If you're in New Zealand you might have noticed my face popping up on your TV screen this week. No, it's not a new series of The Free Range Cook - that'll be next year - but the latest installment of my Fresh Everyday campaign.
I've created this campaign to bring you recipe videos that demonstrate exactly how easy it is to put together fresh, delicious meals using some of my favourite products. Over the past few weeks I've worked with carefully selected partner Silver Fern Farms to shoot a series of videos especially designed for those "oh no" moments when you need to pull something spectacular out of your hat in less than an hour.
Say you get home from work late and you've got people coming over, or you've invited a friend around for an impromptu meal, or maybe you just feel like cooking something special for the family - it's times like these that I pick up a great piece of meat at the supermarket or butcher on the way home, prepare it simply and serve it with lots of fresh seasonal vegetables. In spring or summer I might barbecue it and then toss it in a salad, whereas on colder days I'll pop a quick roast in the oven and serve it with my favourite winter veges.
It really helps when the meat is already trimmed and cut to a size that suits four people, like Silver Fern Farms meat is, so there's no messy mucking around - I can just pop it straight in the pan. I usually go for cuts like loin fillets, rumps or a boneless leg roast, all of which take only minutes to cook. I'll quite often keep a pack in the back of the fridge "just in case" - because it's vacuum packed it'll keep fresh for up to three weeks.
I love the sweetness of 100% New Zealand lamb, so if you're looking for an interesting way to kick-start the barbecue season, try my Warm Greek Lamb Salad. The summery Mediterranean flavours of red peppers, tomatoes, feta and a quick pesto dressing are the ideal foil for thinly-sliced barbecued lamb rumps in this simple salad that will take less than half an hour from go to whoa.
If you really want to make a wow impression for a special occasion - or no particular occasion at all - it's nice to serve venison for a change. In my video for Barbecued Venison Medallions with Mango Snow Pea Salad you'll see just how easy it is to cook venison to perfection. Barbecue venison medallions just like you would steaks, searing them for about three minutes each side over a medium-hot heat. The only thing you need to remember is not to overcook them - because venison is such a lean meat it's best served medium rare or rare so it's still lovely and juicy. I love this recipe because the Asian flavours of ginger, sesame and soy in the dressing perfectly balance the intensity of the venison, the sweetness of the mango and the crunch of the snow peas.
One of my favourite meals to make in colder weather is a quick roast like my Lamb Roast with Caper Aioli. Yes - roasts aren't just for Sundays, and they don't have to take all afternoon to cook. I'll quite often cook a boneless roast on a weeknight - the great thing is that you can pop it in the oven with a few vegetables then wander off and relax with a glass of wine while the oven does all the work. And everyone loves roasts - even the kids! This modern take on the traditional Kiwi roast lamb comes with honey-roasted vegetables and a cheat's caper aioli that I make in a minute by stirring garlic, capers and lemon into good-quality commercial mayonnaise.
But the dish that had the film crew in the loudest raptures when we were shooting these videos was my Pistachio-Crusted Lamb Loin Fillets with Beetroot Confit. Beetroot is such an under-rated vegetable, but the touch of five-spice powder in this quick grated beetroot side dish brings it alive and marries beautifully with the nutty pistachio crust and the sweetness of the lamb. Give it a whirl at your next dinner party - you won't be disappointed.
Obviously you can watch these videos and enjoy these recipes wherever you live in the world - there's something for every season! But if you live in New Zealand you can also win great prizes by visiting the Fresh Everyday pages of my website. Click here to win a $500 prize pack including a Scanpan Frypan, a Silver Fern Farms apron and Silver Fern Farms lamb and venison. Or click here to win a copy of my new book Annabel Langbein Free Range in the City, which has just been published in Australia and New Zealand, just by answering a simple question about one of my Fresh Everyday videos. We'll be posting new questions between now and 23 November, so keep checking back for more chances to win. Happy cooking!