Telling tales

by Lauraine Jacobs / 05 February, 2015
New Zealanders love a good yarn and these books deliver mouthwatering dishes plus the stories behind them.
Sticky pork ribs
Sticky pork ribs. Photo/Todd Eyre

Over the past five years, food writers and chefs have become aware of a major shift in many consumers’ attitudes to food. We’re becoming more connected to what’s on our plate and eager to learn the stories behind it.

Two recently released local books are right up with this trend, telling wonderful tales while sharing excellent recipes using ingredients sourced from around New Zealand. The first, A Cut Above: Cooking with AngusPure by Gerhard Egger (self-published, $59.99), champions the New Zealand branded AngusPure beef.

Egger trained as a chef, became a dry stock farmer raising Angus cattle and more recently worked as a photographer specialising in food photography, and he draws on all three strands here. He identifies six exemplary Angus stud farms, from Waitangi in Northland to the Fossil Creek stud farm in Otago. The details of each are supplemented by photographs of the farms, families and livestock and we’re introduced to a selection of the producers’ favourite recipes and also those of Egger and his wife, Henrietta. The result is as rich a collection of beef recipes a cook could wish for.

Alan Brown, a chef lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, has a passion for his outdoor pizza oven. In his book, The Complete Kiwi Pizza Oven: Wood, Fire, Food and Friends (Bateman, $49.99), he profiles Kiwis who have built their own outdoor wood-fired ovens and includes plenty of tips for both building the ovens and cooking in them.

The book, with photography by Todd Eyre, demonstrates the ease and versatility of this exciting cooking medium. Despite the word “pizza” in the title, it contains ideas for seafood, meat, vegetables, dessert, bread and brunch. It’s an essential guide for anyone wanting to explore the world of outdoor cooking.



From The Complete Kiwi Pizza Oven

700g pork ribs (halved for easier handling)

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp barbecue sauce

2 tbsp water

A few sprigs of thyme

1 tbsp runny honey (or soft brown sugar)

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground coriander

1 tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp cider vinegar

¼ cup water


If you’re cooking in an outdoor oven, it should be heated to 190-260°C. If it’s a regular oven, preheat it to 190°C.

Line the base of a roasting dish with baking paper and arrange the ribs inside in one layer.

Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl, except the water. Add to the roasting pan and use your hands to ensure the ribs are coated on all sides. Pour the water around the ribs. Cover the dish with tinfoil, crimping around the edges to seal in the moisture.

Place the ribs in the oven to cook for 2-2½ hours, basting every now and then until the liquid has evaporated. Uncover for the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow to them to colour. If roasting in an outdoor oven, cook the ribs at a lower temperature at the edge of the oven, then move them in to the hotter part to colour.

These ribs can be pre-cooked the morning after an oven-firing session in a cooler oven, then placed in a hot oven to colour before serving.

Serves 3-4.
Wine match: cabernet blend.



Indonesian-inspired kebabs with Asian slaw
Indonesian-inspired kebabs with Asian slaw. Photo/Gerhard Egger

From A Cut Above: Cooking with AngusPure


1 tbsp ketjap manis (a spicy condiment available in supermarkets)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tsp brown sugar

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1 tsp tamarind extract

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp fish sauce

¼ tsp ground cumin



400g rump steak trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces

8 bamboo skewers

4 tbsp rice bran oil

A pinch of salt


To make the marinade, place the ingredients in a mortar and work to a smooth paste. Put the meat in a zip-lock plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Place in the fridge for 5-6 hours, mixing occasionally.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water, then slide on the marinated meat. Brush with oil and season with salt. Grill on the barbecue over a medium heat or under a preheated grill in the oven for about 10 minutes.



1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp lime juice

Salt, to taste



1 cup carrot, grated

1 cup red cabbage, finely sliced

1 cup Chinese cabbage, finely sliced

2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


Whisk together the dressing ingredients and combine the slaw ingredients. Toss together just before serving with the hot kebabs.

Serves 4.
Wine match: rosé.



Butter made better

Right on time for fresh corn-on-the-cob season, here are some flavoured butter recipes from Alan Brown’s The Complete Kiwi Pizza Oven. They make great accompaniments to meat and fish dishes too.

To prepare, lightly beat the ingredients together until evenly mixed, by hand or using an electric beater or food processor. Mould into a sausage shape and wrap in greaseproof paper. Refrigerate until needed.


250g butter, softened

2 tbsp chopped coriander

1 red chilli, finely chopped

Juice and zest of 1 lime

A pinch of salt


250g butter, softened

2 tbsp porcini powder or chopped dried porcini

1 tbsp red wine

A pinch of salt


250g butter, softened

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

8 anchovies in oil, mashed

Juice of 1 lime

¼ tsp smoked paprika


250g butter, softened

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

A pinch of salt

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