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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sourdough bread making class in Karekare, Sunday 11 April




Kate Stone has been romancing yeasts and fashioning simple ingredients into bread for decades. Sometimes using sea water from her tiny Alaskan fishing boat, or dressed in a regulation uniform at culinary school. In daily production at her restaurant Katrina's, Kate perfected her baguettes. Recently, working as a senior baker at Auckland based Wild Wheat, she rounded out her bread abilities with a focus sourdough breads.



Kate will be sharing her bread skills and anecdotes in upcoming one day bread making class on Sunday April 11th. In conjunction with Slowfood Waitakere, Kate will share how to make and use a sourdough starter, as well demonstrate and explore various sourdough and wild yeasted breads. Class participants will use a dandy new Fantana Forni wood fired oven as well as a standard domestic oven to bake their creations.



With attention to both crust (exterior) and crumb (interior) students will learn to engineer their own perfect loaf. Students need to bring a medium glass or plastic container to store their new starter, and a mind to keep a sense of humor in. Dress appropriately for cooking.



Baking will be followed a splendid bread tasting and exploration of serving ideas for fresh and day old breads.

Where: 138 Lone Kauri Road, Karekare
When: Sunday 11 April, starts 1pm til approx 4.30pm

Cost: $60 Barter offers are welcome

Be quick: numbers are limited to 8!

Bookings are essential - email or phone Claire on 818 2192 or seeq@paradise.net.nz
For more information about the course and directions call Kate at 812 8719.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Clevedon Oyster Farm report










A hot, clear Saturday morning brought twenty Slow Fooders an hour's drive south of Auckland city to the Clevedon Oyster Farm at Kawakawa Bay. From the road you can see the shop, and round the back across a white shell path you can stand by the shoreline and look over to Waiheke Island across the Gulf. Out on the water you can see the post and rail fences of the oyster farm, half submerged in the low tide. What you can't see is the hundreds of baskets and racks that hold the developing oysters, from tiny shells the size of a fingernail to the mature specimens all but ready for the market. It's an impressive sight, and on a fine day you'd have to think oyster farming is a lifestyle to envy. Of course there's a bit more to it, and our host for the day Stuart gave us a tour of the plant and the lowdown on an industry that does most of its work under water.



Oysters are prolific in the Kaipara Harbour, which is where most of the wild spat used to grow oysters at Clevedon are harvested. Spat is collected on wooden racks and transported to Clevedon where the racks are arranged on a post and rail system to take advantage of the Waitemata tides. Some are placed in wire baskets attached to a longline system and mecahnically raised twice weekly to get the necessary time out of the water. Stuart showed us around the production line, the berth where the barge unloads the day's harvest, the 'octagon' mecahnical sorter, and the sifting device that separates the oysters by size. We were there at low tide, so the plant was quiet, but Stuart explained the different stages of growth, the methods of immersion and harvest, and the planning that goes into the production process.

Oyster farming is heavily dependent on natural processes. Spawn are released in ideal temperature conditions and form the spat that in time develop into mature oysters. The growth period is over a year, and oysters need a mix of time in and our of the water to develop. The water is tested weekly for contamination and toxic blooms. Read more about the farming process on the Clevedon Oyster Farm website.


Johnathan Swift apparently said "he was a bold man that first eat an oyster". Bold he may have been, but he had plenty of company when it came to tasting the Clevedon product. Awkward little devils to prise out of their shells, but that just allows for a little more anticipation, and the chance to get the taste buds working. A dash of dressing, a squeeze of lemon, and there was nothing 'slow' about Slow Food oyster consumption. Have a look at the photo of Laurel for an image of oyster bliss.






Thanks to Joan, Tanya and Sue for organising, including the lunch to follow at the Clevedon pub.


















Here's an oyster poem (apologies to Swift):












(1667 - 1745)
Oysters

Charming oysters I cry:
My masters, come buy,
So plump and so fresh,
So sweet is their flesh,
The Clevedon oyster
Is sweeter and moister:
Your stomach they settle,
And rouse up your mettle:
They'll make you a dad
Of a lass or a lad;
And madam your wife
They'll please to the life;
Be she barren, be she old,
Be she slut, or be she scold,
Eat my oysters, and lie near her,
She'll be fruitful, never fear her.
Oyster farm visit 7:52 PM
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