head The New Zealand Culinary Professionals Blog Home

NZ Vegetarian Dish Challenge – Finalists 2015

Vegetables.co.nz would like to congratulate all those who entered the competition this year. The judges have been working hard to get it down to nine finalists. The winner of each category will be crowned in July. Well done to all of those who have made it this far.

Brunch/ Breakfast

  • Kaylin Thomson – one80degrees restaurant, Copthorne Hotel, Oriental Bay
  • Luke McGowan – Dough Boys, Hamilton
  • MacLean Fraser, Artisan Restaurant, Bolton Hotel, Wellington


  • Cory Tappin, Rosebank Estate Winery, Christchurch
  • Marc Soper, Wharekauhau Estate, Palliser Bay
  • Michael Rylie, Clive River Bay, Hastings

Dinner/ Fine Dining

  • Cole Fallon, Wharekauhau Estate, Palliser Bay
  • Eugene Sokolovski, Ribier Restaurant, Huapai
  • Simon Green, Trinity Wharf, Tauranga

Guess this pumpkin’s weight

Kiran Hari from RCH produce and Herman van der Gulik from Enza Zaden were in Pukekohe with this  pumpkin. Vegetables.co.nz had a guess the weight of this pumpkin competition at the NZ Guild of Food Writers May Market day. The guild is the professional body for food journalists and others involved in writing about, presenting, promoting, illustrating, and teaching about the specialist area of food and beverages. All members, whether individual or corporate, interact with the public – through magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, book and magazine publishing, teaching, consultancy, PR, catering, and photography.

The pumpkin weighed 33.4kg and the seeds will be harvested.

New resource – Beetroot A4 poster


Whether you roast it, make it into soup or drink it as juice – beetroot is healthy and delicious. Open and download this poster here and try the recipes on it.

Beetroot contains a dietary significant amount of potassium and is a good source of folate.  Beetroot contains a unique group of red pigments called betalains, which may help boost the body’s detoxification processes and have anti-inflammatory activity.

To prepare beetroot – Trim root end and scrub. Leave skin intact until cooked to prevent colour loss. Peel or remove skin when cooked. For salads, use raw or cooked, grated or sliced. Peel, cut to size and roast; young beetroot may not need peeling. When boiling beetroot, do not break the skin or it will bleed and lose its colour. Before microwaving, pierce the skin or the beetroot may explode. The skin is easily removed once the beetroot is cooked. Wait until cool and rub the skin off.

For more information go to the Beetroot Select a vegetable page.

The recipes on the poster can also be found on the website: Beetroot and carrot juice; Beetroot with raisins; Beetroot and pumpkin seed salad; Cafe style soup; Roasted orange and vanilla beetroot.

For more beetroot recipes search for beetroot in the More vegetable ideas box on the home page.


Kids will eat their veggies if they taste good

School-aged children can learn to like healthy whole grains, fruits and vegetables, especially if they taste good.

A recent study found that “schools should not abandon healthier foods if they are initially met with resistance by students” according to lead author Juliana Cohen of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University. Children ate up to 30% more vegetables when school dinners were made more palatable with the help of a professional chef.

The research, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association’s website, highlighted the importance of focusing on the palatability of school meals and provides an encouraging sign in the battle to fight childhood obesity.

About 32 million children eat meals at American schools each day and many low-income students get up to half their daily calories from school meals.

Researchers conducted their trial during the 2011-2012 school year among 14 elementary and middle schools in two urban, low-income Massachusetts school districts. A total of 2,638 children participated in the study.

Source and photo: http://www.nzherald.co.nz

New resource now available – Snacks leaflet


Looking for healthy snacks? Our new Snacks on Trend leaflet is now available.

In this leaflet you will find ideas for tasty snacks including the ultra trendy Potato skins as well as other delicious suggestions.

Go to the Resources section and either choose to download the leaflet or order printed copies.


Vegetables are good for your bones


To build and maintain strong bones you need adequate amounts of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K.

These three nutrients work in conjunction to build and repair bones, with vitamins D and K playing a central role in helping your body absorb calcium.

Both vegetables and fruits promote bone health by neutralising blood, which helps to reduce the loss of calcium from your body and, in particular, your bones.

Certain vegetables provide calcium as well as vitamin K, a nutrient equally important to bone health. Green vegetables are the primary source of vitamin K and also provide calcium.

Kale, for example, can go toe-to-toe with many healthy dairy products when it comes to the amount of calcium per serving.

A single serve (75g) of kale provides 150 mg of calcium – 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Kale is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and it contains copper, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese – a truly super vegetable.

For more information visit the kale select a vegetable page.

Source veggycation.com.au

The new 3 minutes max rule

A new New Zealand-Australian study has undertaken research to separate the facts from the old wives’ tales and provides a new ’3 minute max’ cooking guideline for steaming and stir-frying vegetables that optimises their taste and nutrition.
Steaming has very low water contact that leaves vegetables brightly coloured, crunchy and tasting great, and minimises loss of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C.
Stir-frying includes the addition of a small amount of oil that makes fat-soluble vitamins and phytonutrients (like beta-carotene in carrots which makes vitamin A) more available to our body.
Alternatively, a good cooking option for starchy root vegetables is oven-baking, which allows the release of energy and makes fibre available to our body.

Source: veggycation.com.au

Why chillis are hot and mint is cold

Taste is the sensation produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on our tastebuds. The heat sensation in chilli peppers is caused by capsaicin, a colourless, odourless, oily chemical found in chilli peppers.

Capsaicin binds with sensory neurons which trick your body into thinking that it is experiencing excessive amounts of heat in the area that the capsaicin comes into contact with, even though no actual physical burning is taking place.

Conversely the chemical in mint, menthol, makes us think the area of skin touching the menthol is cold, by binding with cold-sensitive receptors, and tricks your brain into thinking you are feeling a cold sensation when in fact everything is more or less the same temperature as before.

For more information go to the chilli peppers page or the fresh herbs and garnishes section on mint.

Reference Dr Jocelyn Eason, NZ Herald February 16, 2015

Enjoy a delicious fresh salad with roast lamb to celebrate National Lamb Day

Sweet marjoram lamb with summer leaves

Add delicious fresh vegetables to roast lamb to celebrate National Lamb Day.

The industry hope Kiwis here and around the world will recognise this incredible feat and celebrate it by enjoying lamb for dinner on Sunday February 15, which is National Lamb Day.

This year marks the 133rd anniversary of one of the most significant milestones in New Zealand’s sheep meat industry. On this day in 1882, William Davidson and Thomas Brydone achieved the remarkable, by launching the first shipment of frozen sheep meat from Port Chalmers in Otago on the Dunedin, bound for London.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Rod Slater says this day also gives New Zealanders an opportunity to recognise the hard work of our farmers and as a nation, a reason to be proud.

“So let us here in New Zealand celebrate with some delicious New Zealand lamb,” says Mr Slater.

Sweet marjoram lamb with summer leaves includes baby cos, baby spinach, radishes and marjoram.


Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” – the words of Michael Pollan, whose latest book Cooked- a natural history of transformation, is a ‘why cook?’ cookbook.

Many people don’t cook due to lack of time and Pollan aims to show people how interesting home cooking can be.

“Cooks get to put their hands on real stuff, not just keyboards and screens but fundamental things like plants and animals and fungi.  They get to work with primal elements, too, fire and water, earth and air, using them – mastering them! – to perform their tasty alchemies.’

In a culture of celebrity chefs and food reality shows, in countries which are crammed with fresh ingredients flown in from every corner of the Earth, we nonetheless year-on-year wade ever deeper into a great swamp of processed foods. The more we watch food on television, the less food we actually prepare and cook.

Michael Pollan’s marvellous new book is a clarion-call for the virtues and values of proper cooking – an essential, defining human activity which sits at the heart of our cultures, shapes family life and is in itself hugely enjoyable. In a series of brilliantly observed encounters with chefs from around the world, Pollan takes us on a journey through the fundamentals of cooking, uncovering the inner mysteries of everything from tiny specks of yeast to a whole hog roast.  The result is an extremely funny and surprising book that encourages us to revel in the magical activity of making food.”

Michael Pollan’s Cooked – a Natural history of Transformation is published by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin.

Source: Penguin.com.au

Subscribe to News blog by email