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Potato power

Electrical wall made from potatoes

A food-based charging solution: an organic charging wall made from 800 potatoes and apples.

Creating an electrical current from vegetables and/or fruit has long been the stuff of science class experiments; but this part science experiment, part art installation, and part publicity stunt, took school science experiments to the extreme, with a smartphone being charged in the process.

Recently in London, Caleb Charland hand-built a wall-based circuit from 800 potatoes, apples, copper wire and galvanised nails to create an electrical current which was then used to charge a smartphone.

Read more at: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/nokia-charges-lumia-930-800-potatoes-apples/#ixzz3Ai7qZ9Mi

Simon Gault “seriously impressed”

Simon Gault

TVNZ’s Masterchef Judge, Simon Gault, told students at the Auckland Regionals Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge, that he was “seriously impressed” and compared them to the select few who have done it on TV.  The College culinary teams were “better than many Masterchefs” he said.

Gault was one of four judges for the Auckland Regionals, where eight secondary school teams competed in a 90-minute Masterchef-style cook-off for just one spot in the Nationals. He will join the judging panel for the National final of the  Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge to be held at MIT in September.

North Shore’s Long Bay College student team of Kim Minseop and Lee Kiwon, won the Auckland Regional Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge.

Potato salad dreams

potato salad

Zack Brown was making potato salad and needed $10 for the ingredients.

He submitted his Kickstarter campaign to raise the $10 with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. His appeal is written in a hilarious, deadpan style. For instance, he notes in the Risks section of his campaign that, “It might not be that good. It’s my first potato salad. And I haven’t decided what kind yet.”

For contributors who pledge $1, Zack has committed to ,”say your name out loud while making the potato salad.” For those donating at the $20 “potato madness” level, Zack will, “write a (personalised) potato-salad themed haiku.” He will also, “carve your name into a potato that will be used in the potato salad.”

Zack raised over US$70,000.

To make your own delicious potato salad find a recipe here.


Vegetarian Dish Challenge winners

Winning dish in Dinner category

With the growing number of vegetarians in New Zealand, the challenge has been on for chefs from all backgrounds to create nutritious, well-balanced vegetarian dishes. Vegetables.co.nz, Choice Catering Equipment Ltd and Bidvest, a national food distributor, teamed up in 2014 to set a challenge for New Zealand chefs: to show their best vegetarian dish.

Chefs entered their dishes in three categories: Breakfast/brunch, Lunch, and Dinner/fine dining. They submitted their recipes featuring fresh New Zealand grown vegetables. Potatoes or kumara had to be the starch component.

The winner of the Breakfast/brunch category is Subhashini Sathanantham, The Riverhead, Auckland. Her dish is Golden kumara and red beetroot tart, quail eggs, cauliflower sausage, potato toast, garlic-infused vine tomatoes, buttered spinach and pumpkin hollandaise.

The winner of the Lunch category is Jinu Abraham, Heritage Hotel, Auckland. His dish is Organic tofu and pea stuffed potato, smoked tomato and onions

The winner of the Dinner/fine dining category is Ryan Tatterstall, Cobar Restaurant, Days Bay, Lower Hutt. His dish is Goats cheese, lavender and honey cannelloni with artichoke egg, artichoke purée, butterkin and fig

The Judges were Glenn Fulcher, City & Guilds, Regional Manager, Pacific; Andy Gibb, Chef Tutor, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore; Adrian Brett-Chinnery, Group Development Chef, Tanoa Hotel Group, Fiji; and Lauraine Jacobs, Food Columnist, NZ Listener. Culinary Ambassador, Jeremy Schmid, Head Chef, The Officers’ Mess, Devonport oversaw the competition.

2014 Vegetarian Dish Challenge finalists

Photo – A finalist’s dish.

The three finalists in each section have been chosen. Visit the 2014 Vegetarian Dish Challenge page to see their dishes. The winner of each section will be announced in July.

Breakfast/Brunch finalists

Hamish Scott, NZ Army, Burnham
Kiwi big breakfast vegetarian style

Logan Murray, Snack Out, Cambridge
Free range scrambled egg, sweetcorn croquette, charred tomato and haricot chutney

Subhashini Sathanantham, The Riverhead, Auckland
Golden kumara and red beetroot tart, quail eggs, cauliflower sausage, potato toast, garlic-infused vine tomatoes, buttered spinach and pumpkin hollandaise

Lunch finalists

Jinu Abraham, Heritage Hotel, Auckland
Organic tofu and pea stuffed potato, smoked tomato and onions

MacLean Fraser, Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Spiced carrot soup, beetroot and feta tart on kumara and chick pea salad and goat’s cheese soufflé.

Ziek Hudson, Brew’d, Eastborne
Vegetarian eggs in a bird’s nest

Dinner/Fine Dining finalists

Arnaud Vachet, the Langham Hotel, Auckland
New Zealand potato delight

Liam Dollimore, The Wellington Club
Baby beets with goats curd, kumara and carrot tahini

Ryan Tatterstall, Cobar Restaurant, Day’s Bay, Lower Hutt
Goats cheese, lavender and honey cannelloni with artichoke egg, artichoke purée, butterkin and fig


Famous people mention vegetables

“On Saturdays, my friends and I would go to San Francisco and have artichokes and cinnamon toast. We thought we were so elegant.” Julia Child

“My dream is to have a chicken from my yard and a leek from my garden.” Paul Bocuse

“Watercress potage is a good remedy to cleanse the blood in the spring, help headaches and consume the gross humours winter has left behind; those that would live in health may use it as they please, if they will not, I cannot help it.” Nicholas Culpepper

“Gaspacho is considered highly refreshing, an opinion that strikes me as rather rash, but, strange as it may seem the first time one tastes it, one ends by getting used to it and even liking it.” Theophile Gautier

Southern Secondary Schools’ Culinary Challenge Winners

Caption: Queen’s High School Culinary Arts students, Lauren Wright (left) and Abby Johnson, practising their knife skills.

Congratulations to Queen’s High School Culinary Arts students, Lauren Wright and Abby Johnson for their win in the Southern Secondary Schools’ Culinary Challenge held recently in Timaru. The duo had to prepare, cook and present four individually plated entrées and mains in 90 minutes.

The entrées had to contain fresh New Zealand-grown leek as the principal component, and the mains had to include at least three fresh New Zealand-grown vegetables and a chicken breast (skin on and bone in).

The culinary arts profession is filled with challenges – sharp knives, allergic reactions to certain nuts and spices, and hot stoves – however, leeks are not usually one of them. But leeks make Abby cry, even more so than onions, so slicing and dicing a lot of leeks for their entrée was definitely a challenge for her.

The duo won selection for the National Final against competitors from secondary schools from Christchurch to Invercargill, with their Leek, feta and humus tartlet with balsamic glaze entrée and their Chicken supreme with mushroom sauce, potato purée, tomato parachutes and buttered green beans main.

They won a gift pack from vegetables.co.nz, chefs jackets to wear at the final, and $1000 for travel to the final. Their school receives a $500 Bidvest voucher and 20 Dudson plates for Hospitality Competitions. Lauren and Abby said that they were looking forward to representing the southern region at the National Finals in Auckland, in September.


Fresh fruit and vegetables are eligible for Two Ticks

The National Heart Foundation has introduced a new member of the tick family – Two Ticks.

Over the last 18 months The Heart Foundation has been working to update the Tick programme. As a result they have launched a new logo for food groups that qualify for the Tick.

The new logo has Two Ticks which work in conjunction with the [one] Tick. Two Ticks will help consumers make heart healthy food choices for themselves and their families.

Consumers will be able to easily and quickly identify foods that are the healthier products within a category [Tick] and to be able to identify the core foods for a healthy diet [Two Ticks].

Foods featuring the Two Ticks logo are now available on supermarket shelves.

For more information visit http://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/healthy-living/healthy-eating/heart-foundation-tick/what-is-the-tick/two-ticks

Eggplants are hot!

It is time to add eggplant to your menu.

Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are hot on leading menus. Nopi, in Soho, serves roasted sliced aubergines with feta, coriander pesto, pomegranates and walnuts. At the Tapa Room, Peter Gordon serves it as babaganoush. In the States, Thomas Keller’s confit byaldi was made popular in the 2007 film ‘Ratatouille’.

Originally from south Europe, eggplant features in many cuisines including French – ratatouille, Greek – moussaka, Indian – baingan bharta, and Turkish – imam bayildi.

Eggplants can be fried, baked, grilled, steamed, served whole, sliced or diced. They are mild-flavoured and are typically cooked with stronger flavours such as garlic, tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices. Try slices of eggplant chargrilled, basted with garlic oil, topped with chopped Italian parsley; or coconut crumbed and panfried; or halved and stuffed with pork, garlic and onions and baked.

Try this delicious recipe from the recipe database – for more eggplant recipes type ‘eggplant’ into the search box on the home page.

Walnut stuffed eggplant rolls

Makes 8-10

olive oil
2 large eggplants, top and tailed
1 cup sundried tomato and Kalamata olive chutney
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Slice eggplants lengthwise into strips, about ½ cm wide. Heat a large frying pan. Add olive oil and eggplant slices. Fry on both sides until soft and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
Mix chutney and walnuts together and spread on the eggplant slices.  Roll up and serve sprinkled with parsley.

For more information about eggplants, visit the Eggplant Select a vegetable page.

Eating more vegetables leads to a lower risk of death

Basket of vegetables

A new University of the City of London (UCL) study has found that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

Researchers found that the more vegetables and fruit the participants ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day reduced risk of death at any point in time, by 42% compared to eating less than one portion a day.

The study found that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller 4% reduction.

This is the first study to link vegetable and fruit consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per portion, and the first to identify the individual benefits of fruit and vegetables.

“We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering,” said Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL, lead author of the study. “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you’re happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice, but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good. However, people shouldn’t feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables. In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one.”

Between 2001 and 2013, the researchers studied the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population. They worked out what effect fruit and vegetable intake had on the respondents’ risk of death. They found that people who ate at least seven portions a day had a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. This group also had a 31% lower risk of death caused by heart disease and stroke, and a 25% lower risk of death from cancer.

Photo: Foodfolio/Alamy

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