Tony & Karen Elliott are farmers market experts. Seems they’ve learned exactly what people want in say an aioli or chutney, by offering samples and selling small batches of their creations to discerning foodies before putting a proper label on a pottle. Starting off at the Riccarton Rotary Market, doing AMP shows and traveling around the South Island has given the Elliots the perfect feedback loop on which to base their budding business. The result of this ‘market research’ is now available at a Raeward Fresh store near you (if you’re in Christchurch or Queenstown) under the label of Cannonhill Gourmet.
Tony Elliot started off as a chef, working in NZ an Australia in places like Restaurant 41 in Sydney and Darling Street Thai. He followed his interest in Asian and Middle Eastern food before returning to NZ where he met Karen, who hails from Geraldine – also a growing food hub. The shift from working in a restaurant kitchen to running their own business happened up in Port Douglas where Tony was doing a stint and met a woman who made the most wonderful Thai curry pastes and blends for the local market. Seeing her follow her heart in this way reminded Tony of his childhood attempts at roadside fruit or lemonade stands and a passion buried for lack of parental encouragement. This time however, he decided to have a go with his grown-up cooking experiences.
The next step was to try out a few dishes at The Wild Food festival where Tony reckons they were the only stall to loose money. He thinks it could have been the hot beer soup and Maori bread served at the height of summer, but who’s to judge? The Elliotts persisted though and made a whopping $80 at the next market which gave just enough courage to beg, borrow and steal their way to each successive market until they got some steam going.
Tony has a good palette for taking inspirations from chef’s he’s worked with overseas (or cookbooks he’s enjoyed) and adapting them to a shifting kiwi tastebud. Products like Wasabi Mayo or Chili Hummus (the hummus was Karen’s suggestion) are the results of Tony tweaking foods he’s tried around the show and making them work using local ingredients and pairing well with dishes you might cook any day of the week. In fact, Cannonhill Gourmet’s website has a lot of great tips for matching their many products to your meals. For instance, their Saffron & Dill Mustard & Mayonnaise goes great with avocado, bacon and robust lettuce – a perfect sandwich in the making! Have a look for yourself and see what you can come up with.
If you follow this blog, you may notice a bit of a formula developing for these boutique suppliers of fantastic food creations. These micro manufacturers seem to be meeting the shifting desires of the New Zealand food landscape. A place where people would now consider using wasabi mayo in a salad dressing or over some baked salmon. People like Cannonhill Gourmet are:
• passionate about diverse food and experiences
• they source the best NZ has to offer in the way of ingredients
• they find a way to connect locally with people who appreciate their food
• they slowly expand to offer this local experience within the region or country
They remain grounded and well connected to their own suppliers and consistently offer an outstanding product thanks to their ingenuity and No 8 wire creative problem solving.
You can taste this entire process in the unique flavors and quality of their spreads and oils. We suggest you pop in to Raeward Fresh and get some of their rich Smoked Aioli to have with a your 3 Bean and Lamb salad (a recipe of their site, or try s bit of the Lemon & Passionfruit curd over your next pav.
3 Bean & Lamb Salad with Yoghurt Aioli
Tony & Karen kindly shared one of their recipes with us. Have a go and enjoy!
Time 20 min
300grms green beans
300grms butter beans
1 tin pre cooked haricot /cannelloni beans
½ red onion sliced thinly
Salt & Pepper
Juice of 2 lemons
4 Tbsp Olive oil
Here you can use any lamb cut you like, rump, leg, loin, shoulder. The recipe for the slow roasted lamb leg would work well here.
4 spoons Cannon Hill Aioli
3 spoonfuls natural yoghurt
1 Tbsp chopped mint
Blanch the beans in boiling salted water and refresh in cold water. Split the beans in ½ down the middle length ways and place in a bowl with the drained tinned beans. Season with salt and pepper, place in the shaved onion, Italian parsley, lemon juice and olive oil and gently mix together.
Mix the Cannon hill Aioli with the yoghurt and the chopped mint and place to one side.
On a plate in the middle place the bean salad top with the warm lamb and spoon on the dressing, serve.
works well with:
Cannon Hill Smoked Paprika Relish
Cannon Hill Baba Ganoush
Cannon Hill Tzatziki
Cannon Hill Hummus Range