Christchurch 25 - 26 November 2017
"Everyday" - Food and food-related activities are important, yet often taken-for-granted parts of our everyday lives. The biological imperative that makes eating a necessity usually makes us look at it as a mundane practice. Cooking, too, especially in its 'domestic' context, may seem insignificant and uninteresting. Shopping for food, chopping and washing ingredients, and cleaning up after a meal rarely seem poetic or even important. However, the very everydayness of these activities can evolve into meaningful cultural and social symbols, depicting individuals' or societies' relationship with different issues ranging from nutrition, health and hygiene to gender norms, national identity and memory. By looking at the everydayness of food-related activities, we come to understand how societies feed themselves, and therefore, we get a better understanding of their cultures, their past, present, and future. By observing and studying everyday food-related practices, habits, and values that are constantly being passed in ordinary kitchens from one generation to the next, we can open a window to also understanding non-everyday foodways such as those practiced in sacred rituals, mourning, and celebrations.
The 1911 edition of Everyday Cooking was the inspiration for the theme and its cover the "poster girl".
There were 25 papers given over the two days; these will be published in the Aristrologist journal at some stage over the next 12 months.
see : http://www.aristologist.com/aristologist-journal.html
A few Highlights:
Tracy Berno, of Canadian origin, explored a little-known, everyday treat from Canada, the Butter Tart, from historical, cultural and personal perspectives. As well as bringing samples of her personal recipe for tasting.
Donna Lee Brien used Margaret Dunn's popular, everyday cookbook, Mother's Best Recipes (1974), to explore Dunn's life and career and provided information about taste, cookery and the publication of cookbooks in Australia during the period.
Graham Ellender explored Gastronomy and the association between the brain and the mouth, Christine Hall
explained the social elements of dining as providers of a reflective effect on our enjoyment of the meal, with the notion that meals have created the core of human social interaction, the main daily activity that makes humans socialize.
Saman Hassibi covered a brief history of select parts of Iranian food history and food culture, and about the difficulties that are faced when trying to recreate historic recipes, such as those prepared for Saturday's lunch at the Symposium.
Kelila Jaffe focused on the Iron-Age Irish royal archaeological site of Dún Ailinne and the societies that relied on cattle, and the role cattle and cattle consumption played. While from left field, in “What Did You Eat Yesterday?”: Reading Home-Cooked Food in Yoshinaga Fumi 's Boys Love Manga – Alex Tran investigated the iconic Manga which focuses on a household of Gay men but is written for women and argued that the power of food in gastronomy study is beyond the material realm where reading, or perhaps even imagining, is as important as eating.
Allison Reynolds' paper came from her research exploring the origin and evolution along with the myths and legends surrounding the Anzac biscuit. The presentation aimed to show that the Anzac biscuit continues to unite and represent the ANZAC spirit and in the process, has given us an unbroken Australian and New Zealand food tradition which has a powerful connection to both countries' national identity.
Amir Sayadabdi also explored identity through his paper on the everyday food habits of the Gilaks, an ethnic group residing mainly along the south west coast of the Caspian Sea in the province of Gilan in Northern Iran, where particular climate conditions have created distinct eating habits and culinary preparation which has, in turn, resulted in the formation of a distinct identity.
Then back into the home and the everyday and in “Mumfood”, Alison Vincent considered the daily routine of meal making and how it might be captured in words, recording meals, recipes and advice that may one day be passed on and maybe useful to the next generation.
Finally Michael Symons, in part, reflected on Post-Ideological Foodism and in part stood in for Duncan Galletly, publisher of Aristologist Journal who was ill and unable to attend this Symposium.
The 12th New Zealand Symposium of Gastronomy will be held in Napier on Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 November 2018.
Details will be available on: http://www.aristologist.com/
Persian Recipe Workshop - Friday 24 Nov
Ara Institute of Canterbury, was the venue for both the Symposium as well as a Persian recipe workshop The Institute is government-funded and provides tertiary-level education throughout the Canterbury and Waitaki region. Ara was created in 2016 when education providers CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic merged, bringing together two well-established organisations and over 200 years of collective experience and success.
Ara is the Māori word for path or journey. It represents the learning process, the many pathways to success, and the routes and rivers that criss-cross the Canterbury Plains from the mountains to the sea. Underpinning the logo is the phrase 'Ara rau, taumata rau' which translates 'many pathways, many opportunities'. The Food and Hospitality facilities are purpose-built for training purposes and include five kitchens one of which was made available to the workshop.
The two main organisers of the Symposium were Saman Hassibi and Amir Sayadabdi both of whom are from Iran and are in Christchurch on study visas.
Saman (Sam as everyone calls her) translated the very early Persian recipes, from 700 AD through to 1300 AD, and was the main workshop leader.
There were about ten in the workshop, including Sam, Amir and a Head Chef from the Institute. The kitchen was fully kitted out including a whole room full of pots, dishes, pans, whisks and spoons. There were mobile trolleys of knives, measuring spoons and every essential tool of the cooking trade. Want more cinnamon, salt or spice, it was there; in kilo quantities. In other words a dream kitchen.
Participants spent a good portion of the day doing lots of prep, peeling, salting, drying and frying eggplants, chopping onions, carrots, nuts, making & rolling pastry, making small meat balls - roll until they develop a natural stickness; no binder is added to the ground meat & onion. Preparing carrot halva, rolling into balls and decorating with black and white sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Lunch was a great pasta and bean vegetable soup with a sour cheese / yoghurt sauce, followed by pistachio ice cream that Sam had and made for us, the evening before.
The finish for the day, washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, all of which is, of course, an essential part and parcel of cooking, as well as a pleasure, laughing with friends, splashing around in hot water and wondering how we used so many pots, dishes and pans.
The final meal was served for lunch to the 40 or so attendees of the 11th Symposium of Gastronomy.
Lamb shoulder, deboned 600 gr, cut into 2 cm cubes
Onions 3 small, diced
Eggplant* 2 medium
Small Meat Balls : Lean lamb mince 300 gr Onion 1 small, grated Garlic 1 small glove, minced
Fresh coriander 1 small bunch and / or bay leaves (1-2)
Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
Wine vinegar ½ cup
Honey or date molasses 1 tablespoon or to taste
Almond halves or flakes ½ cup
Dried coriander 2 teaspoon
Dried figs ¼ cup
Sultanas ¼ cup
Saffron, ground 1 teaspoon
Rosewater 2 tablespoon
Butter or sesame oil ¼ cup Vegetable oil ¼ cup
Kashk ** 1 cup or yoghurt 1/2 cup Salt & Pepper To taste
* Eggplants can be replaced with carrots.
** Kashk available at Middle Eastern stores. Make by storing yoghurt for 1 or 2 days at room temperature (or until it tastes sour).
Place it in a blender with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix until smooth. Pour into a pot, bring to a boil and simmer the yogurt (with the top off the pot) until thick, (this may take up to 4 hours). Drain through 2 layers of cheesecloth or 1 layer of butter muslin until all the liquid has come out (at least 1/2 hour).
Preparation: 1. Peel the eggplants, cut their ends, cut them in half, then, cut to 10 cm long wedges. Prick the wedges with fork and lightly sprinkle some salt on them and place them in a colander or on a tea towel for 15-30 minutes. After that, dry the beads of water on them, turn them over and salt the other side, and let them remain for another 15-30 minutes. Then dry them up with paper towel.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, arrange the eggplants in a single layer, cover the skillet, and fry the eggplants for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Flip over the eggplants, cover again and fry the other side for another 3-4 minutes, or until the eggplants can easily be poked with a fork. Don’t leave the eggplants unattended as they can easily be ruined. Set them aside.
3. In a bowl, mix the minced meat with the grated onion, minced garlic, and some salt and pepper and make small meatballs (1-2 cm diameter).
4. Dissolve the saffron in a little boiling water and let it brew for a few minutes.
Cooking: 1. In another skillet (with lid) or pot, heat a little vegetable oil and fry the onion until it is translucent and its edges begin to change colour. Then add the garlic and fry them until golden brown.
Cook cubed lamb or fry it in the onion and garlic, then cook with a little water until it’s very tender (step 1). Mash or shred the cooked meat before going on to step 2. You don’t need to add as much water as there would be enough broth to be used for cooking the eggplants.
2. Add dried figs, sultanas, wine vinegar, honey or date molasses, dried coriander, cinnamon, and Saffron to the fried onions and stir for 10-15 seconds, place the fried eggplants on them, add boiling water or broth from cooking lamb, put the lid on, and let the eggplants cook on medium-low heat until they become very tender (ca. 15-20 minutes). If the eggplants are not quite tender just yet, and the water has almost dried up, add a little bit of water and let them cook thoroughly.
3. Set the pot aside, and mash any big pieces of eggplant with a fork or potato masher. If it’s not easy to mash them up, they are still undone! Add half the amount of kashk and mix well. Place the pot back on the hob, and stir for 1-2 minutes until it’s thoroughly heated*, add Rosewater. *If you’d like, you can add a couple tablespoons of boiling water and let the eggplants and kashk simmer together for 5 minutes. Do not do this if you’re using yogurt!
4. Serve the mash in the dish, garnish with more kashk, fried mint, fried onions and garlic, fried small meat balls, almond flakes, chopped walnut and fresh coriander. Serve with bread and side of assorted herbs.
For a vegetarian version: Drain and rinse a can of lentils or white beans (or better yet, cook some yourself!), add to the onions, then mash them before adding the eggplants, and continue.
Roast Lamb and Mint Rolls (Bazmāvard)
For the lamb: 1 Leg of lamb, butterflied , 2 cups yoghurt, 1tblsp minced garlic, 1 Tsp ground cumin, 1 - 2 Cinnamon bark, slat & pepper to taste, 3 Tblsp oil, 1 - 2 bunch Mint stems
For the rolls : 1 cup Fresh mint leaves, 1/2 cup Fresh coriander, chopped, 1/4 cup Cider vinegar or lemon juice, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup crumbled Feta, 1 - 2 Tblsp Rosewater, Lavash or any other soft thin flatbread As many as is needed
1. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, minced garlic, cumin, salt and pepper, and some oil together. Prick a few holes in the lamb or make a few shallow cuts on it and rub the yogurt mixture on the lamb, cover it, and let it be for a few hours or overnight until it’s marinated.
2. After a few hours, place the lamb in a proper dish with the mint stems scattered over it and the cinnamon barks, and roast.
3. Let the meat cool down and shred it in a bowl. Add the mint leaves, chopped coriander, walnuts, and a little vinegar to soften the mixture. If the vinegar is too sharp, replace some of it with water. If you’d like, you can add a little rosewater, too.
4. Add the crumbled feta, mix, and adjust the salt and pepper.
5. Place the bread on the working surface, add some of the meat filling, roll up, and cut to 3 cm long pieces (wheels). Place them on the serving tray and sprinkle a little rosewater on top, garnish with mint leaves.
Roasted Chicken and Tarragon Rolls (Bazmāvard)
For the chicken : 2 - 3 Chicken breast, 1 cup yoghurt, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 - 3 tblsp oil or butter, salt & pepper to taste
For the rolls : 1/4 cup Fresh basil leaves, chopped, 1/4 cup Fresh tarragon, chopped, 1 Lemon juice & zest, 1/2 cup Cream Cheese, 1/4 cup Cream, Sour Cream or Yoghurt, Lavash or any other soft thin flatbread as needed.
1. Slice the breast lengthwise and marinate it with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper for a few hours, then sauté or grill.
2. Stir the cream and cream cheese together until it is softened.
3. Chop the chicken and add it to the cream cheese mixture, mix in the herbs, the zest, and lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
4. Place the bread on the working surface, add some of the filling, roll up, and cut to long 3 cm pieces (wheels).
Assorted herb side-salad (Sabzi khordan)
Basil 2 bunches plus 1 bunch each of Parsley, Coriander, Watercress, Chives, Spring Onion, Tarragon, Radish, Mint The number of herbs, amount of each, and types of herbs can vary based on your personal taste. You can also include fresh dill, fennel leaves, purslane, savoury, or any other herb you enjoy!
Sam’s favourite mix is a bunch of coriander, a bunch of tarragon, two bunches of basil, half a bunch of chives, and as many tiny red radishes as one can buy.
1. Fill up a big bowl with cold water
2. Destem basils, parley, coriander, watercress, tarragon, and mint. Add the leaves to the bowl of water.
3. Cut both ends of radish. Chop off the ends of spring onions and cut them to 5 cm long pieces. Throw them in the bowl of cold water, move them around with hands so they are thoroughly cleaned.
4. Remove the herbs from the bowl to a colander and set aside for a while, then, place them on paper towel to absorb the extra moisture. Cut the larger radishes to smaller circles. Serve the herbs in a plate, bowl, or basket alongside the main dish or eat them with bread, feta cheese, and walnuts.
Saffron rice pudding (Sholezard)
Rice (short or medium grain, or grits) 1 cup, Water 2 cups + enough for soaking, Salt A pinch, Sugar 1.5-2 cups,
Saffron, ground To taste (ca. 1 gr should suffice), Cardamom pods (cracked) 2-3, Salt A pinch, Butter 100 gr,
Rosewater ¼ cup, Silvered almond (optional) ¼ cup.
Garnish: Cinnamon powder To taste, Almond (silvered, flakes), Pistachio
1. Wash the rice well and soak it in lukewarm water for a few hours or overnight.
2. Dissolve the saffron in a little boiling water and let it brew for a few minutes.
1. Drain the soaked rice, discard all its water, pour the rice in a pot, add the 2 cups of water and the cracked cardamom pods and place on medium heat and bring to boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer the rice until the grains lose their shape and become quite soft. Stir occasionally.
2. Once the rice reaches porridge’s consistency and the grains are thoroughly soft, add the sugar, stir, and make sure the sugar is dissolved. If the pudding is too thick, add a little boiling water and simmer for 5 more minutes.
3. Add the butter, brewed saffron, and stir. Obviously the more saffron you add, the richer the colour of the pudding will be.
4. Reduce the heat to very low, add the rosewater and silvered almond, stir well, put the lid on, and let it be for about 3 minutes. Then, check and stir, close the lid and let it simmer for 3 more minutes. Repeat the process a few times until it reaches the rice pudding consistency.
5. Set the pot aside; remove the cardamom pods, serve the porridge in dishes, garnish with powdered cinnamon and other nuts, and serve cold.
Carrot Halvā (makes 3 cups)
Carrots 500 gr, Rice flour 1 cup, Water 1 cup, Sugar 1 cup, Butter 100 gr, Saffron (3 tablespoons, brewed)
Cinnamon barks 2-3 pieces Rosewater ¼ cup
1. Peel and chop the carrots, add a little water and the cinnamon stick, and cook until they are very tender. Then take the cinnamon out, strain the excess water, and puree the carrots. Set aside.
2. Dissolve the saffron in a little boiling water and let it brew for a few minutes.
3. In a pot, mix the sugar with a little boiling water (around ¼ cup) and heat until it is dissolved, add the rosewater, and mix, and turn off the heat. Set aside.
1. Pour the flour in wide saucepan, place on medium heat, and fry (without any oil) stirring for 10-15 minutes until you can sense the aroma of cooked rice flour.
2. Add the butter to the flour and stir for a few minute until its colour gets a slight brownish hue. Then, add the puree, stir well until they are all mixed.
3. Add the liquid saffron and sugar mixture, and stir constantly. Keep stirring until all the liquid is dried up and the halva is starting to come away from the sides of the pan, stir for a few minutes until it separates from the sides and comes to the centre of the pan.
4. Remove from heat, shake the pan a few times ‘hitting’ the halva to the sides of the pan (be merciless!) until the halva becomes a little sparkly. Be very careful not to burn yourself!
5. Serve the halva in the plates or let it cool down, then shape, and garnish. For example with white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds or chopped pistachios.
Walnut, almond and Pistachio Turnover (Qottāb) (Makes 14-16 pastries)
For the dough : Egg yolk 2, Butter (melted, cooled) 100 gr (1/3 cup), Yoghurt 100 gr (1/3 cup), Flour 1 cup + 2 tblspns, Baking powder ¾ tspn, Baking soda ¼ tspn, Salt A pinch Vanilla essence or cardamom powder ¼ tspn
For the filling : Ground almond ½ cup, Ground pistachio ½ cup, Cardamom, ground 1 tspn, Rosewater ½ cup or a little more, Icing sugar 1 cup.
OR an alternative filling : Ground walnut 1 cup, Cinnamon, ground ¾ tspn, Clove ground ¼ tspn, Rosewater ½ cup or more, Icing sugar 1 cup.
1. In a large bowl, mix together egg yolks, yogurt, melted butter, and cardamom powder.
2. Sift flour (1cup), baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another bowl.
3. Stir the dry ingredients in the wet ones gradually until well combined. Then, knead the dough for a few minutes until it forms loose dough and is a bit sticky. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour if the dough was too sticky.
4. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 1 hour in a cool place (not in the fridge).
1. In another bowl, mix the ground nuts with the sugar and spices, add rosewater gradually until it forms a dough. Preheat the oven to 160 degree Celsius.
2. Roll out the dough on a lightly flour surface very thin (2 mm) and with a medium cookie cutter, cut out circles.
3. Place 1-2 teaspoons of the filling inside each of the circles, , fold over, shape to half circles, press the two edges together, then from one side, using your thumb and finger pleat up the edge (press and fold over, repeat).
4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the turnovers in that, bake for 10-15 minutes until the bottom of the pastries become lightly browned. Sprinkle with more icing sugar and serve.
Almond and Coconut Lozenge (Loziné)
Sugar ½ cup, Water ¼ cup, Rosewater 2 tblspn, Powdered almond 1 cup, Cardamom 1 tspn, Powdered coconut 1 cup, Coconut oil 1 tblspn, Vanilla 1 tspn, Toasted almond flakes or Toasted pistachio chopped ¼ cup.
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and sugar on low heat for 10-20 minutes until the liquid becomes rather thick.
2. Meanwhile line a suitable (square shaped) 15 cm dish with cellophane film.
3. Add the rose water to the sugar mixture, boil for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat.
4. Pour the syrup in a suitable bowl, add the cardamom (or vanilla), and whisk it with electric mixer until the syrup becomes white.
5. Add the almond (or coconut) powder to the whisked syrup and mix with a spoon. If the mixture is too sticky add more of the powder.
6. Move the mixture to the lined dish, press it with hands or back of the spoon until it is firm, top it with the toasted almond flakes (or pistachios) and press them a little, and cover with cellophane.
7. Place the dish in fridge for an hour, then, take out, remove from the dish, and cut to lozenge shapes.
FRIDAY 24 November - informal dinner for Symposiasts
On the Friday evening an informal dinner was held at Rangoon Ruby, 819 Colombo St, Christchurch which is advertised as Burmese Cusine. A set menu had been chosen, starters for all to share, then separate dishes for the vegans and the omnivores.
To Start : le pet thoke tea salad pickled tea leaves lentils, nuts, sesame seeds & chilli
tohujo crispy yellow split-pea tofu, roasted garlic & tomato dip
Main sharing dishes for Vegetarians
yonbadedi okra blanched & dressed garlic oil & soy
ciandi thoke grilled eggplant sesame seeds, chilli, olive oil, shallots, coriander
tohu thoke yellow split-pea tofu salad greens dressed with tamarind & crispy shallots
Main Sharing dishes for Omnivores
timbodi thoke shredded green papaya dressed with lemon, dried shrimp, shallot oil & roasted pea flour
jetda thoke shredded chicken with salad greens dressed with lemon, shallots, chilli & coriander
ameyda nut mild beef curry with shallots, garlic & spices
jetdajo deep fried chicken pieces marinated in garlic & soy
seit da kin grilled spiced cubes of lamb with chilli & mint dip
pazunjo prawns sauteed with garlic
nga hin fish fillet braised tomato, chilli, coriander & tamarind
The food was interesting though very low key, especially in terms of spice and chilli, whether this was "normal", adjusted for the local customer or toned down for catering to groups is unknown. Have since noted that there does seem to be a chain of Rangoon Ruby, Burmese Cusine outlets in the USA, especially around the suburbs of San Francisco.
11th Symposium of Gastronomy dinner - Sat 25 November
Symposiasts, gathering in the oak lined foyer, continued the discussions, debates and idle chat of the day with a glass of sparkling wine and hor d'oeuvres, before attending the Drawing Room and a brief history of the house and its current use. The dinner started with Asparagus, spring pea & créme fraiche soup with "Two Thumbs"Oatmeal stout bread. Spring in a bowl and great bread.
Before the next course someone took on the role of Symposiarch and decided that a glass of sparkling with the hor d'oeuvres and a glass of riesling with the main, was a bit too modest, and taking up Dionysos' advice*, it was arranged that, rather than be unaccompanied the Rabbit, pork hock & chicken liver terrine with pinot poached cherries and sourdough crostini be served with a glass of either Circuit Chardonnay 2016, Black Estate, North Canterbury or The Bone Line White Label Pinot Noir 2016 Waipara Valley
*Greek playwright, Eubulus (c. 375 BC ), had the god of wine, Dionysos, describe proper and improper drinking:
For sensible men I prepare only three kraters: one for health (which they drink first), the second for love and pleasure, and the third for sleep. After the third one is drained, wise men go home.
Dionysos continues: The fourth krater is not mine any more - it belongs to bad behaviour; the fifth is for shouting; the sixth is for rudeness and insults; the seventh is for fights; the eighth is for breaking the furniture; the ninth is for depression; the tenth is for madness and unconsciousness.
So to the Pickled pork cutlet, piquant cream sauce, pease pudding & baby carrots
and our third glass, either Stoke IPA beer or Crater Rim Riesling, though, through not paying attention during the pour and then forgetting to ask, I am unsure as to whether it was Crater Rim's Waipara Valley or its Canterbury Riesling, various sources have described both as "in the German style", either way a number of people remarked on the initial sweetness on the palette and the dryish finish.
While this dinner could be thought of as a festive celebration, during which, historically, the focus tends to be on meats of various sorts, I personally find the practice of a lot of our restaurants, in Australia and it seems New Zealand, serving large portions of meat and virtually no vegetable, is a bit odd, given the emphasis today on healthy eating and environmental issues. In the case of our meal here, considering the ingredients are all sourced at a Farmers market featuring stall after colourful stall of freshest vegetables, to be served a large slice of terrine with two poached cherries followed by an extremely large pork chop with one baby carrot, one snow pea and one small spinach leaf, seemed to show contempt for fruit and vegetables as anything other than decoration, even with the shared side of Mignonette lettuce leaves.
With our third glass of wine drained, some of our Symposiasts, feeling the strain of a long day, a large and excellent Persian themed lunch and no doubt Dionysos's advice, started a slow but steady movement to home. So the Mothers pudding, vanilla mascarpone, strawberry & port wine jelly, raspberry crumbs did not have a full compliment of diners and the Tea, Coffee with Almond Biscuits, Shortbread with passionfruit icing were passed by nearly all.
A memorable meal even though the execution of the various " Everyday Cookery" inspired courses was not always totally successful. In particular with the main, I felt that a strong caper flavour, presumably the "piquant cream sauce", overwhelmed other strands within the composition but I may be entertaining an old prejudice acquired in the 90's, when, for a brief moment, every restaurant plate seemed to feature a few caper berries.
The central component of the dessert, "Mothers pudding" seemed to misplace an "s" from dessert and was a bit arid; it was not saved by the oasis of vanilla mascarpone. I was later told, at 2nd hand, that the original recipe for "Mother's pudding" consisted of a scant list of ingredients and as we all know, turning a word of mouth recipe to the written can involve some "translation" errors especially in the process of re-converting to an end product. Generating the thought that the recipes were possibly given their only outing for this particular evening.
The owner / chef Sam Marchant, dressed in 'civvies', did make an appearance toward the end of the evening and gave a gracious short talk and in the process explained that because of prior commitments, another chef was in the kitchen.
The evening was enjoyed by all, as is usually the case when sharing with friends and collegues.
Max Dingle Feb 2018