- I love being in my vegetable garden. It’s just so grounding and satisfying to watch things grow and then harvest them to eat. You feel connected to nature’s rhythms.
- Baking. It’s so easy to transform simple ingredients like butter, eggs and flour into wondrously aromatic, sweet and tender loaves, cakes and breads. The alchemy makes you feel like a magician, and everyone loves you for it.
- Making cookbooks. It’s such a creative, yet disciplined process – from coming up with the idea, to writing and testing the recipes, and getting the photos and the layout working. You feel like you’re incubating a new creation – almost like the birth process, as odd as that may sound. When I open the first copy of a new book I’ve made, there’s this amazing feeling of achievement.
- The change of seasons always excites me and, down here in Wanaka, I really do get all four.
- In winter, I love lighting the fire and cooking up cosy winter meals to fend off the cold – it makes everyone feel nourished.
- Having my family together always warms my heart. Our kids Sean (23) and Rose (20) are at university now, but when they come home, we have such fun together. I feel very lucky
to be part of my family – they are all such fabulous people.
- Diving into a clear pool of water is one of my favourite feel-good things to do – you feel the layers just sloughing off. Then, when I swim, it’s almost like meditation.
- Just pottering makes me feel happy, especially picking flowers to arrange in vases around the house, lighting candles and making the house feel cared for and homely.
- The daily ritual of cooking dinner. When it’s just [my husband] Ted [Hewetson] and I, it’s low-key and relaxing. Sometimes we cook over the fire together – just really simple food.
- Yoga has to be in my top ten. I always feel so good afterwards – stretched, strong and centred. It’s one thing I know I need to make time for, because it gives me balance.
What makes you truly happy? My new novel, One Summer in Venice, is about a search by the main character, Addolorata, for the 10 things that make her happy – but compiling her personal recipe for joy is much trickier than she’d imagined. I asked some well-known Kiwi women to share their own lists of what brings them happiness. This week, celebrity cook Annabel Langbein shares a few of her favourite things.
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