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Summertime is salad time!

Create your own signature salad with an array of great New Zealand grown fresh vegetables.  Whether you are making the salad a meal or an accompaniment, it’s time to get adventurous and let your culinary imagination explore some new combos.

Try these delicious and colourful combos:

- add radish and or celery leaves to salad greens

- julienne the stems of cauliflower or broccoli and add to potato salads for extra crunch

- peel strips of cucumber, carrot and fennel

- toss grated raw carrot and beetroot with some chilli sauce for a fiery red salad

- dress coleslaw with peanut oil and garnish with plenty of chopped mint

- cook extra potatoes or kumara and use them the next day as the basis of a salad

- try chilled salads like gazpacho

- stir spinach leaves through warm salads

- use a variety of raw, blanched, roasted or chargrilled vegetables

Happy salad-summer days!


The complete pizza oven – a new book by Alan Brown

We congratulate Chef Alan Brown on his new book – here is our review.

The Complete Pizza Oven by Alan Brown. Published by Bateman, November 2014

Alan Brown is arguably New Zealand’s most highly awarded chef tutor, holding the AUT Vice Chancellor’s Academic Excellence Award and the City & Guilds’ International medal of excellence.

He demonstrates his array of talents with food, his cookery skills, and his friends and colleagues in this comprehensive, attractive book.

After building his pizza oven 5 years ago, Alan noticed the lack of information available for pizza oven owners – this book fills the gap magnificently. There are  scrumptious recipes with great photos of pizzas, seafood, joints of meat, vegetables, desserts, bread and brunch the next day, all cooked in the pizza oven.

Immediately you look at the book, if you don’t have one already, you will want to rush out and build a pizza oven – and you can, by following the ‘How to’ instructions in this book.

However, you can use the recipes in a regular oven while you wait for the pizza oven to be finished!

Congratulations Alan, on a wonderful book – we highly recommended it.


New Zealand Population Health Congress


The inaugural New Zealand Population Health Congress was held in Auckland in late 2014. Over 600 delegates attended the Congress which was run by the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, the Public Health Association and the Health Promotion Forum.

The Congress delivered three days of stimulating educational sessions which provided opportunities to learn, discuss, and share knowledge and experiences in the latest advances of population health thinking and practice.

Vegetables.co.nz had a stand to showcase our range of resources. Have you visited vegetables.co.nz and checked out the resources lately?

Vegetables.co.nz Resource section

Gluten-free mania to liven up fresh food

Analyst Insight by Simone Baroke – Consulting Analyst (above)

Gluten-free eating is taking the world by storm. But it is not just all about gluten-free pasta, bread and biscuits. Exciting new opportunities are also emerging for fresh food, including starchy roots, vegetables and pulses.

The new generation of gluten-free consumers is really not that difficult to cater for as it cares less about purity, and more about choice and variety. In the past, the only people avoiding gluten were those individuals suffering from coeliac disease, an auto-immune condition in which the consumption of gluten causes the body to attack its own digestive tract. Nowadays, however, a growing number of consumers are eschewing gluten because they believe that their bodies are sensitive to this cereal protein in some way. They attribute a wide variety of persistent symptoms to gluten sensitivity.

There is also have the potential for vegetables to benefit. Weight-conscious gluten avoiders, in particular, are partial to replacing the carbohydrate part of a meal with vegetables, especially dense-textured types like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas.

Read the full article here:


Use vegetable or olive oil in place of coconut oil

The New Zealand Heart Foundation is advising Kiwis to continue using unsaturated plant oils rather than switching to coconut oil as their main cooking oil.

Coconut oil has recently gained popularity as a result of heavy marketing in both the US and Australasia. There is widespread misinformation about the health benefits of coconut oil, with claims of it being a ‘superfood’.

In light of this, the NZ Heart Foundation recently commissioned Dr Laurence Eyres, New Zealand’s leading specialist in oils and fats, to prepare an academic paper called ‘Coconut Oil and the Heart’.

Dr Eyres has summarised the existing literature on coconut oil and its impact on heart health. He found nothing which disputes the fact that coconut oil raises cholesterol.

He concludes that the claims for coconut oil’s healthiness simply don’t stack up.

“Traditionally, coconut oil hasn’t been recommended because it is extremely high in saturated fat. This advice remains, despite the large number of marketing claims to the contrary.”

He says switching to coconut oil is likely to lead to less favourable lipid profiles and potential increased risk of coronary heart disease.

“Consumers who are using a lot of coconut oil due to the current fad would be well advised to either limit its use, or to blend in some unsaturated cold-pressed oil such as olive, avocado or canola oil. Although it may be a better choice than butter, coconut oil cannot be recommended as a suitable alternative to non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.”

Dr Eyres says the wide range of research often quoted to support the use of coconut oil is largely based on animal studies or interpreted from research on medium-chain triglyceride (MCTs) oils. But the triglycerides in coconut oil cannot actually be classed as MCTs, which means this research is not relevant.

Nutrition information panels now on Select a vegetable page


Most vegetables in the Select a vegetable section now have nutrition information panels. The nutrition information is from a New Zealand source – The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables 10th Edn, Plant & Food Research 2014. If no New Zealand information is available, data from Fruits & Veggies More Matters or the USDA National Nutrient Database for standard reference has been used.

These panels provide information on the average amount of energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (a component of salt) in the food, as well as any other nutrients about which a nutrition claim is made. For example, if a food had a ‘good source of dietary fibre’ claim then the amount of dietary fibre in the food must be shown in the nutrition information panel. The nutrition information panel must be presented in a standard format which shows the average amount per serve and per 100g (or 100ml if liquid) of the food. For more information go to the Select a vegetable index page.

Source: FSANZ 2012

US First Lady says…

Sesame Street
“Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips. It can happen,” US First Lady Michelle Obama said recently.

Children who were given a choice between eating an apple, a cookie or both ,mostly chose the cookies, she said, referring to a study by Cornell University researchers. When they were given the same choice with apples that had Elmo [a Sesame Street character] stickers,

Children ages 3 to 5 are five times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more info read this article from the Baltimore Sun

Curious and creative

VegetablesA recent New Zealand study shows that people who ate more fruits and vegetables reported higher than average levels of curiosity, creativity, and positive emotions, as well as engagement, meaning and purpose.

New Zealand researchers have found a link between eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and experiencing a higher level of eudaemonic well-being. In this study, recently published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, 405 university students kept a daily diary for 13 consecutive days. Each day, they recorded the number of servings they had of fruits, vegetables, desserts and various fried-potato dishes.

They also filled out a daily questionnaire intended to measure creativity, curiosity, and psychological flourishing. Specifically, they responded to statements such as “Today, I was engaged and interested in my daily activities” on a 1-7 scale (“strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”).  They also responded to additional items designed to measure their general emotional state that day.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/16/broccoli-happiness_n_5682092.html?utm_hp_ref=diet-and-nutrition

Inglorious fruit and vegetables

Intermarché, the third biggest grocer in France, launched a campaign called (in English), ‘the inglorious fruits and vegetables’. They discounted produce that didn’t look perfect, created some well-designed ads, and gave them some serious publicity.

Check out this YouTube clip.

Shoppers have come to expect standard, blemish-free fruit and vegetables, but that is not how they grow. Currently, in the EU, produce that doesn’t make the grade ends up in the bin, but a movement in France aims to change that and to get people not only buying those fruits and vegetables, but actually seeking them out. It couldn’t be more timely given that 2014 is the European year against food waste.



NSSCC 2014 winners

NSSCC winnersChakkapong Klahan, Erin Hall, Quinton Gately, Louis Clark

Congratulations to Nelson College students, Chakkapong Klahan and Louis Clark for winning the 2014 National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition.

Judge Glenn Fulcher said:
“It was an amazing event and the calibre of food was up there with Junior Chefs in the 2nd or 3rd year of training. All nine teams worked exceptionally hard to be worthy of the National final and they didn’t disappoint.

Each school had planned and executed their dish in the best way possible during a heated competition.

It makes me very proud to be part of such a fantastic event and helping unearth the future stars of the industry I love so much. I think we are in safe hands if these guys are anything to go by.”


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