The Staff of Life

There were some wonderful New Zealanders in the Languedoc who owned a restaurant called Le Mimosa. One day, years ago, I turned up and ordered a terrine of young leeks with hazelnuts, orange and coriander grains accompanied by sourdough bread and fleur de sel, sea salt from the Camargue. I remember the intelligent and fragrant combination of flavours. All cooks love vegetables – we love choosing them, cleaning, chopping, smelling and dreaming while we do it.

Speaking of sourdough, another thing cooks really like doing to calm their nerves and accrue family good points is make bread. None of us have to make bread for sustenance – we make it to save on psychology bills. If you can’t see the point in making bread, do it anyway then come back and tell me it was a waste of time. In the time it takes to make bread and the pleasure it gives you, you will discover you don’t need to share your fetid feelings after all and can cancel that appointment with the shrink.

 Sourdough from Pasture in Parnell

Sourdough from Pasture in Parnell

The most fabulous bread I have eaten recently is made by the good folks at Pasture Restaurant in Parnell. This is what owner Laura Verner says, ‘the new bread is a Danish style of rye (known as Rugbrød). We fell in love with it when we lived in Copenhagen – and I made Ed (the chef) promise me he would figure out a recipe for me. It is made with rye flour, we mill whole rye grains from Canterbury in our granite mill on site. We sprout grains and then smoke them over our fire. We use porter beer and pack it with flax and pumpkin seeds. I love it's savoury character and am glad Ed made good on his promise!'

'The sourdough bread is wheat and rye – all NZ grains, again the rye milled daily. It takes us three days to make and is a wild yeast starter, the bread is a real labour of love for Ed and he is always tending to one of the batches and his starter. We're soon to release our third bread - a porridge based sourdough that is sweeter and has raisins'.

Pasture bake the rugbrod twice a week (Friday and Saturday) and the sourdoughs are available Thurs – Sunday from 1pm. To reserve a loaf, call Pasture on 09 300 5077 after noon or email Laura on eat@pastureakl.com

 Pasture's Rugbrød bread

Pasture's Rugbrød bread

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