Home cooking has had a new lease of life in these ‘interesting’ covid times, so share some inspiration – give new cookbooks for Christmas!
I know I’ve been MIA a bit of late on this site, but I’ve just finished a huge project – a 15,000 word thesis which completes the Advanced Studies in Taste course I took part in, in France, last year. Normal (ish) service will resume on these pages shortly. 😁
I’m a sucker for cookbooks at any time and they’re absolutely the perfect gift for the foodie in your life – so here’s a selection of new releases from publishers Pan Macmillan Australia. Make someone you love smile when you give them new cookbooks for Christmas. 😊
First up is the much anticipated new one from Julia Busuttil Nishimura, “A Year of Simple Family Food” ($39.99 RRP). I reviewed her popular “Ostro” earlier in the Covid year and was blown away by how many people expressed a passion for her simple, fresh, down to earth food. Old fans won’t be disappointed by this new volume which is divided into seasons, focussing both on the best of ripe produce and the economics of using what is plentiful at each stage of the year.
The recipes in this book are generous and unfussy, but big on taste, making the simple act of putting a meal on the family table an act of caring and love. The range goes from recipes such as an easy summery whole baked snapper, to a Maltese white bean salad that’s every bit as good warm on a chilly night, or cold on a summer table, to a hearty Japanese braised pork dish or cavatelli with sausage and cavolo nero, with an excellent selection of sweet treats as well. Most of the dishes are easy to follow and prepare, so perfect for the beginner, but inspirational enough to excite a seasoned cook as well.
Another much-anticipated volume, and a must-have for any vegetarians hoping for new cookbooks for Christmas, is “To Asia, With Love” ($39.99 RRP), the latest from Hetty McKinnon. McKinnon is the Sydney cook and food writer who inspired with her vegetable-driven books “Community”, “Neighbourhood” and “Family” – and if you haven’t seen them, you need to hunt them down. They’ll increase your summer repertoire hugely.
She now lives in the US and her latest is a celebration of the food she enjoyed in her childhood as an Australian-born Chinese. This is a cracker of a book – full of inspiration for even those who don’t cook Asian food all that much (that would be me). She kicks it off with a glossary of necessaries for the Asian pantry, including some recipes for sauces and flavoured oils that will become standards on anyone’s table.
Still vegetarian, the chapters cover food categories, like noodles, dumplings, rice, etc., and are all bursting with flavour. I’ve yet to try her cult favourite buttery miso Vegemite noodles, but the super quick cold peanut butter and green tea noodles with cucumber, and her sesame rice noodles with ‘everything oil’ and charred broccoli are already favourites here. Not just for vegetarians, this book has something for everyone and cooks of any skill level, too.
“The Commonsense Cook” by Colin Fassnidge ($39.99 RRP) does just what it says on the box. It offers a great range of approachable recipes for real family food that everyone can enjoy, and that won’t startle the horses. Colin is a firm believer in food being fun and tasty, rather than intimidating and too serious, and uses this book to help home cooks master the basics and to build from those foundations.
He maintains a strong focus on food waste here – almost every dish has two uses, and he embraces cheaper cuts of meat and left-overs warmly. With recipes for everything from simple salads with killer dressings, through to roasted pork belly or prawn bisque, this book covers every occasion – a simple lunch, a family meal or a special event. This book will definitely become a well-thumbed family favourite.
I guess because we’ve all been stuck at home, it’s been a big year for cookbooks – I’ve reviewed a diverse selection over the last few months. Hopefully we’ll all keep cooking throughout the new year – so grab the ones you love some inspiration in the form of new cookbooks for Christmas!