Whether they are shiny dark green, dark with striped paler ribs, or yellow, courgettes are a sure sign of summer.
There's a tongue-in-cheek saying that the first duty of wine is to be red, but I think the first duty of red wine is to be delicious.
There's something about horsey girls and fashion that don't seem to go together but Stacy Gregg, author of the series of Pony Club Secrets for children and a fashion writer for Fashion Quarterly, loves the combination.
John Buck has long been among the leaders of the New Zealand wine industry. Now he is preparing to leave his Te Mata vineyard in the hands of the next generation. Charmian Smith reports.
Having spent a couple of months in India where, despite relishing the local food, I missed cooking for myself, I'm enjoying getting back to the kitchen - and to the Otago Farmers Market.
Tucked away up the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, the new Ara vineyard has been under wraps for several years, but it was recently launched to New Zealand trade and media with a splash.
Chillies can pack a powerful punch but they can also have subtle differences of flavours and heat. And their shapes and colours are remarkably beautiful. Charmian Smith explores some fiery tastes.
Chillies are native to Central and South America, and widely used in Mexican cuisine, where they were cultivated some 5000 years ago.
Now that pepper is ubiquitous, it's hard to believe the demand for it drove Arab and European explorers to brave the dangers of the unknown and build and destroy empires.
Mark Scorgie, of Gourmet Ice Cream, in Dunedin, is always experimenting with new flavours for his ice creams and is bubbling about his latest - dandelion and burdock, a type of thistle.
While there are few bad New Zealand sauvignons these days (except perhaps at the very bottom of the ladder), it has to be admitted that most are simple wines driven by oodles of fruit and a lively zesty finish and tend to be boring after a glass or two.
Autumn has hit the Otago Farmers Market in Dunedin - piles of pumpkins and squash of all colours and sizes - small bright orange ones, smooth shiny dark green ones, the familiar grey ones, the knobbly green and yellow kumikumi, and even a long, trombone-like Italian zucchini at Wairuna Organics' stall.
What a pleasure it was to taste some of the dozen or so chardonnays for this column. Some people overlook chardonnay in favour of more sexy varieties such as pinot gris or sauvignon blanc, and certainly there is a lot of boring chardonnay out there, but, like the girl in the nursery rhyme, when they are good they can be very very good.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to premium spirits. Connoisseurs look for complexity and aroma to savour, but the bright young cocktail set want to mix them flamboyantly with other flavours.
One of the most interesting cookbooks to cross my desk (and my bench) recently is Kate Fraser's Cooking Times: A culinary journey through Kiwi kitchens from the 1930s to the present day
Most wine drinkers recognise red wine varieties such as merlot, cabernet, shiraz and pinot noir, but there are numerous others, a few of which are being grown in New Zealand (and Australia) now.