Simon Berry: My Mother's Kitchen

Simon Berry with his mother Sue and son Boe. Photos: Kelly Lindsay
Simon Berry with his mother Sue and son Boe. Photos: Kelly Lindsay
The memory of the food  our mothers served us as children never leaves us, a comforting reminder of the maternal bond that resonates through our adult lives.

More than 70 New Zealand chefs, cooks, bakers and foodies have shared the stories and recipes of their childhood in the new publication My Mother’s Kitchen.

I grew up in Karitane, Otago, where we lived on the coast and worked our farm 5km inland. We’d eat traditional working lunches while shearing on the farm, and spend evenings and weekends eating beautiful fresh seafood at home on the coast. Mum was an innovative cook, and I was an interested eater. When it was a special family occasion and we had crayfish, this is how we had it. It’s my grandmother’s original recipe, which Mum has fine-tuned over the years.

Karitane crayfish curry.
Karitane crayfish curry.
Karitane crayfish curry

Serves 4-6

Time: 55 minutes, plus 30 minutes inactive

2 fresh crayfish, uncooked
50g butter
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely sliced 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 apple, finely sliced
½ cup sultanas
1½ tbsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp white vinegar
1½ cups breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Poppadums (optional), for serving


Fill a large saucepan for which you have a lid three-quarters full of water and bring to the boil. Add both crayfish, cover, and cook for approximately 4 minutes until bright orange.

Remove crayfish and run under cold water to cool. Remove the meat from the tails, ensuring tail gut is removed cleanly, and coarsely chop the meat. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Preheat oven to 180degC.

Melt butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add onion and garlic and cook for 10-12 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.

Add apple and sultanas and cook a further 2-3 minutes until apple is starting to soften. Add curry powder and paprika and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of milk and stir well to combine.

Add the remaining milk a splash at a time, stirring thoroughly between each addition. Carefully bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is smooth and thick.

Slowly pour in crayfish stock and vinegar while stirring and cook a further minute. Remove from the heat and stir in crayfish meat. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer hot crayfish curry to a medium-sized ovenproof dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top to cover generously and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned and bubbling. Stand for 10-15 minutes before serving with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for garnish and poppadums on the side.

-Recipe © Simon Berry. Reproduced from My Mother’s Kitchen, published by Potton & Burton, available nationwide

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