Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Fun, comfort, joy, hope, dignity… poetry, red wine and garlic bread, duck confit and pinot noir, old roses and champagne.
The Pipi philosophy is about family, fun, nurturing, good simple seasonal food, and love. These are all universal things, but Pipi gives them the New Zealand twist.
I am informed that for those of us have never been lucky enough to go there that Pipi is a bright pink restaurant in the heart of Havelock North where the food is divine. It is said to be a warm and inviting place filled with fun, where you are treated as a local even if you’re not one, and where you can sit at a table with strangers and leave as friends. And I can tell you after reading this gorgeous book, publication tomorrow 5 April, from cover to cover the very chance I get to go to Hawkes Bay I'll be off having first made a reservation at Pipi.
The gentle hands that have created this place and this book are those of Alexandra Tylee. The path that lead Alex here is a long and complex one. There was deep despair and heartbreak and a healing that only comes from dedicating yourself to something with all of your heart and soul. But along the way Alex was buoyed by spirit, and nurtured by love. From this journey came Pipi the restaurant (in all of its incarnations) and now Pipi: The Cookbook.
I suspect that Pipi: The Cookbook captures some of the atmosphere and the recipes which make up the essence of Pipi. Alexandra says that each recipe made in the kitchen of Pipi, or found within these pages have two things in common, the food must be simple and it must nurture the soul not just the body. As Alex says, “Pipi has evolved.” First there was Sydney, then Greytown and now Havelock North. “The menu has grown but the philosophy is the same: simple food cooked with attention to detail and care. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel, just perfect and stay true to the original one.”
Photographer Brian Curly’s extraordinary photographs show off Pipi at its best, and you can’t help but be tempted to try the recipes when you gaze upon their deliciousness. Soups and risotto’s, Sunday Lunch, Vegetables and Salads, Children’s Birthday parties, all are gorgeous and will inspire you.
The publishers have given me permission to reproduce below a recipe I made (and which I warmly recommend) from the book along with Brian's photograph of the dish.
Pipi: The Cookbook is one I will treasure and give a prominent place on my cookbook shelf.
About the author:
Author, Pipi owner and chef Alexandra Tylee learnt to cook providing meals and smoko for the workers on the Hawkes Bay farm where she grew up. With no formal cooking training she made her way through Mrs Beeton’s cookbook, and realised that if she followed a recipe carefully then she could make anything from puff pastry to chicken stock. The same can be said about her recipes.
Pipi: The Cookbook
Author: Alexandra Tylee
Random House New Zealand
Champagne and leek risotto
I love the idea of champagne risotto. It seems rather decadent and also fun, which it is, plus it tastes very good. You do not have to use the very best French champagne but you do taste it, so use a sparkling wine that you would happily drink. It seems such an obvious fit to put salmon with this risotto, but you don’t have to. It is lovely with just the leek and the Parmesan, or a little pan-fried prosciutto folded through at the end is good too.
1 dessertspoon olive oil
500g leeks, tough outer leaves discarded, cut into ½cm slices
500g Arborio rice
1 litre bubbly
1 litre chicken stock
500g hot smoked salmon
small bunch dill, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
handful of spinach
½ cup grated Parmesan
Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy frying pan on medium heat, add the leek and slowly cook until soft, 35–40 minutes.
Then add the rice, stirring until it is opaque, about 3 minutes. Now pour in 250ml of the bubbly and let it cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat the stock and 500ml of the bubbly in a saucepan and keep it simmering away.
Now add the warm liquid to the rice a cup at a time and keep stirring. When all the liquid has been absorbed, add the last 250ml of bubbly. When this is almost absorbed the risotto should be cooked, 15–20 minutes. You want the rice to have a wee bite with some liquid remaining in the risotto, it shouldn’t be the consistency of porridge. Now melt in the second measure of butter and fold through the salmon and the dill if using. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold the spinach through the risotto and serve it with the Parmesan sprinkled on top. Without the salmon, this is also good as a side dish with any baked or pan-fried fish.
And check out the Pipi Cafe website here.