Some of you know about my total addiction to cookbooks, so when Bookworld approached me to review a couple of their cookbooks and do a cookbook giveaway for them, I was not about to say no! More about the giveaway at the end of the post…
The first review is the latest cookbook by the ever fabulous Lyndey Milan, Taste of Australia. This book is the companion to the TV series Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia. While I missed the TV series, this delightful book had me smiling from almost the opening page, when I saw the recipes were broken down to reflect the landscapes of our beautiful country: The City, The Vines, The Waterways, The Bush and The High Country.
The recipes and the stunning photography within reflect the myriad flavours, colours and senses I have experienced in my travels to these parts of Australia – cue many happy memories 🙂
There are many features of this book that I really like.
Primarily, it’s that more than a few of Lyndey’s recipes include the use of native Australian foods – from the common kangaroo and macadamia nuts – to the less common crocodile, wattleseed, lemon myrtle and native pepperberries. Anyone who helps increase our knowledge of how to cook with these ingredients gets a bit tick from me!
A number of recipes have been provided by the who’s who of Australian food – Maggie Beer (yes, I love her!) and Neil Perry are two – and plenty of first-class Australian food producers such as Yarra Valley Dairy who share a recipe with their stunning Black Savourine goat cheese (I’d rather just eat it on a cracker, but apparently it goes well with roast plums) and numerous wineries (remember the section titled The Vines?).
All the recipes note the preparation time and the cooking time, as well as a recommendation for a matching wine. Quite a few also include “Lyndey’s note”, an aside that might be information about making the recipe ahead of time or how to blind bake pastry for a tart or a tip to make the prep or cooking a little easier.
Many recipes have elements that can be used independently. I made the Aji sauce (p23) to go with BBQ chicken and BBQ vegies as part of a quick lunch (note to self: next time don’t use four jalapeño chillies…), and I’m eyeing off the beetroot tzatziki (p83) to make as a dip. The coconut and almond crumble and the raspberry sauce (p202) as part of the deconstructed peach Melba is screaming at me to be eaten with vanilla icecream. None of this peach Melba bizzo (although that does sound pretty good too!).
The title – Taste of Australia: A culinary adventure from the vines to the waterways
The author – Lyndey Milan
The publisher – Hardie Grant Books, September 2014, rrp $39.95 (AUD)
The recipes – over 90, showcasing regional food from around Australia
Highlights – beautiful photography of both the food and Australian scenery
Who this book is for – people who love Australia whether they live here or overseas. It would be a great memento to take home after a holiday. The few recipes I’ve made so far were fairly quick and easy to make, even for more novice cooks, as the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
The second book I chose was Simon Bryant’s Vegies. I’ve met Simon a few times at various food events in recent years and am a huge fan. It wasn’t until I heard him speak at a bloggers’ conference that I realised he is vegetarian. As I’m trying to eat more vegies and less meat, this book joined my collection almost as soon as it was published a little over two years ago.
I must confess while I look at this book a lot and drool over the photos (of the FOOD people, the food!), I haven’t cooked a lot of dishes from it, and those I have made have been served with meat. Sorry Simon.
I should say there is really no excuse for serving these dishes with meat, as many recipes suggest other recipes in the book to serve them with.
The cauliflower roasted with panch phoran and fresh turmeric (p198) is one of my favourites (if you make your own panch phoran as I did, make extra as it’s divine with roast potato), and the Chinese greens with garlic and Sichuan peppercorns (p44) is a little flavour explosion unlike the usual fairly boring way of cooking greens (this flavour combo also rocks with broccolini and asparagus).
The recipes in this book are divided into seasons, and the headnotes preceding each usually provide some great tips on many of the ingredients, particularly those that might be lesser known. Ingredients also have a focus on native Australian (a little more adventurous than Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Australia) and include Warrigal greens, desert limes, saltbush, bush tomato and more.
If you think eating vegies is all about steamed carrots or roast potato, then this book will open your mind to many new types of vegie and ways to cooking them.
The title – Vegies
The author – Simon Bryant
The publisher – Penguin, July 2012, rrp $39.99 (AUD)
The recipes – all meat and fish free (Simon is reluctant to call it vegetarian, even though it is), including quite a few luscious looking desserts
Highlights – it’s by Simon Bryant (not much else to say really!)
Who this book is for – people who want to eat less meat and fish and more vegies. This book is definitely different to many of the vegetarian cookbooks I have as it combines flavours and textures in an original way that I have not often seen. If you have a few skills in the kitchen (you don’t need a lot, but you need to be a little more advanced than a total novice) and want to shake up your meals from the humdrum, then this book is for you.
Now to the GIVEAWAY!!
Thanks to Bookworld I have one copy of Simon Bryant’s Vegies to give to a lucky reader!! To be in the running just leave a comment below telling me what your favourite vegetarian dish is – if you’ve never cooked or eaten vegetarian, tell me your favourite vegie (my fave is mushrooms but currently asparagus is giving them a run for the money!). The winner will be the one that makes my mouth water the most 🙂
Competition is only open to readers with an Australian postal address, and closes Monday 27 October at 5pm Brisbane time.
Note: Thanks to Bookworld for inviting me to partner with them on this post and for providing the prize. This post has been written according to my editorial policy, which basically says it’s all my opinion.