Slow Food, founded in 1986, is an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Though a variety of initiatives it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction. It now boasts over 100,000 members in 153 countries.

Slow Food Auckland, formerly Slow Food Waitakere, is registered as a charitable entity. Registration Number: CC38263, please click here to read our Rules and Regulations

Friday, November 27, 2009

Celebrate Terra Madre Day

Slow Food celebrates Terra Madre Day

Ranui Community Gardens invites you to a celebration at the gardens on Saturday the 5th December from 11am to 2pm at 22 Marinich Drive, Ranui celebrating the wonderful diversity of our community, the locally grown vegetables in our garden, and a year full of achievements:
the wonderful perimeter fence
the planting of flax and the tropical garden
the building of a community plot and the local growers
Slow Food Waitakere invites you to celebrate Terra Madre Day with us at the garden and take a look at our Slow Food Kitchen garden, the work of the children in the first Slow Food Class and to help us plant seedlings of food plants to grow up the new perimeter fence and community plots outside the garden. There may even be a chance of getting some fresh veges.

Meet us there - just look for the red snail in the first plot on the left as you go into the garden.


Photo by Brian Dowling

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slow Food Waitakere Japanese Cooking Class

Michiko and Tomo, mother and daughter, took us on a Japanese journey and made it simple and delicious.

From ordinary garden vegetables emerged delicious miso soup, sesame flavoured tofu salad with silver beet, a lettuce salad with seaweed and a simple dressing of oil, tamari and lemon juice. We used fresh shirataki mushrooms, simmered with ground beef, leek and silver beet, learning how to use mirin, sake and dashi to create a mouthwatering simmering sauce. Then we discovered okara – a by product of tofu production – and how we could make great little chicken nuggets and even chocolate brownie cakes with this little known gem. The miso soup was delicate and fresh, using kelp, miso, spring onions and dried bonito flakes to create a very nutritious food. Some of us even mastered the stuffed rice balls – in triangle shapes. Michiko treated us to a real surprise at the end of the class with green tea ice cream and a dessert made of adzuki beans – amazing!

We also learned about the suribachi – the handmade grooved mortar bowl for crushing the likes of sesame seeds and the surikogi, the wooden pestle made from the Japanese pepper tree, which add its own flavour to whatever is being ground up.

One of the most endearing parts of the class was just as we were ready to eat the wonderful food, and in a very “Slow Food” way spoke the Japanese word “Itadkimasu” which means " I deeply appreciate the lives of animals and plants that I have taken, and respectfully receive them for my own life." It acknowledges the sacrifices made by other lives that enable us to continue to live, and expresses gratitude toward the all mighty nature.

It was a great way to spend a few hours on a drizzly spring Sunday and Slow Food Waitakere is grateful for the generous donation of tofu, and other products from The Organic Soy Company in Henderson.

It was a really great lesson in how simple and delicious Japanese cooking can be with expert instruction.

Karen Perri

Miso soup味噌汁 

1 tofu, 1cm cube cut

1 pinch dried wakame seaweed, soaked in a bowlful of water to reconstitute

45g miso

spring onion, finely chopped for topping

<dashi (broth)>

600cc water

20g dried bonito flakes

10cm dried konbu kelp, lightly wiped with dry cloth (do not wipe off white stuff on the surface as it contains flavor and nutrition)

  1. Place konbu in a pot and fill it with cold water. Leave it at least 1 hour
  2. After letting it stand for at least 1 hour, bring the pot to near boiling. Remove the konbu just before water is fully boiling
  3. When water is boiled , add bonito flake and turn off the heat.
  4. Wait until all the dried bonit flakes sink to the pot bottom. Strain the liquid through a sieve or remove bonito flakes with chopsticks. This broth is called ”ichiban dashi”
  5. Add tofu, reconstituted wakame and add the miso gradually into the dashi while dissolving on a ladle.
  6. Turn off the heat just before coming to the boil. Never bring miso soup to boil
  7. Ladle into individual bowls and sprinkle shopped spring onion to serve

*Ichiban dashi (the first broth) can be too thick for miso soup, so you may want to adjust by adding water. You can reuse the bonito flakes and konbu from ichiban dashi by adding another small amount of bonito flakes to make “niban dashi” (the second broth). Niban dashi is less thick and more suitable for miso soup.

*Basic ratio of miso and dashi : 1 Tbsp (15cc) miso to 200cc dashi

Marinated tofu & silverbeet 豆腐とシルバービートのサラダ

1 tofu, 1cm cube cut

1bunch silverbeet, chopped

Soy sauce (or tamari)


1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 Tbsp white sesame seeds

4 Tbsp soy sauce (or Tamari)

1 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp vinegar (or 1/2 lemon juice )

1 Tbsp sugar

1 pinch salt

  1. Put the tofu (1cm cube cut) in a bowl and pour a small amount of soy sauce over them
  2. Place silverbeet in boiling water and cook it for a few minutes
  3. Toast the white sesame seeds. Grind them in a grinding bowl while they are still hot. Add all dressing ingredients (spring onion, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, salt) into the griding bowl
  4. Place the tofu and silverbeet into the griding bowl and mix well with the dressing

*You can also add other veges (spinach, soy bean sprouts, or carrots)

Nori & lettuce salad レタスのノリサラダ

1/2 – 1 lettuce

1-2 sheets of nori, torn to preferred size

soy sauce (or tamari)

oil (for dressing – can be sesame oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc)

lemon juice

  1. Wash the lettuce and cut it into your preferred size, drain water well
  2. Place them on a plate, place nori on top, then pour soy sauce, oil and lemon juice

Okara nuggets おからナゲット

500g okara (tofu by-product)

500g chicken mince

1 onion, finely chopped

1 potato, grated

2 eggs

6 Tbsp potato starch

3 tsp soup stock

1 pinch nutmeg, salt, pepper

100cc water

oil (for pan frying)

tomato ketchup (for topping)

  1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Mix them until the whole mixture becomes thick and soft. Shape the mixture into small nuggets
  2. Pan fry both sides with lots of oil (half-deep frying)
  3. Serve them with tomato ketchup

Rice balls おにぎり

    500-1kg medium grain rice, cooked

    your favorite stuffing and topping (miso, sesame seeds, pickled plum, canned tuna, etc)

nori seaweed



  1. Put a handful of cooked rice lightly into a small rice bowl, make an indentation at the center of the rice, tuck in whichever stuffing you prefer
  2. Moisten your hands, and spread a small amount of salt over the palms
  3. Transfer the rice in the bowl to one hand, and form into a ball lightly while rolling in both hands. Make sure that the position of the stuffing comes to the center
  4. To make a triangle rice roll, transfer the rice in the bowl to the palm of the left hand, and angle the right palm. Roll the rice counterclockwise in both hands while maintaining the angle of the right palm to make it into a triangle. Wrap the roll with a nori seaweed.

Japanese style tofu hamburger steak 豆腐とチキンの和風ハンバーグ

200g chicken mince

1 tofu (1 TONZU = 275g)

1 small onion, chopped

1 egg

2 sliced bread

1 pinch salt & pepper

daikon Sauce>

1 bag mushroom

1 daikon (Chinese long white radish), grated

soy sauce (or tamari)


1 lemon,

1 bunch spring onion, finely chopped

*Normally topped with thin chopped perrila leaves (hard to find in NZ!) - can be substituted with chopped mint or/and basil leaves .

  1. Put the tofu and bread in a large bowl and hand-mix them until the whole mixture becomes thick and soft.
  2. Add onion, egg, salt, pepper and hand-mix them well
  3. Shape the mixture into burgers
  4. Pan fry both sides until the surface is nice brow, then cover with a lid and simmer it over a low heat
  5. When burgers are cooked take them out to a plate.
  6. Using the same pan make the mushroom & daikon sauce - cook mushrooms and add grated s soy sauce, water (or dashi), then bring to the boil with a lid.
  7. Pour cooked mushroom & daikon sauce over the burgers.
  8. Serve them with lemon and finely chopped spring onions on top of the dish.

You can also use leek, carrots or soy bean sprouts for the sauce

Grated daikon is normally used raw. Instead of cooking with mushroom you can add grated daikon on top of the dish just before serving. Raw daikon in summer can be a bit hot spicy.

Simmered tofu & beef - Sukiyaki style すき焼き風肉豆腐

2 tofu, 1 cm cube cut

1 leek, diagonal cut

1 bunch silverbeet, chopped

400g beef mince

1 bag shirataki (devil’s tongue)


4 Tbsp sake (rice wine)

100cc dashi (broth)

4 Tbsp mirin

3-5 Tbsp sugar (adjust for your preference)

100cc soy sauce (or tamari)

  1. Cut veges into lengths that are easy to eat. (tofu 1cm cube cut, leek, diagonal cut)
  2. Wash shirataki with water (or pour boiled water over) and drain on a sieve. Cut them into lengths that are easy to eat
  3. Mix sake, dashi, mirin, sugar, soy sauce in another bowl to prepare simmering sauce
  4. Heat a pan (or pot) and cook the beef mince, then place tofu, shirataki, leek and silverbeet
  5. Pour the simmering sauce over and turn up the heat with a lid until the beef mince is cooked.

*It taste better to serve next day as flavor is more settled

*You can also pour 1-2 raw egg (beaten) in the end and simmer it with a lid until eggs are cooked to your preference.

Before a meal you should say:

“ Itadakimasu ” いただきます

And after:

“ Gochisou sama deshita ” ごちそうさまでした

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slow Food Waitakere Gardening class

Slow Food Waitakere Gardening Class

After successfully applying for funding from the Massey Community Board, The Slow Food kitchen garden in Marinich Drive, Ranui, is now home to the Slow Food after School Gardening Class, taken by local tutor, Buffie Mawhinney.

The children, aged from 7 – 11, started learning about seeds, dirt and worms.

They were happy with the space they were given as there were already established vegetables there to give them inspiration.

They took over the back part of the Slow Food plot and when I went there today, saw that their carrot seeds had come up and their bok choy had doubled in size. They have made a fabulous frame of manuka branches for their climbing beans to trail over and they are having fun. They have even confessed that they are the ones who are nibbling at the peas in the Slow Food plot. Good for them – it is about tasting fresh things and learning where it comes from. So far, so good – the tutor is doing a great job, the children are having fun, the parents are happy and they are all thrilled to be part of the garden celebration day on December the 5th between 11am and 2pm.

Karen Perri

Photos by Buffie Mawhinney

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Japanese Cooking Class

Dear Slow Fooders and Friends,

On Sunday, November 22nd, from 11am to 2pm at the Ranui Community House 474 Swanson Road, we are very lucky to have Michiko to demonstrate for us, the art of Japanese Cooking.
The cost of the workshop will be $35 for Slow Food Members and $45 for non members.

Michiko will be teaching us to create:

1. Tofu hamburger steak with daikon & lemon sauce
2. Simmered Tofu & Beef - Sukiyaki style
3. Okara nuggets
4. Marinated Tofu & silverbeet
5. Seaweed & lettuce salad
6. Miso soup
7. Rice balls

For those of you who have heard of the major health advantages of Japanese food and the benefits of reducing your intake of red meat in favour of plant proteins (e.g. the products of the soya bean) this workshop will be really valuable.
The workshop is generously sponsored by The Organic Soy Company, of Henderson in the form of organic tofu, okara and TONZU vegetarian sausages and recipes will be available for all dishes.

Please register with Claire at or Karen at
Places are limited due to space constraints, so please register promptly.

Best wishes Karen and Claire.

Monday, November 2, 2009

350 Climate Change Action Day

Photos by Mimmo Diana

Swanson, October 24

350 represents the parts per million of carbon dioxide that we earthlings are able to tolerate in our atmosphere without serious problems. The level is now 387ppm. YES! That’s right we are over the safe limit.

Slow Food Waitakere’s Claire, Mimmo and Karen spent a few hours at the Swanson 350 day after being invited by the organisers. We were part of a worldwide movement of over 5200 events in 181 countries to bring the world’s attention to the increasingly unsafe levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Our mission for the day was to promote the message of Slow Food and Terra Madre. We gave out strawberry shortcakes filled with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and polenta savouries with fresh herb and cheese topping. We even gave out seeds and seedlings of a range of vegetables.

We were very well received and got some wonderful responses from some very interesting people.

We are quite confident that those in West Auckland who came to visit us are now aware that Slow Food exists and the concepts of growing food, supporting local growers, teaching these concepts in schools, saving seeds, and eating good, fresh food are concepts worth adopting. There are more people out there than we think who are interested in living in a sustainable way and having fun doing it. We were glad to be part of this special day.

Karen Perri

Slow Food Waitakere was invited to participate in a global day of raising climate change awareness.

Karen, Mimmo and Claire joined a number of local sustainability and environmantal groups at Swanson Staion and park. It was a glorious day and numerous families arrived to enjoy the live music, participate in circle dancing, hear from a number of speakers and add their pledges for personal climate change action in the form of ribbons to a tree.

We set up a small table with SF literature and gave away summer seedlings for people to plant.
Karen made polenta which she fried on the spot and topped with a delicious cheese and herb topping .It was the first time many people had tried polenta and was well suited to those eliminating wheat from their diet.

Claire made tiny shortcakes to her mother's recipe and served them with cream and fresh strawberries grown in the Henderson Valley.

It was a day of sampling and talking about food and knowing where it comes from , making connections and enjoying one of the first blazing days of summer.

Claire Inwood

Two reports from Claire Inwood

Ranui Kids Cooking Class

Term 4 has started with enjoying delicious spring foods. For our first class we made fresh strawberry icecream . Lots of beating of eggs and folding of cream , blending of strawberries , filling the room with their wonderful fragrance...until we had huge bowls of light pink cream.[ well scraped and licked!!] Carefully carrying it home and patiently waiting for it to freeze overnight to be devoured the next day. We talked about the pleasure of knowing exactly what ingredients were in our ice cream.
Our second class featured spring vegetables,... Fennel bulb which we sliced thinly and mixed with olive oil and orange slices. We also sauteed some fennel to compare the tastes between raw and cooked. Some kids loved the liquoricey smell and taste , others not so much !!
We steamed asparagus and talked about how it grows. We also discovered the fun of cooking and eating a globe artichoke. And we all experienced the strange sweet after taste that artichoke leaves in your mouth. Both the artichoke and fennel were grown in Oratia.

Mexican Specialities Lunch

A group of 20 Slow Food Waitakere members and friends met to enjoy the distinct flavours of Mexico at Mexican Specialities restaurant in Ellerslie.
Owned by Jose and Maria Carlos de la Macorra, the tiny restaurant is vibrant with colour, Mexican art pieces and a small area with traditional Mexican Foods such as chipoltle [smoked jalapeno] , masa [ lime treated cornmeal used for tortilla and tamales], chile sauces, beans, posole [ white corn] Mexican oregano, chocolates......
We squeezed into a tiny alcove at a long table and sampled burritos with tender spiced beef and avocado, tostadas with shrimp, lime and cilantro, stuffed green chiles, enchiladas with green chile sauce, cactus salad.... the meal was accompanied by fresh juices, very welcome as some of the foods were hotter than the NZ palate is accustomed to!
Jose made fresh cinnamon sugar fried tortilla to finish the meal. He promised that we would never try another doughnut after tasting this light version!


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