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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Wild Delicious by Amber Rose

Amber Rose is perfectly en-pointe with her beautifully-crafted, elegant cookbook which celebrates fresh, local ingredients.

Amber does not hang her inspiration on the latest rash of diet fads. She does not pretend to be keto, paleo or any of the most recent trends to health through food and lifestyle changes. And please be sure I do not knock any of the afore-mentioned which I know from personal experience are splendid healthful options for resetting a body beleaguered by ‘factory’ food. Instead, Amber returns to her roots – and to ours - to take inspiration from the food that surrounds us. This must surely be the most natural and healthy of all options for us and for our fragile planet.

Fresh, local. These are words to live by. Unfortunately in these days of factory farming and giant agronomies, we are about as far as we can get as a society from where we began by eating food grown, harvested or caught in the lands surrounding us. Our rivers are polluted and our resources are stretched both nationally and locally as each week we try to afford food we can longer grow ourselves on our ever-shrinking available fertile land. Meanwhile supermarkets sell at profit food they have screwed down farmers to provide at cost and wrapped in plastic to present back to us.

It is bizarre and it is hiding in plain sight waiting for us to wake up to see. Enter a young traveller like Amber Rose who has returned from overseas to bring us renewed appreciation for the foods we grow regionally and in our own backyards.

In many ways the recipes inspired by Amber’s travels reflect the global nature of the contemporary food scene. For example eggplant curry with raita and fresh coconut curry. All of these ingredients can now be found locally. Ditto rare venison steaks with pumpkin smash and guava jus.

There are recipes for bone marrow (gut health again) mussels and whitebait and also loads of vegetarian recipes – all of them far from boring and underscoring the trend to eating nose to tail and reducing our dependence on meats which are hard on the planet to produce.

There are also lots of ferments to further improve our gut health and some oh so charming body scrubs, face mists and oils.

This is really a book of its time. Lovely.

Reviewer Peta Stavelli

Random House Hardcover $55


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