Five things Bonnie Brown loves
Eating gelato next to the ocean/kisses from her two pretty daughters/planning & dreaming about cooking the next meal/chocolate dessert & treats/real food that makes you feel virtuous
Want to know more…
I am a romantic gourmand and am pining to experience food in Europe. Until then I have my cook books and am a very enthusiastic cook and an even more enthusiastic eater. Cooking and sharing vibrant, fresh food makes me feel vital and happy. I am inspired by the timeless dishes of Mediterranean Europe and their food simplicity. I adore the flavours and home style dishes of Greece and Islands, Italy and France. Eastern European and Italian peasant food is continuously a revelation in its basic simplicity and frugalness. North African and Middle Eastern food is fascinating and exciting to cook.
What I am cooking with at the moment, almost all is locally produced. Through taste experience I know that locally grown food that has not travelled by aeroplane or boat tastes so much more fresh, tastier and is always more satisfying.
Seasonal produce from my local Christchurch, New Zealand Farmers markets. We are heading into a bright and beautiful autumn. I am enjoying the new season squash and pumpkins, bio dynamically grown snow peas, leeks, fennel bulb, radish, French green beans, locally smoked chicken, olives, Italian quality De Cecco dried pasta, shiny green puy style lentils, fresh herbs, ground spices, nuts, free range chicken, New Zealand lamb, free range pork, dry cured bacon, smoked fish. Farro, red rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, oats, stone ground local fresh flours like oat, spelt/dinkel, spelt, rye, buckwheat, vanilla pods and essence, 72% dark chocolate, ground almonds, organic clotted cream, whole milk, Italian parmesan cheese, Clearwater full fat yoghurt http://www.clearwaterorganic.co.nz/ organic butter, coconut oil, Also love artisan bread, agria and new potatoes, orange and red kumara, vine and cherry locally grown sweet tasting tomatoes, creamy organic avocado, onion, local plump juicy garlic, ginger, celery, cauliflower, baby spinach, rocket, soft lettuces, carrots, pumpkin, courgettes, portobello mushrooms, apples, bananas, oranges, raspberries, blueberries.
I love to shop and it is a lovely pleasure to buy food for your family to cook. I usually shop at the Farmers market once a week for my fresh produce and sometimes supplement that with greens from Liberty organics. I purchase meats every day or every third day depending how organised I am or how much protein or meats we are eating. I do like to make a plan for the week as to what and how I will go about you my produce and leftovers. I buy these magnetic meal planners from Kikki K shop. I buy fish from the fish market fresh on the day I plan to use it. I try to avoid buying any seafood on a Sunday as it can be a bit old which is usually what happens if you purchase from the supermarket. I like to keep a really well stocked store cupboard with spices, canned beans, rice, pasta, nuts, oils, vinegar.
Best store cupboard meal, what would you make?
Risotto; rice, good stock, best cheese, seasonal vegetable…think smoked goats Gouda and green cauliflower with sourdough and thyme croutons. I love its oozing, soothing ability to calm; each mouthful is like eating relaxation.
What don’t people know about you that you wish they did?
I wanted to be an actress when I was growing up. My Uncle Dave worked in television as a camera man and I would ring him after school and ask him if he could get me an agent. I would sign my autograph at the end of each school year and give it to my teacher and tell them to keep it as I would be famous one day and they could say they taught me. Susan Boyle was only discovered at 47, so I guess I still have time…
How did you learn to cook?
I was influenced with good food through my family, my Mum and Aunties who are great bakers and cooks. In my twenties I took great pleasure learning all I could from hundreds of cookbooks loaned from the local library. I self-taught with my willing husband who has been happy to eat and critique
As a self-taught cook, who would you say have been your biggest influences?
I had if you like an epiphany, I could loan these books from the library and be imparted cooking wisdom and knowledge from the most inspiring talented, creative cooks. I especially love these food writers; Diana Henry, Tamasin Day-Lewis, Nigella Lawson, Harry Eastwood, Nigel Slater, Rachel Allen, Tessa Kiros, Annabel Langbein, Bill Granger, Elizabeth David and Lindsey Bareham to name some of my favourites. I also soaked up each issue of my subscription to DISH magazine, a New Zealand food magazine. Online food blogs and BBC food TV website was a continual source of inspiration.
Do you have a guilty food pleasure when no-one else is around?
My favourite late night dessert indulgence is homemade hot chocolate fudge sauce, vanilla ice-cream and toasted nuts, especially during my two pregnancies.
Tell me three things on your must-cook-next-list
What was your worst cooking disaster?
Well it was the first time I made carrot cake. I got through making the cake perfectly, iced it with thick cream cheese icing and decorated it beautifully with walnuts. It was looking divine and I could not wait to try it. It was loaded into the back seat of my car to take to a friend’s house. We had arrived, as we were standing outside the car greeting our friends; when to shock horror (it was like in life in pictures slow motion) a friends dog jumped into the car, we yelped, the dog freaked and leaped into the back seat, paws straight into the cake and then sat on it!.