Posted on : 08-11-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Travelling
Hi, this week I am away in Nelson situated at the very top of the south island of New Zealand. I’m a guest speaker at an Aquaculture conference and my presentation will be about the benefits of Omega 3 in one’s diet, and ways to promote it’s health benefits. It’s been wonderful here so far, am thoroughly enjoying being back in the heartland of New Zealand, even if it is only for a week. I thought I’d post a few of my powerpoint slides here to give you a little taste of what it is I am going to be talking about.
By the way, if ever there was an idyllic place to grow up as a kid, two of the pics here show that place: Matauri Bay in another (northern) part of New Zealand, sometimes called “The Winterless North”, with views out over the Cavalli Islands … my husbands home for the first six years of his life!
Posted on : 19-04-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Traditions
“See that manuka tree over there?” My father-in-law pointed to a lonely manuka by a small stream cutting through a horse paddock. “That’s where a cart fell on Te Kooiti’s leg and broke it. He died three days later. As a child my grandmother used to sit me down by that tree and tell me that story over and over again. I used to think: Oh no, not the same story again! Now I understand.”
For years my father-in-law, Haare Williams, has told us about how he grew up with his grandparents in a raupo hut on the side of a hill by the Ohiwa Harbour. They were given a strip of land where Te Kooiti, the famous Maori chief, was mortally wounded to be the kaitiaki (caretakers) of this historic, some would say, sacred spot.
Here’s my question: Is it possible to make a wholemeal version of rewena paraoa (potato bread) that looks and tastes good? For the past month I have been experimenting. Rewena comes from the Maori word for potato – rewa, and paraoa means bread in Maori. Before Europeans arrived in New Zealand there was no potato, flour or sugar. Kumara, a type of sweet potato, was one of the main carbohydrate or energy sources for Maori. But this tropical plant was hard work to grow in New Zealand’s cool climate. Potatoes are different. Just throw them in the ground and they pretty much grow anywhere – my type of plant. So it was no wonder the potato soon took over from kumara as the staple food.
I figure the rewena recipe developed as most recipes do – by using the ingredients at hand – in this case potatoes, white flour, sugar and salt. I’d love to know how it started. Perhaps someone accidentally left a pot of boiled potatoes sitting in the sun for a couple of days and noticed that it had fermented. It wouldn’t have looked too great but maybe they recognised the yeasty smell and decided it could be made into bread. If anyone knows the true history, please let me know.
Am I the only one who is constantly tidying up recklessly discarded shoes from the front entrance? Here I am again picking up my son’s grubby, child-beaten school shoes. I open the shoe cupboard and am hit by the most awful stench. I sniff the shoes in my hands. Boy, my son’s feet must have stunk at school today. But no. The putrid smell isn’t the shoes; it’s coming from the cupboard. Oh no – it’s the rewena bread!
The other night I boiled a potato in unsalted water, just like the my Nanna’s rewena recipe said. I mashed it and added a teaspoon of sugar and some flour, then put it on the hot water cylinder to ferment overnight. Unfortunately the hot water cylinder is in the stinky shoe cupboard. Goodness knows what sort of spores are floating around in there. Whatever they are, they are NOT GOOD. One night in the stinky shoe cupboard and my innocent potato water, sugar and flour has fermented into a thick, stinking cheesy mass – gross.