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Chelsea Winter is unleashing her culinary creativity on the world yet again, but not like you’ve ever seen before. Because Chelsea, who has long been famed for her down to earth approach to butter, cream and meat, has ditched them all for a plant-based model. But if you think plant-based is parlance for deprivation, then you’ve got another thing coming.

 

Photography Tam West

 

After all, there’s nothing lacking when it comes to Winter’s Banoffee Pie, Chicken-out Mayo Sammies, Oozy Quesadillas, Chocolate Mousse, Elvish Toast Bread, Jellytip Cheesecake, Snausage Rolls (which we have the recipe for on page 66), Macho Nachos, Creamy Alfredo and Gooey Caramel Slice – dairy or no dairy. And there definitely is no dairy here folks!

Despite the surname, Winter is a ray of sunshine; bubbly, passionate and so beautifully down to earth. It’s what has endeared the country to her since she took out the third series of television mainstay, Masterchef in 2012.

She went on to put out an incredible five cookbooks in five years – beautiful, but accessible recipes for everyday Kiwis, culminating in the best-selling New Zealand cookbook and the best-selling book overall of 2017, Eat.

But it seems in 2020 Kiwis have had their fill of the classics and were craving something different – Supergood served up just that and was on its third reprint less than a week after hitting the streets!

“I think this was the most exciting one yet,” she says of the latest cookbook, which came after a three-year hiatus.

“This book being particularly close to my heart, it was like Christmas Eve for a little kid the night before launch! It’s an incredible feeling seeing all the energy, hard work and love you’ve put into something there as a real, finished thing. Then seeing the book in people’s kitchens and the food being made is a real thrill.”

Supergood is a strong reflection of the changes in Winter’s own eating, a natural evolution she has made with partner Douglas and their 15-month-old Sky, who you’ll find, more often than not, attached to Winter’s hip in the kitchen – “I can still manage to do everything except chop,” she laughs.

Photography Tam West

“I’ve been on a bit of a journey of knowledge and awareness over the past few years, intuitively eating more plant-based food, until I got to a point where it’s pretty much all I eat now,” she explains.

“And I’ve fallen in love with this lifestyle; this beautiful, sustainable, utterly delicious way of living. Now I’m just beyond excited to share it with people and let them see that plant-based food does not have to be scary, bland, boring or skimpy! No disappointing salads in this book. I think it’s the future.”

So how can the recipes be any good without all the cheese and butter and cream and chicken?

“Trust me, they are. I’ve worked a bit of wizardry to create an entire book of plant-based comfort food – you wouldn’t even know there was no meat or cheese or eggs if you were just flicking through the book. And based on the overwhelming feedback I’ve had from hundreds of home cooks, the recipes are going down a treat with even the hardiest of carnivores!

“This is exactly what I had in mind and I’m tickled pink.”

When quizzed on its popularity, Winter suspects that it’s all simply down to making a new way of eating accessible. “I honestly think it’s because the book is plant-based, with a gluten-free option for most things – and because people trust my recipes,” she says.

“It seems to me that people are more than ready to be inspired for a new way of cooking and eating. They just need the right recipes to do it; recipes that are easy, use mostly normal ingredients and recipes that the whole family will eat, and that’s what I’ve tried to do with Supergood.”

So does this self-confessed purveyor of deliciousness and everyday gangly blonde Kiwi have a favourite Supergood recipe or are they all her babies? “It’s way too hard to choose,” she laughs.

“The Macho Nachoes and Creamy Dahl with Crispy Potatoes have been hugely popular. The Jellytip Cheesecake on the cover and the Snickalicious (choc peanut) cheesecake are pretty incredible too. And you can’t go past that amazing 10-second aioli!”

So, what is next on the culinary cards for Chelsea Winter? “Considering I spent all last summer in the kitchen working on Supergood, this summer I am having a rest! I plan to chill on the beach with the family, eat good plant-based food and enjoy this beautiful life I’ve been given.”

Photography Tam West

 


 

Chelsea Winter’s Snausage Rolls


Sausage rolls are a popular Kiwi favourite. So they were a prime target for a Chelsea Winter plant-based makeover, recipe extracted from Supergood.

 

 

PREP 30 minutes, plus minutes to chill |  COOK 45 minutes |  SERVES 4 as a meal, 8 as a snack

Filling

⅓ cup each brown lentils and French green lentils (or ⅔ cup brown lentils), rinsed
3 cups vegetable or chicken-style stock (or use stock powder and water)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
200g Portobello or shiitake mushrooms (or a mixture)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ cup walnuts, whizzed to a crumb
2 tsp vegetable or chicken-style stock powder
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp finely ground black pepper
¼ cup plain flour

To assemble

350g rolled dairy-free flaky puff pastry
¼ cup canned chickpea liquid (aquafaba)
1 tbsp sesame or poppy seeds

To make it gluten-free

Use GF flour, pastry, stock and soy sauce.

To make the filling, simmer the lentils in the stock until just tender — about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Place the onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and garlic in a food processor and pulse until chopped quite finely but not mushy.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped veges and cook, stirring, for 15 to 20 minutes, until they have reduced right down to a soft golden mush.

Add the drained lentils and remaining filling ingredients except the flour, and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes or so over a medium heat. If it seems a little dry, add more tomato paste and a little water and cook a bit more.

Add the flour and stir through. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down to room temperature (or put in a bowl in the fridge to speed it up).

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

To assemble, lay the pastry sheet/s out on a clean floured benchtop (or roll your own to about 5mm thick). Arrange the cooled filling in a neat log (about 6cm wide) lengthways down the middle. Fold up both sides of the pastry snugly (you might have a big overlap, but that’s okay — pastry is yum). Brush a little water on both parts where the pastry joins. Place seam-side down on the lined baking tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes or so to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-bake (190°C regular bake).

Slice the chilled log into hearty chunks using a bread knife and a light sawing motion. Brush the rolls all over with the aquafaba and prick the tops a couple of times with a knife. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

Bake in the lower half of the oven for around 45 minutes, or until the pastry is dark golden brown and puffy. Serve with a dollop of tomato sauce, relish or chutney.

 

Extracted from Supergood by Chelsea Winter, published by Random House NZ, RRP $50 Text © Chelsea Winter 2020. Photography © Tam West 2020

 


 

Chelsea Winter

Chelsea Winter’s Healthy Philosophy


It’s the season of resolutions; a time when we remain focused on the promises we vowed to keep soon after the clock ticked over marking the start of 2019, before our resolve starts to waver somewhere around Easter. Not surprisingly, many of these resolutions are centred around our culinary consumption.

 

Chelsea Winter

 

So we caught up with one of the country’s most beloved cooks, Chelsea Winter, to discuss how to take a healthy approach to the whole year.

 


What are some of your favourite healthy recipes?
I’m not a great fan of the word ‘healthy’ to be honest. It’s been swept up in a confusing torrent of marketing jargon and fad diets and confusing information portrayed by the media. My version of healthy might be completely different to yours. You might think a pottle of low-fat strawberry yoghurt with a sugar substitute is healthy, and a plate of potato isn’t – I’m the opposite. Actually that’s a good answer to your question, mashed potatoes is one of my all-time favourites!

 


You don’t shy away from carbs, potatoes or jam doughnuts… how would you sum up your food philosophy?
Will this ridiculous war blanketing all carbs ever end? It’s lunacy to me. Potatoes and kumara, pasta and whole grains are not your enemies, my friends! My philosophy is pretty simple – it’s all about balance. Everything in moderation (except fruit and veges which in my view, you can’t eat too much of).

Keeping mainly to home-cooked food made with wholesome ingredients because I believe the more you eat food made from scratch, the better. I don’t eat much processed food, but when I do I make sure I enjoy it because it’s just as important to treat yourself. Imagine life without homemade baking, good quality chocolate, scooped ice cream in a cone, a parcel of takeaways or the odd marmite and chip sandwich on white bread. How sad that would be!

 


What are some of the key things you to do keep healthy and well during the year?
Keeping things in balance is important to me; exercise, fresh air, good food, surrounding myself with positive people. I love walking on the beach, I love Kundalini yoga and whenever I can I get up the Mount (Mauao). I meditate a little most days (that one takes practice!) and I try to focus on all that I’m grateful for in life (which is a lot).

I’m pretty good at not getting bogged down with the negative stuff. The big one for me is eating homemade food, staying present, being grateful and not taking life too seriously – in this society it’s easy to get swept up in the drama of it all. You gotta be able to laugh at yourself.

 


Being such a motivated and successful woman, how do you stop yourself from burning out?
I’ve learned to flex the ‘no’ muscle, as they say! I feel ‘into’ everything I do now and only take on the things that feel right to me; all about the old gut feeling. I spent many years saying yes to everything and running myself ragged, which is just part of the journey I’m on and I needed to go there to learn from that experience. Now I’m focusing on putting my energy on the things that really matter.

 


What attracted you to cooking and experimenting in the kitchen?
I’ve loved cooking since I was a little girl – I just feel at peace in the kitchen. Now, I get immense fulfilment out of creating recipes that home cooks can recreate and feel proud of. That’s the ultimate for me; that’s why I write my books and that’s what I take most pride in – my recipes. I write and test them all myself, so I know that every recipe out there works, is delicious and has come from my heart – from my kitchen to yours. That’s very important to me.

 


What are your New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions! If I feel I need to change something in my life I just do it. Life is happening every single day, why wait until New Year’s?

 


Why do you think New Zealand has connected so strongly with you and what you do?
I could never have imagined I’d be where I am now when I wrote my first cookbook. I guess I can only go on the feedback I hear from people who contact me via Facebook and Instagram, or when I meet them in the street or on my book tours; they say they love my books because my recipes work, the ingredients are easy to get at the local supermarket and, most importantly, people love them – especially kids.

People can’t believe how many recipes of mine their fussy kids will eat. I can’t even tell you how chuffed I am when I hear things like that. What an honour for me, making a difference in so many people’s lives.

 


What is the most fulfilling or enjoyable aspect of what you do?
Knowing that I am empowering so many Kiwis with the awesome food they’re cooking. Making them feel like legends in their own kitchens. So many people think they’re ‘crap cooks’ – then they try my recipes and realise that good food isn’t privy to some elite club that they aren’t part of. Everyone can create epic deliciousness, every day. And so they should!

 


What do the next 12 months have in store for you?
Creating recipes… there’s a new book close on the horizon!