Cookbook review: Alimentari: Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew

‘Alimentari’ literally means ‘good food and camaraderie’ – and that is just what this celebrated Melbourne-based café/deli stands by. They present delicious, attainable Italian, modern European, and Middle Eastern food (with some cheffy touches) alongside a compelling story of success of the little deli that became a beloved cornerstone of the thriving and unparalleled cafe culture that Melbourne fosters.

The book features 100-plus recipes, from Spanish tortilla to chickpea coriander fritters to semolina porridge with rhubarb compote; pancetta and pea risotto to ricotta-stuffed eggplant ‘cannelloni;’ pork and fennel lasagna to Portuguese fish stew; chocolate fondant muffins to Manara’s apple cake, there is something to entice and excite any palate.

Accompanied by beautiful food and location photography from the deli and the café, this book will resonate with food lovers around the world as the story of a company that flourished because it spurned food fads and stuck to what it does so well: wholesome ingredients, accessible techniques, and traditional flavours.

Alimentari: Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca


MANERA’S APPLE CAKE

Serves 10–12

This is a brilliant cake. It forms a delicious crunchy crust on the top as it cooks, making it part crumble, part pie, part cake. It’s rustic, chunky and really delicious. Like most cakes, it’s best to wait until it has cooled to cut into it, but it’s also ridiculously good eaten warm with ice cream.

8 green apples (such as granny smith) peeled, cored and sliced into batons

3 eggs, lightly beaten

250 g (9 oz) sugar

500 g (1 lb 2 oz/3½ cups) self-raising flour

250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Grease a 26 cm (10¼ in) ring (bundt) tin.

Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined. This is a dense mixture so don’t be alarmed if it feels like cement.

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer into the cake inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and flip onto a rack to cool. If you’re having trouble dislodging the cake from the tin, it helps to place a wet cloth over the tin while it’s sitting upside-down on the rack. Let it sit for a few minutes before lifting the tin off—the coolness of the cloth will help to loosen the cake a little.

Recipe taken with permission from Alimentari: Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew, published by Hardie Grant Books

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