Fabulous Fungi

The fragile beauty of gourmet mushrooms is on display in a container parked up in Paraparaumu. Mushrooms are high in Vitamin B and D and also have high protein, making them a valuable food source for vegans and vegetarians. From Lindale Village, Jude Horrill and Brent Williams have begun harvesting phoenix, oyster and shiitake mushrooms under the name Lindale Gourmet Mushrooms. The operation currently produces 20Kg per week but a second container will allow the business to scale up to 50-60kg by August 2018. The couple are hoping to supply seven top end restaurants and has already signed on Wellington’s Ortega Fish Shack. The mushrooms are very popular at Te Horo and Paraparaumu markets and will soon be available at Wellington’s Harbour Side market each Sunday.

Mushrooms start life in a petri dish as mycelium before being transferred into jars of organic rye grain. Once the grain has been colonised by the mycelium it is transferred into bags containing oak and soy hull pellets. The mycelium is fooled into thinking the bags are oak trees and grows outward towards oxygen through tiny pin pricks in the bags. The bags are hung in a temperature and humidity controlled container, where the autumn like conditions cause the mushrooms to fruit.  From the petri dish it takes about 10 weeks until harvest. For every kilo of dry substrate (the oak and soy) the operation presently produces 1.1kg of mushrooms and Williams thinks 1.5kg is possible. The bags can produce up to three harvests before the substrate is recycled into compost.

Lindale Gourmet Mushrooms is aiming to be sustainable and off grid and production has exceeded expectations.

Making Lap Lap in Vanuatu

Lap lap is a traditional Vanuatu dish wrapped in leaves and cooked above ground on hot stones. Mangaliliu Village has a strong heritage in making lap lap and this was seen when staying in the village recently.

Starting at 6 AM (photography in this light was a treat) the lap lap was made on Sunday morning by the women and children from the extended family for lunch following a session in Church.

With no fridge available two chickens were freshly slaughtered for the occasion and were plucked by the children. Aside from the lap lap faol seen here (chicken), other versions are dakdak (duck), fis (fish), mit (meat), taro, maniok (cassava), yam and banana. There are also regional variations.


GoodBuzz in Wainuiomata

Kombucha, booch and SCOBY are new words in my vocab after a visit to photograph the GoodBuzz soft drink factory in Wainuiomata. The GoodBuzz process combines sugar, tea and water (from the Te Puna Wai Ora artesian aquifer in Petone) with the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and turns into an effervescent, healthy, non-alcoholic  drink.

In the short time GoodBuzz has been operating they already have  five kombucha brews in more than 60 cafes in Wellington, Christchurch, Hawkes Bay, New Plymouth and Nelson, and recently have been included in Auckland’s Nosh outlets.

The drinks come in five flavours - Origins, Green Jasmin, Lemon and Ginger, Jade Dew and Feijoia. A new brew made with coffee cherry (the outer red skin of  discarded coffee beans from  Go Bang in Petone)  with an amazing light apple flavour is coming soon.

Each  brew takes 8-10 days to ferment and another 7-10 days of bottle conditioning before heading out the door. The best before date is four months unchilled (a bonus when there is space restrictions in the fridge), and can be extended to nine months if refrigerated.

Another buzz emanating from the factory came from discovering owner Alex Campbell and I grew up in the same small Northland town – Kaikohe. This is where Alex’s first memories of kombucha came from – his grandmother Amy made what she called Manchurian Mushroom tea in the 1970’s. Kaikohe Kombucha - who would have thought?




Buying Local Food | Murray Lloyd Photograph

The markets will be crammed with lovely fresh produce now spring has arrived and in NZ we can find locally produced food easily. Not so elsewhere.

In Britain, a local government report said a quarter of food could not be verified as local in one county. In North Wales only half the meat sold as Welsh lamb was found to be Welsh and in an English restaurant "Hampshire spring lamb" was sold which was actually from New Zealand.

In Canada the government have changed the criteria on what constitutes local. The government say the food just has to come from within the same province to be called local. In Canada this could mean a 1500km journey. Previously a 50km radius was deemed local.  Here is a funny take on local food.

Oritain is a New Zealand company based in Dunedin specialising in food verification. Their mission statement states Oritain can independently and scientifically verify the origin of food products to a forensic standard. The consumers in Canada and Britain would clearly benefit from their services.


Italian Flavours in Paraparaumu | Murray Lloyd Photography

Basil grown from seed in full sunshine, Isle of Capri tomatoes freshly plucked from the garden and fresh buffalo mozzarella - Insalata Caprese -  It is quite simply one of the greatest pleasures of summer and is one of my favourite dishes . The flavours and textures work together brilliantly - here's to Italian food.