by Michael Van de Elzen
I picked this book up at a garage sale.
I really loved this NZ TV show – so much so that I even ate at the Food Truck Restaurant (I believe it is still in business, but no longer owned by Michael) & the Food Truck
would be parked outside.
Michael is passionate about quality, healthy foods & both the TV show & the Food Truck were devoted to trying to create healthier versions of old favourites. This didn’t always work (the failure I remember was croissants) but more often then not they did. Michael’s
enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.
Researching Michael for this review, I found he had an absolutely horrible year in 2019, but has bounced back and is back where he belongs – everywhere you turn in Aotearoa (I even ran into him once at Nelson Airport!) He no longer wants the grind of a restaurant, so he runs a Cooking School at Muriwai, appears on various ads & is one of the hosts on the NZ version of Eat Well For Less. I swear his co-host Ganesh Raj could fix me with those beautiful eyes, tell me to drink a bottle of cod liver oil & I would! I’ve made quite a few recipes from the show (in my opinion the food on the NZ show is far better, but I prefer that the British show isn’t tied to a particular supermarket chain)
Soooo I think with Eat Well for Less Michael has learned something about Kiwi home cooks.
I have already made three of these recipes with the Shaksuka being especially good!
I was initially a bit disappointed when I first skimmed through this book, as a lot of the recipes seemed too fiddly (how he created them in the food truck I’ll never know!) or had ingredients like tomatillos that when you can get them in my little town are
very expensive. Most surprising of all for me was the Thai Tea Bag – served in plastic bags. That may be the way they do it in Thailand but it is not exactly environmentally friendly!
I don’t think Michael would present the dish this way now! And this is one of the recipes I’m intending to try.
So far I have made the Curry Sauce. It was meant to be served with homemade bratwursts, but I cheated & I used store bought sausages. The sauce was so delicious that next time I will make the bratwursts – the chopped apples & kiwifruit gave the sauce a really nice tang.
& last night we had the Almond-Crusted Pork Schnitzel and this was to die for. Most of the recipes I like the sound of are near the end of the book.
This book is a keeper!