Welcome to my food community… to those new members from the Coromandel Seafood Festival… and to those who’ve hung in there with me for years – I’m so glad you’re there to give me feedback and encouragement, and allowing me to feel part of something bigger – a community that loves fresh, local, seasonal eating and appreciates the amazing coastal lifestyle we are priviledged to live here on the Coromandel in NZ.
One of the nicer tasks that came out of the Seafood Festival for me was picking the winner of the ‘Win a cookbook’ competition. It made my day to be the bearer of good news and winners are always happy and excited about the latest addition to their cookbook collections.
The winner this time is Lindsay from Coromandel (pictured below with me in her Coromandel art studio). Congratulations Lindsay! I hope you enjoy cooking my recipes and being part of this food community.
Dear reader, I don’t know about where you are, but it’s feeling very autumnal on the Coromandel right now. The feijoas are in full swing with the persimmons following closely behind them. Beautiful coloured leaves litter the pavements and I act like a kid again and kick through them swinging my feet high in the air.
I love the flow of the seasons and picking fruit, making familiar recipes and eating seasonally. It really grounds me to where I am in the year.
Talking of seasonal fruits, here’s my favourite feijoa chutney recipe… recently I’ve found out more about where the recipe came from (and it has an interesting history with a couple of well-known NZers at its root). Once upon a time in Coromandel (about 1999 to be exact) a young chef called Peter Gordon came to visit another young chef Grant Allen who was working at a restaurant in Coromandel town called The Pepper Tree.
Grant found a whole pile of peeled feijoas in the freezer and so Peter came up with a beautiful chutney recipe for them. That is this recipe (that has been shared over the years in The Coromandel Chronicle, The Listener and in Bite). I’ve altered it to suit my taste over the years I’ve been making it, but I’m also posting the link to the Bite article so you can see the original. Enjoy!
Peter Gordon and Grant Allen outside The Pepper Tree in Coromandel c.1999 (thanks to Grant Allen for the photo)
This amount fills a roasting dish and makes approx. 6 jars of chutney.
- 2.25 kg feijoa flesh
- 750g red onions
- chopped 6 large green chillies
- 750g granulated sugar
- 1 and a half dessertspoons salt
- 225ml vinegar
- juice and zest of 3 lemons
- 1x 10cm manuka branch
- 1 small cinnamon quill, crushed in a pestle and mortar
- seeds from12 green cardamon pods
- Scoop the feijoa flesh out of the skins, into a large metal roasting dish. You can leave about 1⁄4 of them with the skin on and just slice these ones reasonably finely.
- Add the onion, finely chopped chillies, sugar, salt, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, manuka, cinnamon and cardamons. Stir well and leave overnight.
- Roast for 2-3 hours at 180°C until the mixture has thickened and has started to caramelise (going a lovely golden brown colour). Spoon hot into heat-sterilised jars and seal.
- Leave for one week before using.
Having said all that stuff about enjoying the seasons, winter in Coromandel is never my favourite as it does rain a bit. So this year is going to be a bit topsy-turvey as I’m missing out on winter and jumping straight back into summer – Northern Hemisphere style. So over the next few months, I’m going to be posting from overseas – same subject matter but a different twist (and no photos of my beloved Coromandel). But I’ve got this great opportunity to travel and experience different and varied food cultures and I’m going to grab it with both hands! So expect to hear about fresh, local, seasonal eating from other parts of the world…
Happy autumn! Deborah