Posted on Wednesday February 5, 2014
At Degustation dinners held on Monday and Tuesday last week, the Friends were treated to more culinary and wine delights from the amazing Executive Chef Bernd Lippmann and the Marlborough vineyard Terravin. The matching of food and wine was an art in itself and gasps of delight greeted every course. Not only was the food and wine a pleasure but the chance to mix and mingle socially with other Friends was welcomed. Many Friends sat with people they may have recognised but not socialised with and the popularity of this opportunity was widely commented on. Bernd and the Terravin winemaker, Gordon Ritchie, chatted between courses and gave us a welcome insight into the matching of the food and wine.
The food had an Aztec theme to complement the exhibition Aztecs: Conquest and glory, soon to close at Te Papa, and although we knew there were lots of beans and chilli in this ancient cuisine many of us did not know the range of food and we were amazed by the subtlety of the flavours in each course. A delicious New Zealand seafood ‘Nachos’ started our five course experience. We learnt there was very little meat available at that time but duck was one of the few meats served. Our duck second course was a taste sensation matched with a late harvest Pinot Gris. This was followed by a tortilla soup that was both spicy and subtle. Recipe is available at the end of the article. Although Aztecs didn’t eat much meat, we were not deprived and an unusual cocoa-dusted loin of venison accompanied by a spicy tomato and sweet corn salsa and chargrilled polenta with was our main course matched with a delicious Terravin Hillside Pinot Noir. Those who remember last year’s dinner know the dessert was a visual delight with more chocolate treats than you can imagine and a beautiful dessert wine to accompany it.
At our table we all vowed to gather again next year for another delightful dining experience.
Committee, Friends of Te Papa
This tasty soup was the third course on the menu for the ‘Aztec’ themed Friends of Te Papa Degustation Dinners featuring TerraVin Wines, 27 & 28 January 2014. In response to a request for the recipe from delighted diners, Executive Chef Bernd Lippmann has generously agreed to share the recipe. It is from his book, Bernd Lippmann, Hermitage Cuisine, Hermitage, Aoraki Mount Cook, 2002. This spicy refreshing soup is full of flavour and easily converted into a vegetarian dish by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. The hotness is easily adjusted by using more or less chilli, if you make the soup a day in advance the flavour will intensify.
30 ml / 4 T olive oil
1 onion, medium size, diced
½ red capsicum, diced
½ yellow capsicum, diced
½ green capsicum, diced
15g / 2 t garlic, crushed
800 ml / 3 ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock
10g / 1½ T cumin, ground
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
5 tomatoes, deseeded & diced
8g / 1 t sambal olek
150 ml / ¾ cup tomato juice
1 flour tortilla cut into strips and fried
60g / ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
12g / ¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 avocado diced
120g / ¾ cup of sweetcorn
Heat the oil in a pot, add the cumin and fry over a moderate heat for one minute. Add the garlic and fry while stirring continuously until all the flavours are released. This takes about 2 minutes and the ingredients should not brown. Add the onion, salt and pepper and fry for an additional two minutes. Add the capsicums and fry for a further two to three minutes. Add the sambal olek and two thirds of the tomatoes and continue frying for a further four minutes. The frying process is very important as it releases all the flavours from the ingredients and gives the soup its distinctive taste. Keep stirring well while frying to ensure that all ingredients are evenly fried and do not burn. Add the stock and tomato juice and simmer for six to ten minutes. Taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Place the prepared garnish, including the reserved diced tomatoes in a soup plate or big bowls and pour the hot soup onto it. This soup will last for two or three days in the fridge and can be easily frozen. If you store or freeze the soup prepare the garnish on the day you will be using it.
NB: For the TerraVin wine match, the soup was accompanied by TerraVin Chardonnay 2011.
To include wine in the dish add about about 250ml / 1cup of wine and add it with the stock and tomato juice.
Serves 4 – 6