I was very excited to get my hands on this pre-release copy of Angelo’s Wild Kitchen, his second book following The Game Chef. He’s a household name in our family, thanks to his show also titled The Game Chef on Maori Television. Here he shares his love of hunting (often with bow and arrow) and gathering, with his passion for wholesome family cooking.
His mother is Italian, and father Croatian, so his recipes have a very European flair running through them. Expect to see mouth watering pastas, pizzas, breads, and homemade sauces, all prepared with local New Zealand produce, much of which he has grown or foraged himself. There’s even a few recipes at the back of the book which feature his children and their inherited love of food. Teenager Luca’s Roast Tomato Soup made with his own home grown tomatoes, and Oscar, who loves fishing, has a Brown Trout recipe.
Angelo has been in NZ for over 20 years currently resides in the picturesque Cardrona Valley, so as well as the stunning food photography, you’ll find breathtaking imagery our native backyard. The inside cover of the book even has topographical maps of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka, and the Cardrona ranges.
Even though the title is ‘Wild’ Kitchen, don’t be put off. Pretty much every single recipe in this book I could source the ingredients for and could easily make myself. The ‘wild’ more refers to the fact that ingredients can be sourced locally (and for free, hunting, fishing, growing, if you’re that way inclined). He even has a page of tips and tricks for ‘How to bring the wild into any home’. There is still enough to keep the wild food lovers happy too, with a few venison and hare recipes, a rabbit pie, and a North African Goat Hotpot, amongst the more traditional beef, chicken, cured meats, vegetarian, and variety of seafood recipes. The seafood recipes alone make this book worthwhile: crayfish caesar and sandwiches, calamari fettuccine, Greek fish stew, and Greek stuffed calamari, trout, salmon, BBQed fish, seafood chowder and 3 different seafood pizzas. AKA seafood heaven!
One thing I really love about this book is the variety. The chapters cover everything: Breakfast, Butters – so popular right now! & Bases, All Things Saucy, Grazing – my favourite way to eat, Seafood delicacies, Pizza Pasta Pizazz, Wild Asian Fusion – nope, it’s not all European, Give Me Greens (Salad and Veges), Meat, Sweet Things, For The Kids – dedicated to his children’s recipes, not kid food. In fact, one criticism would be, what has he got left? It seems he’s put everything into this cookbook, and I wonder, or hope that he’s got more up his sleeve for another one. There’s so much crammed in that the pizza recipe, like the steamed buns, provides the recipe for the dough, then a range of different filling and topping recipes. Meaning that if you go to the effort of mastering the dough making, you’re not just a one trick pony!
It needs to be noted as well, that this book is truly for everyone. I’ve mentioned the variety of recipes above, but it’s also suitable for all those people with dietary restrictions too. Featuring Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free and Vegetarian recipes throughout the chapters.
You can expect to find copies of Angelo’s Wild Kitchen on shelves from the 1st of September and if you can get in quick, I’d highly recommend this book as a great gift for upcoming Father’s Day, or a Christmas gift for any budding foodie, hunter, or horticulturist. The recipes are simple classic fare with his own twists. The first recipe I tried was his Pork Belly, Mushroom & Sage Orecchiette which is his version of Fettuccine Carbonara: Indulgent, yet simple and delicious. Next up, I plan to make his Napoletana Sauce, which then features in other recipes throughout the book.