There are so many things that you can’t go near when you’re trying to Eat Local. I had written this piece about Spanakopita ever before I started this challenge but, pressed for choice on Saturday night, it was something I happily turned to. I had spinach and onions from Canterbury, feta from Karikaas, ricotta from Zany Zeus (North Island but still New Zealand!), nutmeg (and couscous for the accompanying salad) from Piko, our brilliant local wholefoods/organic shop but I must admit failure with the pastry, which was Australian. If I had been a bit more organised ahead of time I could have made my own but still, it didn’t turn out too badly!
I’ve just discovered the Eat Local Challenge posted by Jen on her life begins at 30 blog. She invited fellow food bloggers to make the commitment to eat local during August. In her own words:”For the month of August, I would like to invite all bloggers to join me in taking a challenge to eat food local to where you live. You will be able to build your challenge parameters yourself, and set reachable goals for the month. Ths goal of this time is to eat as much local food as possible, and to really pay attention to where your food comes from.”Typical that I should discover this as the month ends but it did put me thinking.
Govinda’s in Dublin – a vegetarian restaurant run by the Hare Krishnas – has a great reputation and was one of those places that I always intended to go for dinner. Somehow I never managed to make it there but, when I was searching for a yoga class in Christchurch lately, I discovered that they run them in the Christchurch branch of Govinda’s. not only that but, for $15 you get an hour’s yoga plus your dinner. How could such an offer be turned down? Last week I tried the class and I think I’ll be returning every week for the food, as well as for the yoga. After working hard for an hour, the delicious meal is truly well deserved.
As it’s winter at this side of the world – although the temperatures seem to have taken a turn for the better lately – I’ve been cooking lots of soups. I love making anything that just takes 20 minutes of chopping and frying, and then is happy to sit simmering on the cooker for an hour or longer, until it’s done. As a result of my interest in dried peas, beans and lentils, there’s always a cupboard full of various legumes to be incorporated into soup and one of the best soups around can be made with dried green split peas.
Beer drinkers, as wine drinkers, are pretty well catered for in New Zealand. There are plenty of microbreweries and brew pubs about – Brew Moon, the Dux de Lux and the Twisted Hop are amongst some Canterbury favourites – but even the big breweries have pretty decent beers. One of the biggies is Speight’s Brewery. Known as “The Pride of the South”, it is based in Dunedin and produces a very tasty dark beer called, in an obvious move, Old Dark.
I’ve always been a lover of peas, beans and lentils – things that are cheap and can be turned into something delicious without too much effort. But, in Ireland, a hectic schedule prevented me from really getting involved with these in their dried form. Instead I had to content myself with their tinned equivalents which, although not hugely expensive, do prevent you from using them with too much abandon. Since coming to New Zealand, however, and discovering that dried peas, beans and lentils are readily available through the Bin Inn chain and also through the self-serve bins in all supermarkets, I’ve been putting them to good use.