While it's tempting to pull up the lot and start again, I know if I keep watering, feeding and picking I'll get a few more weeks of harvests It's true what they say — the fastest way to a man's heart or a woman's for that matter is through their stomach. By Annabel Langbein. Happy Chocolate Cake Day!
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Have you got your portable holiday garden ready yet? A few trays or tubs of baby salad vegetables, herbs and microgreens are up there on my summer holiday packing list alongside the sunscreen, books and essential cooking gear. They make such a difference to the way we eat on holiday My website is your one-stop-shop for all your Christmas recipes and inspiration — and it's all free! Click on the tiles for menu ideas, table settings, festive baking, homemade gift ideas and more Every year I promise myself that this Christmas is going to be different — this year I'm not going to cook 87 Christmas cakes yes, I really did do that one crazy year , and spend the entire summer exhausted.
But every year, I realise it just doesn't feel like Christmas until I've spent time in the kitchen, cooking up homemade goodies to give away I'm very excited to finally be able to share with you a project I've been living, breathing, dreaming, testing and tasting since last summer.
As I prepared for Christmas, celebrated New Year and enjoyed time around the table with family and friends, I found myself seeking inspiration that would make the holiday season feel more relaxed and fun. And so the idea of a summer annual filled with easy, affordable recipes was born You grab the camera, give the food an extra little tweak, and click away. Excellent — until you see the results This week I want to celebrate one of my personal bee heroes, Kim Kneijber, who has devoted almost a decade of her life to caring for bees and promoting issues affecting their wellbeing To celebrate Bee Aware Month the NBA recently ran a competition for school children, asking them to create videos that showed the importance of bees and how we can help them survive.
In taking on this important cause I hope to raise awareness of the current plight of bees and help promote ways to ensure their long-term survival and success on our planet Did I know how lucky I was? When you are a kid, the need to feel you fit in is paramount — let nothing differentiate you from the tribe. Luckily for my husband Ted and I, both of our kids have grown up enjoying cooking.
As with many kids, their interest in cooking started with baking. In the transformation of simple ingredients, such as butter, sugar, eggs and flour, into sweet, tender cakes, biscuits, pies and desserts there is not just that magical sense of alchemy, but generally a very delicious spoon from the mixing bowl to lick With the school holidays upon us again we've got an exciting competition to help encourage kids into the kitchen.
It's a fun and easy school holiday project that involves two things all kids love — food and computers. I know I am. If you want to enjoy fresh vegetables over the winter, now is the time to get busy in the garden. When I was living in New York in the Eighties I had this dishy boyfriend who used to pick me up in a limo and take me out to nice restaurants. A woman answered the phone I would never have picked my husband as a romantic when I first met him.
I always feel incredibly feral when I get back to work after the summer break. Weeks with no mirror, no hairdresser, no makeup, no smart clothes My mother was a brilliant cook and a fabulous baker. She was always in the kitchen whipping up treats to fill the stash of cake and biscuit tins that lined the pantry. One of the best things about the summer holidays is the sheer simplicity of life. For a few days or weeks, home is a rumpty old bach or a campsite or caravan somewhere by the sea, a river or a lake.
Today's recipe is quite simply ambrosia — Raspberry Ripple Ambrosia , to be exact! The best thing about Christmas Day is the fact that, after a morning spent preparing the big midday meal, you've got carte blanche to curl up on the sofa for a little afternoon nap while the teens do the dishes. If there's one day of the year when a little indulgence is practically compulsory, it's Christmas Day. And dessert doesn't get much more decadent than my Chocolate Sponge Roll with Figs. Three hundred and sixty four days of the year I believe in keeping things simple.
A plain tablecloth, a candle or two and a jug of water are all it takes to set the scene for dinner.
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But on Christmas Day I like to create magic at the table A Trio of Vegetables featuring crispy roast potatoes and a couple of green vegetables should do the trick. One of the great things about celebrating a summertime Christmas is the plethora of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits that abound at this time of year.
I love to serve at least one big salad with Christmas dinner, and this year I'm mixing it up a bit with my Pawpaw Spinach Salad. I used to think I was destined for a life of dry and tough turkey — until I discovered the secret powers of brining. Now I brine my turkey overnight before cooking it I've revealed a whole new world of juicy, flavoursome Christmas dinners. For some people, the stuffing is the highlight of any chicken or turkey roast.
Others can take it or leave it. But if there's one day of the year when you pull out all the stops and make your own savoury stuffing, make it Christmas Day. With my oven already busy cooking the turkey, I like to make sure my Christmas Dinner starter is a simple assembly that doesn't require any cooking — and ideally it will be something I can prepare in advance.
In praise of persimmons
Ham and turkey are the centrepieces of a traditional Christmas dinner, but here in New Zealand we often cook something on the barbecue as part of our festive feast. If you're looking for a quick and easy crowd-pleaser to launch your Christmas Day dinner, my Sesame Prawn Toasts are the answer. They're a snip to make, reasonably inexpensive if you use a bag of frozen prawn meat, and a hit with kids and adults alike.
For most of us, oysters are a special-occasion treat, so what better way to greet your guests on Christmas Day than with a champagne cocktail and a big platter of succulent oysters on the half shell. I wrote it as is the case with most of my books for myself, as a template to seamlessly enjoying the process of having people over to eat at home. Our tiny kitchen was transformed into a full-blown canning and pickling production line, and just getting in the door involved clambering over cases of produce and navigating your way carefully around masses of glass jars, lids and bags of sugar With a horse and a swag, these hardy types would walk their mobs to the sale yards, often taking weeks, sometimes months to reach their destination.
I find the antidote to the increased pace is to reconnect with the outdoors — so the moment I got back to Wanaka I found myself out in the garden seeing how my vegetables are faring in this mad spring weather. At the end of a busy working day, I find that the last thing I want to do is think. The whole day has inevitably been about rushing around and trying to fit in too many things, so I just want to come home and have some wonderful fairy deliver a delicious dinner to my table.
Even though our cabin here is incredibly small, we still all love coming here to chill out and recharge our batteries. As a teenager I worked for a couple of years trapping possums in the bush and spent some time jumping out of helicopters to recover live deer The first episode screens at 7pm on Saturday night, and I can't wait to hear what you all think. There's nothing like the satisfaction of harvesting fruit straight from a tree and transforming it into something delicious. As you can see from the video, my recent trip there was so much fun. The results are never instant — vegetables take weeks, sometimes months, from seed to harvest.
There seems to be a division in the world between cooks who never make the same meal twice, and cooks who find six or seven recipes, learn them inside and out, and recycle them endlessly without deviating from the ingredient list. There's nothing quite like fresh produce straight from the garden. It was a big part of my childhood — my father Fred would come home from work each night and tend to his vegetable garden, offerings from which arrived washed and trimmed at the kitchen door, ready for my mother to cast her magic over them.
My philosophy has always been that leading a good life is about friendships, community and time around the table. After the busy-ness of Christmas this is a great time to relax, re-energise and reflect — and get all my friends over for a meal. I kicked off my feminist-hippy period as a teenager, leaving school at 16 University Entrance successfully passed — whew! But then I discovered the magical, transforming effect of brining. In the summer when I am down in Wanaka, I love getting up with the sun and wandering around my garden.
If you're in New Zealand you might have noticed my face popping up on your TV screen this week. No, it's not a new series of The Free Range Cook - that'll be next year - but the latest installment of my Fresh Everyday campaign. Paris has been basking in the most glorious Indian summer — clear blue skies, hot without being too hot and not a breath of wind. I love it when someone puts together an idea that works that I had never imagined or tasted before.
Ideally, of course, this will be from the comfort of a kitchen stool, glass of wine in hand while you watch the cook at work and wait to eat whatever delicious concoction he or she is creating! I have always loved the persimmon tree in our garden. It is such a pretty shaped tree and through the autumn the fruit hang like a profusion of deep orange lanterns. As I write this, the first fire of the season is blazing in the hearth and the soothing smell of simmering chicken is giving the kitchen a welcoming homey feel. When our kids were little I would spend hours each Easter creating elaborate Easter egg hunts around our Wanaka cabin.
Recently I drove over from Wanaka to visit my dear Aunt Liz on the remote farm where she lives near one of the hydro dams on the Waitaki River in North Otago. I get so inspired whenever I see Liz. There were still piles of snow on the ground when we landed in New York a week or so ago.
Then, just like that, the sun came out. After one of the coldest winters in decades, the hardy were out in their T-shirts at this first hint of spring — but we stayed rugged up in full winter woolly mode. Just over a week ago I was in my garden at Wanaka , savouring the simple pleasures of zucchini and sweetcorn picked fresh at the end of a New Zealand summer. Right now I am enjoying the full flush of summer harvests in my garden.
- National Parliaments within the Enlarged European Union: From Victims of Integration to Competitive Actors? (Routledge Advances in European Politics);
- Cabbage Rolls?
- Saline Lakes: Publications from the 7th International Conference on Salt Lakes, held in Death Valley National Park, California, U.S.A., September 1999.
- The Trade Unions–What Are They?!
One of the things that often trips up vegetable gardeners is the time a seed or small seedling takes to grow to harvest. Crops like leeks, for example, are notoriously slow, taking three and a half to four months before you have something of a decent enough size to eat. My mother Anne was a natural cook and a home science university graduate. My pack list for the West Coast seemed to go on forever and I found myself wondering if we would even get it all on the truck - barbecue to cook all the whitebait we would be catching, tarpaulin for rain, wardrobe change in event of spilling tomato sauce down my front or falling into the river, props for our picnic, food for the crew, food for our supper The show circuit does the rounds of small town New Zealand through the spring and summer each year My list of things I like to eat or serve with beer are limited.
I like beer with snack foods, fish and chips anything fried for that matter , sausage rolls and meat pies, and anything spicy. I love the sense of freedom around cooking outdoors. Somehow, just by virtue of being outdoors, our gastronomic expectations are lessened and everyone loosens up and has a good time. I often think I am lucky not to have a particularly sweet tooth.
Until lemons were introduced to the Mediterranean during the Crusades, virtually every household with access to grapes would make verjuice from the unripened grapes that were thinned before the harvest, employing the sour juice as a flavour enhancer and acid note in cooking I often wonder if I was only allowed two or three flavourings salt and pepper aside what might they be?
I guess it comes down to cultural bias and personal preference as to what the must-have flavours for each cook might be — chillies or ginger, rosemary, smoked paprika, lemongrass, coriander or mint, and so on.