I'm so excited I can hardly sit down a minute to write this – my latest book has finally been launched and is in stores this week. It's my 14th, but the thrill doesn’t diminish. It's essentially a barbecue book, but one with a difference, which I'll explain.
As summer shows signs of fading most of us wish it could continue: the light-filled evenings, the freedom of wearing fewer clothes and going barefoot, the endless days of sunshine and the relaxing way of cooking and eating outside – it's hard to give up.
I've chosen a collection of recipes that capture the outdoor spirit, food that can be cooked outside and eaten outside, whether it is at the beach with your toes in the water, or in your own back garden under a shady tree or in a sheltered spot as the sun sets. But there's a back-up plan: all the food can be cooked indoors if the weather turns on you, and many of the recipes cross over the seasons. Never-ending summer will work them all effortlessly!
While chilli beef with lime and palm sugar dressing, cute-as-a-button chicken lollipops (spicy chicken mince on ice-cream sticks), meatballs wrapped in lemon leaves, tiger prawns with mixed leaf salad and sizzled lychees, grilled chicken sandwiches with rouille and roasted tomatoes and refreshing lemon granita and quick strawberry trifles speak undeniably of summer, other dishes such as bruschetta with beetroot, goat's cheese and toasted walnuts can be made from late spring onwards with baby beetroots, or later in autumn or fall with larger beets, aubergine (eggplant) and white bean salad is as good with rosemary-scented baby lamb cutlets hot off the grill as it is with a slow-roasted leg of lamb in winter, and orange and red onion salad with feta and green olives is as perfect with tapas, as it is with roasted chicken or grilled seafood or ham.
There are plenty of easy mid-week meal ideas, too, including a speedy beef stir-fry, green chicken curry with cashew nuts, portobello mushrooms with prosciutto and balsamic, best-ever steak sandwich with aioli and barbecued lamb tacos.
We Kiwis like using the barbecue for brunch, lunch and dinner - and why not, if it gets you outside where the action is? Apple buttermilk hotcakes, crunchy potato cakes with avocado salsa, and raisin bread with ricotta, honey and barbecued peaches, will all lift the bar at your next brunch, while spicy prawns wrapped in lemongrass leaves, and a recipe for grilled pizza - it looks and tastes just as good as one made in a wood-fired oven - will make your place the hottest ticket around.
This is food to tempt, tease and please, much of it easy on your time and easy on your pocket. I've put preparation and cooking times with each recipe to give you a guide on how long it will take to make and cook a dish. And I've included a detailed 'know-how' section with plenty of tips and information. You'll also find the full glossary and barbecue 'know-how' section from my previous book SIZZLE Sensational Barbecue Food on my web site.
The premise of the book was to capture summer food and living at its best, drawing on the colour palette of the sea, the sky and the sand. Aaron McLean has filled the book with delicious images that make me hungry every time I see them, and designer Christine Hansen has brought a beautiful calm feel to the book. And then there are the recipe videos (Coming Soon), one for each of the nine chapters in the book, shot by Craig (known affectionately as Shooter) Howard from Shooter Films. There's a lot going on with Never-ending Summer!
If you would like a personally signed copy of the book, catch me at one of the many events I am holding around the country, see schedule of appearances, or contact me on this site to make arrangements to purchase a copy.
Never-ending Summer is a collection of my favourite dishes, dishes to cook all year round, no matter the season. Happy cooking!
Barbecue 'know how'
My barbecue tips include information on choosing a barbecue, cooking meat, cooking fish, safety, tools, time-savers and much more!
This expansive glossary from SIZZLE: SENSATIONAL BARBECUE FOOD covers ancho chilli to verijuice. Pide anyone?