New Zealand food editor and celebrity chef Nici Wickes is recognised nationally for her award-winning food styling and television shows. As an ambassador for Belling Ovens she is inspired by the innovative British cooking appliances. QT Magazine spoke to her to find out what motivates her in the kitchen.
What were some of your early inspirations for entering the world of food and cooking?
My nana, mum, Hudson & Halls and their New Zealand cooking show and more latterly British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
What inspired you to become a professional food editor?
My five years with New Zealand Woman’s Weekly as the food editor were some of the best of my working life. I really felt my whole life had been working up towards that role. It was so deeply satisfying to inspire New Zealand cooks with recipes that would help them out with their baking, ideas for everyday dinners as well as for those celebratory occasions, desserts and puddings. Four recipes, every week, over five years – that’s a lot.
When were you first introduced to Belling Ovens?
The first time I cooked with a Belling Oven was when my gorgeous dusky pink Belling Richmond Range Cooker was moved into my kitchen. I instantly nicknamed her Miss Rose and she is now quite famous with her own hashtag #missrose on my Instagram page.
Colour is just one of the many features of the Belling range – you can order them literally in any shade. It becomes such a feature of your kitchen and everyone I know who has chosen their own colour are in love with their ovens.
What are some of the special functions of Belling Ovens?
One of the key characteristics is the multi-cavity design that I am an absolute convert too. It’s economic and efficient and it makes so much sense to have a choice of sizes so that you’re not always heating up one big oven. This is helpful when I’m cooking different dishes at once. I can have a cake on one oven happily rising whilst roasting a chook in another and don’t have to worry that opening and closing the oven will ruin the cake.
What are your favourite places in New Zealand to visit?
Central Otago is one of my favourite destinations with outstanding food, produce and eateries like Sherwood in Queenstown. I recently wrote an article about Central Otago eats in a new online publication A Quiet Cuppa. Hawke’s Bay is another fabulous food destination due to the care and attention paid to locally grown produce.
What are some of the produce and flavours of Central Otago you enjoy cooking with?
You can’t go past the stone fruit – it’s the best. Each year I order peaches, apricots, nectarines and cherries direct from the orchards because the quality and flavour is unbeatable. Central Otago honey often has a hint of wild thyme which is a favourite along with great venison, goat and lamb from Central that I love cooking with.
What projects are you currently working on?
Myself and the former editor and deputy editor of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly have started up a wonderful publication called A Quiet Cuppa(www.aquietcuppa.co.nz) which arrives in your email inbox each week with all the recipes, travel, gardening, puzzles, New Zealand stories and royal news you could wish for. It’s so much fun putting it together and we’ve been blown away with how many readers have subscribed.
Shingle Creek Chevon – Goat Curry by Nici Wickes
The goat meat from Shingle Creek Chevon, situated just south of Alexandra, is such a terrific product to cook with.
2 onions , diced
5 cm fresh ginger, grated
4 tsps garam masala
¼ tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
3 star anise
1 tsp cumin
4 cardamom pods, split
½ tsp cinnamon
4 TB oil
1kg goat meat, diced (use tenderloins or leg meat)
1-1.5 cups water
½ tsp salt
Coked basmati rice to serve
Poppadoms or naan to serve
- Melt butter in a pot, cook onions until soft. Add spices + oil and fry 2-3 mins. Add more oil if they look dry.
- Add goat meat and coat in spices, add water + salt and cover and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hour or until meat is tender.
- Serve with rice, poppadum and dollop of yoghurt, fresh coriander to garnish