Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kiwis’ chance to help get millions of animals out of cages - A cookbook with a difference

 It’s tough and often bewildering being an ethical consumer.
In recent years, many New Zealanders have learned about the terrible conditions that battery hens and sow-crate pigs endure and have chosen not to support producers who use these methods.
But even swapping to free range is not without its complications. There’s much more to quality animal welfare than an animal being able to wander freely about a yard.
“Just because an animal has lived a free-range life, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily been a happy one,” says Juliette Banks, who manages the SPCA Blue Tick programme.
“Unfortunately, free-range is a term that’s used so loosely these days, often by marketers to gain credibility with consumers rather than having anything to do with quality and holistic animal welfare.”

The SPCA’s Blue Tick programme is designed to help consumers identify food products that meet its high animal welfare standards and, in turn, its influence is used to get animals out of cages and increase welfare on New Zealand farms. And now there’s a super new cookbook that helps New Zealanders make delicious and no-fuss meals with approved food products that Kiwis all over can sit down to at mealtime.

Juliette Banks is behind this creative project which will take the animal welfare message into heartland Kiwi kitchens throughout the country.

For home cooks who want to support better animal welfare on farms, Juliette has come up with Made With Love, on sale from 2 August. It’s a must-have cookbook bursting with delicious recipes from celebrities, from Peter Jackson to Dan Carter and Ray McVinnie to John Key, all of whom support the Blue Tick programme for which the SPCA is so grateful.

Juliette says she really wanted to do something that would get the Blue Tick message across to people without them feeling bombarded and overwhelmed.
“A cookbook also provides people with a tangible and constructive way to help get millions of animals out of cages because book royalties go back to the programme,” she says.

So, Juliette picked up the phone and started calling many of our most beloved celebrities to see if they could help out. The response was fabulous.
“It’s been such a special project to work on to work on because everyone has been so enthusiastic from the get-go.
They were all thrilled to be a part of it.”

“Most people want to think the meat and eggs they buy have been produced in a humane way. We want the animals from which these products come to have been healthy, comfortable and properly fed. The Blue Tick auditing programme takes the guesswork out of choosing products from the supermarket shelves.

“Our Blue Tick scheme works towards getting animals out of cages, putting them in environments where they are able to express their natural behaviours, and ensuring that they have access to all the care they need,” says Juliette.
The publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce two of the recipes from the book and these follow. 

(Photo - credit - Babiche Martens)


Here’s a fabulous alternative to the good old bacon and egg pie. It’s low fat and looks so beautiful when you slice into it. When I sold it to the axe-men at Puhoi, it went down a treat.


1 tsp rice bran oil

1 leek (white part only), finely sliced

2 handfuls of spinach, blanched, drained and squeezed dry

½ cup broad beans, blanched and podded

½ cup frozen peas, blanched


1 wholemeal tortilla

2 tbsp broad bean salsa

2 rashers lean SPCA Blue Tick bacon, cooked and sliced

2 poached SPCA Blue Tick eggs


Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the leek and cook until soft. Place the cooked leek in a bowl, add the remaining salsa ingredients and toss together. Set aside. Heat a sandwich press. Lay a tortilla on a chopping board. Spread with the salsa and top with bacon. Place the cooked eggs on top and roll up tightly. Cook in a hot sandwich press for 2–3 minutes. Slice in half to serve.



PAN-FRIED SALMON LOINS ON A BED OF PROSCIUTTO, MANGO & AVOCADO SALSA                                                                                         This is a fab, fab, fab starter for a dinner party — really simple, but the flavours are intense, sexy and delicious. If mangos are not in season and you would still like to make this dish, a drained can of mangos will be fine.


1 mango, peeled, deseeded and diced

1 firm avocado, peeled, stoned and diced

2 spring onions, chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh dill

½ red chilli, deseeded and finely diced

zest and juice of 1 lime

dash of sesame oil

salt and pepper

knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

8 SPCA Blue Tick salmon loins

4 prosciutto slices


In a large bowl, very gently toss together the mango, avocado, spring onions, dill, chilli, lime zest and sesame oil. Taste and add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Pop your butter and olive oil in a large frying pan, and when melted and bubbling, place your salmon loins in the pan. You may have to do this in batches. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Don’t forget to crisp the skin. Place a slice of prosciutto on each of four plates. Pop two salmon loins on top, and serve with a spoonful of salsa.

Publication 2 August

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