We hunt down the best produce to give our classic recipes a uniquely New Zealand twist. We also recommend complementing our products with local breads and condiments to put make the dishes truly your own.
We use capers, garlic, lemon, lime, tahini and tomato paste.
We use cardamom, chillies, cumin seeds, pepper and saffron.
We use basil, bay, chives, coriander, dill, mint and parsley.
These come in different sizes and can be yellow, red, brown or green. The tiny green Puy lentils are favoured in France and the brown and red ones in the Middle East where they are cooked with spices to make dhals. They are also used in soups and need no soaking time just washing before cooking.
This pulse looks like a pale golden hazelnut. Chickpeas have a nutty flavour and are used in stews from North Africa to Spain. In the Middle East they are made into flour, pureed to produce a delicious dip. Soak them for at least 5 hours before cooking. They may have to be cooked for up to 4 hours, before they become tender. This varies according to the age of the chickpeas.
Some of the best tomatoes are to be found in Mediterranean markets. Sun-ripened and full of flavour, they come in many varieties - plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and baby pear-shaped ones. Cooked with onion and garlic, tomatoes make the universal sauce that so many Mediterranean dishes rely on.
The starting point of so many dishes, the onion is invaluable to Mediterranean cooking. There are many varieties, differing in colour, size and strength of flavour. For salads, or when onion is to be used raw, choose red or white-skinned varieties which have a sweet, mild flavour. Baby onions are perfect for adding whole to stews, or serving as a vegetable dish on their own.
Sweet peppers add colour to markets across the Mediterranean region. To make the most of their flavour, grill peppers until the skins are charred, then rub off and discard the skins. Marinate the peppers in olive oil.
This leaf vegetable is very popular in the Mediterranean countries. Cooked or raw, it is a good source of vitamins A and C. Young spinach leaves can be eaten raw and need little preparation, but older leaves should be washed in several changes of water and then picked over and the tough stalks removed. Spinach is used in Middle Eastern pastries, Spanish tapas, French tarts and many more dishes - eggs and fish, for instance, make good partners. If spinach is to be cooked, allow approximately 250g raw weight per person.