Tuesday, October 18, 2011


By Laura Faire
Photography by Kieran Scott
New Holland Publishers - RRP: $45.00
 This sophisticated and appealing cookbook reveals the key elements to good living and great honest food: seasonal cooking. Chef and gardener Laura Faire takes us back to our roots with her original recipes made from locally and seasonally sourced.
Broken into seasons with sample menus for each the book includes recipes for starters, sides and lunches, mains, puddings, stores and tisanes. There are also ideas for homemade staples and tips for growing herbs, fruit and vegetables through the year with advice for purchasing the best quality local free-range meat and seafood.
 This book of soul-warming and flavour-filled recipes made from natural whole foods is an inspiration for cooks and gardeners alike.
 About the author:
Laura Faire is a trained chef and a keen gardener, who lives simply with a small garden in Auckland, New Zealand. As a food writer she has contributed to a number of books, including Shop Local Eat Well, also published by New Holland, authored two books for Nestle, and she writes for several food and lifestyle publications. She appears monthly on the Good Morning television show making delicous, attainable food with flair. This is her first solo cookbook. Laura has worked extensively with Kieran Scott, an award-winning New Zealand food and lifestyle photographer and regular contributor to Cuisine magazine and over 25 cookbooks.I have also occasionally cut out recipes from her in the Sunday Star Times.
Here is part of her thoughtful and entertaining introduction to the book:
My journey with food started with a mother who cooks like a magician. Then, at fourteen (I’d lied about my age), I spent a summer washing dishes in a kitchen in Russell in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. I returned every summer after that and began working the junior sections of the kitchen. From the first day I was allowed to ladle out a bowl of soup, I got the buzz of working with food. I was the kid who turned up to prepare 20kg of kumara (sweet potato) unpaid. Much later, after some training and experience, I became a chef, with all the million hours, cuts and burns, and joys of service under pressure.
The most important thing I have learned as a chef is that you can’t make great food with rubbish ingredients. It was a natural progression to begin growing my own ingredients, and it has added a dimension and level of understanding to my cooking that I am forever grateful for. I believe strongly that seasonal, natural and wholefood ingredients are the key to good living and great taste. My garden is organic and I choose to purchase organic ingredients. I believe that the flavour is superior, the methods more sustainable and I prefer to enjoy food free from insecticides and pesticides. From a few pots on a patio to a fully fledged vegetable garden, growing your own food will always be rewarding. It is also fraught with lessons: it has slowly taught me patience and has increased my respect and love for good honest food.
Today I stand in a crowd of cooks, gardeners and food writers who have been banging the seasonal drum since the 1970s. I hope that the small ting of my triangle reaches the ears and hearts of others on their own journey to authenticity and the love of food.
And here is a recipe I have made (successfully!) from the book which the publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce here:
Broad Bean & Prawn Pasta with Sorrel
When buying fresh prawns look for intact shells and feelers.

350–400g spaghetti (dried)
¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil
12–15 young broad bean pods, podded and shelled (1 cup of beans)
12 large raw prawns (king prawns are best)
1 lemon, juice and zest
mineral salt and black pepper
6 large sorrel leaves, sliced (or dill and flat-leaf parsley)
lemon wedges to serve
Cook the spaghetti in ample boiling salted water for 10 minutes until just tender. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the broad beans and cook for 1 minute before adding the prawns, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Cook for 2–3 minutes until opaque.
Add the sorrel leaves and the cooked pasta, toss together and serve with lemon wedges.
Takes 10 minutes
Serves 4
Broad beans
Broad beans are spring – the first exciting crop of the year’s bounty. Plant in winter and pinch out the growing tips when they start flowering, to discourage whitefly and make the plant bush out. Harvest the pods when about a hand’s length. Save seeds for future crops or to use in winter soups and stews.

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