Through the Seasons, Annabel Langbein

Cooking the Books

Since I’ve been back from England, I’m into this whole seasonal cooking thing. It’s partly to do with the fantasy I allowed myself to indulge in at Wesley Farm where I decided that I was born to grow things and cook them. And yes, in reality I know that would last until I ran out of wine…or until it rained for more than two days…or until I got bored. It’s also partly to do with me getting into the head of my current character, Max. She’s into all that- the seasonal growing and cooking thing- so I’m exploring it a tad too. As you do. Method writing…my family isn’t complaining.


This week I revisited Annabel Langbein’s latest in the Free Range Cook series: Through the Seasons. I say revisited, because I think I’ve only cooked one thing from it in the past- her amazing Mexican dressing.

It’s essentially your basic caesar salad, but the dressing is made with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These little tinned wonders are a revelation. They’re a tad difficult to get- Martelli’s at Rouse Hill usually stocks them, but Coles and Woolworths don’t- so when I see them I buy them.

This dressing can be whipped up in a few minutes. Finely chop some garlic. We like garlic so use a couple of fat cloves. Fry it off in 2 tablespoons of good olive oil for a few seconds. Add in a couple of the chipotles. Don’t bother draining them, just chop them up a bit. Pour in a cup of cream (I didn’t say that it would be good for you- just that it was yummy), ½ cup of grated parmesan and the grated zest of a lemon and a lime. Bring it to a boil and take it off the heat. It should be served at room temperature.

I pop it into one of those mini milk bottle things so it looks like I’ve styled it when I serve it. Of course, I haven’t.

Because it’s got cream in it, you need to store in the fridge, and it will only keep for 3-4 days. In that time you can also use it in a potato salad with bacon, mint and spring onions, or on a steak salad with rocket and red peppers. We did this during the week too.

That’s what I love about Annabel’s books- most of her recipes can be used easily for something else. Like the best dressing I’ve had all year. Yes, I know the year has just started, but this satay dressing is an absolute keeper- and goes as well with prawns and fish as it does with chicken.

It’s also super easy. You need ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter (I use the macro one that has no added sugar), ½ cup boiling water, 2 teaspoons freshly grated zingy ginger, 3 teaspoons soy sauce, and a pinch (ok, we used two) of chilli flakes. You stir the water into the peanut butter bit by bit until it’s smooth and then add the rest of the ingredients. Too easy.

I roasted a chicken with lemon juice squeezed over the skin, and plenty of herbs and the rest of the lemon in the cavity. We added this to a salad of wombok, cucumber, spring onions, lime, mint and coriander, and drizzled the sauce over the top. Yes, the recipes for the salad and the chook are in the book too.

On Friday night when the neighbours came to tea, I did her domino potatoes (p146). These are cholesterol filled little slices of potatoey crunchiness. You finely slice the spuds- like you would for a potato bake- but you stand them up instead of lying them down. Then you pour melted butter over the top and bake until crispy.

To finish off the week, I roasted a side of salmon last night. Over the top I drizzled a Vietnamese dressing- essentially chilli, lime zest, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a little coconut sugar. Super healthy with some stir-fried asian greens and rice, and super yummy. If you’re not sugar challenged, you can try this version.


What’s been cooking in your kitchen this week?


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

2 thoughts

  1. I like the sound of the first two dressing – particularly the satay dressing as it sounds as if the lemon juice etc would tone down the peanut flavour a little.

  2. Pingback: Procrastibaking…

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