The French flag was flying again at PukeKaraka Marae in Otaki where guests assembled for Ruth Pretty’s “Casssoulet and Karaka Trees”, a Wellington on a Plate event.
Fr. Jean-Baptiste Comte, a French Roman Catholic Priest founded the mission at Pukekaraka 170 years ago in 1844 and brought with him a typical French passion for food.
Together with local Maori, Comte built a flourishing community with three flour mills, maize, wheat and food crops that supplied shops in villages from Otaki all the way to Wellington. Was this the first Wellington on a Plate?
After a formal welcome onto the marae by Ngāti Kapu and an appropriately crowing rooster, guests were invited into ‘Hine Nui o te Ao Katoa’ which translates into ‘Mary, Great Woman of the Whole World, Woman of Light’.
Guests dined on baked potato and eel rillettes before the much anticipated cassoulet was served with a salad of pear, walnut and perennial greens
A walk up the ‘Cavalry ‘ was needed after the wholesome lunch where Rawiri Rikihana gave a short history of the area.
St Mary’s Church provided a fascinating backdrop with both local custodian Irene Mackle and Mary McLeod (Martha’s Pantry) giving an intimate account of the beautiful interior. Restored lovingly in the early 1990’s it was easy to see why this Church has the highest Historic Places rating. Built in 1859, St Mary’s is the oldest Catholic Church that has been in constant use in New Zealand
Fr. Comte flew the French flag to signify feast days for special prayers. As champion of harmonious relations between Maori, Europeans and Priests I am sure he would have had no hesitation hoisting it once again for Ruth’s “Cassoulet and Karaka Trees”
Mushy peas or curry sauce with your Fish ‘n’ Chips? Quainton, a very cute English village of about 1200, located just north of London, gets visited every Wednesday evening from 5.30 – 8 by a mobile fish and chip van.
Howe and Co have been delivering fish and chips from “coast to door” for more than 80 years, currently making hundreds of stops to more than 90 villages in a 50km radius. New Zealand does not have the same mobile service with fish and chips (although Mr Whippy hints at this) but we do at least have a mobile butcher.
The mushy peas certainly add a fresh colour to the golden tones but the quality of the fish ‘n’ chips did not match the high standard of service. Maybe I am spoiled by the excellent quality easily found in New Zealand.
The saying photography is 90% “moving furniture” and 10% photography was proved when I was asked to photograph one pulled pork bagel for Wholly Bagels in Wellington.
On location, at night, saw three lights, one background, two diffusers, two bounce boards and seven light stands in action. Pulled pork originated in the southern states of the US but seems to be everywhere now.