In the kitchen with Nikki Crerar Co-Founder of Assortment

A series where we take a closer look into how the everyday cook fills up their cup, fridge, pantry, and bellies.  



Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Nikki and I am the co-founder of Assortment, along with my best friend Laura. We’ve been best friends since we were 10, we’ve been through many chapters together and I'm so excited for this new one - working as business partners (so far, so good).

Why did you start assortment?

Both Laura and I love to cook and unashamedly orient our days around our meals and have always been interested in all things; health, wellness and lifestyle - but it wasn’t until Auckland’s first lockdown that Assortment was born. It began as a labour of love - planning dinners and shopping lists for friends and family to make their lockdown shops a little easier. Feedback was really positive and it was clear not everyone enjoyed the generic food box options available (and the amount of unnecessary waste), so we thought, why not make our meal plans accessible for more people.

What’s your food philosophy?

Eat real food! If it isn't from a packet, it's usually a sign it's pretty healthy. But then again, everything in balance (cue my salt and vinegar chip obsession)

What’s your go-to easy mid-week meal?

A Thai green vegetable curry filled with lots of veggies - broccoli is non-negotiable, there's something about the way the florets soak up all the sauce and then nestle into the rice … so good!. Served with baked coconut rice. PSA coconut baked rice is outrageously good and I think you should cook it :)

Add 400ml tin of coconut cream + 350ml of water to a saucepan then bring to a boil. Add the coconut cream mix to a baking dish with 1 cup of jasmine rice + 2 Tbsp of coconut threads. Bake covered in tin foil for 15 minutes, then another 10 minutes uncovered. Enjoy xx

Day on a plate.

I have a Decaf coffee to get the day started and  I'll have my ‘real’ coffee at around 10. When you wake up cortisol naturally rises, so i'll use my artificial energy when I need it which is around that 10am mark.

Breakfast - Well despite my food philosophy .. 'eat real food', I do have a soft spot for cereal - specifically rices and cornflakes. But most of the time I'm being 'good' and I will make a frittata filled with roasted veggies and some sorta cheese, I'm quite liking grated halloumi in there at the moment.

Lunch - usually leftovers, it’s just my boyfriend and I, so most meals have leftovers, making life easy. If we do however manage to get through a serving for 4 (oops) i’ll make a salad with a portion of grains like quinoa tossed through a dressing, some cooked veggies, fresh herbs, toasted nuts or seeds and something creamy like avocado, feta or a creamy tahini sauce.

And to seal the deal i'll have a little chocolate.

Dinner - i'll either be cooking assortment or testing out new recipes for our menus.

After dinner ill have some tea and again some chocolate.



What’s always in your pantry or fridge?


I was recently away from home (and the comfort of my kitchen) and realised I have a chocolate addiction, our freezer (controversial) has always got at least 3 packets of 92% Whittaker's sitting in there.

What fills up your cup?

I love an early morning adventure - I'm talking a 3:30 am wake up, usually, to drive up north to catch the sunrise and be the first ones in the water, there’s something satisfying about doing stuff while everyone else is sleeping.  

Death row meal - starter, main and dessert

Starter - Whole roasted cauliflower, preferably the one from Loretta in wellington - I had it about 4 years ago, but I still dream of it.

Main - Lasagna with a peppery rocket side salad and a glass of red

Desert - My mum's brownie, it’s super-rich and fudgy/kinda undercooked, with chunks of chocolate.

Most hated food?

Bananas except for them in a cake or bread. I think it's the texture that gives me the ick.

Quickfire:

Cook or clean - cook

Tea or coffee - coffee

Sweet or savoury - savoury

Dine-in or takeaway - takeaway

Wine or cocktails - I cant pick. Very much depends on the occasion, weather and my day…

Breakfast or dinner - dinner

Cheese or chocolate - chocolate

Burger or pasta - pasta

Crunchy peanut butter or smooth - I recently found out I'm allergic to peanut butter and it’s devastating

Mild or spicy - mild

Eggs or pancakes - Pancake, thin not the fat hot cake variety

Vegetarian or meat-lovers - Vegetarian

Salt and vinegar or barbecue - Salt and vinegar

Attend or host - attend