by Laura Faire, ON SALE FOR NZD$55

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Proud to be available at New Zealand Libraries

Still haven't seen it?  View this cute vid online by the talented Michael Bradley

Limited Edition Cookery is a labour of love, quality and care. Printed and bound in Auckland by our own talented countrymen, it has not suffered excessive travel to achieve low costs or undercut anyone in our own labour market.   
The materials used in this book are clean enough to be added to your compost (see below for further explanation of printing credentials) and then spread through your garden. Even if this book doesn't sell, it will be good for the planet.

From planting a few herbs and strawberries in her own garden many years ago, Laura started on a full-blown environmental journey. A journey that has led her to respect the land, grow her own food and be passionate about caring for each ingredient that appears on her plate.  From plant to plate.  From germination to degustation.

A Lifestyle Columnist for the Sunday Star-Times, Laura has collected 80 of her favourite recipes to create this local, natural and beautiful cookbook.  Each recipe in the book is inspired by the season or her garden.

LAURA FAIRE is a chef, recipe writer and food stylist.  She is Lifestyle Columnist for the Sunday Star-Times, a contributor for REAL Magazine and appeared fortnightly as a chef on TVNZ's Good Morning Show.  Her previous book Now is the Season was published in 2011. She has worked on other cookery books for large corporations and charities and she is a member of the New Zealand Guild of Food Writers.

The printing story…
Limited Edition Cookery is certified  carboNZeroCertTM using a business to consumer life cycle measurement. This means that all the greenhouse emissions associated with the lifecycle of the cookbook are measured, reduced and offset through purchasing verified carbon credits.
The text of the cookbook is printed on 9Lives Offset (FSC Mix) from Spicers Paper. Its paper comes from managed tree farms or recycled sources, and all of its mills conform to high-level environmental management systems. The cookbook was printed using vegetable based inks and citrus cleaners. Soar Printing is a carboNZero certified organisation which means they measure their organisational greenhouse gas emissions, actively work to reduce them and purchase verified carbon offsets they cannot reduce further.
The carbon credits purchased by Soar Printing fund New Zealand renewable energy sources such as the  Tararua Wind Farm and the Christchurch Burwood Gas Landfill project.

Give it a Whirl..

There is very little in the food world that is new, in fact so much of it is old and rapidly being lost.   Fowlers book Abundance is filled with old hippy recipes that need to be revived and remembered.  It shows her passion for retaining these arts in a world where generations of knowledge are slipping away.

Chocka with the kind of information expected of this UK gardening guru, the earthy honesty of her book is charming.  For anyone into wholefoods and gardening or just trying to make the best use of their crops it is a must.   Focused mainly on preserving Fowler talks about harvesting, freezing and jam making.  She even makes methods such as fermentation and dehydration look achievable.

Extracted with permission from Abundance by Alys Fowler, published by Kyle Books and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland, RRP $45.00.
 A requirement for the willing kitchen gardener.  This book is especially great for those of us who like to give new (old) things a whirl. Alys Fowlers Abundance has me hunting around for the correct bits to get my brew on in the sauerkraut department.  Meanwhile I thought this salted seasonings borrowed from Italy perfect for beefing up the flavour at this time of year (and it doesn't require any funny equipment so you can rip out into the garden and give it a go right now). 

  Dry-salted Salamoia Bolognese

This traditional seasoning from Bologna has many
variations – some versions contain basil, others
include lemon zest or black pepper – but the basic
recipe remains the same. Basically, you need lots of
salt to keep everything preserved. The herbs and
garlic must be fresh; this is essential, as the
flavours just don’t work with dried herbs. This
version was given to me by Paolo Arrigo, but I also
make it with equal parts rosemary and sage.
Salamoia Bolognese is a storecupboard essential.
It can be used in pasta sauces, on eggs, with fish,
potatoes or on grilled vegetables – wherever you
might want salt, try this as a substitute.

10g rosemary leaves
5g sage leaves
1 large garlic clove, peeled
(you can add more if you wish)
100g coarse sea salt

Chop the herbs very finely; it is often easier to do
this in stages. Once they are chopped nice and fine,
add in the garlic and keep chopping until you have
a fine herb and garlic paste. Scrape the mixture into
a bowl and stir in the sea salt. Spoon into an airtight
container and store somewhere cool and dark. It
should keep for at least 4 months.

buy our happy pork

Choosing to buy locally farmed, free-range or free-farmed pork is not only an ethical decision it is also a choice for better flavour. 
Buying New Zealand raised pork is the first and most important choice to make at the till. 
Our locally grown pork is thus far free of growth promoting drugs and is subject to animal welfare laws and industry standards that are constantly being updated and improved. There is however a disturbing amount of imported pork being sold in our supermarkets.

Imported pork is not subject to our stringent animal welfare laws. The simplest way to help pigs is to ensure you only buy NZ farmed pork. Conventionally farmed NZ pork is farmed to known and approved standards. No matter what scaremongers say the local pork industry is trying its best. With the encouragement of the consumer and the media the pork industry has vowed to have completely phased out the controversial farrowing crates by 2015. Farrowing crates are used to contain sows when they are hormonal and aggressive or when a sow has given birth and needs to be prevented from crushing her piglets. Currently a sow is not allowed to be contained for more than 4 weeks. New methods have been developed that are less disturbing for the pig (my vote is for chocolate and a tear-jerking movie) and I look forward to reporting that these have been exclusively implemented.

Changes in farming methods add weight to the power of the individual consumer. 
What we choose to buy really does effect stores and farmers and encourage change. 

My preference is for locally farmed free-range pork products is easy with so much now available in the supermarkets.  But why free range?  Not only is if better for the animal, it is also better for the flavour. Flavour is affected by farming methods. With animal proteins it is fair to say that exercise and reduced stress allows for better flavour and reduces fat. Although fat helps to keep meat moist when cooking even a pig training for a marathon has enough of the chubby stuff for a successful braise. The only pork that runs the risk of being too lean is wild pig. Tasting conventionally farmed pork and lovingly raised free range or wild pork in the same setting proves that frolicking, sunshine, rooting and wallowing is vital where taste is concerned.

Pigs raised indoors are unable to indulge in all of the natural piggy behaviors. A pig without rooting and wallowing is a sad pig indeed. Read more here to learn about the 5 freedoms for cruelty free pig raising.

Here is by far one of my favourite pork recipes. Grab some of those abundant chilli plants and that mint that is always thriving in the garden and enjoy this Thai inspired dish.  Perfect for eating during this hither and thither autumn weather.

Pork Larb

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Possibly the most horrific title for a film I have come across.  I do cringe whenever I say it, and I am saying it a lot at the moment.  Every now and then I download a "health film" to inspire myself and my family into eating a bit better.  Last week I rented  FAT SICK AND NEARLY DEAD through itunes.

The film is about an over-weight ozzie called Joe Cross. He also has an auto-immune illness he suspects is lifestyle related.  His lifestyle means lots of fast food, little exercise and a bit of over indulging.  He doesn't look outrageously huge to me, about the size of my three brothers.  Ok, overweight, but what I would call "the new normal".  He decides to live off the extra weight his body is carrying, basically to use up his fat stores.  The auto immune illness and general overweight symptoms require medications he would like not to rely on.  His plan is to do what is known as a juice fast under medical supervision.  He has great success, meets a guy who needs help and helps him to tear jerking affect, he in turn begins to help others.  The film is a good watch, very inspiring and feels like the beginning of an altruistic movement for the unhealthy/unhappy camp or at the very least the obese.

Juice fasts are nothing new, they are used in quite a few new age circles for detoxing the body. There is plenty of positive anecdotal evidence on the web and also some nutritionists who of course are against them. See this recent fairfax media article for a balanced review.  It was the film-makers description of the fast as a system reboot that made me prick up my ears and think it might be worth a try.

Since our daughter arrived 5 months ago I have developed strange food  allergies whereas before pregnancy I was fine.   Trying to avoid a long list of foods makes eating really annoying and socially quite painful.  Due to all of this I have been experimenting in the raw food world (encouraged by the delicious inspiration of little bird organics).  By the end of the film I had decided to step it up a notch and go from raw to juiced. 

My ever supportive husband and I are on day 4 of a 7 day fast.  We have had minor detox pay-back; mild headaches, a bit of nausea but it has all passed now.  Today I feel fantastic, invigorated and full of beans. One of the things I like most about the juice fast is that it is only juice.  This means I haven't cheated with any solid food.  If I were on a food based detox I would be more tempted by other foods, too similar, too easy to just pop something in the mouth.  It is much simpler to just say, "oh no thanks, I'm not eating", than it is to say, no thanks I'm not eating; pork, hazelnuts, wheat, oats, rye, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums.... well you get the picture.

Surprisingly this seems like a very expensive way to survive, so far we have spent about $200 on organic vegetables, even though we have a garden and an apple tree.  Still it is cheaper than medical bills and if a juice fast really will reboot my system it will make life easier too.  On the plus side all the wastage from the juicer is going into the compost bin and worm farm where it will eventually return to nourish the garden.

To go with the film there are the websites and facebook pages expected.  This is quite handy when looking for ideas, here are some juice combos recommended by the Reboot with Joe website. 

Below are a couple of juice combinations we have discovered and enjoyed.

Creamy Pumpkin and Beetroot
1/2 bunch celery
1 C torn Kale leaves
3 C cubed pumpkin
2 small beetroot, with leaves
a few spinach leaves
3 carrots
2  apples
2 cm fresh ginger root
1 lemon

Clear Refresher

2 carrots
6 apples
4 pears
1 cucumber
1 lemon

Serve over ice.

Pineapple Treat

1/2 pineapple
2 apples
2 lemons

Serve over crushed ice

eight ways get your moneys worth

A whole chicken roasted is a Sunday ritual, even a birthday dinner. A dish to be anticipated, requested and shared. It would be wrong to celebrate by eating a bird that had been treated cruelly, was ill, or drugged. Conventional meat chickens (I mean those not labelled free range or organic regardless of brand) could be ill, may be fed antibiotics to make sure they grow excruciatingly fast or be barely able to walk.  click here to read the Dec 2012 TVNZ article. This has been much in the news lately and quite rightly so.  I would like to congratulate "safe" on their recent campaigns raising awareness of animal cruelty in factory farming in New Zealand.

In my house only free range or organic chicken is eaten.  This may sound pretentious or as though we are dripping in cash but the truth is, I would rather go without chicken than eat cheap tasteless crapPerhaps it is just growing up on farms, or maybe I'm a bit of an old nanna, but in my books chicken is a treat worth paying for.

I wont have it in the house, but here are some other places I wont support unhappy meat either; in a frozen meal, a restaurant meal, a bakery chicken sandwich, a cafe salad, on a plane or a pizza or even at a party.  If free range or organic chicken is not stated I am  more comfortable being a little hungry.  I'm in no danger of starving, I'll grab something, somewhere-else later.

Watching our for the "implied organic" in cafe's and restaurants important too.  Like the "Organic" cafe at Auckland airport where the only thing organic is the coffee (I asked).

It is one thing to have a wee rant like this, but another to offer some useful hints, I have been eating organic and free range on a moderate (sometimes less so) income for nearly ten years.  The key to making it affordable is not sexy. It is good old fashioned planning and stingy frugalness behind the scenes.  Here are a few of my tricks for bringing organic and free-range into range for the meager food budget.

8 ways to get your moneys worth in the organic and free range world...
  1. Use the scraps, there may not be time to make a stock today, but chicken bones will keep in the freezer until you have a moment, roasted bones will still make a stock.
  2. Stash it; if you are not making a gravy, set aside the pan scrapings to flavour another dish, adding these to chicken stock gives it a lovely roast chicken flavour, also handy if I need a gravy but didn't get many pan juices(or I burned them)
  3. Buy on special and freeze to take advantage of good price points.
  4. Use organic or free range chicken as a condiment rather than the main event, risottos and pilafs are a great place to start.
  5. Serve heaps of vegetables and pulses with your chicken to keep everyone satisfied and excited.
  6. Cultivate a relationship with your butcher, support their business and they are bound to appreciate you. 
  7. Serve with fruit and vegetables purchased in the middle of the season when they are most plentiful and therefore at the best price.
  8. Flavour your chicken meals with  your own herbs they add excitement and give you versatility. They are much cheaper to grow than to buy as there is a lot less wastage.
As a general note the website for the Wellington based organics store commonsense organics  is a great resource of anyone interested in more general information on organics.

Beware the Warranty..

Standing at the kitchen bench pretending not to eat the roast chicken this evening I started thinking about pots.  I had roasted our chicken in my big le creuset.  It used to belong to my mother, it will probably be handed on to my daughter.  I am a stinge with pots and pans, I own only what I need, no more no less.  My collection of pots has been scrounged second hand from family members, friends, sales at old jobs and the odd junk shop.

Tell me about your favourite cookware, fancy, old, new or borrowed..
I own very few pans under 25 years, however the worst pot I own I bought a little over two years ago.  A medium sized stock pot purchased new with a warranty and everything.   This pot pitted at its very first use (crayfish stock). The manufacturer helpline claimed the shop should exchange and the shop stated the manufacturer should replace.   Mid book shoot, while organising my wedding and filming a pilot for a TV show this pot got filed in the too hard basket. I spot it occasionally at the back of the shed and groan, I could have had new fancy shoes for the price of that damn pot.

This experience keeps me sober when I get all hot about having new cookware, or cookware that matches, or stuff that stacks tidily.  The old pots are the best, in second hand shops I make a bee-line for kitchen stuff, every few years it pays off (last year I got a lovely black enamelware roaster with its original leaf imprint lid).

The only positive exception is my tall enamel dipped pot. Lime green, probably the reason for the sale price, it is perfect for my Chinese whole chicken soup. This pot also served as a jam pan until I got a real preserver. I used my lime green beauty on Good Morning and it received more comments than I ever got. This pot is scratched and sad inside but a quick re-enameled and it will be tickity-boo. It may be a new pot but it has old values.

A counting and re-appreciation of my current pots;
  1. milk pan, bought to celebrate being single again, fantasy of morning cappuccinos and the lifestyle section of the paper all to myself.
  2. small saucepan; from the sale of old pots at Nestle NZ when we upgraded the kitchen
  3. medium saucepan
  4. medium saucepan; as above
  5. medium le creuset; broken handle, still works though...
  6. large le creuset; found it  with the medium one in the woolshed at mums. Remember her getting these for Christmas when I was about 6.
  7. tall enamelware pot, closing down sale at Nest - 30 bucks, total score.
  8. crappy stockpot, hmm no further comment
  9. giant heavy gauge stockpot, left over from when I had a catering company
  10. preserving pan, wedding present!
  11. cast iron frying pan, a hand-me-down from dear friends up north
  12. small seafood frying pan- was in a kitchen we took over to open a restaurant
Beware the warranty, the oldies are the best. 

The Gloves are Off on Intolerances...

As a chef I didn't  believe in food intolerances.  I thought that most "gluten free" people needed to get tested and were probably just faking it.  I was pretty sure that lactose intolerance in the Caucasian population was a myth, although I swore Soy milk was better for my skin....When a friends wife got "bovine allergy", I giggled behind my hand. 

Although I reckon its a great idea to eat a variety of food and not a mono diet I basically thought "What rot!". 

However I am now eating my hat... Since the bodily trauma of childbearing, birth and finally a caesarian my guts have hit the skids. 
So taking my own advice to heart, with a shamed face, I stomped off to the naturopath to get tested.  Suspecting a dairy intolerance I switched to oat milk, switched my new daughters supplementary formula (I didn't have enough milk because I was suddenly allergic to everything and she started losing weight) to goats milk.   We awaited the results.  To my husbands amusement it came back that I am allergic to not Dairy but Soy and yes, intolerant to gluten, pork, hazelnuts, and the deadly nightshade family; potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines et al, oh and caffeine.

It seems that no matter how much I try to ignore these new dietary guidelines my body will not comply.  A sniff of praline or a hint of bacon and I'm groaning and clutching my belly for a good 48 hours.  Last nights soy sauce chicken a cause for complaint. As a food writer I despair at having lost so much food from my pantry of ingredients.  I believe that the overload can be cleared with a good rest..  Fingers firmly crossed that a short stint of abstinence will reset these intolerable intolerance's.  But when it all boils down a life without toast, tofu, soy lattes and blts ain't so bad.

I'd love to hear about your intolerable intolerances, let me know what you've discovered in the comments....

The Return...

After many months off line due to "trolls" @laurafaire is back!