Food, Friends & Fashion
New Zealand fashion designer Andrea Moore believes in living life to the full. The joy of creating beautiful clothing goes hand in hand with taking every opportunity to be with friends, sharing delicious food made with the best ingredients.
Today wearing a filmy ‘fire engine red’ top with jeans, she’s perched on a stool, in the capable hands of make-up artist Michael, preparing for the photo shoot to go with this article, before heading off to take part in the fashion designers’ cocktail competition at Auckland’s Hilton - along with the likes of Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Liz Mitchell and Kate Sylvester.
Obviously she loves fashion, but mention food and Andrea bubbles with enthusiasm. “The best thing in life is enjoying food with our friends. Food for us is about cooking with love and cooking for friends and family. It is a quality of life, a celebration of every culture”.
It’s not surprising then, to learn the kitchen took priority in a makeover aimed at producing an environment ideal for entertaining, when it came to the recent renovation of the home she shares with Brian, partner in business and in life and nine-month old Archie.
Andrea explained, “A woman had lived in the 1930’s Wellington house for forty years and all that time the house was not maintained. When she passed away, it was leaning on an angle and almost falling down. The kitchen, no bigger than a cupboard, still had an old copper. We virtually gutted the whole place and renewed walls, chimney and roof, repaired the high ceilings and polished up the floors revealing beautiful rimu.
“Now we have an open plan, where we can cook and enjoy our guests’ company. The kitchen is a part of the living room, with the dining table, couches and a bar, all there so you can engage with people”.
For Andrea it’s an appreciation that started as a child. “My love of enjoying food with friends, goes back to eating outside, at the many hangis and bonfire feasts we attended as a family, following on from Dad’s involvement in Rotary,” she says.
That’s why we love picnics or summer BBQ’s. We have a ‘keg-a-Q’ that smokes the food, imparting a delicious flavour, especially when Manuka is used. We cook scallops, paua, red peppers and yummy sausages”.
It was also Dad who provided one of her earliest cooking experiences. “Dad used to make a delicious one egg chocolate sponge for dinner on Sunday nights, straight from the Edmond’s Cook Book. When I was about eight, I wanted to cook one too. Unfortunately, I used wholemeal flour and as you can imagine it wasn’t quite the same!"
Andrea describes her Mum as a traditional cook. “Everything she does tastes good, except when she used to serve liver”. With a grimace, she says, “Mum used to dip the liver in wheat-germ and then fry it. She said it was full of Vitamin B. It is something I never want to eat again”.
Andrea’s own favourite thing to cook, is potatoes, baked with rosemary or thyme picked fresh from the garden or fish like Terakihi fillets, flavoured with lemon juice and fresh herbs.
Essential ingredients she always has on hand include olive oil, fresh pepper grounds and dark chocolate, and she can’t get by with out her morning coffee fix. In Wellington this means a visit to Caffee L’Affaire for a restreto latte - a very short double shot of coffee made into a latte. Andrea describes it as a silky coffee, velvet and creamy in texture.
Lunch is easily taken care of Andrea comments. “ We buy a baguette and selection of yummy fillings, like creamy Gouda, mixed mesculan salad and big red peppers. The prepared snack is popped in a toastie till the Gouda has gently melted and the bread is crisp. It’s all washed down with Chai tea”.
If lunching out, Nikau Gallery Café offers the best in al fresco dining. “It’s positioned to catch the sun, uses the freshest ingredients and offers great service. Our pick on the menu is their delicious fish Kedgeree”.
It’s a busy life, however, and there’s lots of travelling throughout the country to visit their stores and retailers. Andrea explains that little Archie has 22 plane rides to his credit. Naturally, travelling means lots of eating out. “We get very picky. What we look for is atmosphere and places that have fresh ingredients. Often we find them by word of mouth.” In Auckland the favourites are Powder in Ponsonby Road for breakfast, with either lively Gina’s in Symonds Street or highly regarded Vinnies in Herne Bay for dinner.
When they are home, it makes the pleasure of being able to prepare the freshest ingredients as simply as possible even more important.
They do their food shopping at the Sunday Market or Moore Wilsons. According to Andrea it is much more fun than a standard big supermarket. “They stock organic meat and make the best sausages. My favourites are pork and fennel. They stock very fresh fruit and vegetables and have a section devoted solely to fabulous bread and another to cheese. A special wine section offers a wide selection of different grape types from around the world”.
Nigel Slater’s ‘30 Minute Cook Book’, provides inspiration for evening eating, including when Archie’s Nanny does a couple of cooking nights for the couple. “It is full of yummy food ideas drawn from many cuisines around the world. Not complicated and quite quick to do. There are recipes from the Middle East, Mexico, Thailand, China and India, to name a few. It inspires with beautiful pictures, bullet point directions and options”. So good, Andrea has given copies to her Dad and brother as presents.
Pasta is something both she and Brian enjoy preparing. For guests recently, there was a simple fresh tasting, dish prepared by Brian. A sauce made from finely chopped garlic, skinned, deseeded and cubed tomatoes, with the pungent flavour of baby basil leaves and a splash of extra virgin olive oil was added to al dente cooked pasta. Andrea might prepare tasty venison meatballs with spaghetti in a rich tomato sauce.
Whatever the menu, entertaining always means laying a lovely heavily embroidered tablecloth from India, lots of candles, tall wine glasses, soft light and eccentric or unusual serving dishes – a special table but relaxed and informal atmosphere.
Christmas as you would expect, is a warm family affair. Last year this meant a full-blown lunch and dinner, with all the trimmings. Andrea was looking after dessert and bought an elegant tall vase, piled it up with strawberries and cranberry jelly and mascarpone cheese. (She shares the recipe with us later). Superb visually and taste-wise, it reflects the love of colour and shape that brought Andrea to the world of fashion.
It’s no accident that red the colour of passion, heat, love, blood, excitement, strength, sex, speed, danger and power, features every season, while a business postcard shows the glamorous designer, in a dramatic flame-red gown, holding cherubic Archie, with the by-line “The Andrea Moore Spring/Summer ‘Die Another Day’ range is about living intensely and passionately now”.
Andrea explains, “I always do red. It’s a rich vibrant colour that always lifts my spirits. My clothes are always rich in colour, elegant and feminine”.
By the time I leave her, Andrea is looking totally glam and the photo shoot is about to begin. Then she’s off to the cocktail competition. No doubt she’ll win with this creation, which features the tangy flavours of current, strawberry and cranberry – And it’s red, of course….
Divine berry dessert
500ml of cranberry juice
½ tbsp of gelatin powder
500 g mixed berries, I use frozen boysenberries
Heat the juice in a pot until hot pour a little bit of juice into the bowl that has the gelatin – stir madly when dissolved pour it into the pot. With the juice and stir well. – Leave to cool then add the mixed berries – because they are frozen they cool it down quite quickly anyway. Pour into a container and put in the fridge over night.
250g of mascarpone
2tbsp of caster sugar
1 vanilla bean or vanilla essence
300ml of cream, lightly whipped
Mix the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and then gently fold in whipped cream.
Lots and lots of chopped strawberries
Use a beautiful glass, nice shape, maximum theatrical appeal
Put in the jelly first then add some strawberries then some mascarpone then strawberries keep layering it up depending on how big your glass is – when I first made this I did it for Christmas day and used a big vase, and tripled the quantities -wonderfully dramatic
You can also top this with icing sugar.
Andrea’s entry in the Fashion Week designer’s cocktail competition.
Cocktail recipe - The magnolia
40ml of absolute current
20ml of strawberry liquor
80ml of cranberry juice
Chopped strawberries 3-6 depending on the glass
Mix ice and strawberries together and shake put into glass
Mix the the rest with ice strain into glass
Sprinkle icing sugar over it. You can add mixed berries if you want…..
© 2005 Linda Donald
All rights reserved
Appeared in Lifestyle Soulfood
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