Almost a year ago, I was working in Shanghai and Beijing, creating a series of pop-up restaurants for the New Zealand Government to promote our food and beverage products. While I was there, the e-commerce giant Alibaba held its annual sale, the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. In a 24-hour period, this online event generated a staggering US$25.3b in sales. The next day it was almost impossible to walk along the footpath, there were just so many delivery boxes piled up. Billions and billions of dollars worth of stuff. I felt sick.
Less than a month later, I visited Antarctica, invited by Antarctica New Zealand to learn about some of the important work being undertaken around climate change. Being on this vast white continent, you get a first-hand insight into what life might look like when the climate becomes too inclement to support life as we know it.
I had a lightbulb moment after seeing such rampant resource-gobbling consumerism in one part of the world, then to witness the frail balance and fierce power of nature in another.
When our daughter Rose came home for Christmas, we started to talk about how pivotal it is that we start to make changes in the way we shop and cook, not just for our own health but for the health of the planet.
We decided to collaborate on a project that would combine our different skills and knowledge to help empower people to use less and waste less, and to build positive habits that are kinder on our wallets and the environment and more nurturing for our bodies and minds. And so our first joint project was born, a gorgeous new cookbook that will guide you to a fresh way of eating, aptly titled Together.
Like many of the millennial generation, Rose is passionate about sustainability and health. As a cash-strapped student for the past seven years, her approach to cooking is resourceful and considered, with a commitment to ethical food production.
Like me, Rose is at her happiest when she is in the kitchen whipping up a feast for her friends or creating something delicious for herself.
I love the way she and I have ended up with the same approach to cooking, even though we’ve come from different generations and different directions. We both love flavours that are fresh and vibrant, and food that will make you feel vital and strong. More than anything, we love to bring people together around the table in simple celebrations that empower us to feel connected.
Our new cookbook, Together, is an exciting, less-is-more approach to cooking, a way to eat that’s lighter on our waistlines and on the planet. We hope it becomes your blueprint for building new habits of eating and that cooking this way brings you the same joy it provides us.
We like to serve this with grilled lamb chops, steak or roasted pumpkin wedges. For a gluten-free version use quinoa in place of freekah or farro. When it’s not asparagus season use green beans instead, and if you can’t get broccolini use broccoli florets.
You can leave out the chorizo to make a pescetarian version of this tasty one-dish meal. It’s also good with mussels instead of clams.
While oranges are in season, whip up this amazing cake. It contains no flour and no added fat but is delicately tender. Use organic or spray-free oranges if possible.