it's finest!

Originally a part-time hobby at Farmers Markets, creators Dan and Jo Pearson have grown the business to now be available in butchers, grocers, deli's, gift stores and supermarkets across New Zealand.

When asked what they love about Auckland, they answered "The beaches and the wine!" "My two favourite places in Auckland are Awhitu and Clevedon, both of which boast some of the most beautiful hidden beaches in the city and some of my favourite drops of red. In Awhitu you have Cliff Edge wines who do a beautiful Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon. In Clevedon there is the quaint Rannach vineyard with their delicious creamy 2008 Merlot."

Their favourite food suburb is "K Rd without a doubt. Lots of choice, Madame George, Bestie Cafe, Satya to name a few favourites, followed by a night out in The Wine Cellar" and their recommendation for something to eat is "Kura for epic Japanese".

Book your Big Foody Food Tour now to experience tastes like Jenny’s Kitchen Tamarind Chutney, Wild Fennel Co. seasonings and many more innovative New Zealand foodies.


Meet the original creator of Jenny's Kitchen Tamarind Chutney - Jenny Stewart

Wild Fennel Co. gourmet seasoniongs are incredibly simple to use and FULL of flavour