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Sometimes all it takes to be a success is a little self-belief. This is undoubtedly the case when it comes to the Jetson group, owners of six restaurants spread around some of New Zealand's most beautiful coastal towns.
High-energy duo Lloyd Rooney and Mike Fraser have taken their formula for innovative, quality dining to various seaside locations and discovered it's exactly what the population needed. Their plans have progressed substantially since their first seaside eatery, The Cove, opened in 2015.
Their global kitchen concept at The Quay and No8 in Whangarei's Town basin, The Dune in Mangawhai and, more recently, Fire and No8 in Mount Maunganui, encompasses food to suit every palate.
The head chefs hailing from India, Brazil and New Zealand lovingly craft the menus, creatively merging South Pacific, European, Asian and South American cuisine. Global Kitchen is a collection of the most popular dishes at each of the restaurants, and presents an opportunity to learn about the artistic talent behind each recipe.
Green curry salmon salad
This dish is an ideal fresh summer salad that can be served warm or cold. The dried shallots can be purchased through an Asian green grocer or supermarket.
100g green curry paste (see below)
50ml canola oil
800g salmon fillet (skin off)
¼ red cabbage
1 red onion
20 mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
100g bean sprouts
50g dried shallots
2 lemons (juiced)
30ml olive oil
Green curry paste - Makes 3.5 cups
4 white peppercorns
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
15 large green chillies
2 stalks of lemongrass
5 large shallots
2 bulbs garlic (peeled)
50g coriander roots (keep the stalks and greens for other dishes)
3cm galangal root
2cm fresh turmeric
3 limes (zest only)
3 tsp salt
Heat oven to 200degC.
In a mixing bowl add the curry paste and oil and mix together.
Cut the salmon into 50g portions and combine in the bowl with curry paste.
Set aside to marinate for 30 min before cooking in the oven for 10 min.
Once the salmon is cooked it can be tossed in the salad and served warm.
Remove stems from the kale and finely chop the leaves. Thinly slice the red cabbage into strips and finely slice the red onion.
Mix all the salad ingredients together except the fried shallots.
Add the salmon pieces to the salad and toss gently. Finish the salad by adding the dried shallots.
Green curry paste
This base paste accompanies several dishes and is especially good with chicken or seafood.
Grind the dry spices to a fine powder.
Put the chillies, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, coriander, galangal*, turmeric, lime zest into a blender and blend to a smooth paste.
Add the dry spice powder to the mix with 3 teaspoons of salt.
The paste can be kept frozen for six months or fresh for about a week. The older it gets the more it will lose its flavour.
*Galangal root is similar to raw ginger and can usually be found in the frozen food section of Asian supermarkets.
Memories of family feasts with close relatives and friends have profoundly shaped Reema's approach to cooking and her love of good food; and despite having lived half her adult life in New Zealand, she has a deep connection to her roots.
''My inspiration comes equally from my mother and my nana. They taught me so much and it's because of their dedication to food that I stay true to the flavours, ensuring the dish is authentic. If I'm making a vindaloo curry, then that's exactly what you'll get.''
Born in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, India, Reema grew up in a vegetarian household and says there was always a wide variety of interesting vegetables, herbs and spices on hand.
She fondly remembers her nana as her friend and pillar. ''I could wake Nana up at 3am and tell her: ''I'm hungry!'' and she would cook for me.''
Rocky road cheesecake
The perfect birthday dessert. A delicious hit of sweetness offset by a fresh burst of raspberry gelato.
100g malt biscuit crumbs
50g melted butter
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
30g crushed peanuts
250g cream cheese
200g condensed sweetened milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla paste
50g dark chocolate
30g mini marshmallow
30g jelly snakes/jet planes
raspberry gelato (store bought)
In a bowl, mix together the malt biscuit crumbs, melted butter, cocoa powder and crushed peanuts until fully combined to form a base.
Press the cheesecake base into a lightly greased 20cm cake tin (or 4 brulee ramekins) and leave in the refrigerator to set.
Combine the cheesecake filling ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside at room temperature.
Break 50g of dark chocolate into a glass bowl. In a saucepan, bring 50ml of cream to the boil, remove and pour over the dark chocolate. Stir to form a smooth glossy sauce.
Chop the marshmallows/jelly snakes/jet planes (or similar sweets) into small 1cm pieces.
Add all the chopped lollies and the chocolate sauce to the cheesecake filling. Stir gently to create a chocolate ripple effect.
Pour the filling into the chilled cheesecake base and leave in the refrigerator to set for a minimum of 3 hours.
Remove and cut cheesecake into wedges or tap the base of the ramekin to gently to remove.
Serve with a spoonful of frozen raspberry gelato.
It's no secret that talented chef John Salisbury is an egg fiend. Eggs are his weakness, and John could easily find a reason to cook them every day of the week.
''I never get sick of them. I've been eating egg-white omelettes on a slice of brown toast every day for the past 18 months''.
John's style at The Quay is based on simple European cuisine with a distinct South Pacific influence. Consistency is something he is also very particular about. Fresh fish and seafood feature on the menu and John is emphatic that complexity shouldn't hinder the dishes.
''If I can't do it really well all the time, then I'd rather not do it at all. I won't serve a dish to someone that they can't recognise or they need a translation for.
''We're not trying to be overly clever. It's about people discovering new flavours within clear parameters.''
Luke's signature pizza (sausage pizza)
Pizzas are one of the most requested dishes on the menu at The Cove. Head chef Luke is a big fan of Italian cuisine and this is one of his favourites. The pizza bases can be made gluten-free. If you have a pizza stone we recommend using it to give a crispy pizza base.
1 tsp instant dried yeast
1 litre water (room temperature)
75ml olive oil
*or use 4 ready-made pizza bases
canola oil for cooking
5 sage leaves
40g fennel sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp vegetable stock
200g chicken or pork sausage
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
40g Cavolo nero (or curly kale)
40g grated mozzarella
70g gruyere cheese
dried chilli flakes
Heat oven to 180degC.
To make the pizza dough, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, add the water and olive oil. Knead the mixture with your hands or use a food processor, until it forms a smooth ball of dough.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave somewhere warm for a minimum of 2 hours to double in size.
Once the dough has risen to almost double the original size, divide into 300g portions, cover and leave in a warm place for a further hour.
Heat a small amount of canola oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Once the oil is hot gently drop in the sage leaves, allow them to cook until crispy, then remove from the oil and place on absorbent paper.
Sliced the fennel bulb and place in a bowl with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a roasting tray and cook in the oven until it's slightly soft and lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the vegetable stock and lower temperature to a simmer. Add the sausage and continue to simmer for 5-7 min. Strain the water off and allow the sausage to cool.
Lightly flour a board and roll the dough into large 30-40 cm circles and place on a greased oven tray.
Spread the olive oil over the base of the pizza.
Chop the cavolo nero or curly kale into small pieces, add the roasted fennel and sprinkle grated mozzarella. Position the sausage meat evenly over the pizza followed by the grated gruyere cheese. Season to suit.
Increase oven temperature to 200degC and transfer pizza on a pizza stone or tray to bake for 10 minutes. Check the base is golden and crisp before removing. Sprinkle some dried chilli flakes over the top, and garnish with the crispy sage leaves.
Luke McGowan was preparing quick short-order meals from a mobile caravan in Pukekohe, when he realised that cooking was in his DNA.
''I literally fell into the cooking trade. I just loved the smell, the energy and the organised chaos of it all.''
Luke describes The Cove as laid-back coastal dining and tries, where possible, to source locally grown produce, fish and meat. The fresh line-caught snapper, kingfish and scallops are locally caught and supplied through Fish to Fish in Bream Bay.
''I try to avoid anything that's out of season and make it my business to find farmers and growers in this region.''