All my adult life (and a lot of my childhood!) I've been in the kitchen, either at work or at home, all day every day, playing, testing and absorbing all I can about the science and common sense of cooking and eating well. My new book ESSENTIAL Annabel Langbein brings together everything I've learned or worked out for myself over the years, in one timeless compendium.
I've called it ESSENTIAL Annabel Langbein because it's a complete road map for modern eating – showcasing more than 650 of my best-ever recipes, plus hundreds of variations and clever cooking tips that will make you a better and more resourceful cook. It's not just a recipe book – it's a lifetime of cooking and eating inspiration.
My aim is to inspire you to try something new, then empower you to make it your own, changing out ingredients to suit the season or your own personal tastes, or applying 'springboard' techniques to different cuisines or flavour families. This makes it so easy to get creative in the kitchen and have fun around the table.
My biggest and most beautiful book ever, ESSENTIAL brings together my most popular recipes from the past 20 years, alongside a few personal favourites and dozens of brand new recipes inspired by the food I'm cooking and eating right now.
Every single recipe has been retested and tweaked for today's tastes – maybe with fewer refined ingredients, maybe with a gluten-free option, or maybe to incorporate on-trend flavours such as sriracha, chipotle or aquafaba. It's amazing how our cooking has changed over the years. With a global pantry of flavours at our fingertips it's now so easy to make interesting dishes from all around the world.
For the most part I've selected quick and easy snacks and meals that suit today's busy lives, with chapters including pasta and risotto, noodles and rice, grains and pulses, and pies and pizzas, but there's some special-occasion wow factor in there too.
ESSENTIAL Annabel Langbein contains something for everyone, with recipes to suit all lives, appetites and dietary needs, and separate indexes to help you identify the many gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan recipes.
It celebrates 20 years since I published my bestselling book The Best of Annabel Langbein: Great Food for Busy Lives, which has been reprinted countless times, sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is known as 'the bible' in many New Zealand kitchens. I've lost count of the hundreds of people who have told me it's the most-used cookbook on their shelves.
If The Best of Annabel Langbein: Great Food for Busy Lives has been a mainstay on your kitchen bench for the past 20 years this new book will be your trusted kitchen companion for the next 20. And if you're more of an armchair cook, its out-sized format, lush photography and stylish design make it a covetable coffee table book too.
Focussing on savoury recipes, this book is volume one of a duo that will include a equally spectacular book of sweet treats.
ESSENTIAL Annabel Langbein (RRP $65) will be available from Friday 17 March at Paper Plus, Whitcoulls, The Warehouse and all good independent bookstores nationwide and makes a timeless Mothers' Day, wedding, anniversary or birthday gift. It can also be ordered from my online shop for local or overseas delivery.
With 25 books, three television series and thousands of recipes under her belt, Annabel is New Zealand's most trusted home cook. She has earned the love and respect of cooks around the world for her recipes, which use fresh seasonal produce, accessible everyday ingredients and simple techniques to create meals that are both healthy and delicious. She and her husband Ted grow their own fruit and vegetables in extensive orchards and gardens on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Also known as The Free Range Cook, Annabel is loved the world over for her adventurous Kiwi lifestyle.