In the South Island we have been incredibly lucky to dodge the Delta variant of Covid 19 – this time! As I write this column we’re in level three conditions waiting to hopefully drop down to Level 2 this week. There’s a mix of people still staying home from work while others are able to work from home and others are able to go back to their workplace. It isn’t time to get complacent about this nasty, highly infectious virus so play by the rules and be safe.
We arrived in Christchurch just a couple of days before the latest Covid-19 lockdown started at very short notice. We didn’t bring a huge amount with us as we expected to be able to just pop out to the shops to buy anything we needed, maybe eat at one of our favourite restaurants in the city or even just grab some takeaways at one of the huge range of food businesses in Christchurch.
We have rented an apartment for our stay and I had been out shopping for basic food items to stock up the refrigerator and pantry the day lockdown was announced, but I certainly hadn’t been shopping to last us two weeks. However, it hasn’t been too trying to make healthy, delicious food while we’re here.
Regular trips to the supermarket and one of our favourite food stores in Christchurch, Mediterranean Foods in Tuam St (that was able to operate during level 4 restrictions), has kept us stocked up with lots of tasty and interesting foods to cook in the small apartment kitchen.
Liquor stores that have been able to arrange contactless delivery have also ensured we can enjoy some nice wines, a refreshing gin or relaxing whisky. It’s not the same as having our wine cellar, gas cooker, full pantry and freezer at home but that hasn’t stopped us looking after ourselves properly.
We also know how much the hospitality sector hurts during Covid lockdowns so when Level 3 restrictions kicked in we decided to do what we would do at home, buy at least two or three click & collect meals each week from a restaurant, café or takeaway place in Christchurch to support the sector. I hope you’re doing the same in Nelson.
Last Saturday we chose the Inati at Home set menu. Inati produce outstanding food and are one of out ‘must visit’ restaurants in Christchurch. They serve plates of food designed for two people to share, the food is interesting, innovative and not expensive for such stunning food.
When we picked up our Inati at Home bag it came with individually packaged ingredients for three courses and instructions for how to finish each dish before serving it.
Last time we dined at Inati co-owner Lisa told us they liked to change the menu regularly but there are a few items that are so popular they simply couldn’t take them off the menu, one of those is the Duck Trumpets. These are little ice cream cones filled with a line of jam then packed with duck parfait and served with toasted seeds to dip the parfait in to. When we saw these as an option on their ‘at home’ menu of course we had to have them.
The next dish was a Braised Leek, Smoked Ricotta, Pickled Red Onion and Praline dish followed by Pickled Pork Jowl served with butternut squash puree and a side of cabbage with a pureed cauliflower sauce.
As I said earlier, each ingredient was individually packed. The sauces, jam and duck parfait were sealed in little triangular bags so you could just snip off the corner and use the bag as a piping bag, something that made filling the delicate cones with parfait very easy.
The Pickled Pork Jowl, Poached Pear and Confit Cabbage had both been par-cooked so we only had to sear them in a pan and then put them in a hot oven to finish the cooking. Super easy and what a great way to enjoy outstanding food, maybe not as well presented as at the restaurant but a fun way to enjoy a meal over a few hours.
I know restaurants in Nelson have been doing the same thing; Hopgood’s & Co, Hardy Street Eatery and Street Food on Washington to name just a few have been preparing dishes for people to ‘click and collect’ and then finish cooking, reheat at home or just enjoy as soon as you pick them up.
It looks like we are going to have to live with Covid-19 restrictions for some time so it’s really important that we remember we have almost everything we need in Nelson, we may not be able to go on overseas holidays and large events may turn into small events of even be cancelled but we are very lucky to live in a country that has so much to offer. To make sure there are places for us to go do your part and support every local business you can.