Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a little Langbein love

I’ve got a bit of a crush on Annabel Langbein at the moment. Maybe it’s a kiwi thing but I’m enjoying watching her new television program Free Range Cook. While I avert my eyes to the meat and dairy (featuring rather heavily, it is New Zealand after all) the landscape is an absolute winner. Though despite the thin cardigan and cotton shirts Otago still looks rather chilly.

Langbein is well known to New Zealanders. Her recipes have appeared in numerous print publications for years and there’s at least one of her cookbooks on most kiwi friend’s shelves. Her earlier (1998) edition of The Best of Annabel Langbein adorns my own.

Her recipes are simple and she shares ideas on how to adapt parts of the dish for leftovers. Her phrase “fridge fixings” (familiar to those of us who already own her books) is a personal favourite. She’ll often say “this is good for a week in the fridge or you can freeze it in portions”.

When you are tired and hugry, it’s virtually impossible to feel creative. You just want to eat right now, without having to think about how or what. Taking a little time each week to prepare flavour bases such as tasty pestos and enticing dressings greatly streamlines the cooking process and has a dramatic effect on the results”.
Langbein on Fridge Fixings, The Best of Annabel Langbein.

Of course her garden is to die for, belying her horticultural background. Though try as hard as I can, the slightly plummy accent makes it hard to imagine her jumping out of helicopters to recover deer shot for venison or living in a hippy commune as she did in her youth.

Thanks to the show I’ve dug out my old cookbook and am marking the pages to explore this summer.

• A fritter batter that uses soda water rather than milk.
• Thai prawn fritters, with coconut cream (instead of milk/soda).
• Smoked fish salad with aioli, cucumber and spring onions.

Some stand out, simple Langbein recipes from the web

Asparagus, Avocado & Almonds with Sesame Citrus Dressing - simplicity personified!

Caponata - not a unique dish but a good “fridge fixing” during the summer tomato glut.

Crisp cauliflower and cashew salad - the ultimate in raw food cuisine, this looks like my new detox dish du jour.

Her recipe for the Asian-style citrus dressing that I found intriguing – hadn’t thought of using orange, lemon and lime juice with the classic fish sauce and chilli but she swears it gives it more depth (will try it next time I make a smoked fish salad).

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Blogger Cindy said...

My officemate is a fan of the show and persuaded me to dial it up on iview last night for the first time.

The style of it appeals to me (in spite of the meaty recipes!). I like cooks who don't mind getting their hands dirty or being seen chopping stuff, rather than having neatly lined up bowls of ingredients that were prepped by assistants.

12:22 pm  
Blogger Lisa (bakebikeblog) said...

Annabel sounds like my kinda cook!!!

12:35 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Cindy - I love iView! I like her style too, very casual and real, like when she burnt the stone fruit on the bbq. You might like some of her sweets I suspect.

Lisa - am so glad the Aussies are getting a little of the kiwi cook love :)

2:46 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

She's actually really engaging, and those fritters? I can vouch for the fact that they are INCREDIBLY good. Corn ones, not so, but the zucchini ones are brilliant. We had some with extra sqeezed zucchini and some of that Greek Fasting feta you intro'd me to...YUM.

When she's cooking and talking you through each recipe, I find her style changes; she comes across as far more friendly.

Loving the show on a Saturday evening, after a hard day of working in the new garden, and sitting down in front of the fire, dreaming about my veg garden looking, one day, a little like Annabel's.

P.S. My almost-mother-in-law has all of her books and I think I've pawed through every single one of 'em - she looks MUCH healthier than 'our' Maggie Beer, too...just an observation...p'raps 'cos she does her own gardening??

9:25 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Lucy - gotta love a kiw almost-MIL with the Langbein back catalogue :) Brilliant idea using the fasting feta in the fritters (market was out of them last week).

10:18 am  

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