Every New Zealand home will have an Alison Holst cookbook on its shelves. Dame Alison has been supplying Kiwi cooks with inspiration for more than 40 years, and continues to do so with her son Simon.
The mother-and-son team have recently released another book worthy of every household. Colleen Thorpe talks to Dame Alison about the book, food and the author herself
YOUR NEW BOOK, THE ULTIMATE VEGETARIAN COLLECTION, ISN'T JUST FOR VEGETARIANS. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT IT?
The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection has many interesting and flavourful recipes. I feel non-vegetarians would enjoy the recipes in this book as much as vegetarians would.
WHAT KEY INGREDIENTS SHOULD YOU HAVE ON HAND TO ENSURE A QUICK, EASY AND HEALTHY MEAL?
Eggs, potatoes, onions, garlic and fresh herbs.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD KIDS BE ENCOURAGED TO COOK?
When they are 4 or 5.
WHAT IS THE FIRST DISH YOU SHOULD TEACH THEM TO COOK?
Probably scrambled eggs.
NAME THREE EASY AND CHEAP MEALS WE SHOULD KNOW ONCE WE START FLATTING.
Hash browns, oaty pancakes, good old onion dip with carrot and celery sticks for dipping.
WHAT KEY INGREDIENTS SHOULD VEGETARIANS INCLUDE IN THEIR DIET?
Eggs, nuts, green peas and young broad beans, and dried beans.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY YOUR SON'S MAJOR INFLUENCE IN HIS LOVE OF COOKING. WHO WAS YOURS?
My mother, who was a great home cook.
IN THE COOKING WORLD WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
The New Zealand housewife with several children who cooks interesting meals for her family and stays within a budget.
WHAT THREE NEW ZEALAND FOODS ARE TOP OF YOUR LIST?
Avocados, boysenberries and strawberries - all three from our own garden.
HAVE YOU A GUILTY PLEASURE?
If I go mushrooming I cook the mushrooms with a little garlic, chopped parsley and cream, and eat more than my own share.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF FOOD?
Feeding my baby sister while she sat in a high-chair in the afternoon.
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST FAN?
WHICH CELEBRITY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO COOK FOR?
I'm afraid that I would like to eat what a celebrity had just made rather than cooking for the celebrity.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE DISH?
It varies from time to time - passionfruit/avocados.
WHAT INGREDIENT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
WHAT DISH DO YOU MOST LOVE TO COOK?
My husband and I like to eat vegetables, fruit and nuts from our own garden.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DESERT ISLAND DISH?
Lovely, freshly caught fish.
AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
I wanted to do a fine arts course in Christchurch.
IF YOU WERE ON [QUIZ SHOW] MASTERMIND, WHAT WOULD YOUR TOPIC BE?
Food, of course.
TELL US THREE THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW?
I like eating food that I haven't had to cook myself.
I really like picking fruit and vegetables from our own garden.
I like foraging for free food - mushrooms, blackberries, etc.
The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection
by Alison Holst and Simon Holst, New Holland Publishing, $55.