Homecooked is a fabulous new cookbook for New Zealand families created by award winning writer Lucy Corry. A champion of fresh, locally grown food, she has her finger on the pulse of how most of us like to eat these days, less meat, more veg and some luscious treats.
Homecooked is divided into the four seasons and makes heroes of everyday ingredients that should be reasonably easy to find wherever you live in Aotearoa.
The recipes range from the very basic and inexpensive (there are 6 variations on sardines on toast !) to a handful of special occasion recipes like a luscious kūmara, lime and pistachio cheesecake and a spice- crusted scotch fillet with wasabi and horseradish cream.
Included in her succinct and often amusing headnotes is a poignant little story about how, when she was five, there was a dried fig in her lunchbox. It shocked her little classmates who thought Lucy’s Mother had given her a wet teabag for morning tea.
Being a kiwi cookbook one would of course expect to find a pavlova recipe, and her Aunty Pat’s never-fail pavlova has made it in, as well as other tried and true recipes given to her by other talented cooks in her family, and foodie friends. But the great majority of the recipes were created by Lucy herself. She has a rare talent for combining ingredients in a sometimes unexpected but (judging by the ones we have tried) a delicious way. Like her rosemary roasted pumpkin and red onion with pearl couscous to which she added green olives (we tried it and it was a harmonious marriage of flavours and textures). Her salted fennel cookies have already become a favourite of ours with a predinner glass of wine.
And to satisfy my chocolate cravings I baked her chocolate and cherry granola which is only slightly decadent. The unlikely ingredient in this was some chilled aquafaba which bound the ingredients together and made it deliciously crunchy. Maybe her frozen pea chocolate brownies next?
It is late spring in Auckland, so porridge is off the menu. But when my daughter, who is a Wellingtonian like Lucy, rang me the weather was cold and blustery down there. I flew the recipe for whiskey and marmalade porridge past her. “Isn’t this combination going a step too far?” I asked. But she thought it sounded perfect and uplifting and wanted to try it straightaway.
Foraging is still foreign to most of us. But Lucy shows it is possible even in urban areas. Her kawaka kawa vinegar is sitting on my bench as I write. It promises to be peppery, gingery and delicious. Come summer we’ll try her pickled nasturtiums.
I heartily recommend this cookbook. There are hundreds of tempting recipes in it for every meal and every occasion throughout the four seasons. With Homecooked at hand cooking need never be a boring chore again!
Reviewer: Lyn Potter
Published by Penguin