Their repertoire of books includes the must-have cook book for all parents Baby Food and Beyond. Every Kiwi family should have a copy of Baby Food and Beyond when their child moves onto solids. Simon’s new release book is for when your child gets older and you are looking for easy, quick meals to feed the whole family. We all know how busy life is with children. It doesn’t get any less busy as they get older. In fact things can get even more frantic with after school activities, sports and other things – throw two working parents into the mix and time gets even more scarce.
Simon’s new book provides some much-needed inspiration in the kitchen but, not only that, it is Simon’s own take on quick easy meals using whatever you can find in the pantry. Simon also includes a monthly menu planner with tips and practical pantry advice. When I interviewed Simon last week he was up for one of his regular appearances on the Good Morning Show. I got the opportunity to quiz him on growing up in a foodie household, his passion for cooking and his own experience as a dad cooking in a busy household.
Simon told me that having grown up with a foodie mother meant that he was introduced to a wide variety of food from an early age. Simon assumed that every family talked about food as much as his own family did and he was often experimented on as a child. That early introduction to food meant that his palette was sophisticated and, as a student in a flat he would often be the first choice to cook by his flat mates.
It was whilst flatting at university that he and his mother first talked about and then worked on their first joint cook-book – a book for vegetarians. The book remains today one of their best selling books. The work continued and when Simon had his own children the realisation that there needed to be something easy for new parents to use with their babies and toddlers. Baby Food and Beyond was born with Simon using his own children to experiment on. The book was a hit and the fact that Plunket also supported it was a great benefit. Personally my well-thumbed copy is still used and if you haven’t yet bought one – get one quick.
His children are now teenagers and his new cook book is full of his own family’s well-loved recipes. Some of his favourite recipes in the book include his Chicken Tikka Madras – indeed I have made this and it is an easy and yummy curry. In fact, it is obvious that Simon loves his curries as he actually has 5 different curries featured in the book. His tips for cooking in busy households includes making life as stress-free for yourself as possible and using whatever is in the pantry. eg the Chicken Massala recipe is made with tomato soup as a main ingredient.
He also believes planning meals in advance is a great way to make life a lot easier for yourself - working out in the morning what you’re going to be having in the evening and getting the right ingredients out of the freezer or pantry. Simon is a great advocate for encouraging your children to enjoy and experiment with food. Pull them into the kitchen to help you and try things like curries on them too – just don’t make them spicy. One of his favourite quick n easy recipes is his no knead pizza which he says is easy for even the youngest member of the family to make. And of course, pasta and risotto are the easiest and quickest of any meal and you really can use whatever you have in the fridge to bulk them up further.