After 30 years of cooking delicious treats for those attending the Northland Field Days what's a good way to mark your retirement? Well, that is to have a cook book produced with all your favourite Field Days recipes.

Northpower customer adviser Jan Thomsen served up her last dishes at the Field Days this year and is to retire in May.

But after 30 years of cooking at the Northpower stand her colleagues decided that a fitting tribute to her culinary skills would be to produce a cookbook with some of her favourite recipes in that she has produced over the years.

Thomsen started at Northpower in January 1990 in its customer service office in Cameron St, Whangārei, and did her first stint at the field days that year - when it was held at the Dargaville racetrack - seeing it as an extension of her customer service.


Since then she's dished out thousands of servings to the field day folk, with her food always well received and many wanting to know her recipes.

''Being held in the Kaipara I use a lot of kumara and squash in my recipes to focus on local produce. I also don't really use red meat or poultry due to the health implications of cooking in a tent in a field, but while they are mostly vegetarian, they are always well received and people really enjoy them,'' she said.

''So many people over the years have asked me for my recipes so it's nice to now have the recipe book out - and there are still copies available at our Mt Pleasant Rd site in Whangārei.''

One of the first dishes she tried at the field days was kumara chips, and being something of a trailblazer, kumara chips are now sold everywhere.

''And I've got to thank Lockie Wilson, from Delta Produce who for many years has brought me big bag of kumara in for me to cook up. The (Northpower) stall seems to be a very popular place for some reason,'' Jan said.

''People come back year after year wanting to see what new recipes I have. They look forward to it and so do I.

''Many husbands were told they must call in and pick up the recipes to take home to their wives.''

So now she's retired from the role the recipe book is essential.

Jan Thomsen's recipe book after 30 years of cooking in the Northpower tent at the Northland Field Days.
Jan Thomsen's recipe book after 30 years of cooking in the Northpower tent at the Northland Field Days.

She said a Northpower university intern spent her time putting the recipe book - which also contains details of Northpower's 90 years in business - together.

The obvious question is what is her favourite recipe from the book?

''Oh, they are all favourites to me and I think they are all pretty good. But if I have to, it has to be kumara waffles - everybody loves the kumara waffles - and then probably the chutneys and pickles.''

Jan Thomsen's Kumara Waffle recipe:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
quarter cup oil
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
one and a half cups milk
three quarter cup cold mashed kumara
chopped nuts.
1. Place all ingredients, except for nuts, into a food processor and process to combine.
2. Pour batter into pre-heated waffle irons, sprinkle with nuts and cook.
3. Serve with maple syrup or lemon honey and whipped cream.