The food here in New Zealand reflects our diverse cultural heritage. The first being the Maori influence. Coming from Polynesia they brought with them a variety of plants including the sweet potato (kūmara) still used today. Modern cooks normally use a combination of cooking styles but you would still find a Hangi – an earth oven, at a gathering. The food is cooked by steam whilst under the ground. An excellent guide to making one you can find here. The British brought additional foods to the Islands including pork and potato. The potato proving very popular as it yields were higher than the traditional kūmara and tolerated the cooler temperatures of South Island. A popular recipe using potatoes is rewena paraoa, well worth the effort to make. A boil up is another Maori meal that is popular today using indigenous and introduced foods with British style cooking methods; you boil root vegetables with pork. A lovely recipe for this can be found here. There has long been an argument with Australia over ownership of the Pavlova – in my mind and every other Kiwi it is ours of course. Named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlov everybody knows what a Pavlova is –a delicate crispy meringue with a soft centre made into a ring and filled with fruit and cream. This is my favourite recipe for Pavlova.