A Food & Travel Blog

Cookbook Reviews – Two Great New Titles To Get Your Hands On

23/09/2016 | By

Two new cookbook reviews from Murdoch Books – Check out “The Dinner Ladies” and “Ferment Pickle Dry” & let loose your inner domestic goddess.

the dinner ladies - cookbook reviews

My kids are (more or less) independent now, but I can well remember the years when we had after-school commitments every single night of the week.  I’d drag three cranky, tired and hungry kids through the door some time after six and then have to get an acceptable and nutritious meal on the table while supervising homework/music practice, listening the them all debrief (without coming to blows) and simultaneously acting as the television Nazi. I could really have done with a copy of “The Dinner Ladies” cookbook back then.

This cookbook contains 170 recipes for quickly prepared family-friendly meals that are tasty, interesting and can all be made ahead of time! It includes seasonal dishes, pastas, veggie-focused ‘thinner dinners’, desserts and dishes that you wouldn’t be ashamed to offer guests.

A quick look at any of my recipes (here or here, for example) will show you that I’m a big fan of good, tasty food that can be put together quickly. All of the delicious recipes in this cookbook can be put together in 30 minutes or less and nearly all of them can be easily scaled up. Generally, it’s just as quick to make double, giving you a few spare meals to stick in the freezer.

The Dinner Ladies, Sophie Gilliatt and Katherine Westwood, got together in 2007 and now run a thriving business delivering delicious, home-cooked meals every week to time-poor hungry households in Sydney. This book will release the domestic goddess within, help you reclaim some of your spare time and ease the tension at the end of a busy day – “arsenic hour” need no longer be toxic!

Buy it for anyone who has a busy family.

ferment, pickle, dry cookbook reviews

I’m going to take a stab and suggest that the very comprehensive “Ferment Pickle Dry” will find it’s way on to most of the same bookshelves that have a copy of Sandor Katz’ “The Art of Fermentation”.  

Ferment Pickle Dry is a new release from Britain’s The Fermentarium, which is a base for all things fermentation and where classes are taught in a diverse range of ferments.

This book covers dairy ferments including milk kefir, yoghurt and labneh, lactic ferments such as sauerkraut, kimchi and nukadoko, bean ferments such as tempeh and fermented hummus and soft fermented drinks such as kombucha, water kefir and ginger beer.

Authors Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley are passionate about preserving and cooking using traditional techniques. They don’t limit themselves to fermenting and also include a range of drying and pickling methods, explaining the essential kit you’ll need along with all the technical skills.

Each technique or process is accompanied by a selection of recipes which expand on the preserved product. Recipes cover simple dishes such as sauerkraut rosti and borscht, on to more elaborate meals like preserved orange, cuttlefish and squid ink linguine.  There are also recipes for breads, crackers, desserts, pestos, pastes, stock powders and salts.

This book is so accessible that I’d defy any cook – at any skill level – to spend some time with it without giving at least one or two of the techniques a try.

Buy it for anyone loves to play in the kitchen and who wants to expand their skills and stock their pantry full of seasonal goodies.

Murdoch Books sent Lambs’ Ears and Honey review copies of both of these books.

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  1. Summer

    Love the cover of the first book! Looks so fun and cute ♥