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8 Waiheke Weekender
As the owner of an international freight business Ian Robson (aka
Robbie) has always spent considerable time travelling the globe
over the years. However it was not until 2004 -- when a trip took
him through Spain, France, Greece and ultimately Morocco -- that
Robbie felt the full appreciation of local culture and the way food
His brother-in-law Kal
Bouhdoud is from Morocco.
Now living in Auckland and
a renown restaurateur, he
had previously owned the
restaurant Red which served
wonderful spicy North
African stews and tagines
Staying with Kal's
family in Morocco meant
Robbie had the opportu-
nity to experience Morocco
like on no other trip. "This
wasn't about museums or
art galleries; this was about
experiencing life as a local," he says of his stay with the family
that had already hosted Kiwi food writer Peta Mathias when she
writing about her Moroccan adventures.
Robbie found himself using both the family's local knowledge
and his Lonely Planet guide as he stepped off the beaten track to
explore truly local cuisine.
Typically he saw the man of the house get up at 5am, head to
the markets to select and purchase freshly caught produce for
'mama' before heading to work.
He would return at 1pm and enjoy a leisurely two-hour meal
experience in the gazebo in the garden before the afternoon
Each day the 'mama' would head to the village baker with
her dough and return with fresh baked bread but on the day of
Robbie's last lunch they took a half sheep instead and no one
raised an eyebrow.
Back on Waiheke with his partner Stef, Robbie loves nothing
more than to re-create meals he has experienced overseas and
with six children between them they spend a lot of time in the
kitchen preparing three or four-course meals.
Robbie has owned property on Waiheke since 2002 and it
dawned on him that from the ferry ride it was typically a three
hour transition by the time he had shopped and freshened the
house before he was able to relax.
He watched his neighbours on Queen's Birthday weekend
arrive at their property which they often rented out, unpack, make
the beds, mow the lawns, wash the car and head to the supermar-
Their children were desperate to go to the beach but it all had
to wait until the chores
were complete, he says.
It made sense to Robbie
to establish a business
that eased the burden
of all these jobs so the
absentee owner can
just arrive and relax.
Hence the set up of
his latest venture 'The
always been important
to Robbie so whether it
be your home for your
arrival or the plating of
a dish, it will always be done elegantly and with care.
This week's dish, presented in style, is a Moroccan pastilla
which is traditionally only made for special occasions like cele-
brations and weddings.
Pastillia or, in Arabic, bestella
Use any kind of poultry or game like quails, cornfed chicken,
duck or even pheasant.
Heat half oil, half butter in a sauce pan with 2 chopped onions
and sear the bird until golden on both sides.
Add a little garlic and ginger salt and pepper, cover with
chicken stock and let it simmer until the bird is nice and tender.
Until now it's all easy. Now for the tricky part.
Take the bird off and let it rest. Meanwhile add another 2 big
chopped onions and cook them in the juice until soft.
Take half of that mix and put it in a bowl -- the other half stays
in the pan.
Take 8 whole eggs and whisk them, then add them to the
mixture in your pan on low-ish heat and stir just a couple of times
until cooked but runny.
When you think they are done, add a good 4 tablespoons of
chopped fresh coriander and mix, then set aside.
Debone the bird,
just getting the meat
off and discarding
Now you should
have a bowl with an
onion mix, another
one with onion and
egg mix and the
third one with the
Mix the onions
(not the ones with
the eggs) with your
poultry meat. You
will need to roast
some 200grams of
Right - Ian Robson: Enchanted with
Morocco and its North African cuisine.
The flavours of Morocco
Ian Robson, founder of The Concierge, a
new service for island property owners,
found himself beguiled by a visit to
Morocco where you can find yourself
fetching the day's bread or a roasted half
sheep home from the local baker's oven.
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