Photo of Kazzes Thai Yellow Curry with Fish

Kazze’s Thai Yellow Curry with Fish

Kazze aka Karla Meharry one of the four Whakatāne LWFC judges and a local hunter, gatherer and passionate foodie shares one of her favourite fish curries.

2 T Peanut Oil
1 Onion – Finely Diced
1 Stalk of Lemon Grass (white part bruised – then thinly slice)
¼ Cup Thai Yellow Curry Paste (put less in for less heat – Yellow is the mildest Thai Curry – 1 T should be plenty if you like things Mild)
1 Can Coconut Cream
½ Cup Fish Stock
Juice of ½ Lime
1 T Palm Sugar (Can use Brown Sugar if you prefer)
Fresh Chopped Coriander + some to garnish
500g Fresh Firm White Fish – cubed or in steaks.
Salt to taste


  1. Heat Oil in heavy deep-based pan or wok over high heat.
  2. Add onion, stir-fry for 2 minutes, add the lemon grass and curry paste. Stir-fry for a few minutes to release the curry flavours.
  3. Open coconut cream and spoon the thick top layer into the pan/wok and stir fry for a few minutes, add remainder of can, fish stock, 1 T lime juice and sugar and
    1 t salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium.
  5. Add more salt if required.
  6. Add the chopped Coriander
  7. Add fish and heat through until just cooked, don’t over cook and make sure it does not boil. Or alternatively you can now use the sauce to pour over hot pan seared fish steaks. Sprinkle with extra chopped Coriander.

Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and enjoy!

Final judge announced for WhakatāneLocal Wild Food Challenge

The fourth and final judge for Whakatāne’s inaugural Local Wild Food Challenge has been announced.

Peter Gasson previously worked as a chef in the Royal New Zealand Navy and spent the last ten years working as the CEO of the Bondi RSL in Australia, a role that saw him managing five bars and two restaurants. Together with his wife and two children he now calls Whakatane home and has just opened Giordano’s Wine Bar and Italian BBQ at the Tuscany Villas Boutique Hotel.

Mr Gasson says that he will be looking for innovation, flavour, and of course presentation, but he stressed that the strength of the Challenge is that it is open to everyone and anyone could be a winner. “As long as you have a wild ingredient – and that can be something you grew in your back yard, caught or gathered – you are in to win,” he says.

Nicola Burgess, Whakatane District Council Events and Tourism Advisor, says she is hoping for plenty of entries from locals and visitors who’ve got an interest in local food – kids and adults, gardeners, hunters, gatherers and food lovers and chefs. “We’ve got such an abundant region with the sea, rivers and land so there’s plenty of scope for entries, and entry is free. It’s going to be really interesting to see what entrants come up with,” she says. “So get out and about and fish, gather and forage and bring along your dish. There’ll be cookers, BBQ’s and smokers there to finish off your cooking before presenting it to the judges.”

The Local Wild Food Challenge starts at 10am on 16 January 2016 at the Mataatua Wharenui, and entry registrations will be accepted up until 2pm on the day.

Or register online here now.

Mussels Marinara a la Mawera!

Mawera KaretaiMawera Karetai is a mum, wife, company director, RMA commissioner, wild food lover and writer – and a judge in the Whakatāne Local Wild Food Challenge; here she shares one of her favourite seafood recipes. You can find more recipes and more about mawera at

Mussels are a superfood – and a delicious one! They are a go-too food for me when I have been burning the candle at both ends and am in need of some energy-giving goodness. Readily available the Eastern Bay here if you have a snorkel, and if you don’t, they are pretty cheap at the store.

Green-lipped mussels are a good source of protein, with 18.8 grams per 100-gram serving of cooked mussels. This provides 41 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of protein for women and 34 percent of the RDA of protein for men. A 100-gram serving of cooked green-lipped mussels has 10.9 milligrams of iron, providing over 100 percent of the RDA for people over the age of 50. It also provides 61 percent of the RDA for women under the age of 50. Iron is essential for overall health as it helps your body produce red blood cells.

It helps make hemoglobin and myoglobin, two oxygen-carrying proteins.

An essential vitamin, vitamin B-12, like iron, is necessary for the production of red blood cells. It also helps with DNA production and aids in your nervous system function. A 100-gram serving of cooked green-lipped mussels has 20 micrograms of vitamin B-12, which provides over 100 percent of the RDA of vitamin B-12. The RDA ranges from 2.4 to 2.8 micrograms, with pregnant and breast-feeding women requiring more. Extra vitamin B-12 is stored in the liver and is water-soluble, but there is little chance of vitamin B-12 toxicity from too much vitamin B-12, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Green-lipped mussels are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, with over 40 percent of their total fat content coming from omega-3s. Your body is unable to produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own, and seafood, such as green-lipped mussels, is one of the richest sources of these polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reduced inflammation and lowered chances of heart disease and arthritis. They also help with brain function.Mussels Marinara a la Mawera!

Serves: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped tomato
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
2kgs fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 pack of dry spaghetti, cooked
Basil sprigs (optional)


Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add tomato and next 7 ingredients (tomato through bay leaves); cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

Add mussels; cover and cook 10 minutes or until mussels open.

Discard bay leaves and any unopened shells.

Remove mussels with a slotted spoon, and divide into 5 individual shallow bowls. Spoon tomato mixture over mussels.

Serve over spaghetti. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired.


Meet the Judges of the Whakatāne Local Wild Food Challenge

The judges for the inaugural Local Wild Food Challenge in Whakatāne have now been announced.

Virginia Jeeves, Mawera Karetai, and Karla Meharry will preside and are looking forward to seeing what Eastern Bay locals come up with for the event that kicks off on 16 January at the Mataatua Wharenui. Now held in five countries around the world, the Challenge is a culinary adventure that encourages people to get out and source local wild ingredients and use them in an innovative way.

Virginia Jeeves, a food writer and the editor of La Vita magazine, says she believes that game is the star of the show. “Originality and presentation go hand in hand,” she says. “So I will be looking for originality , quality and freshness that are presented in a prestigious way – full of taste but not overkilled with too many flavours. Just let the gamey flavour shine through!”

“Originality and presentation go hand in hand…”

Mawera Karetai, aka the Wild Cook, said she was looking forward to the event and to seeing it become a regular fixture. “We are very fortunate here in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, with incredible diversity in the wild food available to us. I am expecting delicious food; a celebration of that diversity!”

Karla Meharry, who describes herself as a local hunter, gatherer and passionate foodie, says she is keen to see “some wild passion on a plate”, as well as individuality combined with amazing flavours and presentation. “I am also excited to see if we have anyone that will prepare a wild vegetarian dish, as we have an abundance of wild fresh fruit and vegetables in the Bay, and this for me would give the competition an exciting twist.”

The event is being hosted by Mataatua, Te Manuka Tutahi, and Mataatua’s Wetini Paul says the Local Wild Food Challenge is not just a great chance for local gourmets to showcase their talents but a fantastic day out for all the family. “We will have food stalls, cooking displays, entertainment and of course the Challenge itself,” he says. “It’s going to be an exciting day, and we are looking forward to making this an annual event that brings people to our District and shows them what a great place we live in, and hosting the event at Mataatua, Te Manuka Tutahi, adds a cultural ambience to the Challenge that is really unique.”

10 days until the Whakatāne Local Food Challenge!