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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Indian cooking

It was a very 'Slow' weekend, fist we had the bush walk on Saturday, and then an 
Indian event on Sunday! The cooking class was taken by Sheena, and we all learned 
a lot. The main dish was a chicken curry, but she also kept some spices aside and made 
the same curry vegetarian for the five veggies who were present. Then Sheena showed 
us how to make a cauliflower and carrot baji, a daal, chapati,  basmati with cumin seeds, 
and a good chai.

From top left clockwise: the rice, frying onions and spices, chicken
 and veg curries, vegetable baji

Making Chapati

If you live in Auckland and would like to come to some Slow Food events please 
follow the Slow Food Waitakere blog for updates, or join the

From top left clockwise: Sheena and Sachiko, making chai, flavouring basmati
 with fried cumin seeds, daal and chapati.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini except the 1st one by Steve Kesler©

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slow Food Waitakere Walk

Today a few members of Slow Food Waitakere meet for a 2 hours bush walk to Upper Nihotupu, and beyond! Thank you Laurel for leading the walk. Next appointment tomorrow for Indian food!

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Slow Recipe: Mackerel with Citrus and Vanilla

France - 21 Feb 12
Eating endangered fish is a “criminal act” according to French Terra Madre chef Gérard Vives, whose book, La bonne cuisine bon marché bonne pour la santé (Good, healthy cooking at a good price), dedicates an entire chapter to the fruits of the sea with recipes using only sustainable fish.

Also an expert on spices, in this simple yet elegant recipe adapted from his book, Vives plays citrus and vanilla against the distinctive rich flavor of mackerel.

Much of the commercial mackerel fishery in the northeast Atlantic has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council but the UK’S Marine Conservation Society still recommends to look for fish caught using traditional methods such as handlines. The mackerel in this recipe can also be substituted with other oily fish such as anchovy or sardine, depending on the availability and sustainability of fish in your area.

This recipe and many others for sustainable fish from the Slow Food network around the world can be found on the Slow Fish website,

The Recipe (serves 2)

1 tbsp (15 g/0.5oz) butter
seeds scraped from ¼ vanilla pod
juice of 1 orange
juice of ½ lemon
juice of ½ grapefruit
2 x 300g/10oz mackerel, filleted

Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the vanilla seeds plus juices from the citrus fruits. Add the fillets to the pan and sauté them in he sauce for 5 minutes over medium heat or until cooked through. Remove the fish from the sauce and serve with lightly steamed vegetables.

If desired, continue to cook the remaining sauce over low heat until reduced, adding a tablespoon of butter. Pour over dish.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March cooking event: Northern Indian Cooking with Sheena

A radio personality and a superb entertainer, Sheena is also a wonderful cook.
She is going to teach us a Northern Indian Cuisine from Sindh province where her grandparents are from.
The spice in the food is mild compared to south Indian where the weather is extremely hot (hence the spicier the further south you go).
      Most of the dishes are vegan but they do use fish and chicken occassionally.  
      Sheena is going to introduce how to make simple curry, vegetable dishes, chapatis, daal made from split lentils and fragrant rice, using spices that you can find locally. 

March 25th,  Sunday 10:30am start,  
Cost: $60, Slow Food Members $50

*For signing up or questions, please rsvp / 09-442-5701

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Slow Walk in Waitakere

Join Slow Food Waitakere for an easy walk in the Waitakere forest!

 Date: 24th March 2012 
Time: 1.45pm for a (2.00pm start) 

Meeting Point: Upper Nihotupu Dam Carpark - on the left hand side of the Piha Road. 
NB: Once you turn off the Scenic Drive into the Piha Road, it is approximately 1.9km 

Approximate Time Required for the Walk: The walk will take no longer than 2 hours including plenty of stops and time for a snack/drink at the half way point. 

Degree of Difficulty: Easy – suitable for children. A slight hill is the maximum. Also, we are returning the same way, so you can turn back at any time. 

What to Bring: 
- rain jacket (it’s been one of those “summers”) 
- sun hat (you never know your luck) 
- shoes suitable for walking (that you don’t mind getting dirty) 
- sun block 
- a drink 
- a snack 
- and a smile (most important of all) 

Laurel McAlpine 
Phone: 817 5859 

Please confirm by the evening of the 23rd 

I would like to know who is attending, so if the weather is a bit uncertain I can contact you if we need to change the plan. 
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions 


Friday, March 2, 2012

A Better Life for Laying Hens?

Belgium - 01 Mar 12 - Anne Marie Matarrese
Europe’s animal welfare organizations welcomed the long-awaited ban on battery cages that came into force across Europe on January 1, following a 12-year phase-out period. With strong support from scientific research and public opinion, the 1999 Directive on Laying Hens bans the use of what is commonly agreed to be the most inhumane method of raising hens – the barren battery cage, in which the fowl live a short and painful life crammed into spaces so small they are unable to spread their wings, far less express their natural behavior.

The ban calls for all cages to be replaced by ‘enriched’ versions, so-called for their larger size and provision of limited nesting, perching and scratching areas. Whilst at a first glance this may be considered to be a major breakthrough, the welfare groups argue that the hens are still not guaranteed an adequate level of welfare by these new living quarters.

In their investigation into the matter, The Ecologist discovered that enriched cages in fact only grant around a postcard-sized extra space per bird – still not enough for them to fully extend their wings. “Most birds in ‘enriched’ cages will still spend a significant proportion of their time standing on sloping wire mesh floors with little room to move around”, reports The Ecologist, “and they will all still be denied fresh air and sunshine.” According to scientific research, the risk of cannibalism due to stress in enriched cages is also significantly high.

Some countries, such as the Netherlands and Sweden, are taking the ban on battery cages as an opportunity to leave the use of cages behind entirely, in favor of free-range or alternative systems. However, despite the grace period of more than a decade allowed for conversion to enriched cages or alternative systems of breeding, many countries are yet to implement the ban at all. According to Roberto Bennati, vice-president of Italy’s Anti-Vivisection League (LAV), around 50 million laying hens are still being raised in battery cages, 20 million of which are in Italy.

Bennati believes that consumers can play a fundamental role in ensuring a better life for laying hens: “Consumers have responded extremely well to our campaigns and have had a significant impact in changing the market and breeding systems”. Thanks to the Galline Libere (free hens) campaign, LAV managed to persuade the Italian supermarket cooperative COOP to ban the sale of eggs from battery hens in favor of those from free-range or organic farms. “It is necessary to shift towards alternative, safer systems that are more attentive to the welfare of animals and meet the expectations of consumers.”

However, Dr. Mara Miele, Senior Fellow at Cardiff University involved in the EU-funded animal welfare projectWelfare Quality believes that some big challenges lie ahead. “In some European countries, the abolition of battery cages will not be seen as a priority… Animal welfare is an issue which does not easily attract the attention of legislators,” said Miele. Furthermore, she points out how implementing higher welfare standards in Europe may be seen to be detrimental to trade: “In countries such as China and Africa, cages are being introduced as an element of modernization and to lower costs. On a global level it will be increasingly difficult to introduce welfare measures in Europe due to the competition from lower costs of eggs produced in countries that still use battery cages.”

The leading European animal welfare organization Eurogroup for Animals, remains optimistic, commenting that: “The battery cage ban illustrates how we, as consumers and citizens can drive change, and proves that production systems which cause animal suffering are not acceptable to us as a society and have no place in today’s EU food production.”

What is certain is that despite the successful ban on battery cages, activists have a long road ahead of them in the fight to ensure all chickens raised in Europe can live in humane conditions. In addition to ensuring the rule is actually put into practice across the EU, one of their key remaining concerns is that the labeling of eggs as from ‘enriched cages’ will mislead consumers into buying a product that sounds promising but does not respect animal welfare. To this end, increasing consumer awareness will be crucial, encouraging them to read labels carefully and to visit farmers’ markets where they can meet producers and find out exactly where their eggs are coming from.

Slow Food met with animal welfare associations from around the world this week at events in Brussels to discuss how to further the welfare of animals in farming:

‘Empowering consumers and creating market opportunities for animal welfare’, organized by the EU Danish Presidency. Click here for the agenda and live streams.

‘1st Global Multi-stakeholder Forum on Animal Welfare’, organized by FAO. Click here for the forum agenda. 


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