Sunday, August 4, 2013


I do so enjoy Michael's TV show on TVOne on Sunday nights at 8.00pm. He is such an enthusiast with a marvellous sense of humour and irrepressible joie de vivre.

The good news is that his second Food Truck Cookbook is being published Random House at $39.99 on 19 August. 

More about the title below.

Fast Food is quick, cheap and convenient, but it is a contributing factor to our ballooning waistlines. New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the world — in 2012 the Ministry of Health reported that 28% of adults and 10% of all children of children aged 2 and 14 were obese. And the fast food that’s making us fat also costs us a bundle: Kiwis spent $1.56 billion on takeaway food last year, double what they spent in 2004. It’s crystal clear that New Zealanders need to watch what they eat.

Enter stage right, driving a venerable 1970s Bedford truck, chef Michael Van de Elzen. Call him an ‘aproned crusader’, he’s certainly a chef with a mission, a healthy-eating super hero. Last year New Zealanders quickly became fans of his quirky TV show and cookbook, and this year he’s back with series three of the show and another great book based on its recipes.
Mike, who left his multi-award winning Mount Eden restaurant, Molten, to travel the land in his truck, has become a star who is much liked for his self-deprecating humour, easy-going style, his abiding belief in healthier eating and, most important of all, his great tasting food.

 Many of the recipes in The Food Truck Cookbook No.2 book are international, reflecting the broader ‘world food’ approach of series three. As Michael reports, ‘This series extended my repertoire even further and I’ve met such fantastic chefs and cooks on the challenges. They really inspired me. Whether they are Japanese or Turkish, German or Pacific, their recipes, adapted by me to be healthier, will easily fit into your home-cooking repertoire.’
With a lively, fun-filled design, this new book includes beautiful food photography by Babiche Martens, lots of great shots of New Zealanders tucking into Mike’s food at events as diverse as buskers’ festivals and A&P shows, seafood festivals and pop-up back-alley Italian joints.
There is a short history of food trucks and street food, as well as wonderful hints, tips and basics; each recipe has prep and cooking time and a nutritional analysis that helps you see why cooking Mike’s way (bake don’t deep-fry, for example) can be both delicious and healthy.
Unsurprisingly the first two series of The Food Truck were some of the highest-rating shows on TVNZ and The Food Truck Cookbook is a bestseller.
 About Michael Van de Elzen
Auckland chef Michael Van de Elzen was captured by the excitement of the food industry at aged 14, he went on to work at some of Auckland’s landmark restaurants like Kermadec and Hammerheads and then in London at the acclaimed Bluebird and Bank, providing private catering for some of London’s top earners and A-list celebrities. He and his wife Belinda, who is also a chef, opened the award-winning Molten in Mount Eden in 2003, after their return to New Zealand.  His highly acclaimed The Molten Cookbook was published in 2011. Mike sold the Molten restaurant in 2011. He now works a consultant to restaurants, on the Food Truck series and co-owns the Food Truck Garage Restaurant. He and Belinda have two young daughters, Hazel and Ivy.

And the publishers have kindly allowed me to post the following recipe from the book which I can enthusiastically recommend!  Photo of dish - Babiche Martens.

Almond-crusted Pork Schnitzel

This crumb is sensational. Make a batch and keep in your
freezer to pull out at short notice. Put it on your next baked
fish ‘n’ chips.

Serves 6 • Preparation time 20 minutes • Cooking time about 4 minutes

 2 cups dried wholemeal sourdough breadcrumbs

½ cup dry-roasted almonds, finely chopped

4 tablespoons ground LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1–2 tablespoons mustard powder

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

zest of 1 lemon

pinch salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

6 pork schnitzel (about 100g each), cut into strips

2 egg whites, lightly beaten


1.   Preheat fan oven grill to high. Lightly oil a shallow roasting dish.

2.   In a large shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, almonds, LSA, sesame seeds, mustard powder, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

3.   Dip pork schnitzel strips into egg white, then coat evenly in crumb mixture. Place in roasting dish and place under grill, turning once and cooking until golden brown and crisp.

4.            Serve straight away with sauerkraut aïoli (see below).

You can enjoy the sauerkraut and aïoli on their own, or combine to make a sauce that’s perfect with the almond-crusted pork schnitzel.

Sauerkraut Aïoli

Makes 2 cups • Preparation time 30 minutes • Cooking time 35 minutes


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

½ onion, finely sliced

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

¼ savoy cabbage, very finely sliced

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

½ teaspoon Himalayan
fine-ground salt

¾ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup apple cider

¼ cup water

Sauerkraut aïoli

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons water

1 cup cooked and mashed potato (use 1 large peeled potato)

100ml grapeseed oil

pinch salt and white pepper

For the sauerkraut

1.   Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft but not coloured.

2.   Add cabbage, caraway seeds, salt, vinegar, cider and water. Simmer for 30 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool.

For the aïoli

1.   Place cooled sauerkraut in a food processor and blend until smooth.

2.   Add egg yolks, water and mashed potato and process until combined. Drizzle oil through feed tube until mixture is emulsified, then season with salt and white pepper. If sauerkraut aïoli is too thick, add a little extra water to thin. The aïoli will keep in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.
Copyright THE FOOD TRUCK COOKBOOK 2 - Michael Van de Elzen -Random House NZ



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