Fishing for ideas…

My husband can’t catch a fish.  Ever since we moved to Christchurch from Hawke’s Bay ten months ago he has gone from being an absolute ninja warrior fisherman on river, lake or ocean – to someone who can’t catch a bite to save himself.  I say ninja warrior because anyone familiar with my husband knows that there’s hardly ever a day that he’d venture forth and not bring home a nice fat trout or some chubby gurnard if he’s taken the boat out.  Fish would fear him, he would inspire jealousy and awe amongst all our male friends and relatives.  He was so good he used to get asked to be a fishing guide by people with heaping wads of cash, but the fish down here don’t want a bar of him.  They don’t like his bait, his flies, his spinners or anything and my poor spouse is spiralling into serious depression.  It’s like his ego has stepped into the ring with Anthony Mundine, taken a pounding, lost a tooth, split an eyebrow, busted its nose and is on the brink of announcing its retirement.

In an attempt to distract him from his fishing failures, I bought him a very expensive air rifle for Fathers Day in the hope that ridding our paddocks of a few rabbits would satisfy his need to hunt and gather.  That was over a month ago and the only family member who’s been able to kill any bunnies is our cat, usually inside our house, loudly, messily and in the middle of the night.  What’s worse is that one of our neighbours (who also got a gun for Fathers Day) loves to pop over with the ‘spare’ rabbits he’s slaughtered “for you guys to use in one of your fancy recipes”.  This does not amuse my husband.  If the combination of rabbit envy and fish envy doesn’t do it, failure to produce the goods in his work Potato Growing Competition will absolutely send him sideways; so I’d better go shopping for some good wine and a few decent beers to have on hand should he decide to have a pity party.

Berry good for you…

An interesting piece of health news caught my eye the other day.  I was scanning the Times of India on the internet (as you do), and I read an article which said that a good feed of strawberries can protect your stomach from damage caused by alcohol consumption, ulcers and certain medicines.  After feeding rats 40mg per day of strawberry extract per kilo of bodyweight for ten days before giving them alcohol, a team of Italian, Serbian and Spanish researchers has validated the protective effect that strawberries have in a mammal stomach damaged by alcohol compared to rats which were not given strawberry extract.  Sara Tulipani, study co-author from the University of Barcelona, explains in the article that “the positive effects of strawberries are not only linked to their antioxidant capacity… but also to the fact that they activate the antioxidant defences and enzymes of the body”.  The findings suggest that a diet rich in strawberries can have a beneficial effect when it comes to preventing gastric illnesses and strawberries could also slow down the formation of stomach ulcers in humans, according to a Barcelona university statement.  Gastritis or inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane is most commonly related to alcohol consumption but can also be caused by viral infections or by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin.

Speaking of alcohol and strawberries, I tried a strawberry cider from Sweden the other day which was an eye-opener because the only culinary combo I’d ever associated Sweden with was meatballs and schnapps.  But the strawberry cider from Rekorderlig was lovely (see review below) and after reading this latest report I feel positively healthy drinking it.

Correction: In a recent article congratulating New Zealand wines which had scooped major trophies at the London International Wine and Spirits Show I wrote that Adam Peren, owner of Two Sisters wines, was also involved in Peregrine, another award-winning Central Otago company.  According to Olivia Starke, Peregrine’s National Sales Manager, Peren has not been involved with Peregrine for about 5 years.  I apologise for my error. 

Sip of the Week

Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime Cider 500ml 4% $6.50

This Swedish cider was launched ten years ago by the 155 year old Åbro Bryggeri Brewery in Vimmerby.  It’s a combination I’d never considered for cider and despite it being very sweet and strawberryish initially, the lime kicks in quickly and injects a tangy, cleansing citrus burst on the palate.  I can see myself poolside this summer pouring it into a jug with lots of ice and mint.  If you want to boost the demure 4% alcohol then a splash of vodka could work nicely too.  Available from Liquorland and Henry’s stores nationwide.

Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime Cider

Jacob’s Creek Cool Harvest Sauvignon Cabernet 2011 $17

No I haven’t got the name of the grape back-to-front, this new release is a blend of 70% sauvignon blanc, 25% cabernet sauvignon and a splash of shiraz.  It’s a crazy blend, sort of like a rose on steroids meaning its dark crimson, dense, dry, spicy and spritzy. It also has slightly leafy, menthol –like flavours on the finish, but it’s fresh, lower in alcohol (around 11%) and made exclusively for New Zealand apparently – how nice.  Widely available.

Greywacke Marlborough Riesling 2010 $26

Scented with sweet apricot, apple, kiwi and marshmallow notes, yet in the mouth new layers of white peach, granny smith and nectarine stone unfurl on the tongue.  Beautifully balanced and fresh, and definitely one that will reward patient cellaring.

Belhaven Wee Heavy Scottish Ale 500ml 6.5% $8

Saucy ruby-amber in the glass with enduring, creamy head, and sweet caramel aromas followed by a silky, smoky mouthfeel and a rich, rewarding finish.  Available from selected supermarkets and liquor outlets, otherwise visit for a stockist near you.

Moa ‘Blanc Evolution’ 375ml 6.2% ($32 x 4pk)

A creamy, fluffy head above a cloudy, golden liquid leads the way to hints of coriander to spice up the smooth, crisp palate of this Belgian-style wheat beer.  I love the long, zesty finish.  Visit for stockists.

Penny’s Hill ‘The Veteran’ Very Old Fortified $42

This South Australian fortified shiraz oozes aromas of rose caramel, toffee and manuka honey lead to deep raisin and Christmas pudding spices followed by a smooth, silky finish.  For local stockists visit

Nobilo Icon Methode Traditionnelle 2007 $24

Sexy rose-gold colour and boasting aromas of quince paste, almond and delicate raspberry notes.  Ultra-clean and elegant in the extreme this local sparkling represents absolutely superb value for money.