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Section - C4.2 Food

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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Pavlova, pikelets, Sally Lunn, cream buns, Lammingtons, Afghans, Golden
Syrup, Gingernuts, Milky bars, Moro Bars, weetbix, marmite/vegemite, lemon
and paeroa, crayfish, whitebait, oysters, venison, lamb burgers, roast
lamb, fish and chips, Hokey Pokey icecream, kiwifruit, food cooked in a

Pavlova info should be available from:

Whitebait can be purchased fresh from the water in and around the river
mouths of Westland from Aug. 15th to Oct. 31st.  Be prepared to pay plenty
for it.  However it will still be cheaper than the $50.00 per kg often
charged in cities...

Raewyn Whyte gives us:
The NZ Wine Trail (a Tauranga-based page):

The Wine Institute of NZ website called NZ Wines Online (Vancouver-based):

A very useful NZ wines web site can be found at:

This site provides US and Canadian availability information in addition to
comprehensive information about a host of NZ wines.  The site includes
promotional competitions and a mailing list, and is sponsored by TRADENZ.

A web search on the terms <wines +zealand> in Alta Vista will turn up close
to 100 references, many of them including availability of information for
NZ wines in the USA.


What follows is an embryonic list (at 10th Sep) of foods sorely missed by
NZers abroad.  It is hoped this will grow over time and incorporate a list
of alternative overseas sources...

barley sugars
burgers with beetroot in
Buzz Bars
CCs (they're Aussie but we still miss them)
chocolate fish
gingernuts cookies
girl guide biscuits
golden syrup
hokey pokey
lammingtons (also Aussie)
Moro bars
NZ pie/fish and chips/lamb chops
NZ sausages
NZ-style hot dogs
pineapple lumps
Pinky bars
potato fritters
proper-sized fresh trout...
proper-sized mussels
Vogel bread
Watties tomato sauce
Whittakers Peanut slab

Jennifer George wrote:
"I found some very acceptable "Light Golden Syrup" imported from the UK in
Costco (do they have them in North Carolina)?  Basically I would just check
around in those kind of warehouse/importer places until you find something.
Or of course a shop specialising in British foods or the like."

All of these and more are sold in two shops in London; The Australia Shop,
off the Strand, and Kiwi Fruits, on the Royal Opra (sic) Arcade.


C4.2.1  What Is Vegemite/Marmite?

For an extensive outline of these, try Jenny George's URL below which has
the FAQ and IFAQ for
 <a href="">My home page</a>

Vegemite, Marmite and Promite are all yeast extracts and basically all the
same, but:
 Marmite is sweeter than vegemite
 Promite is sweeter then marmite
 They're all extremely salty tasting.

Or, Vegemite is very salty, marmite slightly less so.  Promite is
considerably less salty.

They all use caramel for the dark colouring, and it's probably this part
which contributes to the war.  Marmite is considerably sweeter (and darker)
than Vegemite, while Promite is sweeter still.

Vegemite eaters will generally tolerate Marmite and Marmite eaters will
tolerate Promite.  Vegemite eaters find Promite sickly sweet.

Marmite eaters will not (usually) eat vegemite.  It's too strongly
flavoured for them as a general rule.

Promite is Australian (Masterfoods), but is gaining in popularity here.
There are very few exclusive Promite eaters, so conclusions can't be drawn,
but I'd expect that Promite eaters would react to Marmite the same way that
Marmite eaters react to Vegemite.  I have yet to see an advert for Promite
in any medium.

Marmite is made by Sanitarium Health Food company, which is wholly owned by
the Seventh Day Adventist church.  Our 7DA's don't run around with guns,
unlike a certain Texas sect.  There was (still is?) a TV ad campaign for
Marmite last year which had many viewers reaching for the off switch ("The

Vegemite is made by multi-national food company Kraft General Foods NZ Ltd,
who have acquired several "NZ" labels over the last 25 years.  It isn't
advertised much, though Kraft have been pushing it and their jam + cheese
labels recently in a series of adverts starring Billy Connolly and Pamela
Stevenson (Why Billy - a Scot - is pushing vegemite is beyond me, as most
non-antipodeans can't stand any of the yeast extracts...)

There is a product called "Marmite" made by the Marmite company in Britain.
This is not the same as the Marmite found in New Zealand - the UK version
has all sorts of things added such as vegetable bits and according to those
who've tried it tastes considerably different.

Lyndon Watson wrote:
"I don't know about the vegetable bits, but I found British Marmite to have
(a) a lighter brown colour, (b) a runnier texture and (c) a stronger but
otherwise similar flavour."

None of these spreads should be spread thickly.  That's the second mistake
most foreigners make.  The first is trying the stuff at the insistence of
NZ hosts, most of whom are gleefully anticipating the response.  Best
results are obtained by spreading _very_ thinly.  Discolouration of the
underlying bread/toast is all that's necessary.

Do not get any of these spreads on your fingers if there are domestic
animals around, especially cats.  They all love the stuff and will try to
lick you clean.  Enthusiastic felines will sometimes try to remove your
digits too...

There are no meat products in any of the three spreads.


Vegemite (Kraft General Foods NZ Ltd):

Yeast extract, salt, malt extract, colour (caramel), vegetable flavours,
vitamins (niacin, thiamine, riboflavin)

Marmite (Sanatarium Health Food Company, NZ):

Yeast, sugar, salt, wheatgerm extract, mineral salt (508), colour
(caramel), herbs, spices, vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin)

It's also got a small note under the ingredients:  "100% vegetarian" (but
then, what do you expect from a company owned by the 7th Day Adventist

Promite: (Masterfoods of Australia)

Vegetable protein extract, sugar, yeast, natural colour (caramel), salt,
thickener (Wheat starch), emulsifier (Glycerol monostearate), spices, added
vitamins, water

Other countries' versions may vary....


C4.2.2  Pavlova Recipe

Ask Jenny George (

For a few notes on the history of meringues and the pavlova, try;

Also take a look at
which is where Noeline McCaughan's recipes are now residing.


C4.2.3  The Edmonds Cook Book

This book is the biggest selling book in NZ of all time.  I guess you could
expect NZer's to be fat...  :-)

Jenny George (jmgeorge@leland.Stanford.EDU) has a file of recipes available
including pavlova, hokey pokey, afghans, Noeline's latest bread stuff,
ginger beer, etc.


C4.2.4  Laying A Hangi

The following are Hangi instructions were kindly supplied by Ken Moselen
with additions by Robert Burling-Claridge[] and Lyndon Watson<>.  This was
a nightmare to splice together, so if it doesn't read well, I'll replace it
with the original posts.  Let me know.


Well, the one's I've been involved in (2-3 baskets) have been generally the
slightly mangled versions involving everything in one hole (slightly non
traditional), so here goes...

The food preparation is fun.  It helps to do this before starting the hole,
so you know how big to dig it.

[ Even better to get a big bunch of folk together and share the load.
Remember the quality of the final hangi is directly related to the number
of people involved and (most importantly) the quantity and quality of the
beer provided!!! ]

Find your wire baskets, and line them with tinfoil,

[ Actually, I'm not sure I like these new hangis using the foil, it tends
to stop the juices getting through to the stones and I reckon the hangi kai
is drier to the palate. ]

put down a thin layer of cabbage leaves,

[ Any old cabbage-like vegetable leaf will do: cauli, brocoli, etc. ]

and throw all the food on top (side of pork, lamb, chicken, etc), and
surround them all with potatoes, cabbage, kumara, etc.,

[ Note, depending on what you want, remember gravity works inside the hangi
as well.  If you want tastier potatoes, kumera, pumpkin, etc., stick them
under the meat, else over the meat.  For the first couple why not some in
both places, then you can decide.  Generally, put 'drier' meats under those
producing more juices.  As rule of thumb I usually put beef and venison low
and pork and mutton high.  Pays to wrap venison and beef unless very large
(about the size of a mutton hind leg) as cooking time still related to
size, and you can't open the hangi to get out the beef that's cooked before
the rest... ]

and a liberal dose of salt.

[ Remember, there are a lot of potatoes in there!  Too much salt is
difficult to manage!  The more you add, the juicier the food will be as
well (personal experience, no explanation).  As a rule of thumb, for a
50-person hangi (1-2 baskets) you might use 1-2 cups of salt. ]

Cover with some teatowels, and liberally pour some water on it.  Hopefully
it won't leak too much.

[ Now, I _REALLY_ advise DO NOT USE TEATOWELS unless they're brand new!  I
have had one really bad experience with a teatowel that mis-flavoured the
whole basket.  Try for clean, non-coloured cloth of nearly anything at all.
Preferably natural, rather than synthetic (taste of burnt plastic will
usually put people off... ]

- Dig Hole (a slope on one side helps a bit later on) :-)

[ Best ground to make a hangi is one that's easy to dig!!  Other than that,
almost anything is possible to use.  Clay, sand...  Stoney ground (eg. old
riverbed) will need at least some sand/soil to line the hole, otherwise the
heat is lost quite quickly.  This is offset to some extent by burning
longer, in the cooking hole, and digging a bit deeper (making a more
enclosed HOT hole (remember the soil dumped on top is relatively cold).

Hole needs to be big enough that when the baskets are stacked, however you
want to stack them, not much more than half the height is above the normal
ground level.  Don't forget to allow for the room taken by the
stones/steel, but its not particularly critical.

IMPORTANT:  **NEVER** use treated timber!!  You might be lucky, and all the
nasty copper gunk, etc. will burn away before the irons (stones, etc.) cool
off sufficiently for it to stick to them.  However if you luck out you
could have a lot of _very_ sick people on your hands (anyone remember the
Wanganui Xmas hangi of around 1976, Kowhai gardens?) ]

- Place paper, kindling, and lots of wood on top (enough to burn really hot
  for about 2 hours (at least))
- Place enough Railway Irons, Ploughshears, and any other large, heavy,
  solid pieces of iron or steel on top of the firewood (these don't tend
  to explode like stones do if there's any dampness in them) to hold the heat
  from the fire for a long time (the more the better - within reason).
- Light fire and watch for a couple of hours, have a few drinks, etc. etc.

< If you use stones (a sort that doesn't explode when heated and cooled -
say granite), you would want to fire them for longer than iron, say three
to four hours.  I still use stones for their good heat retention. >

(Traditionally, the fire and the hole are separate, you just drag the
really hot stones from the fire to the pit, and forget all the mucking
about with the ashes etc., but this takes lots more room, and you can't do
it properly in the backyard, so I've described all the mucking around we
normally do; it doesn't take too long though, only about 15min from
starting the lifting of the irons, to burying the food, with three of you)

[ Well, tradition varies.  If the ground is damp/wet, you will get a
considerably better hangi if you burn in the cooking hole.  A lot of heat
will be lost to warm the surrounding ground otherwise. ]

Do the next bit as quickly as you safely can.

- Whilst being hosed (wear strong shoes, jeans, and tee-shirt) carefully
  (and quickly) lift the (probably just slightly glowing) irons from the
  ashes (using a wooden handled rake, etc) and put them next to the pit.

[ I find an old chunk of corrugate iron works really well.  Scrape, shovel
the stones/steel onto it, clean out the hole, then tip/scrape the stones
back in. ]

- Scrape the ashes out of the firepit (this is really hot work) with a
  woodhandled (the longer the handle the better) rake/shovel

[ This is where you make/break the hangi.  The more ash you leave in, the
smokier the hangi will taste.  Your choice.  Some leave bits on purpose.
Some cover the remaining ash with a light layer of sand. ]

- Put the irons back into the pit
- Cover the Irons with a couple of layers of very wet sacks
- Put the food baskets on the sacks
- Cover the food with a sheet

[ NB: wet sheet.  I also suggest, use several sheets, then hose them for a
few seconds before covering the whole lot.  The more top covering you can
manage the better.  As the food cooks, steam within the cooking hole will
wet the top dirt.  This naturally dissolves a bit, and can sometimes leak
into the food, not particularly enhancing the flavour!

Lay the sheets so they overlap toward the center of the pile, rather than
all of then being tucked under the dirt all the way around (see later for
why).  Like this:
       ______ \  sheets/sacks
     / | food | \
  __/  +------+  \____


- Bury the lot, and wherever you see steam escaping, put some more dirt on.

< Steam is what it's all about - you've got to have lots of heat and lots
of water.  When we do it at home, as soon as the food is in the hole, we
poke a hose in and start the water running.  It keeps running while we
cover the hole as fast as we can, and then we turn it off and pull the hose
out.  A hangi must not run dry! >

Now for the Good Bit.

- Wait about 6 hours (longer if in doubt)

[ Hey, you missed the good bit!  Remember, someone has to watch that hangi
like a hawk, any steam escaping could completely ruin the hangi.  And
besides its hot, thirsty work.  Only solution is for a bunch of you to
stand around leaning on fences, shovels (just in case), or anything else
that's handy, and keep a close eye on the hangi hole.  Of course, to avoid
the attention dropping (6 hours remember!) a few good yarns wouldn't go
amiss, and naturally, you're going to get very dry (6 hours!) so a few good
beers also wouldn't go amiss.  This usually works best if every so often
someone throws a shovelful of dirt toward the hole.  Try to pick a time
when whoever it is that's complaining about "lazy bloody hangi diggers" is

NB: Try to have at least one person stay sober enough to notice when 6
hours is up! ]

- Carefully dig up

[ This is when you will bless having thought of laying the sheets to
overlap in the middle.  As the dirt comes off, scrape it outwards.  Then
when the sheets appear, peel them back like a banana peel, leaving the
baskets of food clean and yummy inside.  Also useful because minimal
disturbance to hangi, and can successfully be covered back up, just in case
it needs a bit more cooking!! ]

- Lift baskets, and serve.

[ It's a good idea to have thought ahead, and got some bits of bent fencing
wire, so you don't have to lift the baskets by hand.  Mind you, they're
usually damn heavy, so use No 8 wire, not that pansy hi-tensile stuff! ]

The bottom of the pit should still be hot enough to turn a bucket of water
into steam, so keep any stray kids/pets away from it.

< Those are the best bits! >

That's about it.

[ Oh no!  not quite, remember to get the hangi stones/etc. out of the pit
before you cover it up!!!  Its easier to get them out (and less nasty, icky
food residues, etc.) if you do it before the hole is completely cold.  I
usually do this while the food is being chopped/sectioned, etc.

Also don't forget to enjoy!  (Mind you, if you have been 'watching for
steam' with sufficient enthusiasm, the food quality will be _superb_,
regardless of how well cooked it is!).

Don't be put off by the complexity.  Its EASY.  Just a bit of common sense,
and you're away laughing.  The best thing about it is the co-operative way
it gets done, and there's probably no easier way to feed a few hundred

Works just as well for 10-20 people, or even just the immediate family
(mind you in my case that _is_ 100 people!!!)

Great for family get-togethers.  Spend early morning preparing (whole
family gets involved littles to biggest, 1-2 hours setting up the hangi,
then 6 hours to enjoy each other's company.  Then, without anyone having to
disappear into the kitchen for ages, right when the talk is flowing, etc.,
bang - all the food is ready to eat.

One thing I like is everyone is involved.  Even the most chauvinistic males
or the most get-out-of-MY-kitchen females (no flames please, stereotyping
acknowledged) will pitch in together to do something to help.  And the food
always tastes better when you have cooked it yourself!

Hell, I'm looking forward to the weekend already! ]

Good effort, gentlemen!  Must go and dig a hole...

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