With holiday time fast approaching, many will be taking to the road to enjoy a wonderful RV Christmas, and with that comes (hopefully) half of the work, but still plenty of the festive spirit. Even if you’re overindulging slightly this month, make sure you put some of nature’s bounty on your plate for extra yumminess and plenty of vitamins and minerals too. Catherine Milford shares some of her favourite treats.
Pop a papaya
Just a bite of sweet, succulent papaya, or pawpaw, is enough to take you to the tropics. Mostly grown in Central and South America, the delicious fruit tastes a bit like a cross between a melon and a mango and can be grown in New Zealand’s warmer climes; there’s even a commercial papaya farm in Northland (farnorthtropicals.com). It looks fabulous as part of a platter or grazing board and makes for a great addition to your Christmas pavlova. Green papaya, often found in Southeast Asian cuisines, is simply unripe papaya and is delicious shredded with chilli; just don’t eat it when pregnant. High in Vitamin C and antioxidants, and good for your heart, it’s truly a festive gift.
Open wide for broad beans
Broad beans or fava beans – something to wash down with a nice Chianti, if you’ve been watching Silence of the Lambs – is a flowering plant in the pea and bean family Fabaceae. A polarising veg – some people love them, others really don’t – these beans are loaded with fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Many people looking to aid digestion and reduce cholesterol add these green nuggets to their everyday dishes. Some people choose to peel away the skins, as they aren’t keen on the earthy texture, but unless it’s fairly mature and the skins are tough, you don’t need to. A good trick is to peel about two-thirds of them and leave the skins on the others, as it creates different textures. Add them to salads and poke bowls, I love them in a salad with fresh cheese (feta or ricotta), shredded raw beetroot and roasted onion.
Pantry staple: dill
If you’re travelling, you probably know you can pick this wispy green herb pretty much anywhere in New Zealand, but it’s worth having some dried dill in the pantry too. Just a pinch, along with some salt and pepper, can lift a simple omelette or scrambled eggs. If you’re lucky enough to be bringing home some fresh fish, brush it well with a mixture of butter, oil, dried dill, and salt and pepper before barbecuing. Continue to brush the mix as you’re cooking for simple deliciousness.