Spring rolls feature significantly in cuisines across South East Asian. The fillings vary considerably by location. Taking that as my cue, these crab surimi spring rolls with Chinese sausage are in their own category of deliciousness.
Pairing seafood and meat – surf and turf – has long been a thing. Scallops and cured meat are particularly complimentary. These scallops wrapped in pancetta were delicious. And the sweet potato puree made them even more delicious.
Pumpernickel bread is a dark sourdough whole rye bread that is delightfully moist and nutty. Paired with the citrus cured salmon, asparagus in white wine sauce, and the quail eggs, we get complex yet complementary layers of flavour.
The mussels are grilled with roast garlic and a little butter. Roasted garlic has a subtly sweet taste that complements the mussels rather than overpowers them. To balance the sweetness, the balsamic vinegar adds a little acidity.
The core ingredients of New Zealand mussels and sweet potato are enhanced in these sweet potato and mussel fritters with fresh ginger and chilli, adding a bit of a South-East Asian character. The tangy yoghurt sauce compliments the flavour, texture, and temperature perfectly.
Chorizo brings a smoky salty dimension to these succulent scallops. The umami of the black garlic and the freshness of the lemon and sake perfectly prepare your mouth for the next course.
Surviving the transformation of New Zealand cuisine, the popularity of fish and chips hasn’t diminished. The beer-battered fish, twice-cooked chips, and delicious roasted red pepper tomato sauce place these fish & chips well above the take-away version.
Bánh mì trứng – fried egg in a baguette – the Vietnamese breakfast sandwich. Here it is supplemented with asparagus and smoked salmon. As Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with saying: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Cured salmon, or gravlax, has its origins in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages where it was used as a way to preserve the salmon. The citrus, gin, and star anise add new layers of flavour to what can be achieved with the basic curing process.
I have eaten octopus at Japanese restaurants – pondered those big tentacles at the fish market – eaten Vietnamese style stir-fried baby octopus many times – marvelled at the giant squid at the Te Papa museum in Wellington, New Zealand. This glazed octopus is the synthesis of those experiences.