Food and Drink

Annabelle White Keeps Food Simple and Delicious

With over 30 years on television and broadcasting, Annabelle White is one of New Zealand’s most recognisable cooking personalities. Lovable and synonymous with both good food and good times, White keeps things simple and delicious. A keen traveller, White doesn’t stop learning and imparting her discoveries on spirited at home chefs. White talks to Grandparents NZ sharing the latest with us ahead of the The Food Show (25-28 July).

Annabelle White in Japan. Photo: Annabelle White

You have been travelling, where did you last head and what did you learn professionally on your travels?
I’ve just come back from a terrific trip to Japan to do the “Eating Tokyo” tour (a tour set up by two Wellington ex-Restaurant ladies) with my brother – who has visited there often, but it was my first trip and without a doubt a defining moment. The best food I have eaten ever in one week – simple, simple food and cooking techniques made with such precision and care, you had clean flavour profiles and stunning simplicity. The message is keep it super simple – don’t muddle things on the plate and take extra care!

What advice do you have for people who find themselves cooking for a family of 5 or 6 and then 1 or 2 once the kids move out?
The freezer is your best friend and remember nothing wrong with keeping things simple – a nice piece of fish and a salad with a few steamed veggies is perfect for 1 or 2.

Tokyo Food Hall. Photo: Annabelle White

Any tips on how to reduce cooking sizes or making freezer friendly meals?
Buy those tin foil containers from the $2 shop and when you make a chicken stew or beef ragout, put enough for two meals in the fridge and the rest into meals for later use in the freezer. I do this all the time as it’s crazy to make a chicken stew for 1 or 2. Make it for 6 and freeze the rest you don’t need that night or the next.

What is your favourite go to recipe or ingredient?
Easy question! Nearly everything from a glass of water to a bowl of pumpkin soup or saute of Mushrooms, curry, gravy, stew or casserole tastes better with the addition of a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

What did you last cook?
Today I made an apple pie for my father and leek and potato soup for my mother!

Your media career began in 1989 and your first book was published in 1997. Did you love cooking and recipes prior to your media career?
Always loved cooking and food, from my grandmother’s table to my own mother who is a great cook. Coming home from school, I would sit in the kitchen and watch her cooking while I sipped on tea and told her about the day. I feel bad writing that as it seems so unfair but it was a short time before homework and Mum was happy for us to help with the clean up! Bless her.

What trends have you seen recently?
Lots more raw food whether it be smoothies, salads or even sweet treats – but the idea that raw veggies and raw fruit and raw seafood can be delicious and make you feel good!

Is there one ingredient or style that would never go out of fashion?
Simple family food around the table to reassure, sustain and nurture everyone – who doesn’t feel better for a shared family dinner? It beats fine dining every time: talking, sharing, listening, savouring…

What are you planning for or bringing to the Food Show?
Cooking tips, lots of them. All year I pick up really useful tips and cooking suggestions to share with the great crowd – always fun!

You can see Annabelle White at The Food Show on Thursday 25 and Friday 26th July.
The Food Show runs July 25 – 28 at ASB Showgrounds.

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