My life pretty much revolves around cooking. I cook for myself at home – which is a bit of a struggle because it’s so hard to cook nice meals for just one person. It’s hard to get inspired when there’s no one there to say, “yum, this is really good Sarah”. When I still lived at home, I invented the Dinner Roster to take the pressure off mum – we all had to cook one day a week and then we all pitched in on weekends – it worked well for awhile, and then fell apart when I left home…
Our family has always had a family dinner on Sunday nights, which has become all the more important now that the babies are leaving the nest. So in summer, we have true kiwi barbeques complete with dad’s amazing steak, sausages, chips, fried eggs and salads topped off with Watties tomato sauce; and in winter we have a roast with all the trimmings. Most of the time it’s me and mum or sometimes just me preparing and cooking food in the kitchen, which I love. There’s nothing like a good, hearty Kiwi meal.
My partner and I also cook together some weekends (we used to cook all the time but now we’re so busy, takeaways have become more frequent), which is great fun and really satisfying when it all works out. He also cooks for me when he knows I’m stressed out or when it’s our anniversary or sometimes just because he wants to, which is so lovely – we don’t really do big romantic gestures so little things like that are our version of romance.
So to carry on the cooking theme this week, which I unwittingly dove into and now can’t stop thinking about, I would like to share some great New Zealand cookbooks that have some fantastic classic Kiwi recipes as well as some new ones using our country’s great produce.
The New Zealand Vegetable Cookbook
I gave this one to mum for Christmas last year and she's just started using it - by that I mean she's taken it out of the cupboard and book marked what recipes she wants to make. Bless her, she's such a busy bee. I got it because mum and dad built a veggie garden a few years ago and they've grown a lot of veggies they just don't know what to do with, so I thought this would be perfect... I've just got to convince dad not to give up on the garden - he gets quite frustrated with it sometimes (especially when he has to spend loads of money fencing it off so the dog won't get in there), but soldier on dad, it'll be worth it!
Looove this one. It's full of tried and true Kiwi recipes most New Zealand mums should know how to make, and every Kiwi kid will have tried at least one. It has yummy meals like whitebait fritters and bacon and egg pie, and delish desserts like ginger crunch, pavlova, and lolly cake. Yum yum yum, it's making me hungry just writing about it!
The Free Range Cook
Annabel Langbein is one of New Zealand's best cooks, and this book is just brilliant. My partner's mum has this one and I just love it. Instead of having recipe after recipe, it has a bunch of other stuff like growing veggies and baking bread in an outdoor oven. It's a companion to her brilliant TV series and it takes you into her life in the country where she cooks great food in a simple, natural way.