Wairuna Organic fantastic tasting heriloom strawberries

Wow what a glorious day ahead and delicious fantastic summer produce to cook.  My new book is looking to be for sale next week at the market and it has photos!
First of the cherries are available along with strawberries, gooseberries and rhubarb.  Bennies honey is selling their Mead which is fabulous.  Ham orders are still being taken from Waitaki bacon and ham and Havoc.  Limousin beef and lamb have a huge array of fine products as do the other meat vendors Don't forget about Rob selling probably some of the best lamb in the "world" - Cardrona Merino!

The menu today is about simplicity and freshness.  Keep it fresh, don't forget to use the lovely fragrant herbs available to boost any dish and keep it simple a few tomatoes, with a drizzle of good oil and a few torn basil leaves is my idea of perfection!

Hopefully i will get some photos to add later.  Have a great day!


This is a fantastic tart; the contrast between the sweet red onions caramelised with the balsamic vinegar and finished with flaky puff pastry is wonderful example of perfect partnerships in food. Add a simple rocket salad and perhaps a sprinkling of a sharp creamy cheese like a feta or goats cheese and you have made a meal to remember!

Serves 4

225g puffy pastry (well chilled)
4 large red onions or 6-8 small
25g butter
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves and 4 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp caster sugar
1/4 cup red wine or ½ cup beef stock
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 180C

Begin by preparing the onions – remove their papery outer skins and cut them in half lengthwise from stem to root.

Place a 20cm heavy-based pan on a medium heat, add the butter and sugar. When the butter begins to bubble scatter in the thyme leaves and sprigs, then carefully arrange the onions on the base of the pan, cut side down. Remember to do this neatly as when you serve your tart the bottom is the top if you catch my drift!

Once you have fitted in all your onions, drizzle over the balsamic vinegar and red wine. Turn down the heat and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Now cover with foil and place into your preheated oven, leave to cook for 30 minutes and then remove the foil , finish off cooking for another 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.

Whilst the onions are cooking roll your pastry out to ½ cm thick and large enough to generously cover the fry pan, cut into a 25cm round.

When the onions are cooked, I suggest testing with a skewer, they should be cooked through, but you don’t want them to collapse. Remove the pan from the heat; increase the temperature of the oven to 200C.

Place the pastry onto the onions and press the overhanging pastry edges neatly into the sides of the fry pan. Place into your hot oven and bake until the pastry is puffy and golden (10-15minutes). Remove when cooked and let sit for a minutes.

With a large plate, carefully place it on top of the pan, place one hand on the plate firmly and the other holding a dry cloth flip the pan and plate together so that the plate is now on the bottom. Carefully lift the fry pan off to revel your beautiful caramelised onion tarte tartin!


1/3 cup olive oil
3 red onions, very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp whole cloves
¼ cup red wine or malt vinegar

In a large heavy-based pot add the onion and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft. Add the sugar, spices and vinegar and cook for at least 10-15 minutes or until your onions are thick and pulpy.
Put into a clean container, it will keep in your fridge for up to a month.
Great spread over pizzas scattered over grilled bread and topped with a little cheese. Add it to your gravy or simply served alongside some leftover cooked meats!

When we think of pasta we don’t always think to match it with fish. This is a simple, yet classic way to combine the both. Don’t feel as though you have to use expensive fish; gurnard, monkfish, mackerel and elephant all are fantastic varieties of fish with slightly different textures and tastes. It is worth experimenting, but it is paramount that you use only the freshest fish!

Serves 4

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 long red chillies, seeded and finely chopped or a pinch of dried chilli (optional)
350ml dry white wine (optional)
500g fish fillets, cut into small chunks
Sea salt
400g linguine or spaghetti
Small handful finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
if you have a handful of ripe cherry tomatoes these are a lovely addition.
1-2 lemons to serve

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to the boil (this will be to cook your pasta).
Heat a large fry pan up to medium-hot add the oil, garlic, and chilli cook until the garlic just starts to turn a light golden brown. Add the wine if using or try water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Let the liquid boil until it reduces by half.
Add the fish, (if using cherry tomatoes, add them now) season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until the fish is tender, turn down the heat and cook the pasta.

To cook the pasta; if using fresh it will only take about 3 minutes or if using dry pasta I would suggest reading the directions on the packet. Remember that pasta should always be al-dente (firm to the bite). Drain immediately when cooked but remember to keep a few tablespoons of cooking water as it is useful to adjust your sauce.
Add the pasta to the sauce, sprinkle with chopped parsley and check for seasoning. Adjust if necessary, toss well to combine.
Serve with a little more olive oil drizzled on top and plenty of lemon wedges!

Not only can these balls of yummy yeasty dough be made into fresh pizzas but try rolling thin, coating them with a fragrant paste of garlic and rosemary or garlic and basil bound together with olive oil and brush generously over the dough. Scatter with a little sea salt flakes and bake until crisp and golden. Olives, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced zucchinis and shavings of cheese work unbelievably well.

Now this is my sort of pie, no tins no fussy bits and if you haven’t the time you can even get away with shop bought pastry….when you tire of gooseberries, try it with summer berries, a selection of stoned fruit and spice and a large bowl of whipped cream!

For the filling
700g prepared gooseberries (top and tail)
75g sugar
2 Tbsp ground almonds or cornflour
1 egg yolk
2 heads fresh elderflowers (optional)
To glaze – 1 egg white and 1 Tbsp sugar
For the shorcrust pastry:
1 packet shop bought pastry
175g plain flour
80g butter, cubed

To make pastry sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips (lift up the mixture and let it fall back into the bowl to aerate it) until the mixture reaches the crumb stage. Using a dessert spoon, drizzle in only enough cold water to bring your dough together to create a smooth dough. Knead lightly, wrap in glad wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C

Roll your pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a round 35cm don’t bother tiding up the edges as the more “rustic the better”

Carefully transfer the pastry onto flat baking tray. I roll the pastry around my rolling pin and transfer it to the tray and then carefully unravel it!

In a bowl add the gooseberries, almonds, sugar and pick off the elderflowers and toss together to combine.

Brush the centre of your pastry with egg yolk to act as a sort of waterproof coating. Carefully place the gooseberries in the centre of the pastry. Pull the pastry up to form rustic sides (you don’t want it to come up to high as you want the gooseberries to be visible and don’t worry if the pastry breaks as you can simply patchwork it back together.

Bake for 35 minutes approximately or until the pastry is golden and the gooseberries are full and bursting with their juices.


MIA PASTA – fresh pasta and dough
McARTHURS BERRIES - gooseberries