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Seaweed spectacular: the delicious nutritious delights of this oceanic gourmet ingredient

It enjoys a great reputation in the context of its relationship with sushi, and plays an important role in miso soup, but have you ever stopped to consider the real benefits of seaweed?


Incredibly rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, seawood may not be a pretty face but it’s got some incredible street cred when it comes to its nutritional content. Low in calories, research has demonstrated it may help regulate hormones, is a good all round tonic, may improve heart health and provides your daily dose of iodine, a mineral that is critical for healthy thyroid function.
This dense green or brown sea vegetable can be introduced to your regular diet in a number of ways. Nori seaweed sheets can be used to roll sushi, tucked into a wrap or sandwich, cut in to pieces and tossed through a salad or added to pastas, casseroles, stews and soups.
As the Japanese say, ‘Oishii!’ (delicious).

The Villas

Feijoa paste: The Villas recipe series

Feijoa season is here and if you know of a pair of healthy and productive feijoa trees, why not make the most of nature’s bounty? Delicious with cold meats and cheeses, it will keep for months once bottled. Makes 800g.

The Villas


    • 10 ripe medium sized feijoas (about 1kg)
    • 3 cooking apples
    • 600mls water
    • 600g sugar


  1. Remove skin from feijoas, roughly chop fruit and weigh: you need 300g of sugar per 500g of fruit. Put feijoa peel, cores and apples into a pan; cover with water. Cook until soft and mushy – about 10 minutes.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing firmly to get all the liquid from the apple. In a large heavy bottomed pot cook chopped feijoas in this liquid until soft, then mash. Add sugar to feijoa pulp; stir until dissolved.
  3. Cook slowly on the lowest heat, stirring every 2-3 minutes until thick. When it’s ready (about 2 hours) the spoon should start to meet resistance and the mixture come away from the sides.
  4. Pour while hot into straight sided sterilised jars and seal.
earl grey tea truffles

Tea inspired truffles: this recipe for Dilmah earl grey tea truffles is divine

Tea is on the rise and not just to be consumed in the most traditional of ways, with tea ‘bars’ popping up globally, the increasing profile of tea cocktails and now it seems we have an increasing appetite for tea as an ingredient, adding a new dimension of taste, texture and flavour to our foods.

earl grey tea truffles


  • 2/3 cup (160ml) thickened cream
  • 40g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons loose Dilmah Exceptional Elegant Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 170g fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • 100g feuilletine
  • Murray River pink salt, to decorate


Combine cream and butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Add the Elegant Earl Grey tea leaves and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to infuse.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour hot cream through a fine sieve over the chocolate, pressing with the back of a spoon to squeeze as much cream as possible through. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the feuilletine in a bowl. Roll a teaspoon of chocolate mixture into balls and roll in the feuilletine to coat. Note, when rolling your truffles, ensure your hands are cool and wear rubber gloves so the truffles don’t melt. Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture. Top truffles with pink salt to serve. Makes 30.


Taste of Tahini: inspiration for your culinary pleasure straight from the Mediterranean

Mediterranean fare has been catching global attention for the past few years and, although this cuisine has at its heart a myriad of geographical influences, one of its popular additions is standing out above the culinary crowd.

We’re seeing this delicious ingredient spread its culinary wings

A long standing staple of salad dressing and sauces made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, tahini has been given a mainstream makeover and now it’s increasingly showing its face in smoothies and cocktails, and even as a substitute for peanut butter among those with nut allergies
From high-end restaurants to popular snacks, desserts and breakfasts on grocery store shelves, we’re seeing this delicious ingredient spread its culinary wings.
Packed with monounsaturated fats, along with cholesterol-lowering phytosterols that help promote a healthy heart, this super spread is fast showing up in culinary creations without ties to the Mediterranean, such as the roasted vegetables with yogurt tahini and pomegranate dish pictured.
Find it in the organic aisle of the supermarket, or with the chutney and pickles, either ‘hulled’ (lighter in colour and flavour) or ‘unhulled’ (darker, with a more intense flavour) and use as a spread on toast or sandwiches, as a dip or dressing, an addition to a stirfry, noodles or pasta, or perhaps throw tahini, ground cumin and sumac in to add a tasty little kick to your mashed vege.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet as sugar: cuisine Q&A with Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Sweet versus savoury have been waging a delicious battle against each other for the longest time, recruiting devotees along the way. One of the most dedicated advocates of sugar, spice and all things nice, is Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

The sweet toothed cuisine Queen talks to Metropol about her recipe for living a sugar-coated life – the best kind.

You are refreshingly flipping the clean eating obsession on its head, why?

Baking for me will always be about good old sugar, just the way my parents have always baked. There is just no substitute that tastes as good to me. I love food and I’ll give anything a go but this is home for me.
I’ll admit, it’s not friendly on the waistline and I wish I had the willpower to eat healthy all the time, but I just love sugar and carbs too much.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

Have you always had a sweet tooth and what are some of your favourite concoctions?

I grew up in my parents’ bakery, so I basically inherited a sweet tooth. My childhood was filled with sweet treats, but I ate way too much of it early on. I got tired of cake (yes, it’s possible) and given the choice, I’d always choose savoury over sweet. It wasn’t until I was 18 when I started baking for myself that I got my sweet tooth back.
My favourite concoction is my chocolate and raspberry brownie. It’s so simple but seriously so good. I can’t tell you how much I’ve eaten (too much) but I’m still not sick of them yet, so that’s a good sign.

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

You are very generous with your recipes – do you come up with these from scratch or look to innovate existing ones?

I always bake from a recipe. I research a tonne of recipes before I get into the kitchen and have had such good luck finding ones that I love. I make tweaks here and there, but I don’t have the talent to come up with recipes from scratch. I bow down to everyone that can – it’s hard work!
I’d say I’m more of a recipe curator than maker. I’d also happily put my hand up to be a recipe tester if anyone’s looking!

Jenny Ha of Laced With Sugar

What’s on the horizon for Laced with Sugar?

Nothing as of yet, unfortunately! I’ve still got so much left to learn so that will be me for the next wee while. You never know though, a little Laced With Sugar shop might just be around the next corner!

Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Win with Metropol: Annabel Langbein cookbook Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

In Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion, bestselling New Zealand cookbook author Annabel Langbein shares her best-ever versions of just about every sweet recipe you could dream of.

Essential Volume Two: Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Featuring everything from nostalgic baking classics to modern vegan desserts, this comprehensive compendium is the only book you’ll ever need to bring a little sweetness to your life. To enter to win a copy visit, put in your details and tick the competitions you want to enter. Entries close on Monday 21 May and winners will be notified on Tuesday 22 May.

clean eating

What is clean eating: taking a look at the basic nutritional principles behind the trend

Global empires have been built on the premise. Instagram influencers are courting the attention and affection of millions with their disciplined adherence to its principles. There are books, blogs and food bags dedicated to the cause. In short, cleaning is a food frenzy: but what, exactly, is it?

clean eating

At its heart, it is a very simple concept – it extols the virtues of whole or real foods – those that take a very healthy digression away from processed, refined and even handled foods. If you’re keen on the concept of clean eating but need to know the ins and outs, we’ve got you covered.

Ditch the sugar: Cravings for cakes and cookies might come calling but you need to shut the metaphorical door on these. Cleaning up your diet means limiting sweets – even those found in yogurt and cereal.

Limit sodium: Most of us are getting more sodium than we need. Cutting back on yummies that fall into the processed category will help reduce your salt intake. Salt isn’t a total no-no; it’s a brilliant flavour enhancer but use it sparingly.

Pick produce: We all know the 5+ a day advice and clean eating lends its voice to this philosophy. The fibre in whole produce is great for the gut as it works to keep your microbiome (good bacteria) happy.

Eat less meat: Extensive research suggests cutting back on meat does you, and the planet, a favour. While veganism isn’t a compulsory requirement of clean eating, eating less meat can help keep your weight in check and reduce blood pressure.

Twentyfour Catering, photographer Tegan Clark.

Winter eats: get inspired to eat healthy this winter

Conventional wisdom has it that in lieu of thermals and scarves, the cooler temperatures trigger a biological change that make animals inclined to eat higher quantities of energy-dense food to keep warm.

Twentyfour Catering, photographer Tegan Clark.
Twentyfour Catering, photographer Tegan Clark.

And, although we humans may not put on our own winter coats in this evolutionary sense, fact is cooler temperatures, fewer daylight hours and more time spent inside can all have a significant effect on when, how much and even what we’re hungry for.
While we don’t see anything wrong with indulging a little over the winter months, our diets can be an integral ally in the war against the sniffles and snuffles.
So how can we pack a nutritional punch powerful enough to wage a strong dietary defence?

A perfect pairing

A healthy slow-release breakfast designed to keep you full of energy until lunch, porridge is a great way to start the day and makes a perfect pairing with nuts or seeds and some seasonal winter fruit like apples, pears, cranberries or dates.

A powerful punch

Foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and citrus fruits pack a powerful vitamin C punch and, when it comes to immunity and energy, vitamin C is top of the nutritional charts.

Iron-rich inspiration

Red meats, lentils and green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron, which supports a healthy immune system and what better opportunity than this to incorporate some inspiring eats like the pictured lamb cutlets from Twentyfour Catering Co that made our delicious cover this issue.

Zoom in on zinc

When the temps start to plummet, we can come into contact with cold and flu viruses. Zinc can help contribute to a well-functioning immune system. Oysters, spinach and legumes are good sources.

At the root of health

You’ve likely heard of the traditional ‘comfort foods’, but there’s actually plenty of nutritious options out there too. Roasted root vegetables are a delicious and sweet option, or soups packed with vegetables – and garlic and ginger for an added nutritional kick.

Back to B12 basics

Fish such as salmon and cod, as well as milk, eggs and cheese, are a great source of vitamin B12. A nutritional immune system support, B12 also contributes to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue.

The Butcher’s Mistress

A beautiful butchery: The Butcher’s Mistress is the darling of Rangiora

Beautiful and sophisticated may not be the words you would associate with your local butcher, but then there are few similarities between The Butcher’s Mistress and most others of its kind.

The Butcher’s Mistress

Halena Hitchcock opened the doors of the store in Rangiora’s High Street in October last year and, although the physical store is still in a period of transformation, it’s already clear the attention to detail she brings to the commercial table.
Having been in the industry for twelve years, she recognises the part breeding, health and wellbeing play in creating quality, tasty meat, sourcing off the hoof as much as possible and from farms throughout North Canterbury.
“Traceability is important to me – knowing the animal has come from a top local farm and has been well cared for,” Halena says.
Along with a team of butchers, she offers an exceptional array of locally sourced meat – lamb, hogget and beef, old fashioned dry cured bacon, free-farmed pork, South Island venison and goat, as well as organic Washcreek lamb. For the kids, there’s the ever-popular crumbed sausages, but its high quality gourmet sausages is where The Butcher’s Mistress excels.
“To shop at a butchery means personal care,” Halena says.
“We pay close attention to personal tastes and portion control for families of all sizes.”
Homekill and wild game processing are also available. Halena and her team can guide you through the cuts, hanging time and small goods which best suit your needs. “We’re passionate about what we do and if someone comes in the door, we will do what it takes to source what they want.”
The Butcher’s Mistress, 84 High St Rangiora, phone 03-313 7191.

Gelato Roma

Sweet taste of summer: have your very own gelato truck at your wedding with Gelato Roma

A summer wedding and gelato, who could ask for more? Gelato Roma Mobile brings award-winning gelato and sorbet to your city or country wedding in a picturesque trailer, which features clean lines and more than a hint of Italian style.

Gelato Roma
Margaret Parisi and Blair Poland

Owners and ‘Gelatologists’ Margaret Parisi and Blair Poland say their sorbets and gelatos, espresso and affogato, really appeal to wedding guests after the ceremony but before the reception, often while photos are taken.
Italian/Venezuelan Margaret and proud Kiwi Blair fell in love with Gelato Roma, made in authentic artesian style in Nelson. Clad in traditional aprons and caps, the pair say they are uplifted by engaging people at the events they attend. “Everyone is happy when they are getting gelato,” Blair says.
A big selection of flavours are on offer, including dairy-free, gluten-free options. There are traditional Italian and Kiwi favourites, ask for ‘the specials’ as well as the tasting session before making your choice!