A few months ago, Lauraine Jacobs, the celebrated New Zealand culinary writer and founder of Cuisine magazine, visited Oamaru to collect material for some stories in The Listener, New Zealand’s largest weekly news magazine, for which she writes a food column. During that stay, she wrote a piece about a Brazilian meal that she enjoyed at Pen-y-bryn, Oamaru’s five-star luxury boutique lodge, including the recipes for two of the dishes. You can read the article below, or by clicking here.
Brazilian cuisine in Oamaru
Photo Elizabeth Clarkson / styling Kate Arbuthnot
Oamaru is the most unlikely place to be introduced to South American cuisine. But there I was enjoying the warm hospitality of Pen-y-bryn Lodge as the guest of owners James Glucksman and James Boussy. They had invited a few friends to share dinner with me so I could gain insights into local food. And in my honour, Glucksman, an adventurous and well-travelled cook, had prepared a Brazilian-themed menu. Many overseas visitors are interested in culinary tourism, with wine regions an obvious destination. However, it’s also rewarding to venture outside the main centres, where artisans, farmers and cafe and restaurant owners who are passionate about local food offer numerous surprises and where hosts such as Glucksman can on request prepare interesting feasts of Chinese, Turkish, Indian and other cuisines.
A 90-minute drive north of Dunedin, Oamaru has a well-preserved Victorian precinct, featuring handsome colonial buildings, that has given new life to this coastal town and traditional farming centre. Adding to the wealth of attractions and activities are artists’ studios, the Whitestone Cheese factory shop, excellent cafes and a couple of much-admired restaurants. More adventurous tourists can head 40km north to New Zealand’s newest wine district, the Waitaki Valley, to taste locally grown pinot noirs and rieslings. Given Oamaru’s chilly weather, Pen-y-bryn’s complex Brazilian dishes were ideal for feasting. A spicy fish soup was followed by a rich meat stew. The recipe for this varies from cook to cook, depending on his or her meat selections. The cuts should be flavoursome and the sausages meaty, but not fatty.
- 500g dried black turtle beans
- 750g piece of corned beef
- 250g smoked slab bacon or meaty salt pork, in one piece
- 4 tbsp mild olive oil
- 350g pork belly
- salt and pepper
- 500g sweet Italian sausages
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 medium black pudding, sliced into 3 pieces
- 1 large dried chorizo, sliced into 3 pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 coriander stalks
- 1⁄3 cup fresh orange juice
Cover the beans in cold water and soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. In a separate bowl, cover the corned beef in cold water and soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Blanch the bacon in a large saucepan of boiling water, then cook for another 5 minutes. Drain. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Rub the pork generously with salt and pepper, then brown well on all sides – about 7 minutes. Remove the pork to a bowl, add the sausages to the frying pan, and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes. Take a large stockpot or cast-iron casserole pan and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft. Add the drained beans with the pork, bacon, corned beef, black pudding and chorizo. (Reserve the sausages.) Tie the bay leaves and coriander stalks together and add to the pot with enough water to cover the beans and meat by 6cm. Bring to a boil, then skim the surface. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Skim from time to time and keep checking the level of liquid, adding cold water if necessary. With a slotted spoon, remove about 1 cup of beans from the liquid and mash them well with a fork. Add the orange juice and return this mixture to the bean pot. Add the reserved sausages, season with salt and pepper to taste, then cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
To serve, remove the bay leaves and coriander, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a large cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the sausages, chorizo and black pudding into thick slices. Cut all the other meat into chunks, then stir it back into the beans. Serve with rice, stir-fried kale or flower sprouts, orange wedges and pickled chillies. Serves 8. Wine match: cabernet sauvignon.
- ½ tsp annatto seeds (for colour but not essential)
- 60ml canola oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1kg blue cod steaks (or other firm white fish)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1 yellow capsicum, diced
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 8 drops Tabasco sauce
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander, chopped
- 400ml coconut milk
- coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
To make annatto oil, combine the seeds and oil in a small saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the oil turns orange. Remove from the heat, strain out the seeds (and discard), and leave the oil to cool. (This can be done ahead.) Combine the garlic, lime juice and salt in a large bowl. Cut the fi sh into large chunks. Add to the bowl, and rub the fi sh with the garlic-lime mixture. Leave to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients. In a large frying pan or a cast-iron pan (Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and capsicum for 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and Tabasco sauce, then cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes soften and begin to give up their juice. Place the fish in a single layer on top of the mixture in the pan. Sprinkle over the spring onions and coriander, then pour on the annatto oil and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes, gently shaking it from time to time to ensure the fish doesn’t stick, and carefully stirring the liquids around the fish. Taste, then adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, black pepper, lime juice or Tabasco sauce if needed. Serves 6.
- Fleurs Place, Moeraki: almost world-renowned since TV chef Rick Stein made this his destination of choice. Fresh fish straight from the boat to the table in an eclectic setting.
- Loan & Mercantile, 14-16 Harbour St: also known as Fleur’s Other Place. A great bar with a cavernous dining room that serves traditional roasts, fresh fi sh and more.
- Steam Cafe, Thames St: a busy cafe on the fringe of the historic district where all the food is freshly made daily.
- Whitestone Cheese Factory shop, 3 Torridge St: at the north end of the town. Stop for coff ee, cheese platters, and cheese to take home.
- Riverstone Kitchen, SH1: award-winning cafe with kitchen gardens not to miss; 10km north of Oamaru.
- North Star, SH1: an unlikely motel restaurant with excellent dining room serving tasty food.
- Kurow Village & Pasquale Winery Cafe: R83, Waitaki Valley, near Kurow, for wine tastings and delicious winery lunches.
Lauraine Jacobs was a guest at Pen-y-bryn Lodge (www.penybryn.co.nz).