Scrumptious, by Chelsea Winter

Chelsea Winter’s Scrumptious is every home cook’s Bible to feeding the masses.

Not just the ones under four-feet high with super sensitive food radars but equally the gangly teenagers and the adults who after a long day are just ravenous for a good feed.

It’s here. Thanks Chelsea.

Mediterranean Fish Bake. It’s easy enough to make by starting with a no fuss vinaigrette that includes fresh herbs, olive oil, red wine vinegar (use apple cider if you prefer) lemon and chilli and then drizzle it over tomatoes, onions and garlic in a roasting tray. Add some leftover bread (sourdough, ciabatta) white fish (Tarakihi or snapper), olives and feta and a sprinkling of pine nuts on top and voila! A quick bake followed by an even quicker grill will ensure happy campers all around, and best of all it’s a one-dish dinner!

There’s also a sausage, pumpkin and pasta bake, yellow fish curry (with homemade paste), a slow lamb puttanesca (look up the origins of the word, it demonstrates that no matter who you were even in the olden days in Italy, everyone was in a hurry) and a deliciously piquant chilli con carne.

While the recipes do include dairy and gluten there is always a good selection of veggies and the cheesy courgettes, bacon and Brussel sprouts sit well alongside a range of salads including the Kumara and Bacon salad, the fresh tomato and red onion salad, and the beetroot, carrot and orange salad – all of which make for a very pretty edible picture.

One of my absolute favourites is the Crazy Italian Chocolate cake. It’s egg and dairy free (if you’re allergic this is a goody) and you can also use gluten-free flour for a gooey delicious result. Desserts are probably the most appealing section and the Mocha and White Chocolate Tiramisu and Banana Cream Pie will be instant winners.

Winter’s instructions are easy to follow and often are preceded by a cheerful anecdote or some valuable tips for some solid soul food. It’s not always got an option for gluten/dairy/egg free recipes but the recipes certainly are organic, healthy and hearty.

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Dione is an Auckland based theatre director and writer with background in performance and community & cultural development. She works as a freelance arts journalist, guest lecturer and creative advisor on a range of different projects both in New Zealand and internationally. She is primarily a non-fiction reviewer who adores travelogues, history, memoirs and creative cooking texts. Read more at www.dionejoseph.com

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