For almost 15 years 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 usually 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.
As an added challenge this year, Mrs. Frame decided to make the entire menu VEGETARIAN (So long Swans, Geese, Turtle Doves and Partridge..)!
All but one day’s recipe were from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” cookbook.
I’ll do my best to explain the pairing concepts as we go.
So sit back and enjoy as I reveal what my true love made for me over the Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas Vegetarian Deliciousness for 2020:
A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree
Noodles with Wakame
While Pukeko, otherwise known as the Australiasian Swamp Hen, actually spend most of their time on the ground (and, more riskily, on or near roads in varying forms of dimension…), were they to reside in Ponga trees they would need a nest. Wakame and noodles would make the perfect nesting material!
Two Potato Vindaloo
Kumara are a sweet potato. This dish combines kumara and white potato in a yummy curry!
Three Flax Ketes (“Kits”)
This is the one non-Ottolenghi dish. Woven flax Kete are used as baskets and bags to carry things like food. Brandy Baskets make a sweet representation of them.
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. The onion layer looks just like them and a gooey vege filling adds to the effect.
Five Big Fat Pigs!
Polenta with Mushrooms
Pigs like to eat and one of their favorite foods is a mix of scraps called “slop”. Polenta s very sloppy while cooking. The mushrooms and gravy add to the “sloppy” effect.
Six Pois a Twirling
Poi are little bags on woven string used in Maori dance and cultural performances. Sans string, these mushroom parcels look like Poi, E(h)?
Seven Eels a-Swimming
Parsnip Dumplings in Vegetable Broth
The Longfin Eel are native to New Zealand. and can be found in lots of waterways – even the creek that runs past our house. The parsnip dumplings swim in the cloudy vegetable broth like the eels swim in muddy water.
Eight Plants of Puha
Mixed Veges with Parsley Oil and Halloumi
Puha is a leafy, green, wild vegetable that usually grows near water, so the green of the parsley oil and courgettes represent puha.
Nine Sacks of Pipis
Pipi are a bivalve mollusc like cockles. The stuffed tomatoes represent sacks stuffed full of pipi!
Ten Juicy Fish Heads
Chilled Asparagus Soup
Fish heads can be a bit stinky when left out in the sun. Miss Frame thought this was a bit stinky when her mum was making it.
It’s got nothing to do with the way asparagus makes your wee smell, apparently…
Eleven Haka Lessons
Royal Potato Salad
The Haka is, of course, synonymous with New Zealand’s national rugby team. Mrs. Frame considers seeing the haka as been very important. Royalty are regarded by many as being important, too, hence this connection.
Personally I think the eggs and potatoes are rugby ball shaped and the peas and pesto that goes on it looks like a green rugby field.
Twelve Piupiu Swinging
Soba Noodle Salad with Aubergine and Mango
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 and sway like soba noodles cooking in a pot.
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!