|Matamata Memorial Centre.|
When I was growing up in New Zealand a severely restrictive immigration policy meant we were lucky to be able to taste any other country's food at all. Even by the late seventies there were a few Chinese restaurants around, but fare was still almost exclusively 'traditional' kiwi tucker: fish and chips, boiled vegetables, roasts, and with the exception of pavlova and whitebait fritters, or wild pig or deer if you knew (as we did) someone who was a hunter, pretty much all meals were 'imported' from English culture. These days in New Zealand, we have a veritable cornucopia in comparison, especially in Auckland.
However last night I tried for the first time: Filipino spitted pork, a tasty Bulgarian leek and feta pie, baklava, American corn bread, a Chinese battered chicken and mango dish, and a South African Melktert - a soft cinnamony, custardy dessert. I also sampled a hot Mexican meat dish with guacamole and corn chips, Polynesian raw fish marinated in coconut milk, Japanese sushi, 'angel hair' noodles, and tiny Dutch pancakes dusted with icing sugar and served with whipped cream. And there was much more on offer that I didn't have room in my tummy for.
|Males only. One of the Maori Haka.|
|Firth Primary School children beginning a Poi dance.|
|The poi swing and bump around in unison in this traditional Maori poi dance.|
|A pacifica dish: Pumpkin, pork, and greens being arranged on fried bread.|
|South African boerewors, with Melktert ('milk tart') at the back.|
|Writing out the recipe for 'Melktert' for me|
Roll out some bought or home-made sweet short pastry quite thinly and line a buttered pie dish. Prick all over with a fork and bake until light gold and cooked (about 20 minutes).
Meanwhile, put into a large saucepan:
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
15 gm butter
Bring the above to a boil.
Mix 60 gm custard powder and 60 ml milk and 2 eggs together.
Add this slowly into the hot milk while stirring, and bring it back to the boil until it has thickened.
Pour over the hot cooked pastry base, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and chill.
|Filipino spitted pork.|
|Yep, it's a real piggy and there's the head end to prove it.|
|Bulgarian food. Yana smiles.|
|Anne grapples with a piece of baklava. |
Unfortunately the nuts get under your plate ...
|Natalie tries Filipino Chicken and rice with coconut.|
|The Mexican table offered chili con carne, guacamole and tacos.|
|The 'Japanese' (shall I open my arms so you see my kimono better?) lady |
provided small but perfectly formed sushi rolls.
|Spicy Sri Lankan curry.|
|A few crumbs - all that's left of a piece of pavlova.|
|The polished Bulgarian dancers. Astonishingly beautiful in their movements and costumes.|
A little one-and-a-half minute video. Not the most marvelous quality due to low light, but should give you an idea of the dancing:
|Granny and Natalie.|
|Waiting in line. A lovely smell as the teeny-tiny pancakes cook.|
|Turning each with toothpicks. |
"The professionals can do it much faster than this!' he remarked.
|You can tell he's a Dutchman.|
|"I think I can manage just one more mini-pancake" said Mrs Creosote.|