Shells, books and Lego: cool stuff from the Selectors

No matter where you are the world, you will never be far from a mollusc.

cover of Spirals in TimeHelen Scales hasn’t met a mollusc she didn’t like. Her book Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells is a passionate ode to shellfish, part travelogue, part natural science with plenty of story telling to make the humble mollusc a thing of wonder.

Inspiration of bookIntent on pushing the boundaries of book publishing, Inspiration of Book showcases 150 of the most imaginative and innovative books ever made, including a corset book, pop up books, books made of seeds, books within books, books made from shells, fabric… the list goes on. Don’t be put off by the cover; it’s rather dull considering the joys that await inside! Our selector had this to say:

I wanted to personally own every book they showed.

Beautiful LegoBeautiful Lego 2: Dark is just that – beautiful! This book showcases an array of pieces ranging from lifelike replicas of everyday objects and famous monuments to imaginative renderings of spaceships, mansions, and mythical creatures. A great companion for those of you who managed to attend the Kidsfest event Brickshow.

Ka hua ki tai, Ka ora ki uta – A bountiful sea will sustain us

coverPaua, with their spectacular shells, feature strongly in many areas of life in Aotearoa New Zealand; from artworks and souvenirs right through to the kitchen where we find the inside of the paua is just as good too!

The secret to good paua eating is all in the preparation. Once you have collected your correctly-sized quota from your special spot, scoop them from their shells and beat them with a stone or hammer (or anything else hard that you can get your hands on) until they are slightly misshapen. It is a messy job so on the sea-shore is one highly recommended place to do it so you can rinse off straight away. However, you may wish to save them for later, in which case keep them wet at a steady temperature of 5 to 7°C.

Once you are back in cooking territory (kitchen, BBQ, fire-pit…) marinate the paua for at least an hour in some oil, garlic and a bit of soy sauce. Heat the cooking surface to a high temperature, cook the paua very fast (about a minute) until it is just cooked through, add lemon and chopped coriander and serve immediately. This is the most tender and mouth-wateringly delicious way to eat paua.

You may have your own special paua tips to share – comment below if you do.

  • If you want to know more about Maori food, check out these recipes.
  • There are also several books on Maori cooking at the library.
  • Lastly, check out the beautifully illustrated children’s storybook Tangaroa’s gift – Te koha a Tangaroa – the story of how the paua got its beautiful shell.