Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Taste of Home and a favourite recipe

One of my sons has lived in the United Kingdom for nearly 20 years, yes, surprising but true! He is, nevertheless, still a Kiwi boy at heart and the saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" certainly rings true for him when it comes to food.  On his recent trip to New Zealand, with his family, he arrived armed with an extensive list of New Zealand delights unavailable, or at least hard to find, in the UK, and a determination to tick everything off the list. Over the course of his three and a half week visit he managed to achieve his wish and the rest of the family were left in awe of his amazing ability to sniff out a treat on his list from a thousand paces!

First off was a New Zealand lamb roast dinner with fresh vegetables from my garden and a bottle of good New Zealand Savignon Blanc.  That was easy because I had prepared that for their welcome home meal.  Tick one!

Tamarillos - a delectable winter fruit
Then, of course there was the deliciousness of feijoas (refer my post:  Feijoa - Autumn's delicious bounty) which I had ensured a supply of in the form of jams and chutneys, and the wintry delight of ruby red tamarillos sliced and sprinkled with brown sugar.

Then the wickedness began...lots and lots of sweet unhealthy treats.  He tried to convince me this happens only once every few years.  Yes, um, Ok, I believe him, I think.

L & P, Peanut Slab, Anzac Biscuits and
 Peanut Brownies

I had already bought his all time favourite, Ginger Crunch, which he devoured greedily and then  we were off on the trail to buy L & P, short for Lemon and Paeroa, a New Zealand soft drink, Whittakers Peanut Slab, Anzac Biscuits, Raspberry Slice and boy was he over the moon when he found his first ever triple decker Raspberry Slice in a small bakery in Warkworth, an hour north of Auckland. Then there were Peanut Brownies, and Lamingtons.  The Lamingtons posed a problem.  They seemed to have gone out of fashion and despite calling in at every bakery we passed no one seemed to sell them anymore. But those amazing detection skills came into play and there in the main street of Howick, a suburb of Auckland, he somehow knew that a bakery further down the road had Lamingtons...and he was right.

Lamingtons and Ginger Crunch

A visit to the Clevedon Farmers Market where he bought Feijoa juice and a huge Whitebait Fritter completed his food odyssey and he was contented.  Not exactly a gourmet's journey through the wonderful food available in New Zealand but more a journey through childhood memories of home which become all the stronger when you live far away. To be honest I think his memories of the food were more enjoyable than the actual eating of them in some cases and, no doubt, if he lived in New Zealand he would eat most of them only occasionally, but food does have an amazing power to evoke a time and place and bring back happy memories in much the same way as a piece of music or a perfume does. And we all enjoyed the journey.

My daughter in law and Grandson enjoying a Whitebait Fritter
 at Clevedon Farmers' Market

Here is the recipe for my son's all time favourite. 

                                                GINGER CRUNCH
                                    (This is the oaty version we prefer)
  • 150gms butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 8 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180C. melt butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a pot and then remove from heat.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and then add the mixture from the pot and mix thoroughly.  Press the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm by 30cm tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Mark into squares while still warm. Ice when cool with the ginger icing.

Heat all icing ingredients in a pot until melted and beat until smooth.  Poor over the cool base.  When completely cold cut through the icing to separate the squares. Some people prefer a thicker icing so add more icing sugar.  Small pieces of crystallised ginger can be added to the icing too.