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Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Slow food is the answer to our busy lives. It works towards ensuring that the food we eat today will be around tomorrow. I’m a big believer of sourcing my fresh produce from local Canterbury suppliers. I know that my suppliers are doing their best to use sustainable methods, ensuring that their products and land will be around in the future. It’s the Slow Food Movement all over and one I’m a great fan of.

What is the Slow Food Movement?

It began back in 1986 when locals in Rome objected to the building of a McDonalds near the Spanish Steps. The movement works towards preserving our traditional food, cooking methods, seeds, plants, farm animals and farming practices. Now a global movement, it is well and truly established here in New Zealand too. A non-profit organisation, people who are concerned with the sustainability of our food supply are encouraged to join as members of their closest Convivia group. It is the work of these members that gives me the confidence in knowing that my son will enjoy the same food traditions and experiences which I had growing up.

Bringing Slow Food Home

In 2000, Christchurch was the first place in NZ to establish a Convivia group and they’ve been working hard ever since. However, we are lucky in this country in that we don’t have the pressing needs to preserve our food chain. That’s why NZ’s Slow Food Movement is mostly focused on the preparation and eating experience itself. Once again, this is something I am extremely passionate about. Right from when I was young, helping my Nanna and Oppy at their Paraora Boarding House, I’ve treasured not only the cooking experience, but the sharing of a good meal with great company. Sitting down around the table with my family is an experience that money just can’t buy. Taking the time to savour every mouthful of food and drink, the sharing of favourite recipes and the company of loved ones is what matters.

I learnt a lot while helping my Nanna and Oppy in the kitchen and in the garden. Learning where our food comes from is important and that’s another reason why I love the Slow Food Movement. They are taking the time to teach our tamariki how to grow and care for fruit and vegetables in the garden. Children are then able to harvest, prepare and eat something they have grown and I know there is no greater pleasure than that!

I’d like to challenge you to slow down with slow food. Take the time to learn how it was produced, visit where it came from and enjoy every mouthful. The Maori proverb “He kai kei aku ringa” rings true here. It translates as ‘there is food at the end of my hands,’ meaning that as people when we use our basic abilities, we will achieve success.

Creative Food Extraordinaries Ataahua Wines

Creative Food Extraordinaries Ataahua Wines

Creative Food Extraordinaire Ataahua Wines

Wine is a beautiful thing. Even more so are the individually hand crafted wines from Ataahua Wines. Located in Waipara, right here in North Canterbury, Ataahua wines work towards producing high quality wines for wine lovers who enjoy pairing a glass of wine with their meal. That makes Ataahua Wines a perfect match with us here at Miss Lilly’s.

Owned and operated by Stephanie and her husband Andrew, the vineyard has 4.5 hectares of grapevines, all of which contribute to the amazing products which are created in the onsite winery. They have owned the five-hectare block for over 20 years and lived on it for the past 16. But it wasn’t until 2008 when Stephanie took the plunge and started up Ataahua Wines, after already having an extensive career in the wine industry. She began by launching Ataahua Wines first product, a 2008 Gewurztraminer which was made in a neighbouring winery, but now has built her own winery onsite.

Ataahua Wines is run organically, even though they are not officially certified. They are however certified through Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) for running the vineyard and winery in a sustainable manner. Stephanie herself crafts her individually hand made wine, actively taking a part in all stages along the way right from the vine through to the packaging.

The Ataahua wine range includes Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the whites, and Merlot and Pinot Noir in the reds, plus a Pinot Rosé and a Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. All her wines are naturally fermented in seasoned French Oak barrels with as little additives used as possible. You will find them available for purchase through the Ataahua Wines website, as well as in several restaurants and fine wine stores around Canterbury, Auckland and Wellington.

Matching Your Wine for Christmas Day

I was very excited to find out more about Ataahua Wines. I love how Stephanie has grown her passion for great wine into a sustainable local business and one which works perfectly here with us at Miss Lilly’s. The wine she produces makes a fabulous accompaniment to a great meal, especially Christmas Day lunch or dinner. Here are a few of my seasonal favourites:

  • Ataahua 2014 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer – the perfect match for having with your Christmas cake or mince pie, this Gewurztraminer offers a sweet and smooth palate, together with a rich fruity aroma.

  • Ataahua 2014 Merlot – a wonderful wine to have with your Christmas roast beef or seared venison. It has gorgeous ripe plum and blackberry flavours with a pinch of spice.

  • But there is one wine I’ve taken a bit further into my kitchen and that’s their Ataahua 2014 Rose. I’ve even gone as far as creating this recipe to go with it…

The Rosé Grapefruit Dream

Ingredients  Makes 1 cocktail (make as many as needed)  3 oz. Rosé  1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice  ½ oz. vodka  Simple syrup, to taste  Ice cubes  Quartered strawberries  Fresh mint, for garnish   Directions   Add some ice to a cocktail shaker.  Pour the Rosé, grapefruit juice, vodka and simple syrup into the shaker. Most like a light drizzle of simple syrup.  Cap the shaker and shake.  Strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with strawberry and mint.  Enjoy.   


Makes 1 cocktail (make as many as needed)

3 oz. Rosé

1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice

½ oz. vodka

Simple syrup, to taste

Ice cubes

Quartered strawberries

Fresh mint, for garnish


Add some ice to a cocktail shaker.

Pour the Rosé, grapefruit juice, vodka and simple syrup into the shaker. Most like a light drizzle of simple syrup.

Cap the shaker and shake.

Strain into a martini glass.

Garnish with strawberry and mint.



Helping Create Substainable Farming & Food

Helping Create Substainable Farming & Food

Have you heard of the Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class? Rabobank flew in more than 50 leading farmers from around the world to discuss the ways in which we can ensure the sustainability of our global food supply. We recently had the pleasure of catering for these participants over two days while there were here in Canterbury.

Rabobank have created a program called Banking For Food. They have positioned themselves as a major player in helping farmers increase productivity and food supply by providing global networking opportunities for farmers, as well as offering funding from their bank.

The nine-day Master Class took place in Australia and here in Canterbury. During their time here, we were proud to be chosen to cater for their lunch over two consecutive days: at Patoa Farms and Cleardale Station.


Patoa Farms for Free-Farmed Pork

The first lunch we catered for the attendees of the Global Farmers Master Class was at Patoa Farms. Owners Steve and Jens had a vision of farming pigs as naturally as possible. That’s why at Patoa Farms all their animals run free in paddocks and they’ve got straw shelters in each paddock for farrowing too.

Patoa Farms produce delicious pork! They have been incredibly successful at marketing their pork, with many leading NZ brands using it to on sell. As winners of the 2016 North Canterbury Awards, they have demonstrated their commitment to sustainable farming and we are proud to use their pork here at Miss Lilly’s!

Cleardale Station Sustainable Sheep Farming
The second lunch we catered for the Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class was at Cleardale Station. Located about 10km from the Rakaia Gorge, Cleardale Station are firmly concentrating on improving the productivity and sustainability of their farm, as well as increasing their profitability.

While Cleardale’s 1400ha property mainly farms sheep, they also have a small herd of cattle. But it is their half-bred sheep they are most proud of. They have bred a cross between their own merino and some English Leicester studs which is definitely helping Cleardale achieve it’s high productivity levels.

Canterbury Caterers with an Eye to the Future

As our population continues to grow, we need to look towards buying our food from suppliers who practise sustainable methods in creating their products. Wherever possible, we purchase our fresh produce for Miss Lilly’s from local businesses. We’re playing our part and would love you to join us too!




How to Host the Ultimate Summer BBQ Party

How to Host the Ultimate Summer BBQ Party

Pack away your winter woollies and grab your jandals. It’s time to host the ultimate summer BBQ party and really impress your guests! I’m here today to share with you some of my best tips on giving your BBQ the wow factor. So let’s get grilling people!

Miss Lilly’s Best BBQ Party Tips

Entertaining and eating outdoors really makes my list of favourite things to do. Whether it’s a picnic down at the beach, a BBQ in a flower filled meadow, or a formal dinner on your deck, they’re all fab occasions to get together with family and friends. In my years as a caterer, I know that food really can make or break an event. But I’ve also seen events with amazing food fall flat because the location just didn’t have any party like atmosphere. That’s why I’ve put together these ideas to help make your next BBQ totally rock!

  • Share Your Menu – sure, you’re not running a restaurant, but people are still here to eat. Paint a tall piece of plywood with black chalkboard paint and write your menu on it with chalk. If you have a theme, you could even engage your artistic side and draw some pictures to match!

  • Sauces and Chutneys - lining up your sauces and chutneys in little matching jars along a table looks cute. If you add a wooden ice block stick with the name of the condiment on it, it’s even cuter!

  • Bring Out the Paddling Pool – but keep the kids out, cause this paddling pool is strictly for the food. We’ve all been to BBQs where the weather is so hot, that the salad gets a bit dodgy. Fill the paddling pool with ice and stick all the containers with the salads, sauces and condiments in it. This will help them keep cool and safe to eat!

  • No More Flies – we all hate them, but flies love the smell of our BBQs. So rather than spending time shooing them away, how about preparing individual lidded containers or jars of food for your BBQ. That way when guests are not eating, they can just pop the lid on and forget about the flies.

  • Twinkling Lights – when you are out and about, it’s hard to find places to hang fairy lights. This summer when you’re packing your BBQ into the car (or not!), remember to take a bucket filled with pebbles and a tall bamboo pole. You can wrap your fairy lights around the pole or use two buckets and polls to string lights between, a bit like a bunting. It’s a fabulous way to set the atmosphere at an evening summer BBQ.

Then what else do you need at a BBQ? Food of course and I’ve got these delicious Miss Lilly’s Creative Food Extraordinaires’ recipes to share with you over summer.