On Sunday I had the second "gathering" of the month here. This time 10 "ladies" and 1 man came to learn all about New Zealand baking and herbs. I would have to say that it was a little easier to keep them enthusiastic than the university group earlier in the month, but a little more difficult to get them to leave. The general plan was from 10-12pm, but I don't think the last people left until well after 2pm........ This was after pulling out half the herbs in my garden to take home with them!
So, as my brother asked "what is New Zealand cooking"? I think the main difference between Japanese and New Zealand baking/cooking is the use of spices and herbs. To give them a small taste we made French Bread seasoned with lots of fresh herbs, pumpkin muffins with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, citrus slice, and two kinds of herb dressings again packed full of herbs.
At the moment there is a herb boom in Japan, but it usually only goes as far as the garden. Everyone is planting all kinds of herbs, but no one has any idea how to use them. Even simple herbs like parsley and basil are only used for display. The result is that I can say anything vaguely related to herbs and there are gasps of wonder and enthusiasm heard all around the room. Great for the ego!!!
I hope to continue this kind of group and open a "classroom" every couple of months or so. Everyone seems to enjoy it and it is a good way to get rid of some of my extra seedlings, lettuces and of course sell some more jam! Any new members welcome.....