Friday, 1 January 2010

A different Christmas....

For me, Christmas often brings thoughts of my own childhood, so different from my daughters.

Growing up in the North Island of New Zealand ( ' land of the long white cloud' ) means a warm Christmas, traditionally a day for the 'beach'. Not what we chilly northerners know as the beach but huge stretches of soft sand and rolling surf. Food is a similar affair to England even though it's warm, though there are differences due to the temperate climate and it's rich Maori/Polynesian heritage. Seafood is in abundance with the choices different to the U.K. Collecting Pippis, small shellfish encased in a black shell, was a childhood treat after a day on the beach. Once the tide went out they would lay on the sand and we would collect them up and eat them as they were, gritty and salty.
Toheroa was another shellfish common in my childhood,complete with a strange long tongue inside as per the
Maori name.

Pavlova was a staple, adorned with wonderful fruits like fegoa, chinese gooseberries ( kiwi fruit ),tamarillos & passion fruit.
Lamingtons, the ubiquitous sponge covered in chocolate and coconut was a favourite as was 'hokey pokey' icecream, a mix of the best vanilla studded with crunchy, slightly oozing toffee throughout. Next were jaffas, pineapple chunks, buzz bars, all washed down with 'Leeds' lemonade.

I am lucky enough to be able to source some of these things here now. Brighton has a sweet shop in the North Laines
which satisfies my a price and I was so excited to find there is a now a New Zealand restaurant in London,
the chef importing directly from New Zealand, with even a 'hangi' featured on the menu. The traditional Maori way to
cook meat underground.

The menu is a hymn to my past and I know I am going to love it when I finally get there..

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