Chef en­joys sim­ple plea­sures

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By RACHEL STURGES

ONE of the best things in life is to sit around the din­ner ta­ble with fam­ily and friends en­joy­ing a sim­ple meal made with fresh, home­grown in­gre­di­ents.

That’s ac­cord­ing to celebrity chef Annabel Lang­bein who was in the Pon­sonby Rd Pa­per Plus store on Mon­day to launch her lat­est cook­book.

Her book, Annabel Lang­bein The Free Range Cook: Sim­ple Plea­sures, is beau­ti­fully pho­tographed with a range of recipes, all made with pro­duce from her own gar­den in Wanaka.

‘‘I grow it all,’’ she says proudly.

But this isn’t just a pretty cook­book.

Ms Lang­bein was com­pelled to write it be­cause she pas­sion­ately be­lieves we all need to slow down to en­joy the sim­ple plea­sures in life.

And that in­cludes grow­ing your own veg­eta­bles.

To cel­e­brate the launch of the book, Pa­per Plus car­ried out re­search on New Zealan­ders’ be­hav­iour and at­ti­tudes to­wards home-grown pro­duce.

Ac­cord­ing to the study,

it showed al­most 80 per cent of re­spon­dents eat home-grown pro­duce at least once a month – but 20 per cent of those that didn’t say it’s be­cause they don’t have a gar­den.

‘‘There’s a real move­ment, even if you don’t have a lot of room, to want to grow some­thing, just to feel con­nected, so that even if you only have a pot you can grow an amaz- ing amount of food out of it,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s not hard.’’

Ms Lang­bein fits a lot into her busy life.

Apart from writ­ing and self-pub­lish­ing her own cook­books and pro­duc­ing her own tele­vi­sion se­ries, she is also on the board of the Sus­tain­abil­ity Coun­cil of New Zealand.

She says the coun­cil is in­volved in all sorts of ad­vo­cacy to en­sure New Zealand has a sus­tain­able fu­ture in food pro­duc­tion and re­source man­age­ment.

‘‘Peo­ple look to us for be­ing this re­ally clean, green place and it’s mak­ing sure we live up to that prom­ise and we can de­liver it,’’ she says.

That strong com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity and home­grown food ties in with her con­vic­tion that sim­ple plea­sures are be­com­ing more and more im­por­tant in our lives.

‘‘For so long we’ve val­ued peo­ple’s suc­cess around money.

‘‘What we think of as a good life is chang­ing more and more to be­ing around cre­at­ing mem­o­ries that you can take for­ward in life and pass on,’’ she says.

And what is Ms Lang­bein’s favourite sim­ple plea­sure?

‘‘My hus­band bring­ing me a cup of tea in bed in the morn­ing,’’ she laughs.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Sim­ple plea­sures: Annabel Lang­bein pro­moted her lat­est cook­book at Pon­sonby Rd’s Pa­per Plus on Mon­day.

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