Annabel Langbein: Salmon starter
Annabel Langbein, national treasure, relishes the chance to retreat to her Wanaka cabin and enjoy the simple life.
My new book Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures and the accompanying TV series were inspired by the way I cook at the little cabin we have down by the lake in Wanaka. It’s the most beautiful place, and when I’m there I live the simplest life. There is nothing luxe about my kitchen – I cook on a gas burner and chop wood for my outdoor oven. It’s a simple life but so satisfying. For me, cooking is more than just a dish on a plate. It’s about celebrating nature with a spirit of resourcefulness. I grow most of my family’s fresh produce, and I believe that being very connected to nature helps you appreciate the fact that things take weeks, months, or even years to grow to a point where they are ready for the table. You develop a respect for this, which makes you want to take care when you cook and make every meal a kind of celebration, even if the food is really simple. If you work with fresh seasonal ingredients, nature has done most of the hard work for you. It’s a message that has obviously struck a chord with people who are looking for a return to a simpler, more sustainable way of life. I believe people want to take back some control in their lives and find a sense of connection, and cooking is a great way to do this. It connects you to culture, community, your own creativity and nature. And when you stop eating barcodes and investing so much of your diet in an industrial food chain you feel so much better – and you save money too.