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Archive for December, 2010

A Raving Review

Martin Bosley published by Random House. Image by Jane Ussher.Red wine, beetroot, cherry juice perhaps? I’m not sure what it is exactly but there’s something rather thrilling about the dark red streak that bleeds down the front cover of Martin Bosley’s new book. It’s an apt beginning to a seriously beautiful publication.

I’ve been raving about it since it was published back in November. Raving, and also floundering to find a way of describing something that’s as much an art book as a collection of recipes. The words ‘serious’ and ‘beautiful’ fit the bill. From the spare cover shot to the moody images of a steely-grey Wellington harbour and the maestro-posed portrait of Bosley himself, Jane Ussher’s photography sets the theme before we even come across a plated-food shot. And here’s the surprise – there are no plates. The food is photographed against a stark white or black background. Sometimes there’s just a single ingredient (the rock lobster tail is my favourite) and sometimes the image is an artistic arrangement illustrating a complex degustation-style dish. It’s all beautifully shot in an upfront style that’s matched by the integrity of the writing. (more…)

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Green Almonds

Fresh and Dried Almonds

Fresh and Dried Almonds

I have just discovered the taste of green almonds. I didn’t know you could eat them fresh off the tree. I’d only ever had the mature dried nuts – usually from a packet and sometimes after cracking open the hard pockmarked shells that enclose them.

There are hardly any almonds grown commercially in New Zealand so it’s perhaps not surprising I’d never seen them on the branch. But at Riverina, Graham Farnell and Gill Smith’s orchard in Marlborough, the trees were loaded. I had just been saying it was a shame I was too early for the harvest when Graham pulled some of the green fuzzy fruit off a tree and told me how nice the young nuts tasted. (more…)

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Cherries in Marlborough

Cherries. Ruth Gordon

Marlborough Cherries

Cherries Direct - by Ruth Gordon

Orchardists Jill and Ken Gordon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love cherries. They’re the colour of Christmas. Like festive baubles hanging from the tree just waiting to be eaten. You can see why the birds go mad for them.

These photos were taken by Ruth Gordon on her family’s cherry orchard in Marlborough. I worked there last week. Sort of. Unbelievably, I was paid to spend an hour under the netting tasting the various cultivars in a sort of reconaissance mission for a film crew. I did take it seriously. In fact, I did such a good job, I could hardly move for an hour or two afterwards.

Orchardists Jill and Ken Gordon of Cherries Direct grow seven varieties with names like Stella, Rosann, Santina and Sweetheart. The idea is to stagger the crop from mid December through January, but this year flowering was late and everything seemed to be coming on stream at once. I managed to taste most of them but it was hard to pick a favourite. Jill, a keen bottler, prefers Stella – a good all-rounder that holds its shape well when cooked. When I asked her to describe the perfect cherry, she said it should be juicy and sweet but firm with a texture that just ‘pops’ in your mouth. With that new tasting criteria, I just had to start all over again.

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