Ray McVinnie's market-inspired recipes
We have been renting a fantastic place near Whangarei Heads for the summer holidays since before our kids were born. It is a bach on a farm with its own beach and is part of the Davies Bay Holiday Homes, Davies being the family name of the farm’s owners, although we have always called it by its Maori name, Awahoa Bay.
Apart from the beautiful beach there is a very old Maori hill fort to carefully explore and in the neighbouring bay, a huge rock pool to swim in at low tide. Many people go there for the fishing. We aren’t fisher folk so we just cook, eat, and enjoy the beach.
Having holidays in this area has made the north of the North Island my favourite place in New Zealand. Those holidays are pure therapy! One of the other highlights is to jump in the car and go to the excellent Whangarei Growers’ market every Saturday.
All good cooks let the food they find inspire the dishes they cook (it tells you what to cook and you eat what is in season, so it tastes better and is usually cheaper). The following is what I came up with after a visit to the market.
The longest part of making this easy pie is dry-baking the kumara which will probably take an hour, (the oven does the work). This can be done in advance and once cooked, assembly of the pie is a breeze. I bought great red and green lettuces at the market to which I added halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and a well-seasoned vinaigrette made of extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar which was the salad I served with the pie. Get the recipe
This recipe uses my version of the garlicky Greek sauce which is traditionally made with ground almonds or mashed potatoes. I opted for the great potatoes at the market. It makes an excellent dip with warm flatbread or an accompaniment to barbecued fish or chicken.
In this recipe I salt the eggplant slices, not to get rid of bitterness (modern eggplant varieties aren’t bitter) but to collapse the spongy texture a bit so the eggplant slices don’t soak up too much oil when frying. The lamb chops need to cooked quickly over high heat until well browned. If cooked too long they can be tough. Get the recipe
My berry version of the Italian favourite. I couldn’t resist the berries at the market. Get the recipe