more about us

November 11, 2012

we both dove and rose | orange kumara & cumin spread

On Thursday evening, it was warm and sunny. The kitchen was full at 6pm, but half an hour later, there were missions to go slacklining, to go surfing, to walk a dog on the beach, and the kitchen was empty once more. It was a beautiful evening so I took my film camera with me, a slightly dusty Ricoh KR-5 with a beautiful 50mm lens and slightly unreliable light meter, and finished a roll of film.

A friend once said "there's something magical about film", and I've come to agree. In our technologically advanced society, where information is always immediate, it's nice to have to wait and wonder whether your shots will turn out. I dropped in two rolls of film this past week, and when I went to pick them up the guy at the camera store complimented me on my photos, saying it was nice to see some nice captures coming through on film as he usually only sees mediocre shots. He then gifted me some rare film, a roll of fugichrome provia 1600; which has to be cross processed but has excellent low light capabilities. I am excited to try it out sometime soon!

Later that evening, the kitchen was full as dinner was made by J and a visiting Australian S, and we sat down around 9pm for salad from the garden, lentils cooked in coconut milk, mashed potatoes with olives, and mashed orange kumara with caramelised onions; and the carnivorous folk also had some havoc sausages (free range, organic, and local!). As you can see above it looked beautiful and I can tell you it certainly tasted delicious. Recipes to follow! 

The good weather did not last, and as I write on Sunday evening, the skies outside the kitchen window are grey and rain is falling in front of the kōwhai whose blooms are mostly wilted now. It really is November weather, unexpected rain and cooler temperatures punctuated by balmy spring days. "Wild Sage" is playing, a favourite gentle song. On the stove, chickpeas and beetroot are boiling for hummus and I find myself almost sick of the kitchen and ready to escape under the covers to watch a movie. It's been that kind of Sunday, slow and special.

The reason for my kitchen weariness lies in the story of yesterday. Three of us, J and L and I, volunteered to bake morning and afternoon tea for a summit/symposium on local food. We were told that 50 people would be attending. It was a challenge to come up with recipes to make that would showcase local, organic food and still be achievable - but we got lots of compliments and provided plenty of food so it was a successful venture in the end. It was the first time I'd made food for an event, and sometime around 8.30pm last night, after a solid nine hours in the kitchen, L and I expressed our new-found appreciation for caterers!

We made homemade crackers and three different dips for morning tea, to be supplemented with fruit, and then apple cakes, lemon cakes, and Hugh's (of course!) peanut butter muesli bars. It took a surprising amount of time, especially as we just had our one oven and had to coordinate baking times and temperatures. At 11.30pm last night I whizzed the last dip, a pesto, together and then fell into bed, exhausted.

I'm going to share with you one of the recipes - for a hummus-like spread made from orange kumara.

orange kumara & cumin spread

one large lemon
3 golden kumara
olive oil, about 4 tbsp and some for roasting
2 garlic cloves, peeled
sea salt
cracked pepper

Kumara is the Māori name for sweet potato. When I was younger, they only came in one type, which is a creamy colour with purple skins. These days, you can get golden kumara and orange ones too. If you can't find sweet potato, I think that a mixture of pumpkin and parsnip would be nice instead of kumara.

Peel and chop the kumara, and roast them in a little olive oil, until they are nice and soft but haven't started to dry out. This will probably take around 30 minutes.

Take a fork and mush the kumara up a little, then whizz in a blender until they're smooth. Add the olive oil, garlic cloves and lemon juice and whizz again. We had the use of a stick blender and managed perfectly fine with that, so you could too. The olive oil should make a very smooth (and quite addictive) consistency. Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. We made a large bowl of this, but the quantities I've given here would make about two cups. I can guarantee it won't last long though - you can spread it on toast, eat it with crackers, or just by itself. It's a little spicy from the raw garlic, but sweet from the kumara, and just so smooth. It is also ridiculously easy to make! 


title from iron & wine - each coming night

Next time - you can expect some more recipes from our marathon in the kitchen, including one for a delicious bedouin lentil soup. Hope your weekend was restful and relaxing! 


  1. G, this recipe sounds delicious. I love sweet potato (Kumara...I have learnt a new word today!)
    I will be trying this one out. x

    1. let me know how it goes, I hope you like it as much as me! x

  2. I've been making a little too much hummus lately, shall definitely have to mix it up and give this DELICIOUS sounding recipe a try.

    1. I've gotta tell you, it's addictive stuff. After I took the last picture, I put the spread in a portable container then sat down and ate all the left overs out of the massive bowl. Deliciously childlike .. haha. x

  3. That spread looks wonderful! I agree so much about film. I love my digital camera, but my husband still uses film all the time and there is nothing like it. Expensive, but irreplaceable.

    xo Lilly

    1. That's nice that your husband uses film - I am happy to hear that! I don't really know anyone else who uses it but luckily there is still a surviving market for it. And yes, it's more expensive, although once you get a good relationship with your lab it's not so bad - I know the guys at mine now and I don't usually get my pictures printed, just scanned to a usb drive, which saves some of the cost. I do still use my digital a lot, especially for food. x

  4. mmm, i love sweet potatoes! this recipe sounds wonderful and all the photographs of food look so great!

    lindsey louise

    1. thank you, lindsey louise! Lovely to have you stop by x

  5. Such a beautiful post. Your photos are stunning. So clever to use film - must be so tough not to be able to edit! Congrats on surviving your cooking challenge. You must have been high on life after it was over :)