December 30, 2011
Her restaurant is called Fleurs Place (without an apostrophe) and it is Fleur who makes it special.
We’ve never had a bad meal there but the ones when she is there are better. Her personality makes it more than just a very good restaurant with wonderful food and good service.
That personality shines through in her autobiography, Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan.
She was a woman ahead of her time in her appreciation of the importance of history and heritage; her enthusiasm for good local food and the part it plays in tourism; and also in setting up and running businesses while bringing up her children.
The book chronicles her adventures and ventures in business and life neither of which have been without their challenges.
It is a fascinating and inspiring read generously supplemented with photographs, including many recent ones by Aaron McLean.
Fleur, the life and times of pioneering restaurateur Fleur Sullivan, with Nathlaie Brown, published by Random House.
March 9, 2011
When I’m given book vouchers I like to use them to buy a book which reminds me of the person who gave them to me.
When I came across A Treasury of New Zealand Baking I knew I’d found the perfect way to redeem birthday gift vouchers.
They were given to me by my best friend’s mother and many of my childhood memories are grounded in her kitchen with the aroma of fresh baking filling the air.
She’s now in her 80s and still bakes regularly for her family, friends and the many charitable organisations in which she’s involved.
The book is a collection of recipes from New Zealand professional cooks and bakers. Edited by Lauraine Jacobs with photos by Aaron McLean, it was produced as a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation and is a treasure trove of delicious treats.
It includes old favourites – bran biscuits, banana cake, eccles cakes and mumbles; fresh delights – aporo treat, blueberry sour cream slice, and tamarillo friands; and new twists on traditional recipes – fruity Anzac biscuits and ginger shortbread.
Recipes are clearly set out one to a page and each is accompanied by a photo.
Sometimes I buy a recipe book, salivate over the photos but rarely if ever cook from it. I do pour over the baking treasury with my mouth watering but I also use it and haven’t had a failure.
I’m not alone in appreciating this gem. Beattie’s Book Blog reports it has been judged the best cookbook in the world, in the prestigious 2010 Gourmand Awards. It was also proclaimed to be the best ‘Fund Raising, Charity and Community Cookbook’ in the Pacific.