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Anna Gare Cooking Simple

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When you open a copy of Homemade: Simply

Delicious Food the very first thing you see is the inside of Anna Gare's fridge. A bowl of eggs and a basket of fruit are pushed to the edges of shelves stocked with jars of homemade pickled beetroot, creamy mayonnaise and preserved lemons. It's an immediate and intimate look at what floats the (gravy) boat of the Junior MasterChef judge.

"For me, food has always been about much more than kitchens and recipes. It's about homes – the people in them, the music, the paintings on the wall, the friends who drop by. All the things we share ... That's what Homemade is all about."

All the recipes in Homemade were created, tested, prepared, photographed and eaten in Anna's own kitchen in the Fremantle warehouse she shares with basketballer Luc Longley and their "blended" family.

"I don't really enjoy making fussy food at home," says Anna who went to great lengths to make the cooking method and layout of each recipe easy to follow.

"I really believe you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to make spectacular food. I get more excited when I cook something delicious with little effort, than I would if I was making something clever and complicated," says Anna.

"One-pan wonders" like Anna's recipes for lamb rack with ratatouille (page 42) or wok the lobster in salty black beans, chilli and ginger (page 152) are examples of flavoursome recipes that involve only limited preparation and washing up.

"Fresh produce makes such a big difference to good cooking," says Anna.

"I have always made my own marinades, spice mixes and pastes from scratch. It's not rocket science and, if you have a food processor, it only takes a few extra minutes," she says.

Those "few extra minutes" in the kitchen can be the best times to enjoy the company of family and friends.

"I love it when my own kids get into the kitchen – seeing their senses light up. There's something about preparing food that makes conversation easy," says Anna.

Anna herself was allowed to cook and experiment from an early age. While her contemporaries were out playing hide and seek, eight year old Anna was running her primary school's very first canteen, catering for her own birthday parties and then in her teens building an international music career with her band the Jam Tarts.

While music took her to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour with Ben Elton, it was to cooking that she turned to when, as a young mum, she needed to get out of smoky pubs and find a new way to support her family. That was when Deluxe Catering, the company she ran successfully for over a decade, was born.

"I have worked in restaurants, cafes, catering and most recently television," says Anna. "On camera, you are constantly chatting and cooking. Sometimes I find myself talking to the chicken and wanting to marinate the guest." Next up for the unstoppable foodie is Junior Master Chef 2 and you can be sure she's not about to rest anytime soon.

Anna says since the shooting the stills for Homemade, she's always thinking about how her recipes will look when photographed. "The best part about writing this book was getting the first copy. I have to admit I cried I was so delighted with the outcome."

Last modified on Monday, 02 December 2013 20:57
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