Summer is in the air, and what better way to celebrate than by embracing the bountiful, fresh ingredients of the season and transforming them into fast and easy meals that can be shared with others?

To spread some inspiration, Botany Town Centre in Auckland recently brought Fresh + Fast food to life, partnering with world-renowned chef and author Michele Cranston to cater to shoppers’ demands and offer a delicious gift with purchase that is also palatable to the family budget.

Botany Town Centre customers were in food heaven when they were rewarded through September with a free copy of the new Marie Claire Fresh + Fast cookbook by Michele Cranston, valued at $45.00.

Customers could even take the opportunity to taste some of the special meals that the Fresh + Fast book had to offer. Botany Town Centre retailers brought some of the book’s recipes to life for shoppers to test. The Coffee Club served delicious Roast Beef & Thai Basil Salad, Goode Brothers dished up the Fresh Tomato & Rocket Salad and Columbus Coffee presented the tropical Chicken & Papaya Salad.

“Due to the current economic climate, our customers have adjusted the way they are spending their money and have become much more savvy in their search for value. We’re pleased to be able to cater to new customer trends while offering relevant and valuable rewards,” says Botany Town Centre Senior Manager Jennifer Manning.

About The Cookbook:
Fresh + Fast features over 100 new recipes from Michele Cranston, each with a focus on fresh ingredients that can be put together quickly and easily to produce nutritious meals, snacks, desserts and drinks that promote good health and vitality.The Fresh + Fast book is the first in a series of three new books, and offers the quality and style synonymous with the Marie Claire brand and in a fresh new format. To find out more about the Marie Claire Fresh + Fast cookbook, visit www.botanytowncentre.co.nz or call 09 272 3888.

Tips for preparing Fresh + Fast meals in the home:
1.     Plan your meals ahead
Take a few minutes each week to plan your menus.  This will allow you the time to schedule quick, easy and healthy meals.
2.     Cruise the grocery store with a list.
A grocery list will ensure that you bring home everything you need to prepare the tasty and nutritious meals you planned—and help you to avoid loading up on unneeded items.
3.     Choose seasonal produce and pick the brightest colours that you can.
Buying fruits and vegetables in season lets you enjoy peak flavour at modest cost. Buy asparagus in the spring, peaches in the late summer, and apples in autumn. When the price of fresh produce is high, frozen fruit and vegetables are usually an economical choice.
4.     Equip your kitchen for low-fat food preparation.
A steamer for vegetables helps retain their flavour and nutrients without added fat, while a pan with a rack allows the fat to drip away from meat to help you prepare low-fat, flavoursome food.
5.     Use cooking methods that do not add extra fat to the dish.
Let the BBQ be your best friend; it’s great for summer entertaining and marinated meat grilled is perfect with a healthy salad. Alternatively, baking is a healthy option when cooking meat.
6.     Learn to use spices and herbs to kick up the flavour.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are classic herbs that will add flavour to your favourite dishes.
 
About Botany Town Centre:
Situated approximately 19km southeast of Auckland, Botany Town Centre is one of New Zealand’s largest retail developments, with 169 specialty stores. Its retailers range from Dick Smith Electronics to Rebel Sports and a full complement of banks, fashion stores, and New Zealand’s most popular café and restaurant chains. The centre includes one of Auckland’s largest Farmers stores and a New World supermarket. The centre provides diverse entertainment choices from the Circle Lounge at Berkeley Cinema to the award-winning Cock and Bull pub. In addition to its retail offering, Botany Town Centre is a community hub for other services including the Botany Library, the Community Constable, and a variety of medical and health providers.

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