Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The freerange cook

I am all for freerange, freerange eggs, chooks, etc. But I've never before head of a freerange cook - does that mean she runs around in the wild while whipping up a mean meringue? Okay, probably not.

Annabel Langbein has just released the book The Free Range Cook and in her own words: "It’s not about impressing people with culinary acrobatics or turning out complicated plates in the theatre of a restaurant. It’s about having fun and celebrating what nature has so graciously provided for us."

According to the blurb:

Photographed at and around Annabel’s lakeside cabin in Central Otago, at the foot of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, The Free Range Cook is much more than a recipe book. Alongside the photographs of fresh, seasonal dishes, gorgeous images transport the reader into Annabel’s country life — where she cooks on a simple double gas burner and chops wood to fuel an outdoor bread oven. Here, luxury is a glistening fish just out of the water, a perfectly ripe peach or a beautifully aged piece of farm meat, rather than exotic, hard-to-find ingredients. It is this simplicity that inspired the idea of free-range cooking — where a pared back approach to food and cooking celebrates a spirit of resourcefulness and the ability to enjoy whatever is in season at its very best.

Recipes are organised according to their source: From the Garden, From the Farm, From the Oven, From the Larder, From the Orchard, and From Lake and Sea. Interspersed throughout the book are delicious menus taken from the TV series that provide three or four impressive courses to share with friends and family.

Annabel’s signature ‘Fridge Fixings’ — useful flavour bases, rubs, sauces and dressings — are flagged throughout the book and cross-referenced to a multitude of quick, easy recipes. Cooking methods are clearly explained, and handy preparation tips, serving suggestions and storage advice introduce every recipe. Thanks to Annabel’s clever cooking tricks and techniques, home cooks are offered the chance to recreate restaurant-style dishes they might once have thought were too difficult or time-consuming.

Annabel Langbein is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated food writers and cooks. She is the author and publisher of 17 bestselling books, which have sold close to 1 million copies throughout Australasia, North America and Europe. The Free Range Cook is on sale in WA on October 1, 2010 for $49.99.

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