Monday, August 29, 2011

name the fruit: part one

Ah Bali! What's not to love about nasi goreng for breakfast, eating your body weight in gado gado and the wonderful surprises found in nasi campur? Lucy and I spent two weeks grazing our way around the East and North of this wonderful, tropical island. Posts will follow (including the best spot for authenti vegan nasi campur in Ubud) when head, body and mind are reassembled in the correct time zone.

But first. I saw (and sampled) many wondrous fruits and herbs that I've never experienced before. This competition has no prize but feel free to have a stab at naming this mystery fruit.

And on the tree.

1. Name the fruit.
2. Describe the flavour.

Go on, have a go.

If you grew up eating the mystery fruit, can you tell us a little more about what you used it for.

Update: Michelle and Celeste were spot on with "rose apple" and "jambus". The locals in the north of Bali call is "water apple".

The plant is from the Myrtaceae family, of the genus Syzgium. Not sure exactly which one.

The fruit we ate was pale with a rosy blush. The skin thin and waxy.

Tasting notes: This pale variety was crispy and slightly tart. Though it looked like it would be dry, it was slightly juicy and the flavour had a hint of tonic water. If I was a gin drinker I'd say it would be the perfect garnish for a G&T.

Texture wise, I'd imagine it would go well in a salad. A substitute for a crispy pear perhaps?

Have you ever cooked with water apple?

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

not there yet...

But almost.

Will be offline for a couple of weeks. The mountains, beaches, infinity pools, meditation sessions, massages, sunsets, paddy fields, friendships and, of course, wonderful meals awaiting!

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

land of the long yellow banana

Family, rather than food, is the focus of my short hops across the Tasman these days. But in the couple of decades I've been doing the commute, Wellington has increasingly embraced a burgeoning food culture. So while, thanks to the recent Masterchef episode, the delights of Logan Brown and Martin Bosley’s are high on visiting food bloggers lists, my dining choices are a tad more humble.

The star of the recent visit however, was not home grown.

Even at the foodie Mecca, Moore Wilsons, this golden import seemed ridiculously cheap to a banana-starved Aussie. We managed to chomp through a kilo or two of the fruit in a couple of days.

Also at Moore Wilsons we picked up a few bottles of the extraordinary Lake Sylvan rhubarb flavoured mineral water. This hard to get non-alcoholic treat is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s worth a trip for this drink alone. The walnut and ginger slice (from Janus Bakery, I think) was another sweet treat we loved. Dare I say it, but I think it may have been better than my mother ever made!

At the Lido café (opposite the visitors centre in the CBD), I sampled one of the best kedgerees to date. Though not entirely traditional with the addition of a tomatoey condiment, it was a stand out. And a huge serve to boot. The Lido has served the test of time, being one of the first in the late ‘80s café resurgence. The coffee is great and the staff friendly.

In recent years, good food has begun to infiltrate the suburbs. With excellent bays and harbour views, waterside residential areas just a short hop from the city have come into their own. Apart from the excellent Maranui café, Lyall Bay is also home to Elements. This is a frequent family lunch spot, though not hugely vegetarian friendly, the food is consistently good. My elderly father drives across town for their lambs fry and bacon, but it’s not stuck in a time warp. The Significant Eater had a spectacular poached coconut chicken salad, while I tend to stick to a vego modified big breakfast.

But the emerging star of the New Zealand food scene has to be the impressive variety of beverages on offer these days. Forget the Sauvignon Blanc (yes please) and the boutique beers, it’s the alcohol-free stuff that continues to impress. While the previously mentioned Lake Sylvan mineral water is hard to get, most cafes still offer a tempting variety of locally made drinks. Hardie Boys dry ginger beer is always my first choice but the Aroha elderflower based Sparkles caught my attention. Great to see wildcrafted herbs on the menu!

Despite it being midwinter, Wellington shone on this trip. The flight into the capital city showed off the snow capped Southern Alps in their full glory and against the odds the sun shone every day.

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