Sharing Some Cookbook Love – Christmas Shopping Ideas
It’s been a while since I devoted a whole post to my cookbook addiction, so this is well overdue! My new cookbook crushes will appeal to all food lovers.
My name is Amanda and I am a cookbook addict. Sad (for The Bloke, at least), but true. For me it’s anything but sad. It seems I can always find just one more cookbook to add to my groaning bookshelves. There’s been a few new additions to my collection, so I’m sharing the love a little – after all, it’s almost time to think of Christmas gifts!
The first two books were sent to me by Murdoch Books who, it has to be said, must have one of the best cookbook catalogues in the country. Their range is diverse, the quality of their publications is excellent and, if my memory serves me well, I don’t think I’ve found a poorly tested recipe in any of the ones I’ve cooked from.
From the moment I saw Adelaide’s much-loved local Poh Ling Yeow’s latest cookbook I knew it would somehow make it’s way to my shelves. Just one look at the title – Poh Bakes 100 Greats – said it all for me. Poh loves to bake, as any visitor to her Jamface cafe and bakery at the Adelaide Central Market could tell. Her passion for this art goes back to her childhood and baking is what she turns to when she needs to slow down and reflect on life.
Divided into sections on savoury bakes, French-style bakes, traditional bakes, pies and tarts, and bake-sale favourites, Poh also includes a chapter on some of the basic techniques that will lift (see what I did there) your bake to the next level. I’ve bookmarked quite a few recipes in this book for future baking projects, including Wei Yee’s choc peanut butter cupcakes, Madeleines with strawberry rosewater glaze, pecan cinnamon scrolls, German red wine cake …. the list goes on. Keep an eye on my Instagram feed for my future baking adventures.
Get this for anyone who loves baking, or who needs some inspiration to get into this meditative past-time.
Popular Australian chef Matt Moran has been working in commercial kitchens for 30 years and has been behind some of our most awarded and iconic eateries. An Aussie food hero, he’s also a fourth generation farmer with a vast knowledge of good food and a deep respect for the culinary richness that our multicultural society has brought to the collective table.
In Matt Moran’s Australian Food Coast + Country he celebrates the best of the best, from paddock to plate, and the recipes in this cookbook reflect the diversity of our regions, cultures and produce. Matt lives in Sydney, on the coast, but also farms just west of the Blue Mountains, so his cooking is informed by both, very different, locations. Strongly focused on home cooking, these are the dishes he likes to cook himself. Dishes like felafel with tabouli and beetroot hummus, pork and fennel sausage pasta with red wine, chicken schnitzels with a parmesan crust, lobster with garlic butter or – yes – date scones, all tick my boxes.
Buy this for anyone who loves great food and great produce and wants to improve their home-cooking game.
The Palestinian Table, by Reem Kassis, (Phaidon) was a gift to me from The Bloke – yes, he who complains about the excess of cookbooks – and is a wonderful addition to my Middle Eastern cookbook collection. The author grew up in Jerusalem, that melting pot of food and religion, and is herself the daughter of a Palestinian Christian and a Palestinian Muslim.
The culinary traditions of Palestine are ancient and a distinct signifier of national identity. Now living abroad, Kassis’ aim in writing this book and documenting her mothers food is, in part, an effort to share the food culture that she enjoyed growing up, with her own children. Getting the recipes from her mother, an intuitive cook with no need for precise measurements, was no easy task and she has painstakingly documented the ingredient measurements and explained the flavour profile of each dish.
Focusing on recreating the true flavours of Palestinian home cooking, rather than the simplified generic Middle Eastern food so common now, this is a book for those who value culture, tradition and culinary authenticity.
And speaking of culinary authenticity, I was totally thrilled to finally get my copy of Istanbul and Beyond, by my friends Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman. I’ve been waiting for this book for ages and have followed this couple’s journeys as they tracked through the diverse regions of Turkey, searching out the dishes of each area and spending time with the warm, friendly people who cook them.
The book is divided into the diverse regions of Turkey, with glorious photos taken by David Hagerman, whose work can also be found in The Washington Post, Saveur magazine and the New York Times. Each of the dishes has been meticulously tested by Robyn, and then by a team of volunteers, and each comes with accompanying notes explaining a little about the dish, sometimes offering substitute ingredients, and where she first enjoyed it.
I know the work, passion and patience that went into this book and I’m so happy for Robyn and David on it’s publication – and for me, because I’ll be exploring these dishes for quite some time.
Called ‘nothing short of revelatory in its exploration of the secret flavors of Turkish food’ by world-renowned food scholar and award-winning food writer Darra Goldstein, Istanbul & Beyond is a must for lovers of Turkish food in all it’s diversity.