A day of adventure
Today I took a trip out of Dunedin and headed down the coast just a short trip 20 minutes down the east coast of New Zealand to the small community of Brighton. As I opened the car door and got a whiff of salt air the memories come flooding back not of here in Brighton but of my childhood and all the trips me and my family would take to the beach. One thing that all of those trips had in common was the good old kiwi classic Fish and Chips. Growing up in New Zealand we hold two things very close to our hearts; 1- Fish and Chips with classic Watties tomato sauce and 2- Our beautiful country.
Growing up in a country like this is a privilege New Zealand is by far one of the most amazing places on earth. I have done a bit of travelling over the years to Australia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore and I will tell you this now and I can guarantee again in the future that there is no place in the world like home, New Zealand.
Our country not only has amazing people but the land is such an amazing place it gives you so much, you just have to know what you are looking for.
While on my wee trip to the beach to reminisce in a great family past time of hot chips and tomato sauce I thought I would put my knowledge of foraging to use and forage some ingredients to make a dish out of. In my first year of my degree we did a foraging paper which showed and helped us understand what around our country is edible and it provides on a daily and seasonal basis. It was to my amazement that there is so much around you that is edible and is free, there are so many plants that grow around the coast that are edible. I set about looking around the coastline where there was plenty of foliage and found an abundance of beach spinach (Kokihi)- Native to New Zealand it is not the same kind of spinach you get from the supermarket it has thicker leaves and has a similar taste. It has red/pinky stalks and creeps along the ground a good source of vitamin C .
Here are two images of New Zealand beach spinach , on the left is some lush patch of fresh new growth that was in a spot well shaded and protected from the sun and on the right is some older beach spinach which was more open to direct sunlight. Both are edible but the greener leaves have a more fresh taste to them as they are younger.
I will be posting a dish that uses beach spinach in a later post.
It can be used like regular spinach just make sure that you give it a good rinse and then it is ready to use. Great in salads, pasta dishes even puréed up and served on a piece of venison.
Please check out a post I will be adding in the next couple of days: Handmade beach spinach pesto.