'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Tasting food from around the world

Matamata Memorial Centre.
 Last night the two young people, the two ladies-of-a-certain age, and I, went to the Firth Primary School fund-raiser in Matamata.  An international food tasting evening.  What a lot of fun!

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.
Throughout the evening the stage was constantly filled with performers:  the Firth Primary School children danced, sang and performed two Haka.  And the beautiful Bulgarian dancers twirled and swirled in their eye-catching costumes.  A really memorable evening.

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
Melktert. (modified and expanded from the recipe Anne gave me & yet to be tested)
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:
900ml milk
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.
Yummy baklava.

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.


  1. What a lovely day you had! I got hungry just to look at it.

    1. The food was really wonderful Kirsten! And although they told us not to expect a '3-course meal - it's just a taste', there were so many little tastes, that we certainly had plenty to eat!

  2. Food, glorious food.
    Magical food,
    Wonderful food,
    Marvellous food,
    Fabulous food,
    Beautiful food,
    Glorious food.

    And people.

    1. You have had me humming that song for two days Geeb...

  3. Nicely illustrated ma'am. Sounds like a great evening. Were there any Yorkshire puddings? Only - you didn't say! No international food evening could possibly be complete without majestic, freshly made, golden and delicious Yorkshire puddings.

    1. *gasp* you are correct - no Yorkshire food was represented! Shocking omission!

  4. Looks like it was a great night.

    1. It was full-on and noisy and fun, Helsie.

  5. Fantastic evening!!! Beautiful food !!!

  6. Looks like a lovely evening for three generations to share. Bit worried though ~ milk tart, pavlova and poftjers ~ I like dessert too :) thank you for the milk tart recipe.


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