Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chocolate-coated kawakawa berries

I'm quite ridiculously proud of myself for thinking of this idea, although I'm sure I'm not the first! Kawakawa berries - which are adorning many female kawakawa bushes around Wellington at the moment - taste to me like a cross between passionfruit and hot black pepper. And they go beautifully with dark chocolate.

You need
Kawkawa berries (as many as you can gather)
Dark fair trade chocolate (as much as you think you'll need to coat the berries)

To make
Very gently rinse the berries. You'll probably also want to pull out their long, thin cores. If you pinch them at the top of the berry and pull upwards, they slide up out of the berry quite easily.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. (Or improvise with a bowl over a pot of boiling water.)

When the chocolate is fully melted, turn off the heat.

Gently roll each kawakawa berry individually in the chocolate. You can be quite extravagant with the chocolate if you like - the strong, unique taste of the berries can handle it.

After rolling each one, place it on wax paper to set.

To serve
I reckon these would be nice as an accompaniment to coffee. (Just one or two per person).

I also think they'd work well as a garnish on cheesecake - or on kawakawa icecream.

Or you could ad a few to a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries.

More about Kawakawa berries
I've been excited to find that they ripen to some extent off the bush. Don't pick the completely green ones - they won't ripen well. But if they're starting to blush orange, they'll complete their ripening quite easily sitting on your shelf or table or windowsill.

I'm not sure exactly how long they keep for, but last week I picked some half-ripe ones on a Monday afternoon, kept them on a shady shelf, and they were still good (and completely ripe) by late Thursday night.

I have an entry about kawakawa at Wild Picnic.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Puha Pakoras

Actually you can make these from any foraged greens, but puha lends itself especially well. (And I like the alliteration.) If you are using big stalks of puha, while you wash it, bruise the stalks a bit to let the bitter white sap out.

You need
1 cup chana (chickpea) flour

1.5 tsp curry powder or cumin

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt, or to taste

Big pinch chilli powder (optional)

2 cups foraged greens, finely chopped and loosely packed down.

2 tbsp grated onion



To make
Whisk dry ingredients together.

Add greens and grated onion.

Mix to a very thick batter. If necessary, add water to moisten slightly - but only slightly! The dryer this batter the better. You should only need a few drops of water, if any.

Heat 1 cm oil in pan, on medium-high.

Dollop in small spoonfuls of batter, or mould small patties in your hands and drop in. (Keep hands wet if doing it that way.)

Turn and fry till golden brown on both sides.

Remove onto paper-towel-lined plate.

Serve with yoghurt and/or relish.

Makes a meal for 2 or a snack for 4.

If using bitter greens ...
If you're using very bitter greens - like older dandelion leaves or wild mustard greens - boil them for 5-10 minutes and then leave to drain before chopping them and adding them to the batter. (You may even want to press some of the moisture out, so you don't risk ending up with an over-moist batter.)