Another collection of cookbook love to inspire your Christmas shopping list – or just to inspire you. You know, there’s no such thing as too many cookbooks.
Once again the year is hurtling towards it’s conclusion and I’m left wondering where it all went. One thing I do know is that 2017 blessed us with some great cookbooks. They are always a good Christmas gift idea – to give to yourself or even others! I’ve looked at quite few here and there during the year, and here’s my final roundup of some of those that have passed across my kitchen counter this year.
Tony Tan’s Hong Kong Food City (Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99) is a fantastic glimpse at one of the world’s most exciting cities and it’s food. A consulting chef, the French and UK trained Tan has presented masterclasses and been guest chef at hotels and restaurants throughout Australia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Spain and was an international judge at Hong Kong’s leading Chinese cuisine challenge, The Best of The Best Culinary Competition.
Through 80 separate dishes, this book explores Hong Kong’s rich and diverse culinary tradition – it’s Chinese roots and it’s colonial connections. Tony’s knowledge of this food is first-hand. He speaks Cantonese and Mandarin fluently and loves engaging and chatting with market stall holders, hawkers and chefs. Keeping each recipe authentic, he makes a point of explaining the Chinese ingredients, tells you where to look for them and also makes suggestions of where to eat the best examples of some of them.
I adore Hong Kong and all it’s madness – and I adore this book.
I’m usually not a huge fan of celebrity chefs, but Matt Preston’s new Yummy Easy Quick (Pan Macmillan Australia, RRP $39.99) hasn’t been far from the kitchen bench since it landed in my post office box. This book is all about food that’s crammed with flavour, but prepared with minimal time and fuss – so you know that he and I are singing from the same hymn book! I’ve cooked several family dinners from this without any hiccoughs or disappointments, and without having to source obscure ingredients.
Using ingredients that are mostly to hand, there are over 100 easy recipes in this book, many with tasty variation ideas, plus ‘recipe generators’ that provide mix and match ideas for staples from the fridge and pantry. The food is delicious and every recipe works – that’s all I need to know for it to have a permanent place in my heart.
Speaking of Celebrities, they don’t come much bigger than Jamie Oliver. The newest from his corner is 5 Ingredients, Quick & Easy Food (Penguin Random House Australia, RRP $49.99) and, like the above, it offers fast, tasty meals. Featuring over 130 new recipes, which focus unapologetically on brilliant combinations of just five compatible ingredients, this cookbook is structured to cover all of the bases from exciting veggie and salad dishes, brilliant approaches with proteins, and combos to lift your pasta, rice and noodle game up to the next level. And, bless him, our Jamie hasn’t forgotten the most important course – dessert!
Even if you’re short of time or inspiration, there’s no need to despair at dinner time and reach for the take-out menus – this empowering book has all you need to get a great meal on the table quickly.
A cursory glance at the tag cloud on the side of my blog page will tell you how I feel about baking – I love it! Emilie Raffa’s new book Artisan Sourdough Made Simple (Page Street Publishing, RRP $32.99) is one I have quite a personal connection to. A straightforward guide to producing authentic sourdough products with minimal kneading, Emilie was lured into her love of sourdough after following the Australian blog written by my friend Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.
One of the most generous people I know, Celia is a passionate sourdough baker who has willingly shared her starter all over Australia, and all over the world. As I type this, I have two loaves in the oven that owe their provenance to ‘Priscilla’, Celia’s starter – and Emilie’s introduction to it resulted in this excellent book.
Emilie begins with the starter and takes the reader through the no-knead process step-by-step. With a little inspiration, a great starter and these clear instructions anyone can produce delicious sourdough bakes, from pan loaves and sandwich bread, whole grain breads, rolls, focaccia and sweet or savoury artisan loaves. Don’t be daunted by sourdough, baking it is simple, fun and delicious. I love this book so much I bought the digital version and the hard copy!