Pete Evans on 'Cook with Love'

A Collection of Pete Evans' Passions

Pete Evans on 'Cook with Love'

A perfect gift for your significant other this Valentine's Day - if you're just interested in the food see the links below to some of our favourite recipes from the book, if you love Pete Evans keep reading as AGFG asks him a few questions.

There’s nothing ordinary about ‘Cook with Love’, rather it verges on the extraordinary. Taking a cue from rock n’ roll marketing, Murdoch Books promises this one is a “greatest hits” cookbook that won’t sit in your home library with that distinct new book smell for long.

Akin to the white linen on the table of your favourite local bistro, you’ll try your damndest to keep ‘Cook with Love’ crisp and clean, but that’s never going to happen. These hand-picked recipes by Pete Evans span over 20 years and the collection includes wide-ranging styles and varying techniques.

This Q&A with Pete Evans nuts out some of the stories underlying his chosen ‘Cook with Love’ recipes and goes beyond activated almonds controversy into the true health and lifestyle force that hugely defines Pete’s uber-successful career in its current incarnation.

AGFG: Foodies are starting to think about what gift to buy for Valentine's Day. Why is ‘Cook with Love’ an all round pleaser?

PETE: ‘Cook with Love’ is a very versatile cookbook and it has recipes that will please everyone in the family. The recipes are predominantly simple, easy to prepare and flavoursome but there's also a “show off'” section for when you're feeling especially creative.

There's a little story with each recipe as to why I love them or how I came across the dish, so it has a very personal touch, too.

AGFG: What’s one recipe from ‘Cook with Love’ that… you still cook all the time?

PETE: I cook recipes from 'Cook with love' all the time. My mate Udo (legendary Bondi fisherman) just gave me some freshly caught whiting today, so I made Aqua Pazza for a big family feast - aqua pazza is Italian for fish in crazy water. It's such an easy dish, but so damn flavoursome.

AGFG: … a special person shared with you?

PETE: A mate of mine, and a great man, Jimmy Shu from Hanuman restaurant in Darwin, shared his signature oyster dish with lemongrass, sweet basil, chilli and fresh coriander for the book. It's a divine way to enjoy oysters and it's the first thing I order when I have the pleasure of dining at Jimmy's!

AGFG: … someone once told you is the best?

PETE: Nicholas Morley, a surfing buddy of mine and his mate Ayu, told me about this amazing dish - Balinese Roasted Chicken. I thought I'd tried every roast chook recipe there was, so I was blown away when they made this incredibly yummy dish during a surf trip in Bali. I make it for my family all the time and they love it!

Pete Evans Recipes to Try

AGFG: It seems you’re essentially living the dream in combining your passions within your career and sharing great experiences with others along the way. What keeps you inspired and thriving?

PETE: Catching waves definitely helps to keep me energised and focused, but also the fact that I don't eat crap food that weighs you down and fogs your brain means that I'm always able to sustain a positive frame of mind.

I live with three amazing girls, my partner Nic and my daughters, Chilli and Indii. They’re all complete breaths of fresh air, so it's nearly impossible to be anything other than inspired and thriving when you're surrounded with such beautiful energy.

AGFG: What global cuisine are you fixated on right now and any additional worldly destinations in mind where you’ll be further discovering food and surf?

PETE: I don't have any one fixation; it's always a combination of a few. The kind Fijian ladies taught me a wonderful fish head curry on Namotu last year, and we've been making it at home, adding a few more ingredients like lemongrass and kaffir lime to give it a bit of an Asian twist.

Nic and I will definitely be following the waves in our spare time; we're both really keen to travel to Tahiti together for the experience of Teahupoo waves and Tahitian cuisine.

AGFG: Best chilling out at the beach food and wine pairing?

PETE: Well, it depends on what you've got to work with, but in an ideal world you would've had a successful day on the water and caught yourself a beautiful snapper or two…

In that case I would make a simple Snapper Tartare with Yuzu Dressing for an entree and an Indian-Spiced Barbecue Fish in Banana Leaves served with a deliciously refreshing Asian coleslaw for a main.

Nic and I love to share a glass of red every once and awhile on special occasions and we enjoy the Jacobs Creek Reserve Shiraz lightly chilled.

AGFG: You continue to cook the best produce and let food flavours speak for themselves, but your career is now health and nutrition focused. What was the catalyst that guided your chef journey in the wellbeing direction?

PETE: I began researching and educating myself about nutrition and wellness then gradually implemented change into my own and my family’s diet, mostly by cutting out wheat, sugar, dairy and gluten. We enjoyed the benefits and noticed a huge change in our wellbeing.

We didn't miss any of the unnecessary foods, so it's been an easy progression to carry on with a very simple, natural approach to eating and nourishing ourselves.

'Cook with Love' is published by Murdoch Books and available for purchase through Allen & Unwin.