It’s true – I rarely meet a cookbook I don’t like. Here’s a quick look at a couple I’m currently crushing on, but beware – cookbook addiction is contagious!
It is a simple fact that I cannot pass up a great cookbook. Or even just a good one. And the average ones often have one or two really handy recipes, as well. Okay, I admit it. My name is Amanda and I’m a cookbook addict.
Lately a couple of cookbooks that I’ve really enjoyed have made their way into my kitchen and I wanted to let you know about them.
First up is quite a special cookbook for me. In the French Kitchen with Kids is written by my friend Mardi Michels, an ex-Adelaide girl who is the author of a food blog called eat. live. travel. write. She’s also a French elementary school teacher in Toronto and, twice a week, wrangles small boys in the school kitchen to teach them French cooking.
As a mother who, because of fatal (and frankly short-sighted) control issues, totally failed to teach my own children much at all about cooking, the idea of letting a dozen boys loose in the kitchen to construct potentially complicated French classics makes me shudder. But Mardi loves it – and is a raging success at it.
For some years I’ve been following her social media accounts, seeing her students churn out some seriously impressive French food, and now she shares the how-to of her methods with the world. The recipes in her book are traditional classics, presented in a clear and approachable manner, breaking down the dishes into simple steps and pretty much guaranteeing a successful outcome for kids of all ages. This book is perfect for any kid old enough to hold a spoon.
I’d also recommend it for any adults who are keen to approach French cooking, but feel intimidated by it’s lofty reputation. You all know what lazy cook I am, yet I’ve made several dishes from the book with minimal fuss and absolutely no failures – and, let’s face it, if a bunch of unruly 10 year olds can produce perfectly delicious gougères, créme brûlées and ratataouille, I’m damn sure I can too.
While much of my own cooking is big on flavour, but low on effort, it’s also pretty preoccupied with baking.
‘Cake’ is one of my favourite words. Ever.
When I discovered Lesley Russell’s Baking for the Thermomix, I knew that this was a cookbook I was really going to get along with. I’ve had my Thermomix, plus the Magimix Cook Expert, for some years. I’m still in love with how much time and effort they both save me and anything that helps me get cake into my face faster gets an automatic spot on my bookshelves.
Lesley Russell is a devoted pastry cook and baker, with a lifetime’s experience as a professional cook. In ‘Baking for the Thermomix’, she gives traditional bakes like Chelsea Buns, Garibaldi biscuits and a delicious Irish brack the Thermomix treatment, along with large cakes, biscuits, savoury tarts and breads. The recipes range from quite simple, through to the more complex and all appear to have been thoroughly tested – again, I have yet to have anything fail on me (and that’s not something that can always be said of baking books).
The Thermomix and Magimix Cook Expert are very expensive pieces of kitchen kit, so if you’ve spent up big on one, you’re going to want to get your money’s worth out of it. They are both fantastic when it comes to mixing batters and kneading, so are a joy for anyone fond of baking. Obviously this cookbook is written specifically for the Thermomix, but the recipes are readily adaptable for the Magimix CE. I’d highly recommend it for those who see lots of cake in their future (and in their faces).