Kawakawa rubbed venison with berry salad

Masterchef NZ runners-up, Nikki and Jordan Shearer put together a quick and simple dish

Venison -salad

Serves 2

This is the most simple of simple dishes celebrating the union of seasonal produce, creating instant flavour harmony. Berries and venison… nothing more needs to be said really!

Some of the ingredients may sound a ‘lil bit fancy but trust us, they are available in most good supermarkets or Asian food stores. Kawakawa is also known as the New Zealand pepper tree and can be purchased as a dry powder or can be harvested and dried yourself. The leaves are used medicinally, aiding digestion and are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. If you can find a wild blackberry bush in the New Zealand wilderness, then even better still. Kiwi camping at its best!


  • 2 Tbsp kawakawa (bush basil) powder
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely diced
  • 10 Juniper berries crushed in a mortar and pestle (do this before heading out camping)
  • 2 Tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp runny honey
  • 2 venison loins
  • 10 raspberries or blackberries
  • 10 blueberries
  • 10 fresh walnuts, shelled and halved
  • 20 Enoki mushrooms
  • Rocket leaves


  1. Combine the kawakawa powder, salt, and olive oil. Rub over the venison loins and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over a gentle heat, on an element or a campfire, add walnut oil and sauté the shallots until transparent. Take off the heat and whisk in the juniper berries, sherry, vinegar, and honey.
  3. Heat a griddle pan or BBQ until very hot. Add the venison and cook for two to three minutes each side. Remove from heat and cover with tinfoil. Rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Assemble the remaining ingredients for the salad on the plate. Drizzle over the dressing.
  5. Slice venison and layer on top.

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