Monday, May 5, 2008
Savour New Zealand
On Sunday I was lucky enough to go to Savour New Zealand. Savour is a three day event with master classes held by NZ and international chefs. Each day there are 4 classes with 4 options for each class, so if you went for all three days you would see 12 of the 16 classes. I went to classes by Govind Armstrong, Claire Aldous, Michael Meredith and Jason Dell. Each presenter demonstrated a number of recipes and there were two tasting plates an matching wines at each session.
Govind Armstrong was the first class in the morning. He is a chef with his own restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami, and focuses a lot on local fresh produce. The first tasting plate was pan fried John Dory with cauliflower cous cous. The cauliflower cous cous was a revelation –he pulsed raw cauliflower in a food processor until it resembled cous cous and then blanched it and used it in the same way you use cous cous. The dessert tasting plate was also fabulous – churros with dulce de leuche ice-cream and milk chocolate sauce. I cant wait to try making the ice-cream in my ice-cream maker!
Next, I went to Claire Aldous who is the food editor of Dish magazine. I went to Claire’s classes for many years at the Epicurean Cook School when it was open and I love her style of food. Dish is my favourite magazine. Claire’s class was fantastic as she showed you four different recipes but gave ideas as to how each recipe could be presented differently to give quite different results. She did a delicious looking pork fillet with pumpkin cous cous and tomato jam and the highlight for me was the pudding – a set mixture of yoghurt, cream, vanilla etc served with an almond topping and poached figs. Divine!
In the afternoon I went to Michael Meredith. Michael is an up and coming chef now owning one of the most popular and exclusive restaurants in Auckland, Merediths. He was completely inspiring! Very special occasion food and quite complex, but interesting flavours and textures. His first demonstration was of a crab and avocado salad with cubes of passionfruit jelly, puffed rice (cooked, cooled rice, deep fried so it puffs like pop corn) and foam. It really was a taste explosion in your mouth. Secondly he did quail wrapped in nori sheets, dipped in beer batter and fried, with pickled melon. So yummy and unexpected.
Lastly was Jason Dell who is the chef at Blanket Bay Lodge, an exclusive lodge in Queenstown. This was a really interesting class as he asked us to wear blind folds when tasting the food which was great as it really made you concentrate on the flavours. We also did an olive oil tasting like that. Jason really focuses on NZ products and produce. He prepared salmon three different ways including a hot smoked salmon with a vanilla sauce using Heilala vanilla paste which was divine. Pudding was an olive oil and chocolate mousse.
It was a fantastic day and I was so spoiled to be there!! It was great to also meet Garth from Heilala Vanilla and to catch up with Helen from Foodlovers and others. I would love to go again next year!
Then, it was home all inspired to make dinner!! Last night we had a Malaysian rice salad, which I adapted from a recipe from Dish – cooked rice mixed through with fish sauce, chilli, crushed garlic, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, basil and lemon juice. A great flavour combination. We had it with kippered hoki and green beans.