Barbara’s Brew

I arrived safely in New Zealand on Monday morning and surprisingly have not suffered from jet lag.   The cold in Christchurch wasn’t unexpected but was still a bit of a shock to my system.  Last night it went down to -2 deg C – thank heavens for electric blankets!  The warmth of the welcome from my Christchurch aunt and cousins has been amazing.  We have never stopped talking and laughing.  Auntie Jan told me a story about Grandma the other day which made me laugh a lot.  Gag (Grandma’s grandmother) hadn’t been well and it was decided that Grandma would stay overnight to keep an eye on her.  However, the family was going to the theatre first, and so Grandma had an overnight bag with her in her seat.  At some point in the play, Grandma’s alarm clock went off in her bag, and she couldn’t open the bag to turn it off!  I suppose Grandma was ahead of her time.  I keep thinking of the havoc she would have caused with a mobile phone…

The food has been lovely here.  We ate in on Monday and Tuesday at Marjorie and Ken’s; lunch out on Tuesday in Akiroa where Marjorie and Ken have bought a new house.  The views are even more amazing than the old Akiroa house.  Yesterday we went to Barbara’s house in Kirwee, had afternoon tea in Oxford and went out for dinner in Prebbleton, all the Allen cousins and wives/husbands plus Nolan, David’s son.   My only complaint about The Bridge was that there was far too much food for my main course and that I wasn’t able to finish it.  For anyone interested, I had blue cod with bacon wrapped round it, which was put on a salmon and asparagus tart with dill aioli – it was beautiful and the dill aioli is something that I am going to try to recreate at home.  I am eating a lot of really lovely fish and seafood.  My lunch in Akiroa was a salad with scallops and I was thrilled that they were served with the roes.

Today’s recipe is the soup that Barbara made for lunch.  The herbs and spices used made me think immediately that this would be something that you would enjoy, George.  Nico, I didn’t notice the apple so you could easily take it out and I don’t think the flavour would be harmed.   Hallie, the coriander leaves are only for decoration and can easily be skipped.

So today’s recipe is Curried Kumara Apple Soup.  (Kumara is sweet potato).  A lovely thick tasty soup that was perfect for the weather over here.  Barbara served it with home-made whole grain bread and it was perfect.

Curried Kumara Apple Soup – Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 2 large kumara/sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin (doesn’t matter whether whole or ground)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500-750 ml chicken or vegetable stock


Heat the oil in a pan, and gently fry the onions and the apples until lightly browned.  Add all the other ingredients, except for the stock,   Cook for about 5 mins over gentle heat, and until the spices ‘are aromatic’ (Barbara’s instruction).

Add the stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer and cover.  Cook until the kumara is soft.

Blend.   Serve with cream/Greek yoghurt/creme fraiche and coriander leaves.


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