January 23rd, 2011

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - The Cook's Bookshelf



Published in the City Hub and City News.



Crown Street Cooks [RRP $29.95]
Food from the heart of Surry Hills
This one has been out for a couple of months now, but I’m going to talk about it anyway because it’s one of the most charming cookbooks to hit my desk in years. Take a peek into the heart of one of Sydney’s most unique communities via a fundraising project that presents treasured family recipes from an astounding array of cultures side by side with dishes from world-famous chefs like Mark Best, Bill Granger and Luke Nguyen. There is loads of variety in the recipes, which run the gamut from simple to more complex. Whilst Tim Ritchie’s Twice Baked Gruyere Soufflés and Toko’s Scallops with Jalapeno Sauce had me salivating, I was also pleased to see the humble Lemon Delicious that I remember from my childhood also gets a look-in.
www.crownstreetcooks.com.au

Put ‘Em Up! [RRP $29.99] by Sherri Brooks Vinton
In my house, we LOVE condiments, but we’re trying to give up all the artificial nasties like added colours, high fructose corn syrup and other weird ingredients that make the contents of the jar sound more like a chemical soup. So I was a bit excited to see Sherri Brooks Vinton’s latest book on the art of drying, freezing, canning and pickling. Not only will it help you take advantage of what’s currently in season, it will also save you money because all those condiments certainly add dollars to your trolley! Sherri explains all the relevant techniques clearly in the first section of the book. The second section contains recipes arranged alphabetically by ingredient, with many recipes offering up multiple ways to preserve the same thing. First cabs off the rank in my kitchen are the Pickled Asparagus with Mustard Seed, making my own Kim Chi, and preparing a batch of Red Hot Vodka using habanero peppers!


MasterChef Australia Volume Two – The Cookbook [RRP $39.99]
The MasterChef success spews out another guaranteed spin-off, with this book (yet again) being the highest selling cook book in the week leading up to Christmas. Expect to find a nicely laid out collection of all the recipes from the latest series of MasterChef, including some corkers from the celebrity guests like Matt Moran’s Pan Fried Quail and Gnocchi and Justin North’s Caramelised Confit and Roast Rack of Suckling Pig. They’ve gone the extra mile with explanations of where to get the lesser known ingredients, and photos of difficult techniques, so this would suit those less at home in the kitchen. The contestants also have a few beauties in there like Alvin’s Drunken Chicken and series winner Adam’s Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Adriano Zumbo’s Macaron Tower is in there too in case you happen to like torture.

ABC Delicious: More Please [RRP $39.99]
Another title from the team of the well-known food magazine, ABC Delicious, this book presents 120 new recipes in a seasonal arrangement. From the vivid spring-time greens of Pea Felafel with Pita and Herby Yoghurt to the rich wintery excesses of Braised Beef Cheeks With Salsa Verde, you’ll find the book is chock full of beautifully presented, thoughtful dishes that you might actually get around to putting on your table. As you would expect, the photography and food styling are both particularly lovely.

Finally – if you’d like a FREE cook book, head on down to Harris Farm Markets, this weekend (22nd and 23rd January) before the Australia Day holiday. All you need to do is spend $100 (very easy to do in their amazingly well-stocked aisles) and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of Maggie’s Table (RRP $49.95) by celebrity cook and food manufacturer, Maggie Beer. Our local stores at Broadway, Bondi Junction, Potts Point and Edgecliff are all participating, and they’ll have plenty of product sampling opportunities to boot!
www.harrisfarm.com.au