Murdoch Books continues to deliver quality books on food. This month they’re releasing a new Annabel Crabb cookbook, plus a fascinating food history.
As I’ve said before, Murdoch Books are right up there when it comes to quality cookbooks, and two new releases today continue the trend.
Having Annabel Crabb on their lists must be a publishers dream. She’s smart as a whip, articulate, and has a massive fan base thanks to her astute Walkley award-winning journalism and Chat 10 Looks 3, her hugely popular podcast with Leigh Sales. In partnership with childhood friend, Wendy Sharpe, she also produces cookbooks that genuinely resonate with home cooks.
Just the suggestion that a new Annabel Crabb cookbook is in the wings is enough to send her followers flocking to bookshops to place pre-orders – and with good reason. Their previous book, ‘Special Delivery’, was a popular collection of simple, delicious recipes they’ve shared together over the years, and their new effort ‘Special Guest’ takes a refreshing look at cooking for guests.
We’ve all blithely thrown out casual lunch or dinner invitations that have later become cause for acute regret. The struggle with time constraints and family realities is real but, as Annabel and Wendy point out, your friends want to spend time with you and will certainly cope with domestic debris – especially if you’ve mastered their ‘one splendid thing done well’ mantra.
‘Special Guest‘ is a guide to taking simple basic dishes and turning them into something special with as little fuss as possible. This cookbook has you covered for any meal eventuality. The recipes are largely vegetarian, but many can happily accomodate the addition of meat, and there’s a selection that can be made vegan or gluten-free.
There are dishes with the wow factor, like an apricot, pistachio and rosewater coronet, for those who want to run with the whole ‘splendid’ option, and ideas for tarting up a simple salad or pasta dish for a fuss-free meal that can literally be thrown together for an impromptu lunch.
As the girls say, entertaining your friends shouldn’t result in tearful bouts of tidying (or ‘crydying’, as Annabel has christened it) and histrionics in the kitchen – it’s about having fun and being generous. Forget about the washing on the table – push it to one end and sit down with your guests for a chat and something delicious.
I feel sure ‘The Seven Culinary Wonders of the World‘, by Jenny Linford, will be of interest to many of my readers. It takes those with an interest in where their food has come from on a journey of discovery, exploring the origins and cultural history of seven everyday ingredients.
These are seven things that we all take for granted in our kitchens – pork, honey, salt, chilli rice, tomatoes and cacao – and each has a long, fascinating history. The stories behind some of these key ingredients are worthy of dedicated books (and some have them!) and in this book Linford walks us through their histories, methods of production and cultural significance, providing both traditional and modern recipes for each.
Each of these diverse foods has a fascinating story and Linford shares these in an engaging and accessible fashion. You’ll discover things about these staples that includes the importance of traditional community hog killing, the place of cacao in prehistoric South American cultures and the modern craft chocolate movement, the history of tomato sauce and why we enjoy the pleasurable pain of chillies.
Jenny Linford has written for the Financial Times, Time Out London Eating and Drinking Guide and has published several earlier food books. She’s cleverly condensed a wealth of research on these foods into a very approachable book and one that any committed food lover will enjoy.