I love to share my New Zealand heritage with people and in my opinion there is no better way than through food. To me New Zealand is so much more than that little country in the Pacific next to Australia that makes epic movies and has lots of sheep. New Zealand is my home. It runs through my veins. I can’t describe what it feels like to step off the plane there. There is just a feel of rightness, like I am where I am supposed to be. I am where it all began.
In addition to the probably the most beautiful landscape you will ever see, there is a certain genuineness in the culture there. People enjoy an amazing quality of life; they value time to enjoy what they have. It’s as though everything is as it was intended. The women there are a special kind and are raised in a very particular manner. My sister Natasha (aka Nattie or Nate) and I, both full blooded New Zealanders were taught from a very early age how to excel in cooking, gardening and keeping a house all the while working hard and achieving in other areas of life. Half domestic goddess and half career woman- it’s an interesting dichotomy.
The best example of a New Zealand (Kiwi) woman was my mother. Looking back I’m not sure how she did it all – running her own business all day and then she would come home and put a full home cooked meal (for an army) on the table every night. I’m not kidding, every night. Her garden was immaculate and our home spotless. She passed all of those qualities down.
So, with all of that said I am starting a feature with my sister Nattie called Kiwi Girls Cook. We are going to share our memories and our favorite New Zealand recipes that we grew up with. Plus, there is no other person I’d rather be in the kitchen with than my little sister. She is such a beautiful, talented, funny and all around amazing person, friend and most of all, sister. Plus, she’s the only one that can keep me in line.
First up in the Kiwi Girls Cook series is the glorious pikelet. Little, sweet and all around amazing. They are a small pancake-like morning tea treat. They are not a dessert or breakfast item but something in between. They are to be eaten with a pat of butter, followed by a spoonful of preserves or jam and finished off by a dollop of whipped cream accompanied by a steaming cup of tea. I can’t describe it.
When I was in kindergarten, we were studying all the cultures of the world and we were having families bring in food from their country. Because my mom and dad were from New Zealand and pikelets were all that I could remember, I volunteered my mom to make pikelets for the whole school. 12 dozen. 144. I’m sure she wasn’t happy but in her effortless grace, she brought them in complete with jams and cream. They were a hit.
Mix your egg and sugar mixture in a bowl.
Add in the dry ingredients and milk. Whisk it up.
The rule is that once combined don’t mix it anymore.
I have no idea why but I’m just doing as I’m told. Mom said so.
I use a small cookie scoop to drop the pikelet mixture on the hot griddle.
Just like a pancake, when you see bubbles its time to flip em.
Hot off the press. Now the fun part – dressing them up.
That’s how its done.
Nattie and I. Proud of our pikelets.
Yes, I know your wondering – she is a natural blonde.
I on the other hand, well – lets just say its not fair.
The pikelet recipe below is from the 1967 version of the Edmonds cookbook that was passed down to us from mum. It’s like a Kiwi woman’s kitchen bible. It’s well worn and has little handwritten notes that my mother made through the years – it’s priceless to Natasha and I. When I was back home a few years ago, I went into the bookstore on the main street in Oamaru where my parents grew up and got my own copy. I hope to one day have a daughter to pass it down to – hopefully she will like to cook.
We hope you enjoyed this little bit of our lives and of our homeland New Zealand!
jess & nattie
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Milk (about)
1 cup Flour
1 tsp Edmonds Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
25g (1 oz) butter optional
Beat the egg and sugar until thick and add with the milk to the sifted flour, salt and baking powder.
Lastly add melted butter. Mix until smooth and cook in spoonfuls on a hot greased girdle. Makes 8 – 10.