Our Urban Forage Mahinga Kai started at Auckland Domain with a walk through the lower tracks with Rewi Spraggon and Riki Bennett to discover a range of edible and not so edible plants, trees and berries. We then returned to NZ School of Food and Wine for a detailed presentation on the plants and trees, Māori terminology followed by a delicious lunch.
Riki explains the different plants that we see including the punga, silver fern. He holds some puha but explains that this variety has been introduced to New Zealand.
Rewi holds out a kawakawa leaf. This is used widely for medicinal purposes for treating infections, eczema and rashes but also can be made into tea as it aids digestion.
Back in the classroom, Riki explains many Māori botanticals and their traditional uses.
The meal combined the flavours of chef Rewi Spraggon's Hangi cooked ingredient (pork belly, Maori potatoes, muttonbird) with our local lamb, grapefruit, kumara. The highlights were the Muttonbird, as a canape; and then the Forage Salad of Watercress, Puha, NZ Quinoa, Grapefruit segments, toasted hazelnuts, Vinaigrette of Waiheke olive oil, mustard and grapefruit juice.
Crostini with Smoked mushroom Cashew cheese & Wakame
Forage Salad of Watercress, NZ Quinoa, Grapefruit segments, toasted hazelnuts, Vinaigrette of Waiheke Olive Oil mustard and Grapefruit juice
Warm Mutton Bird in pastry cases with Kaiaroha cashew cheese, micro watercress
Kahawai, mussels and puha, marinated in seawater with edible flowers.
Pigeon Bay Lamb, Maori potatoes, Butternut purée (steamed in Hangi)
Hangi porkbelly, Maori spinach with Maori Spinach emulsion Hangi Māori Potatoes, Coppersfolly Wasabi Mayo
Dessert of Golden Syrup Pudding with kumara puree and mandarin
Ranger Riki Bennett, Celia Hay, Chef Rewi Spraggon