• Annemarie Rawson

NATURE’S BOUNTY, HAWKE’S BAY, NZ

No matter the season, there is always fruit and vegetables in abundance here in the Hawkes Bay. Apart from the orchards and small market gardens, most older gardens in the area will have at least one citrus tree, feijoas and some a fig tree.


We’ve been given lemons, feijoas, apples, passion fruit and figs. I added raw root ginger to the battered and split figs and put them in a pot with a little water to simmer away for a while. This is now a breakfast cereal topping.


I’ll do the same with the feijoas and a couple of apples with a squirt of lemon juice. A member at the Mahjong club I go to, brought in four 10 litre paint bucketsfull of feijoas to share with everyone. She too, doesn’t like to see wasted food.


The good figs will either be eaten raw or roasted in one form or another.

My bag of peppers was $4 (£2) - such a bargain at this time of year, so I’m slicing and freezing some of these for winter cooking. I don’t want to waste anything! An Instagram follower says he cuts his peppers in half, gets rid of the inner bits then oils his sandwich maker, flattens the pepper halves and toasts/roasts them in there. I thought that was quite good. Of course, you can just do them in the oven.


Around the corner from us is a shelf hammered into the fence. If anyone in the immediate neighbourhood has spare produce, they leave it there for others who are passing, to help themselves. No one seems to be greedy and takes the lot, just one thing. There’s also pony poo ‘tea’ - a great fertiliser for the garden. This morning‘s bounty was red grapes, feijoas, zucchini/courgette.


I like to eat healthily and last night was a semi-vegetarian dinner night. I roasted a large sweet potato (in New Zealand they are called kumara - a Maori word), cut it down the middle and scooped out the inside into a bowl. I combined it with cooked pearl barley, finely chopped red pepper, parsley and chorizo. Spooning it back into the kumara shells, I then topped it with spring onions and feta. After 30 minutes in a moderate oven to heat through, I had steamed brocolli with mine and Steve the left-over salad. It was delicious!


Hard to see the sweet potato/kumara under all that filling!


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