I have always loved the way that the weather sets our eating moods, and at the same time nature delivers the goods that enable us to enjoy the foods we crave.
As the days start to shorten and the cold seeps in, I want food that’s hearty and warming – dishes that deliver up a big dose of comfort and fill the house with appetising smells to welcome everyone in from the cold. Fancy some soup or a nice pie or a simple tray bake? Well all the ingredients you need are at hand – pumpkin, beetroot, root vegetables and all those lovely brassicas are in season, ready for you to transform – and my new winter annual, Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Share the Love, is just jam-packed with inspiring ways to use them all.
I love getting people together over winter to celebrate and we have so many good excuses, from potluck weekend getaways and lovely rugged-up winter picnics to our very own thanksgiving, Matariki. So many of the dishes I’ve come up with for these occasions can be made in advance, ready to take along to the gathering or, if you’re hosting, to just throw into the oven before the guests arrive. I’m so keen on the idea of potlucking that I’m running a fabulous competition to get Kiwis sharing around the table this winter. To find out about my Share the Love Potluck competition see my blog.
Winter weekends offer the chance to loiter over leisurely breakfast and brunch, enjoying treats such as Croissant French Toast, the world’s simplest No-Knead Fruit Loaf and Ricotta Hot Cakes. But when life is busy midweek there’s no need to miss out thanks to my brilliant Breakfast On The Run Bars and a simple power-boosting Overnight Chia Nut Pudding.
Each year I like to come up with a go-to staple I can transform into multiple dishes and this year’s Sunday Sauce is a hands-down all-time favourite. Make a big pot on Sunday afternoon and then during the week flavour it in different ways to take your plate around the globe – it’s just so easy and so good!
These days almost everyone I know has someone in their family who is either gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or vegan, or has some other dietary restriction. It’s easy to find yourself cooking out of your comfort zone, trying to find recipes that will fit the bill. You will find a variety of interesting simple and delicious dishes in the annual that cover the gambit of the multiple eating requirements we home cooks have to cater for these days. As my Gluten-Free Orange and Almond Cake shows, there’s no sense of restriction or missing out, everything tastes fabulous, and it means you don’t have to start preparing different dishes for everyone you are feeding. It’s a one-dish-fits-all approach that works back from what someone can’t eat.
There’s also recipes that use some of the fabulous newer ingredients we find at the supermarket, such as freekeh, chia seeds, dukkah and pickled ginger. Of course the old classics still have a place and a good sausage is probably one of our universally favourite meats. All around the world people love sausages and in my annual you'll find a bunch of recipes to bring out of the best in a good snarler, including my new take on the ever-popular Devilled Sausages.
Oh and did I mention dessert… and chocolate? In this latest winter collection two of our favourite indulgences are served up in ways you could never imagine would be so easy or taste so good. To whet your appetite I've shared my recipe for The Ultimate Pumpkin Pie on my website – if you've eaten a better pumpkin pie I'd like to hear about it!
There’s no chance of getting in a rut with your cooking this winter. Share the Love is designed to make you feel like a star in your own kitchen and have lots of fun along the way. As well as loads of inspiration you will find my famous menu plans with their accompanying online shopping lists to take the hassle and thinking out of your weekly dining, as well as ideas for entertaining.
Have fun and happy cooking!
Annabel Langbein A Free Range Life: Share the Love is only $24.95 from Paper Plus, The Warehouse and all good supermarkets and bookshops across New Zealand. Overseas orders are welcome via my online shop.