Celebrate Mother's day with us!

Come and celebrate Mother's day with us on Sunday 13th of May and enjoy a specially prepared 3 course meal for only $65 per person. 
Brad has created unique dishes using seasonal ingredients have a look on HERE to view the menu. 

Treat the mothers in your life and make them feel special by booking a table now on
07 863 8770 

Kids Gardening Workshop

The sun was shining for our inaugural kids gardening workshop on Monday 16th January - our aim was to inspire kids and their parents to get growing at home and so several eager and willing little gardeners turned up with their parents for an interactive session with our resident gardening expert, Nicki Murray-Orr.  The workshop kicked off with a session on identifying the various herbs, veggies and edible flowers in the kitchen gardens and then harvesting a bounty of fresh produce for the chefs to use that day. With carrot pulling being the firm favourite, the kids also harvested rhubarb, capsicums, tomatoes, beans, salad greens and edible flowers, all tasting the delicious fresh produce for themselves as they went along. Nicki got everyone to experience the compost heap first hand, looking at what we use and the "lasagne" effect required to make great compost whilst being able to answer parents questions about worm farming and how to create your own on smaller scale. Then onto an interactive session on seedling planting with each participant involved in planting their own sunflower seed and Nicki giving invaluable tips and techniques about planting and transplanting. Everyone got to keep their potted sunflower seed, together with a dwarf bean and calendular flower that we had lovingly grown in our glasshouse as something for our budding little gardeners to each take home to kick start their gardens . Parents gave us great feedback about the session being very informative and fun for adults and kids alike. The kids were amazing and it was inspiring to see how involved and interested they all were. They have promised to send photos of their seedlings in progress so watch this space!

Marinated Lamb Salad

Finally the weather has picked up and have been looking for some inspiration for dinner! Have borrowed one of Brad's recipes - full of flavour but easy to put together and suitable of a home cook. I used free range eggs from our chooks and from the garden I picked l the herbs and a lemon for the marinade, plus radishes, red cabbage and lettuces. I replaced the red and green oak lettuces in the recipe for 2 x Canasta's, which we are currently growing. It has a red tinged leaf which looks great and it also retains its crispness after picking (a great choice which can be purchased from King Seeds). If you can't face making your own mayo, just buy a good quality store bought one although I have to admit the horseradish mayo recipe does I've it that wow factor! Happy cooking :-)

Serves 4 Ingredients 600 – 700 g lamb backstrap Marinade 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves 2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley 1 tablespoon of lemon juice 2 tablespoon of olive oil Place lamb in a bowl, add rest of ingredients and using hands, combine to cover all of lamb. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 16 x large cherry tomatoes 120 ml of extra virgin olive oil + a little extra 4 x eggs fridge temperature 2 table spoon of capers 1 x red oak lettuce 1 x green oak lettuce 30g mustard leaves 1/3 iceberg lettuce (finely shredded) 6 x cos lettuce leaves (preferably inner) ¼ red cabbage finely shredded 1x handful of small watercress 3-4 radishes (small wedges) 80g of mung beans 100 ml vegetable oil Garnish 3 pickled corniches 1x bunch of spring onions, white part only 12 x white anchovies  2 Tbsp grated parmesan Horseradish mayo 3 x egg yolks ½ table spoon of hot English mustard Sea salt & freshly ground pepper 120 ml of extra virgin olive oil 100 ml avocado oil 20ml Red wine vinegar 2 Tbsp of prepared horseradish


Serves 4

Ingredients
600 – 700 g lamb backstrap
Marinade
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoon of olive oil

Place lamb in a bowl, add rest of ingredients and using hands, combine to cover all of lamb. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


16 x large cherry tomatoes
120 ml of extra virgin olive oil + a little extra
4 x eggs fridge temperature
2 table spoon of capers
1 x red oak lettuce
1 x green oak lettuce
30g mustard leaves
1/3 iceberg lettuce (finely shredded)
6 x cos lettuce leaves (preferably inner)
¼ red cabbage finely shredded
1x handful of small watercress
3-4 radishes (small wedges)
80g of mung beans
100 ml vegetable oil

Garnish
3 pickled corniches
1x bunch of spring onions, white part only
12 x white anchovies
 2 Tbsp grated parmesan

Horseradish mayo
3 x egg yolks
½ table spoon of hot English mustard
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
120 ml of extra virgin olive oil
100 ml avocado oil
20ml Red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp of prepared horseradish

Preparation

1.    Preheat the oven to 120 °C. Slice a tiny piece from the base of the tomatoes so they will sit upright. Pour 100 ml of olive oil into a small bowl & roll each tomato through oil then season with salt & pepper. 
Sit upright in a pan big enough to hold tomatoes in a one layer.

2.    Prick eggs with a fine pin, than boil for 9 minutes, refresh under cold water. Shell & halve them.

3.    Soak capers in warm water, rinse & dry well with paper towel. Fry capers in hot vegetable oil for 30 seconds then dry on paper towel. 

4.    To make horseradish mayonnaise, whisk egg yolks, mustard salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Slowly add the combined oils in a steady stream being careful to emulsify well between each addition. Add last of the oil  until quite thick and acidulate with a little vinegar, whisk in the horseradish and season to taste. It should be thick enough to coat the salad ingredients and taste hot and acidic.

5.    Rub a little olive oil over the lamb & season with salt and pepper. Place the lamb on a cast iron skillet (or BBQ) on medium heat for 3 minutes. Turn over & cook for a further 3 minutes. Rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

6.    Place a generous thread of oil and a splash of vinegar over the lettuce leaves, watercress, cabbage, mung beans  and mustard leaves and eggs and gently toss with a sprinkling of sea salt.

7.    Toss eggs in a little oil and sea salt. Distribute salad leaves between 4 plates. Slice lamb into 2-3mm thick slices and arrange over salad. Distribute cornichons, spring onions, anchovies, parmesan, cherry tomatoes and eggs. Dress with horseradish mayonnaise.

Paddock to Plate Journey

Over the past 5 years, Brad has developed a relationship with Beef + Lamb NZ thanks to winning their Excellence Award consecutively since opening the Bistro doors. This month they interviewed him about our recent paddock to plate journey, which began when we bought a steer to graze in our paddock and continued through to using the beef as the star attraction at our 5th Birthday Celebration Dinner

Paddock to plate

An interview with Brad King

How has the Bistro grown and evolved over the last five years to meet your paddock to plate ethos? 
The Bistro is situated on a six acre lifestyle block in the Karanagahake Gorge. We always had a vision for The Falls Retreat to have its own vegetable gardens supplying the Bistro kitchen and over the past five years these gardens have grown accordingly. We have now really started to focus on using seasonal vegetables and reducing our carbon footprint by also sourcing from local suppliers. We even do "Barter at the Bistro" where locals bring in their excess produce in exchange for a coffee or a pizza and a chat to the chefs.
 
How did the idea of purchasing a cattle beast come about? 
As word about our paddock to plate ethos spread, we were approached by a local farmer (our kids go to the same school which incidentally has won an Envirogold Award for its commitment to sustainability).  He was wondering if we wanted to buy one of his Dexter/Galloway steers, raised on a bio dynamic farm, with the view to using the meat at the Bistro. This sparked my interest and I wanted to explore this opportunity.
 
What challenges were there to get the beef from paddock to plate? 
Well as with all great ideas, it's never plain sailing! We purchased the bull and organised a local farmer to deliver him to The Falls Retreat.  However, his trailer got bogged in as there had been so much rain and we ended up having to get a transporting company involved. We then had to register with NAIT (New Zealand's National Animal Identification and Tracing) which was a completely new process for us in the hospitality business and then look for slaughter options. We soon realised home kill was unfortunately not an option so had to find an abattoir that was relatively local (to avoid undue stress on the animal while being transported) and one willing to take a single beast. In the end, we partnered with one of our suppliers, Harmony Meats who assisted us in getting the steer transported and slaughtered and returned to their butchery to be hung for two weeks. I then took my entire kitchen crew into Harmony Meats and did a butchery session which was a real eye opener in terms of the skill required to navigate the animal and produce all the different cuts of meats.
 
Which beef cuts did you use for the five-year celebration dinner? 
The beef was used as the main course for our five-year celebration dinner. I created a dish to demonstrate the different cuts of beef and different cooking techniques paying homage to my four consecutive Beef + Lamb New Zealand accolades.   The dish which evolved was ‘Beef Three Ways’ -  smoked eye fillet of beef, braised beef ravioli and sous-vide ballotine with mushroom arancini, garden carrot, orange and vanilla bean emulsion, beetroot chutney and poached tamarillo.
 
The remainder of the beef continues to be used on our regular menu, in our specials and on our meat lover’s pizza. The reality is that from a whole beast, there is a lot of meat and we need to be changing our menu to adapt to the different cuts we are using.  There is only so much eye fillet (which tend to be popular on restaurant menus) so we need to be introducing less popular or lesser known cuts and adapting our cooking methods accordingly. 
 
Where to next?
Our vegetable gardens are flourishing; we have started doing workshops and are really wanting to develop educating people about sustainability and growing and eating seasonally. We already have chickens and more livestock may be an option.  Pigs are on the radar (we are thinking home-made prosciutto and cured meats) and maybe lamb could be our next learning journey. Watch this space!

Gardening Workshop

A rainy September day did not deter the gardening enthusiasts attending our inaugural Gardening Workshop - "Get Ready for Spring". Welcoming our guests with a roaring fire in the Barn, we enjoyed morning tea ( a delicious home-made slice courtesy of our kitchen!) and spent the first part of the session listening to Agrissentials founder, John Morris talk about soil health and nutrition. Explaining the importance of maintaining healthy soil, we looked at what we need to do to achieve this (their Rokdust product is a great start!). With gumboots and umbrellas at the ready, we then braved the elements for an interactive session in the garden with Vital Harvest owner, Nicki Murray-Orr, looking at what we do here in the vege gardens at The Falls Retreat. This interesting and informative session was then topped off with a delicious shared lunch in the Bistro barn, with guests enjoying a selection of our gourmet wood fired pizzas and nutritious salads, using produce out of the kitchen garden. Thanks to Agrissentials, we had 5 bags of Rokdust to giveaway and everyone went home loaded with information on getting their garden started and a strawberry plant as a gift from us. 

CHECK OUT DETAILS OF OUR NEXT UPCOMING WORKSHOP: "Growing Healthy Veges"

We're celebrating!

It's hard to believe but it's been 5 years since the Bistro opened its doors to the public. We started with a few covers and a wood fired oven and can now cater for weddings, parties and of course a romantic dinner for two. We have lots to celebrate - a series of accolades and awards, a flourishing kitchen vege garden, our cosy accommodation and kids playground - all in all creating a unique experience for our guests.

We could not let this opportunity pass without having a celebration! It’s on Weds 28th September from 6.30pm and guests will be treated to a special 3 course menu specially created to celebrate our achievements over the past 5 years ( mainly that we have survived and we are still smiling!).  
 
Everyone will be greeted with a welcome rink on arrival and seated in our lovely rustic barn with the fire roaring. For entrée it will be the duck dish that earned Aaron his "Apprentice of the Year Award" and beef will be for main course - using meat from the steer we were grazing which focuses on our paddock to plate ethos and Brad's NZ Beef & Lamb accolades from the past 5 years. And of course one of one of Brad’s amazing sweet treats for dessert.

We have even talked the chefs into coming out of the kitchen to talk about their dishes and we think Brad might even share a few insights into his experiences over the past 5 years. A night not to be missed!

Duck Odyssey is a winner!

Last month we added another accolade to our list of achievements with our local lad, Aaron Kingsford named as NZ Apprentice Chef of the Year 2016.

Following a nationwide search for the most talented apprentice chefs, Aaron went head to head against 5 other contestants at the NZ Chefs’ National Salon at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland and came out as the gold medal winner.

As the winner, he will travel to the world-famous Melbourne Food & Wine Festival in 2017, worth around $3000. He also received a prize pack fromVegetables.co.nz, and became a member of the prestigious NZ Chefs’ Association.

Brad summed up the achievement in saying, “I feel very proud that at a time when our industry is in urgent need of more qualified chefs, we are helping to develop the next generation of culinary stars “in-house”. This will be a fantastic stepping stone for Aaron’s future career and we are all really proud of this achievement.”

Go Aaron!

Luscious lemons

We want you to have the same passion for food and fresh ingredients as we do,  we though the best way to that is to share some of Brad's tips on how to use all those beautiful lemons you might be getting off your tree at the moment.
 

Lemon Tree - Falls Retreat


Here at Falls Retreat it's all about using what fresh organic ingredients we have around and this week we have so many lemons!

Nothing beats picking this beautiful fruit and turning it into something delicious.
 

Learn how to make one of Brad's favourite preserved lemons recipe by clicking HERE.

John Key at the Bistro

Just in case you missed the celebrity media frenzy (:-), we were very proud to be chosen to host our Prime Minister, John Key for lunch last month.

He had our delicious 12 hour pork belly, followed by decadent Belgian chocolate brownie and a flat white served by the most junior of waiters ( our son, Jacob, aged 7).