Annabel Lang­bein: Salmon starter

Annabel Lang­bein, na­tional trea­sure, rel­ishes the chance to re­treat to her Wanaka cabin and en­joy the sim­ple life.

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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.

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