Dinner with friends and Annabel Langbein

I dined with Annabel Langbein last night. A Free Range Life Summer Album

Just me, my Englishman and a few of our good friends – old and new.

Annabel wasn’t there at the table but I used her recipes from A Free Range Life (new and on sale now) so it was like she was there in a way.

Of course in typical Vix fashion, I hadn’t even decided what I was cooking, or how I was going to set the table, at 1 pm yesterday and guests were due at 7pm. Wasn’t it great then that every single thing I attempted to make worked first time.

I’m not incredibly flush at the moment so I was even more chuffed that I could put on a dinner party for 13 for under $100. Cor! I even managed to get the table flowers for a fiver after asking the local florist if she had any flowers on their last legs that she couldn’t sell. Day after dinner and they still look beautiful.


Setting the table with Rangitoto in the distance.


Colourful flowers and grape vine leaves as place settings.


Dinner with #AnnabelLangebein #afreerangelife


Here’s what was on the menu:


Devils on Horseback – A free range life, Annabel Langbein

Prawn & Chorizo Skewers with Aioli

Devils on Horseback (an oldie but a goodie that’s enjoying renewed popularity at dinner tables everywhere)


Blackjack Chicken Nibbles (nom, nom, nom)

Caesar Salad

Orzo Salad (Vicki’s recipe)


Pork Sticks

Smoky Chili Beans (Vicki’s recipe)


Smoky chilli beans – Vicki’s recipe with a bit of Annabel’s.

Sweet Things

Ice cream sandwiches

Kiwifruit sorbet

Of course our lovely friends bought yummy cheese boards, and strawberries with home grown herbs, delish salads and happy juice (white, red and beery!)

I made everything from scratch, no bought sauces in this casa. The chilli beans is an old recipe I used to make up when I was backpacking. With dried red kidney beans costing only about $0.50 kg (in those days) it was a really cheap meal for me to subsist on in the hostel. I would make a big batch up and then eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In last night’s version I added some cans of baked beans that I washed the sauce off. The soft white beans adds a really nice consistency with the kidney beans.

I also made Annabel’s Miracle Mayo, which I’ll freely admit I started cynically. I’ve been trying to make homemade mayo for decades since University Moosewood Cookbook days, and I’ve always stuffed it up. Was I too impatient to watch the oil and dribble it in sooooo slowly? Know not. But Annabel’s Miracle Mayo calls for everything in one container at the same time and the  appropriate application of a wand mixer.

I eat my words. It bloody is a miracle!

For sweetening us up after the main meal I served  home made ice cream sandwiches and thought fondly of my Dad as I did. They’re his favourite dessert treat, but I wonder what he’d make of the homemade ginger biscuits instead of the pink wafers? I suspect he would chomp it down happily, as our guests did.


Beautiful spring evening dinner party on the deck.

With the icecream sandwiches I served the homemade Kiwifruit Sorbet that I made. Sooo easy.


Vegemitevix is joining in with Parents Online New Zealand’s Deck Days!

No faffing around with sugar syrup, I found the recipe here on the F&P site.

I’ll post all recipes and links from the VegemiteVix Facebook page. Have you bought the A Free Range Life cookbook yet and tried any of the recipes? If so, let’s here from you in the comments below. If you’re reading this post from overseas you can buy Annabel’s cookbook here.

This post was another proud participant in the Parents Online NZ Deck Days’ linky. This is how we live our Summers, Down Under!


'Dinner with friends and Annabel Langbein' has 8 comments

  1. November 10, 2013 @ 6:23 pm Valerie Klein

    Yummy! Was totally delish! Can we come back next Saturday for another round? Thanks for a fabulous evening. Wonderful food, spectacular setting and special friends.


    • November 10, 2013 @ 9:46 pm vegemitevix

      Sooo pleased you could come, just sorry that it was so late for the wee one. Yes I don’t see why we don’t make it a regular fixture ;-p


      • November 10, 2013 @ 10:27 pm Valerie Klein

        It was your other guests that I felt sorry for! Although I have to say it was lovely to see my “wee ones” tuck in to Annabel Langbein’s “big people’s” food with such relish! Seems that the recipes are for all tastes! A Free Range Life is definitely on my wish list!


        • November 12, 2013 @ 10:32 am vegemitevix

          It is food that’s very accessible across age groups isn’t it? I must admit I think the cookbook is really practical for summer and the ingredients are not at all expensive.


  2. November 12, 2013 @ 10:44 am MidlifeSinglemum

    I love your eclectic mix of crockery in the first picture. I much prefer an interesting table to sets.


    • November 12, 2013 @ 10:46 am vegemitevix

      Thanks hun! I do have a gorgeous white set but I wanted the table to be full of eclectic colour – in napkins, flowers and crockery. 🙂 x


  3. November 15, 2013 @ 11:16 am Wellington Chic

    How fabulous to be able to be eating outside on the Deck with friends and family. Such special times and usually where great memories are made. Bring on the long summery nights. Food looks delicious too!


  4. May 16, 2015 @ 11:55 am Annabel Langbein’s Winter Cookbook / Vegemitevix

    […] party to celebrate the release of her Summer album (which was great fun. See dinner party pics here) So when Mother’s Day rolled around last Sunday the latest Winter album was high on my list […]


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