Join us in Waimarino!

Come and join us for our Waimarino event on the central plateau, a beautiful volcanic region in New Zealand’s north island! The event starts from 3pm on 7th February at Heartlanz Motor Inn in Raetihi.

Raetihi, the town hosting us, is the gateway to the famous Whanganui river, rich in both Maori and European history, and so I was keen to explore the region in December.

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Before leaving home, I went for a dive and harvested some goodies to take with me as a wee Koha (gift/donation) from the south. Teaming up with my good mate Roo, we headed north, into what the Waimarino locals term – the Heartland. With a planned meeting with the Mayor and the organizing committee at 7pm, we planned to get there a bit earlier and go for an afternoon hunt with local hunter Jason Haetana. Jason is well known for his skills as a fine hunter and gatherer. Within an hour of being in the hills with Jason, we had bagged a spiker fallow deer, and we saw a huge mob of red deer, including four big stags.

Back at the hotel, we found that the locals had dropped off packages of beautiful wild foods including hare, eel, venison, trout, herbs, flowers, rabbit and cress. Our Koha included moki and paua adding to the list of primo NZ ingredients. With a bit of base prep done, we headed for the main street to set up BBQs, hot plate, smoker and work benches. What a great turnout of enthusiastic locals! As we worked, explaining to the crowd what each preparation was, we handed out big platters of wild food goodies including: ‘Crudo of moki’ with wild flower and herbs Venison carpaccio with wild rocket and truffle Seared hare backstrap, garden salsa verde Smoked local rrout and wild cress Smoked eel with smoked paprika aioli Rabbit with rosemary and garlic Venison rump steak, syrah and ohakune carrots Sliced paua steaks, lemons, sea salt and homemade mayo Every dish was demolished, with big smiles and heaps of questions regarding their upcoming Local Wild Food Challenge. I was so happy to see the level of enthusiasm so high.

So, come and join us! Team up, get out there with the kids, hunt, fish, forage… check out the Local Wild Food Challenge Facebook page for ideas from previous LWFC around the globe at Your dish can be anything with at least one wild ingredient: frozen, fermented, liquid, savoury or sweet…. the options are endless!

Register now! Simply send us an email at: with your intent to enter. You can also register on the day at the event. Entry forms will be provided at the venue.

North Canterbury’s first LWFC!

photo Summer evening in North Canterbury

Come and join us for the first LWFC in North Canterbury! The event starts from 3pm on Friday 13th, March at Pegasus Bay Restaurant and Winery

Competitors can register online and its free to enter!  There is a kids section to the competition  – so get the kids involved!

Tickets for dinner are available from Pegasus Bay’s Restaurant Manager Belinda Donaldson.  Email:

LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE!  Adults $65, children (up to 13 years) $25; price for competitorsAdults $55, children $15

Tickets include: venue access, the chance to relax in the gardens at Pegasus Bay, watch the action as competitors put their dishes to the judging panel, live entertainment and a delicious evening meal put together by our Chef Teresa Pert and her team.  The meal will be served at 6pm and made from local wild ingredients.  Light snacks, Pegasus Bay wines and local beer will be available for purchase during the afternoon.  prize giving will be after dinner at 730pm.  Lots and lots of fun to be had!

So team up, get out there with the kids, hunt, fish, forage.. check out the Local Wild Food Challenge Facebook page for ideas from previous LWFC around the globe  It can be anything with at least one wild ingredient: frozen, fermented, liquid, savoury or sweet…. the options are endless!

Register online  and book your tickets for dinner from

We look forward to welcoming you soon! only 7 weeks to go!!




Striped Bass (or Mussels) Salad

Try this salad with fresh ocean fish using wild cress and arugula, corn off the grill, lardons (crispy bacon), roasted fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes and herbs from the garden. We also make this salad a lot at home in New Zealand using fresh Green Lip Mussels cooked on the barbeque.

Striped Bass

1 side of Striped Bass, skinned and seared or hot smoked, or try Mussels pre-cooked on the barbeque
1/2 fennel bulb – sliced finely
1 bunch watercress
2 handfuls arugula/rocket
12 cherry or grape tomatoes – halved
1 avocado – large dice
1 cup bacon (lardons) – diced & cooked until crisp
2 ears sweet corn – grilled & kernels cut from cob
1 1/2 cups fingerling or new potatoes – diced, tossed in olive oil, seasoned, roasted until crisp & golden
2 1/2 lemons
1 handful each of fresh basil, tarragon, dill & chervil
extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Use a big wide shallow platter for this salad as it looks great as a centrepiece. Take the watercress and arugula and scatter across the platter. Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze half a lemon over the greens and season. Starting with the potatoes, corn, bacon and then fennel, begin to build your salad by scattering these ingredients over the greens. Finish with the tomatoes, avocado and herbs. Make sure you simply tear the basil, dill and chervil rather than chop them. For the tarragon, pick off the leaves, stack them and slice fine.  Again, distribute the herbs randomly over the platter. Now take your seafood and place chunks throughout the salad. (If pan searing, drizzle the pan juices over the fish too.) Finally, zest the 2 lemons over the whole salad. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, squeeze the lemon juice over that and season. Serve with warm ciabatta bread.

Rosemary and Lavender Cookies

We collected wild lavender for these crispy buttery cookies. You could substitute any herb. They’re delicious served with yogurt, panna cotta, or gelato in matching flavours like honey or vanilla.Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 11.44.22 AM

1 cup butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary & lavender
½ tsp sea salt

  • Preheat the oven to 375F
  • Beat butter and sugar until pale & fluffy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla.
  • Add flour, herbs and salt, and mix until combined.
  • Divide dough into two logs.
  • Roll in baking paper to 1½ inches in diameter and transfer to freezer until firm.
  • Slice into ¼ inch thick rounds and space 1 inch apart on a lined baking tray.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven until edges are golden, about 20 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.