Great NZ dishes chosen by Highlands-based Kiwi chef

Great NZ dishes chosen by Highlands-based Kiwi chef

Kirsten Gilmour

Aviemore café owner Kirsten Gilmour suggests six great examples of New Zealand cuisine

For me Kiwi cuisine is fresh, healthy and inventive. We love to be adaptable and to outside the box when it comes to growing, preparing and eating food. The climate drives what foods are available and we are a very seasonally driven nation.

When I moved to the UK 16 years ago there wasn't much Kiwi cuisine around but in recent years I've seen a steady increase in Kiwi ingredients, dishes and baking recipes being used throughout Scotland and the UK.

The Mountain Café, my wee Kiwi style café in the Cairngorms, hosts this Scottish-Kiwi mash up as we use top quality Scottish ingredients and inject them with a bit of Kiwiana style.

BBQ Lamb
Mention a Kiwi BBQ and the first thing I think of is lamb! We BBQ anything we can get our hands on, but the charcoaled flavor of fresh lamb is second to none. Slice it up and mix it through lovely salad of roasted Kumera (see below), some crumbly feta and pistachios.

Green lipped mussels
Green lipped mussels were first discovered more than 100 years ago by Maoris in New Zealand, where they are sustainably harvested. They're incredibly plump, juicy, sweet, with a delicate flavor and a tender texture. Lightly steam until the shells just pop open and eat straight away with buttered crusty bread.

Pikelets (wee pancakes)
As a kid my Nana would make these light, fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth pancakes with lashings of homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream. We're big on breakfast at the café and I now use her pikelet recipe served with fresh fruits and berries or bacon & banana.

Great NZ dishes chosen by Highlands-based Kiwi chef

Kumera (Polynesian sweet potato)
A versatile Kiwi staple that lends itself to being used in variety of ways, often roasted and bound through salads or mashed into sweet fritter pancakes. I also love adding them to quiches with caramelised onions and nutmeg.

Anzac biscuits
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and these cookies are part of our wartime history. Wives would use their rations to bake these delicious cookies, sending them by sea to homesick hubbies. They do keep for ages in an airtight container. You can pimp them up these days with the addition of cranberries, pumpkin seeds and dried apricots.

We take pavlova very seriously back home! You absolutely must load it with whipped cream, pile on slices of fresh kiwifruit and then heap up the berriesa.

Kirsten Gilmour is the owner and head chef at Aviemore's Mountain Café. These and many other recipes can be found in her book, The Mountain Café Cookbook: a Kiwi in the Cairngorms, published by Kitchen Press in 2017.

Mountain Café

111 Grampian Road, Aviemore, Highland, PH22 1RH