Gathering, growing and sharing

GET IT: Wild Delicious, by Amber Rose, Random House New Zealand.
GET IT: Wild Delicious, by Amber Rose, Random House New Zealand.
Brought up eating from the garden, the orchard, the sea, the farm and the wild, Amber Rose loves to grow food and gather from the wild.
But it is the "pleasure and creativity" of cooking, eating and sharing that is her passion.

"During my travels around the world . . . it was always the food I treasured the most."

She has translated this into her new book, Wild Delicious, including recipes from her childhood alongside ones picked up on her travels — like the Goan fish curry below, inspired by her time in India.

Rose recalls growing up north of Auckland with a mother 40 years ahead of her time who planted 15 types of tomatoes and collected and saved heritage seeds.

Having settled back in New Zealand, she is now sharing those traditions with her own children.

Wild Delicious is divided into chapters reflecting the source of the recipes — from the garden, the sea, the fire, the farm, the dairy, the pantry and the apothecary.

Blueberry, yoghurt and lemon thyme tartlets

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

These little beauties are totally simple to make and really decadent all at once. The sweet little blueberries stand up gorgeously against the tartness of the yoghurt, and the crisp, thin pastry provides the perfect biscuity buttery base. You can use frozen or fresh blueberries, so this can be made at any time of the year.

SERVES 6

Refined-sugar-free spelt pastry tart shells

250g plain spelt flour
pinch of salt
90g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
50g coconut sugar
2 large egg yolks
11/2 lemon thyme, leaves only, roughly chopped

Blueberry compote

300g fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or powder
5 Tbsp water
1 tsp arrowroot

Yoghurt filling

1/2 cup thickened cream
1 cup thick, unsweetened Greek-style yoghurt
zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp raw honey

To serve
Edible flowers, e.g. borage, little purple violas, rose petals (optional)

You will need
6 round, fluted 10cm tart tins

Method
Place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, then the egg yolks and the lemon thyme, and pulse again to combine. The mixture should immediately come together and leave the sides of the processor bowl. Remove the ball from the processor, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 180degC.
Using a box grater, coarsely grate the pastry into the tart tins, then press it evenly into the sides and bases. Prick the base of each tart with a fork and chill again for 10 minutes. Cut 6 pieces of baking paper to fit each tart, scrunch each up into a tight ball, then unscrunch it carefully and lay it on top of the pastry. Fill with baking beans, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the beans and paper and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the pastry is very lightly golden. Set the cooked cases aside while you prepare the fillings.
To make the compote, place the blueberries, coconut sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of water and bring to just a gentle simmer. Simmer for a few minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are just starting to burst deliciously at the seams.
Dissolve the arrowroot in 2 tablespoons of water and add to the blueberry mix, stirring until nicely thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the yoghurt filling, fold the cream through the yoghurt, then stir in the lemon zest and honey.
Place the tart cases on serving plates, divide the yoghurt filling evenly among the cases and top with the blueberry compote. Decorate with any edible flowers you may have. Serve right away.

Goan fish curry

When my son was about 2, we spent a year living in India. One of our favourite things to do was  head to the beach on our moped, sit down at our favourite restaurant and eat a heavenly Goan fish curry while watching the sun go down — not forgetting an ice-cold beer alongside it. Serve with cauliflower rice.

SERVES 6

Dairy-free, gluten-free masala paste

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp chilli flakes
3 star anise
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
1 tsp sea salt
4cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
7 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp tamarind paste or 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Curry

3 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, grated
400ml coconut milk
200ml fish stock or fish broth
2-3 fresh green chillies, halved lengthways and seeds removed
600g firm white fish cut into bite-sized chunks
250g peeled prawns

Tadka

12 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
15-20 curry leaves
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

To serve
lime wedges
fresh coriander

Method
First you will need to make the masala paste. Place a large frying pan over a medium to high heat, add the whole spices and toast for a few minutes until fragrant, shaking the pan to prevent burning.
Using a spice grinder or a really good mortar and pestle, grind the toasted spices to a powder. Add the remaining masala paste ingredients and mix well.
To make the curry, place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium to high heat and add the coconut oil or ghee. When warmed, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and softened. Now add the masala paste and fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, add the green chilli and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow the mix to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened a little.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the fish and prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the curry sit for 10 minutes.
While the curry is settling, make the cauliflower rice.
Finally, cook the tadka. Heat the coconut oil or ghee in a frying pan, then fry the curry leaves and mustard seeds until crispy and popping. This won't take long at all — 30 seconds at most if the oil is hot enough.
Serve the curry topped with the tadka and a few wedges of lime, with cauliflower rice on the side. Garnish with pomegranate seeds if you wish.

Cauliflower rice

SERVES 4-6 AS A SIDE Gluten-free and vegetarian

1 small head cauliflower
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
2-3 Tbsp pomegranate seeds (about 1/2 pomegranate)
4-5 limes, cut into wedges

Method
Cut the cauliflower into chunks. In batches, place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and resembling rice. Be careful not to make it too fine, or it will turn to a paste.
If you want to cook it, place all of the riced cauliflower in a steamer basket or colander over a pan of boiling water and steam for 3-4 minutes, until just cooked; you could also lightly fry it in a little ghee or olive oil in a hot pan for 23 minutes, or just eat it raw (I love it all of these ways).
Toss through the lemon juice, salt and pepper, and top with the fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Smoked fish pate

This is one of those recipes that every now and again you find yourself craving. It's incredibly easy to make and will keep in the fridge for several days. You can use any type of smoked fish — hot-smoked salmon works beautifully, as does smoked kahawai. I've even made this recipe with smoked eel, and it was insanely good. Top with extra chopped dill and edible flowers if you wish. Serve alongside a glass of your favourite white wine.

MAKES 320g APPROX Gluten-free

150g smoked fish, bones removed
150g cream cheese (or half cream cheese and half creme fraiche)
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp capers, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped dill, plus a little extra for garnishing
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
To serve
home-made nut and seed crackers or good-quality bought edible flowers (optional)

Method
Place half of the fish along with the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, capers and dill in a food processor and blitz until everything is well combined but still has a little texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Scrape the mix out of the food processor into a bowl. Flake the remaining smoked fish and fold it into the processed mix. You are doing this so that there are some lovely bigger bits of fish in among the finer-textured pate, which both looks and tastes great.
Serve with some lovely artisan crackers or home-made nut and seed crackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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