Angela Casley grew up on a sheep farm on the Kaipara Harbour in a family where food has always played a central part. She did her culinary training in Britain in the 80s, where she specialised in private dinner parties for famous clients and events such as a banquet for 500 parliamentarians. During this time she also travelled extensively and developed a love for fresh exotic flavours. Eventually Angela returned to New Zealand, had two beautiful daughters and developed her career as a private caterer.
In recent years she has also worked on a number of leading cookbooks, and extended her skills into recipe development and food styling for magazines, TV and advertising campaigns. Angela is creative and believes in elegant without-the-fuss food. She focuses on providing cooks with recipes that succeed on every level - flavour, convenience and ease of preparation. Each week, as Viva's recipe editor, she will bring you brilliant and stylish food ideas to try out in your own kitchen.
What is your earliest food memory?
On the farm, roasts, roasts, and more roast dinners with lashing of potatoes - crisp and delicious cooked in dripping!
Where do you find your culinary inspiration?
Living in New Zealand where the endless restaurants, cafés, and food artisans are in abundance. We all have high expectations. The produce we have access too is along with the best in the world. Where else can you grow, catch, and hunt on your doorstep?
What ingredient excites you most this season and why?
Hunting out the old-fashioned fruit trees, especially plums and golden delicious. Why? Because the flavour can't be matched.
Who is your cooking idol?
Showing my age here, – The Roux Brothers who changed the way of food in England in the 80s. Although we did spend a bit too much time turning vegetables.
What is your greatest cooking achievement?
Being asked to 10 Downing Street to cook Christmas dinner.
What is your favourite meal?
Poached eggs on toast – Vogels, Marmite, tomatoes, eggs and pepper, and salt.
What is your biggest kitchen disaster?
In a large catering company, curdling a mayonnaise with 48 eggs in it. Luckily saved by the old guy on the team with the boiling water – I never forgot that trick.
If you could eat anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
High In the Pyrenees Mountains in France, skies on with a backpack loaded with lunch - cheeses, French bread strawberries and bubbles! Why? I love the view, the freedom and the cheese!
What are your kitchen must haves?
My zester, processor, Le Creuset, and my grandfather's cast iron pan for one pan dinners.
Why do you love cooking?
I love the pleasure I can bring to others, with a simple sociable meal. I love the fabulous seasonal fruit and vegetables that we are so lucky to get our hands on. And I love to eat!
Who is your dream dinner guest?
People who I worked for in England that really believed we lived in a back water. If only they knew how amazing the food experience is in New Zealand.