Culinary Adventures
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Sayonara Spring

Today is officially the last day of Spring before summer hits us tomorrow. I wrote a Spring To Do List at the start of September and managed to cross off 7 out of 10 items.

The aim of the list is to tend to my growing edge. Your growing edge is the part of you that is still learning, trying new things and experimenting. It’s the area of your life that you are improving and working on. It’s often too easy to keep cooking your favourite tried and true dishes and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I feel like there’s so many delicious things to eat and and so little time so I need to push forward to get anywhere. I first started writing a seasonal list this winter (mid 2011) and you can read my winter summary here.

Not only can you learn new things, but the unfamiliar or things that you shrink away from can become familiar to you with practice. It’s the initial leap that is the hardest. A couple on my list such as 3 and 8 were foods that I love eating when I go out. If you like something enough, it really is worth trying to recreate it at home. Not on my list, but another dish that was loved eating out and conquered eating in this spring was steamed garlic prawns. You can see the recipe here.

If you write a blog or even if you don’t, feel free to write a list of things that you have always wanted to do. Share them with me, or not. No biggie. But just think, a year from now, you will wish you had started today.

Here is a summary of my foodie to do list adventures this spring.

1. Eat a flower

Tofu the bunny adores flowers (pictured gobbling up sage flowers) and my flower eating involved cooked lavendar. The lavendar chicken dish I made was ok but the flavour of the lavender disappeared after cooking. I even gave polenta (from my winter to do list) a second chance. Read about it here.

I’m not posting the recipe because I’m not convinced it was good enough to share.

Lavender and honey chicken with cheesey fried polenta.

2. Forage something and cook with it

I’ve cooked with onion weed before and our spring bounty of onion weed was great for experimenting with.

I made onion weed potato cakes which would be a great party snack or picnic food. You can find the recipe for this here.

Foraged onion weed.

3. Make Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Before this spring, I’d failed at Vietnamese Spring Rolls once before. This time I was far more determined and confident I’d found the secret to making Vietnamese Spring Rolls. I got great feedback and tips on this dish and last week I tried a bastardised experimental version using ground beef and bacon. Now Vietnamese Spring Rolls are familiar to me and I won’t be shy about making them again. Read about my first and second attempts here and here.

4. Have a spring themed picnic

Fail. There were no picnics for me this spring. I hope there will be plenty of picnics this summer so I’ll pop this back on the next list in some shape or form.

5. Make a white sangria

Win! I made white and red on the same day. They were great fun and easy to drink. Find my recipe for both white and red sangria here.

White Sangria with Cointreau, Gin and Chardonnay.

6. Visit a new farmers’ market

There are heaps of Farmers’ Markets all over the country and they are a great way to buy fresh, real food. While I often go to City Farmers’ Market in Britomart or the French Markets in Parnell, I was curious to check out some unfamiliar local ones.

I visited 2 new farmers’ markets this spring and also saw a couple of Out Standing In Their Fields cooking demonstrations. I blogged about them here and here. I even managed to get down to Lyttelton this spring and checked out their great Farmers’ Market while I was down there. You can read about it here.

Parnell Farmers' Market Bounty: Ciabatta and kumara bambinos from Pukeko Bakery, smoked brie from NZ cheeseman, honey from J. Friend Co, Elderflower Sparkle in Blackcurrent by Aroha Drinks, egg shaped tomatoes and baby cos from Ray Chong.

7. Make macadamia and coriander pesto (using garden bounty).

Fail. The coriander seeds I planted didn’t sprout this spring. They worked last year, but maybe they’re too old now? We’ve eaten plenty of macadamia nuts from our tree though.

8. Make Oysters Kilpatrick

Wow. This was such a win. I adore raw oysters, but for cooked oysters these really are a fantastic option. I guess bacon, cheese and sauce can never go too wrong. The recipe and write up can be found here and this recipe will be a hit all summer.

Oysters Kilpatrick: bacon, cheese and yum.

9. Deal to a freshly caught fish

Nope, I didn’t meet with any fishing this spring.

10. Prepare a raw meal

Raw food can look so stunning on a plate. Raw fish being one of the more mainstream raw meats to eat, I paired 2 kinds of raw fish with fresh vegetables, orange and lemon. Read about it here.

Raw fish with citrus carrot-cucumber pappardalle.

So that’s it. Another season done. It goes so quickly and I’m happy I ate through most of the list.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting up my Summer To Do list. So buh-bye Spring and Hello Summer!

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I am Genie, a graphic designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Whanganui, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala and our two rabbits, Kobe and Bento. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person.

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