Tuesday, October 11, 2011
12km north of Oamaru is one of New Zealand’s best kept restaurant secrets, run by Bevan Smith, who is fast becoming one of New Zealand’s most recognized chefs. He opened Riverstone Kitchen with his wife Monique in 2006 with the philosophy of using seasonal ingredients, locally sourced and simply prepared.
Their intention was to make good food and offer great service to those who came. In 2010 Riverstone Kitchen was named Supreme Winner in the Cuisine New Zealand Restaurant of the Year Awards, the first time a casual-style restaurant had won the award and the first time a South Island restaurant had taken out the top spot. An outstanding achievement for a restaurant from well beyond the urban borders.
Bevan and Monique strongly believe in ethically produced food and Bevan is passionate about using local produce, which is reflected throughout the Riverstone Kitchen cookbook.
Bevan says, ‘large vegetable gardens and orchards afford us the ability to serve the freshest ingredients, which undeniably helps to connect us to the seasons on a very personal level. We look forward to each season, the opportunities they bring and cherish the fact we can share our vision and ideas with others.’
Riverstone Kitchen presents simple, accessible recipes to cooks of all ages, which are accompanied by stunning photographs of Riverstone Kitchen’s great food, as well as shots of local producers and the local environs of North Otago.
For example here is his Crayfish risotto recipe - ©Riverstone Kitchen: Recipes from a chef’s garden by Bevan Smith published by HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand.
From time to time a fresh crayfish comes our way and everyone should indulge themselves if they get the chance. This is how we like to prepare them.
2 small or 1 large fresh crayfish
60 ml olive oil
50 g butter
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 medium or 1 large fennel
bulb, finely shaved
250 g Vialone Nano risotto rice
100 ml Noilly Prat (dry
vermouth) or 150 ml dry white
700 ml chicken or vegetable
stock, heated and lightly
40 g Parmesan, shaved
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup fennel leaf, chopped
salt and pepper
Place crayfish in the freezer for 1 hour to prepare humanely. Remove and place
in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes if small and 4–5 minutes if
large. Remove from pot and place in a large bowl of iced water. When cold,
use a sharp knife to split the crayfish in half lengthways. Discard the excretion
tract and remove the meat from the tail. Cut into 1 cm pieces. Pick meat from
legs and the remainder of the body and reserve.
In a heavy-based saucepan, heat half the olive oil and half the butter. Add
vegetables and ‘sweat’ on medium heat until soft and translucent, stirring
often. Add rice and cook for 1 minute before adding vermouth or wine.
Continue to stir frequently and once the rice has absorbed the alcohol, add
the warm stock in small amounts, stirring between each addition. After 10–15
minutes test rice by biting into a few grains. When it has almost lost its crunch
it is nearly ready. Fold in the crayfish, remaining butter, half the Parmesan,
lemon juice and herbs, and season to taste.
Risotto should be fairly wet with the rice coated in the liquor. Add a little more
stock, if necessary. Divide between four plates, top with remaining Parmesan,
and drizzle with remaining extra virgin olive oil.
I am addicted to broad beans so was very pleased to note there is also a delicious broad bean risotto recipe included.
About the author/chefBevan Smith left his Northland family farm in 1991 to train as a chef in Christchurch. After working for several years in London at Terence Conran’s La Pont de la Tour and Michael Caine’s Canteen, he moved to Australia where he became head chef at Philip Johnson’s acclaimed e’cco bistro.
In 2006 Bevan came home with Monique and opened Riverstone Kitchen with the belief that the same high standards recognized in first-class restaurants could and should be utilized anywhere in the world.
I am going to have to get myself down there to try the place for myself, meantime the Riverstone Kitchen cookbook offers the next best way of sharing in the Riverstone experience.
Harper Collins - $45.00
For more information go to www.riverstonekitchen.co.nz