For over a decade now, Mrs InFrame has been coming up with a special 12-day menu to celebrate the “Twelve Days of Christmas”.
She alternates each year between the traditional and the New Zealand version, otherwise known as “A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree”.
This year was the Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness Edition!
Most of the dishes have a direct correlation to the songs (Five Big Fat Pigs = Pork/Ham/Bacon), others use a fair chunk of artistic license as, with the original “Twelve Days” song we’d be swimming in poultry with French Hens, Swans a Swimming, Geese a Laying etc. etc. otherwise.
I’ll do my best to explain as we go.
This year’s menu plan is one that was SUPPOSED to be the one in 2016, but went missing just a few days before we were to begin and resurfaced, too late, on Christmas day (It was a Christmas miracle!).
So sit back and enjoy as I reveal what my true love made for me over the Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness for 2018:
A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree
Blue Cheese, Date and Walnut Parcels:
The blue of the cheese represents the Pukeko, while spinach represents the foliage and the flaky pastry looks like flakes off like Ponga Tree bark.
Kumara, Spinach, Goats’ Cheese and Walnut Salad:
Pretty straight forward here – Mrs InFrame baked the Kumara into chips to give them a lovely texture.
Three Flax Ketes (“Kits”)
Woven flax Kete are used as baskets and bags to carry things like berries, so we latticed the top of the Cherry Pie to give it a woven look.
Four Huhu Grubs
Huhu grubs are a creepy crawly delicacy at most “Wild Food” festivals, mainly for their gooey-squishiness when you bite into them, so filling tree-bark like Brandy Snaps with oohy-gooey whipped cream seemed a wonderful take on the idea!
Five Big Fat Pigs!
Pork and Pepper Sloppy Joes:
Five big Fat Pigs make a lot of pork mince and while they might not appreciate the alliteration of “Pork” and “Pepper” I’m sure your average Captain Cooker or Kuni-kuni would be quite happy munching on a fresh, crunchy capsicum.
Six Pois a Twirling
Teriyaki Chicken Rice Balls:
Mrs InFrame had the day off for this one, and our friends Tim and Junko from Tu Meke Don in Napier made us some rice balls to represent the soft balls that are swung on braided threads in Kapa Haka and other Maori songs and dances.
They look like Poi, E(h)?
Seven Eels a-Swimming
Slippery Sausages in Muddy Mashed Potatoes and Been Reeds:
The Longfin Eel are native to New Zealand. and can be found in lots of waterways – even the creek that runs past our house. They like water that has things they can hide in, like reeds (represented here by the beans) and mud (the Mashed Potatoes and BBQ Sauce)
Eight Plants of Puha
Puha is a green, leafy green, wild vegetable that usually grows near water, so we made a watery Pho soup with mint, coriander (leafy green herbs) and meatballs.
Nine Sacks of Pipis
Pipi Truck-style Pizza:
Ten Juicy Fish Heads
Sri Lankan Fish Curry made with Hawke Bay Snapper:
My boss had been fishing on Hawke Bay a week or so back and kindly gave us some of the snapper (fillets, not heads thankfully..) he had caught. It went perfectly with this Sri Lankan curry!
Eleven Haka Lessons
The Haka is, of course, synonymous with New Zealand’s national rugby team, so it was fitting that we went to our usual café, Six Sisters, and had (All) Black coffee, with a rugby ball-shaped dollop of ice cream!
Twelve Piupiu Swinging
Piupiu are a Maori grass skirt, as can be seen in the Poi e video above. When the dancer wearing it sways or spins the individual threads spread out a bit like octopus tentacles. When you split Frankfurters into quarters lengthways at one end and cook them, they split and twist upwards and outwards just like tentacles, or the swaying piupiu skirt. It also seemed like a novel way to close out this Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Deliciousness!
We hope you’ve been inspired to try some of these, or your own version next Christmas.
From the Napier in Frame family to yours, we wish you a Merry Kiwi Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!