Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. If you’re running out of gift ideas, I can help with that! (My apologies to the unknown author of a carol with somewhat similar lyrics.)
As I frequently tell my husband (in a slightly shrill and utterly defensive tone) there is no such thing as too many (cook) books. They are invaluable sources of interest, reference and inspiration and make the very best Christmas gifts. I’m willing to bet there is a cookbook somewhere in the world to suit just about everybody. Actually, I suspect there is a cookbook somewhere in my house to suit just about everybody, but perhaps it would be best not to draw too much spousal attention to that. Here’s a brief look at a couple of recent publications that may hit the spot with someone you love. As a bonus I will be giving one copy of each of these books away to a lucky winner, so check out the reviews and look at the bottom of the page for competition details.
Published by Wakefield Press and part memoir, part recipe book, Mezze to Milk Tart by Cecile Yazbeck contains a tantalising array of culturally combined vegetarian dishes. Cecile Yazbeck was born into a Lebanese family in South Africa and went on to study anthropology and sociology there, using her education and skills to work on behalf of the disadvantaged who were suffering under Apartheid. Fearing for the safety of her family, she immigrated to Australia in the mid 1980’s and subsequently established her successful cooking school and catering business. Retired now, she has gathered her favourite recipes together with personal anecdotes and reflections to continue to share her passion for food.
Drawing together the varied threads of her culinary past, these dishes embrace the Indian and Malay-influenced flavours of the South African food of her childhood, some of the more traditional South African dishes, the Lebanese food which was her own family tradition and recipes that she developed and taught in her cooking school, “Cecile’s Vegetarian Kitchen” at her home in Wahroonga, NSW. With a focus on good health and environmental awareness, the book looks quite modest but just bursts with temptingly fresh recipes using plenty of fresh herbs and spices and also has a very satisfying chapter on desserts. The perfect gift for the budding vegetarian in the family.
Still riding the wave of popularity of Australia’s favourite television show, comes the best recipes from the most popular contestants and the expert guests in Masterchef Series 3 The Cookbook. Beautifully photographed and clearly laid out, there is no excuse for anyone not to try their hand at becoming a master chef in their own kitchen using this book. Using the same format which has proved so successful with the first two in the series, this book introduces us to the top 24 contestants and progresses, week by week, through the filming schedules and highlights of the series. A few of the (mostly chocolate) recipes caught my eye and have been noted and, for those who are interested in making a seasonal gingerbread house, there are instructions for the template for Adrian Zumbos’ Fairytale Gingerbread House with the accompanying detailed instructions and aspirational photograph. An absolutley essential gift for your Masterchef tragic.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a give-away so I will be giving away a copy of each of these highly desirable books and it is dead simple to be in the running to win one. Simply make a comment below in the “Comments” section and then head over to Facebook and “Like” Lambs Ears and Honey Facebook page and/or Twitter – @lambsearshoney – and follow me. I will keep this open until Christmas Eve when I will announce the winners and I will get the books into the post as soon as the post office opens again in the new year. So, don’t hold back folks – grab a chance for an extra present!