Cookbook reviews

A Tart for May

A Tart for May

A Tart for May, Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower: How to Cook with Vegetables and Other Plants by Gill Meller. Photography by Andrew Montgomery.

A Tart for May, Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower: How to Cook with Vegetables and Other Plants by Gill Meller.

Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a cookbook about plants—it’s about making the most of the land’s bounty in your everyday cooking.

Making small changes to the way we cook and eat can both lessen the impact we have on the environment and dramatically improve our health and wellbeing: good for us and for future generations to come. Making plants and vegetables the focus of your meals can improve your cooking exponentially—they provide a feast of flavours, colours and textures.

Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower is a true celebration of seasonal vegetables and fruit, packed with simple and surprisingly quick vegetarian recipes. With roots, we think of the crunch of carrots, celeriac, beetroot. From springtime stems like our beloved asparagus and rhubarb, through leaves of every hue (kale, radicchio, chard), when the blossoms become the fruits of autumn—apples, pears, plums—the food year is marked by growth, ripening and harvest.

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Blood orange upside-down cake

Blood orange upside-down cake

Blood orange upside-down cake, Finding Fire: Cooking at its most elemental by Lennox Hastie. Photography by Nikki To.

Finding Fire: Cooking at its most elemental 

Finding Fire is a book about cooking with fire. Now with a new cover, it tells the story of how the UK-trained chef Lennox Hastie learnt the language of fire and the art of harnessing it. The book presents more than 80 recipes that celebrate the instinctive, focused cooking of ingredients at their simple best using one of the oldest, most fundamental cooking tools.

In Finding Fire, Lennox explains the techniques behind creating a quality fire, and encourages readers to see wood as an essential seasoning that can be varied according to how it interacts with different ingredients. Recipes are divided by food type: seafood, vegetables, meat (including his acclaimed steak), fruit, dairy, wheat and bases.

Alongside his recipes, Lennox tells of his journey from Michelin-star restaurants in the UK, France and Spain to Victor Arguinzoniz’s Asador Etxebarri in the Basque mountains and, ultimately, to Australia to open his own restaurant, Firedoor. The result, is an uncompromising historical, cultural and culinary account of what it means to cook with fire.

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Mulberry Clafoutis

Mulberry Clafoutis

Mulberry Clafoutis, How Wild Things Are: Cooking, fishing and hunting at the bottom of the world by Analiese Gregory. Photography by Adam Gibson.

How wild things are

How Wild Things Are celebrates nature and the slow food life on the rugged and sometimes wild island of Tasmania.

When chef Analiese Gregory relocated after years of pushing through her anxiety and cooking in high-end restaurants, she found a new rhythm to the days she spent hunting, fishing, cooking, and foraging—a girl’s own adventure at the bottom of the world.

With more than 50 recipes, including cheese-making and charcuterie, interwoven with Analiese’s thoughtful narrative and accompanied by stunning photography, it is also a window into the joys of travel, freedom, vulnerability, and the perennial search for meaning in what we do. This is a blueprint for how to live, as much as how to cook.

How Wild Things Are: Cooking, fishing and hunting at the bottom of the world is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.   (more…)

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole

Chicken Mole, excerpted from The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day © 2020 by Michelle Smith. Photography © 2020 by Michelle Smith and Jennifer Skog.

The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day © 2020 by Michelle Smith.

Today, more than ever, people are looking to transition to a whole foods-based diet, aware of the health benefits of fresh foods over highly processed options.

Still, people are used to convenience and have busy schedules and little time to put a meal on the table. The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day solves the problem of what’s for dinner during a hectic week.

With simple, accessible recipes that are designed to be made ahead, used for leftovers, or thrown into a slow cooker, families will be able to easily prepare healthy meals on a regular basis.

Chapters like Sheet Pan Recipes, One-Pot Wonders, Meal Prep, and Leftover Makeovers will guide readers in making the most of their time in the kitchen while delivering healthy recipes that can be made with minimal effort.

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Chocolate Mousse and Meringue Cake

Chocolate Mousse and Meringue Cake

Chocolate Mousse and Meringue Cake, The Ultimate Book of Chocolate: Make your chocolate dreams become a reality by Melanie Dupuis. Photography by Pierre Javelle.

The Ultimate Book of Chocolate: Make your chocolate dreams become a reality

In The Ultimate Book of Chocolate trained pastry chef Melanie Dupuis will teach you how to make your chocolate dreams become a reality. Learn how to temper, mould and decorate like a pro with the complete guide to everything chocolate.

Starting with the basics, Melanie will take you through all the different varieties of chocolate you will be working as all the other basic ingredients required. She then explains in detail, accompanied with step-by-step pictures, all the various techniques in the book, from tempering to making ganache, chocolate mousse, creme anglaise, biscuit bases, meringue and more. The main recipes include every chocolate dessert you could ever imagine, plus more, from caramel bonbons and millionaire’s shortbread to Easter eggs, truffles, macarons, cakes, Swiss rolls, eclairs and more: this truly is a chocoaholic’s dream book!

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Basque Chicken

Basque chicken

Basque chicken, A Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way by Rebekah Peppler. Photography by Joann Pai.

À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way

À Table: Recipes for Cooking and Eating the French Way is an alluring, delicious invitation to the French table from Paris-based American food writer and stylist, Rebekah Peppler. It is both a repertoire-building cookbook and a stylish guide that will make readers feel as though they are travelling through France with a close friend.

New York Times contributing writer Rebekah Peppler shares 125 elegant, “new French” recipes that reflect a modern, multicultural French table. With approachable recipes, a conversational tone, and aspirational photography, À Table contains secrets for cooking simple, sophisticated meals and recreating the magic and charm of French life anywhere in the world.

125 ACCESSIBLE RECIPES: Included are classics such as Ratatouille and Crème Brûlée; regional dishes, such as Basque Chicken, Niçoise (for a Crowd), and Alsatian Cheesecake; as well as recipes born of the melding of the cultures and flavours that help define contemporary French eating, from Bigger Bánh Mì and Lamb Tagine to Green Shakshuka.

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Smoky paprika chicken with warm cannellini beans

Smoky paprika chicken with warm cannellini beans

Smoky paprika chicken with warm cannellini beans, The Shortcut Cook: More than 60 classic recipes and the ingenious hacks that make them faster, simpler and tastier by Rosie Reynolds. Photography by Louise Hagger.

The Shortcut Cook: More than 60 classic recipes and the ingenious hacks that make them faster, simpler and tastier

It’s a myth that to make the very best versions of classic dishes, they have to be prepared from scratch. It’s actually a well-known fact in the food industry that chefs have always used shortcuts to create great food. But home cooks have not always been allowed the same privilege, and are often made to feel guilty about taking the easy route.

From her extensive experience, Rosie Reynolds has distilled over 60 much-loved classic recipes, such as eggs Benedict, spaghetti and meatballs, and lemon meringue pie, and applied every smart, time-saving tip, flavour boost and genius twist that she has learned along the way to produce failsafe recipes with no compromises.

This book is here to make your life in the kitchen bolder, brighter, and a whole lot easier. And this food isn’t trend-led: it’s tried and tested, world-over favourites that people love to eat and aspire to cook—but ready in a flash. (more…)

Greek Chicken and Potato Traybake

Greek Chicken and Potato traybake

Greek Chicken and Potato Traybake, excerpted from Milk Street: Tuesday Nights Mediterranean. Photography by Connie Miller.

Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean

Mediterranean cooking is so much more than olive oil, grilled fish, and just-harvested vegetables. It is a diverse cuisine that encompasses the cultures and traditions of Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The food is direct, simple, and honest. It is proud to be served without disguise or embellishment.

Every Tuesday Nights recipe delivers big flavour, but the cooking is quick and easy. Each of these 125 Mediterranean dinners is ready in under 45 minutes, and many take just 20 minutes start to finish. Dishes include:

  • Green Shakshuka
  • Spicy Egyptian Eggplant with Chickpeas and Herbs
  • Bulgur Salad with Summer Vegetables and Pomegranate Molasses
  • Harissa-Spiced Pasta and Chicken with Green Beans
  • Greek Spanakorizo with Shrimp
  • Spanish Ribeye with Green Olives and White Wine.

The recipes are organized by how you cook, with some chapters focused on time—Fast (45 minutes), Faster (35 minutes), and Fastest (under 25 minutes)—while others dive into themes such as Hearty Vegetable Mains, Supper Soups, and Flat and Folded—including pizza, flatbreads, pita sandwiches, and panini. Many of the recipes require only one piece of cookware, and they all are built from pantry staples. Dinner? Solved—every night of the week.

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Danish Dream Cake

Danish Dream Cake

Danish Dream Cake, Scandikitchen: The Essence of Hygge by Brontë Aurell. Photographs by Peter Cassidy.

Scandikitchen: The Essence of Hygge by Brontë Aurell

Hygge is in the zeitgeist, but what is it, how do we bring hygge into our lives and why are we so captivated with this Danish word?

According to Brontë, it is really not complicated and doesn’t involve spending vast amounts of money on candles or blankets… in its purest form it is simply about appreciating life.

Explained in 12 entertaining chapters interspersed with recipes, you will learn first about the origins of the word hygge and then how to embrace it.

Essays include: Hygge and Happiness; Hygge and Baking; Hygge and Time; Hygge and Stress; Hygge and Soul; Hygge and Nature; and Hygge and Your Home. Hygge is a completely psychological and emotional state of being.

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Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce

Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce

Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce, The Kitchen without Borders. Photography by Penny De Los Santos.

The Kitchen Without Borders

The Kitchen Without Borders is a special kind of cookbook. In it, chefs from around the world—all part of Eat Offbeat, a catering company staffed by immigrants and refugees who have found a new home and new hope through cooking—offer up to 70 authentic, surprising, nourishing recipes. The food has roots that run as deep as its flavours, celebrating the culinary traditions of Syria, Iran, Eritrea, Venezuela, and more.

Discover Iraqi Biryani, a rice dish combining vegetables and plump dried fruits with warming spices. Chari Bari, hand-formed meatballs simmered in Nepali-spiced tomato and cashew sauce. Iranian rice with garbanzos, Sri Lankan curry dhal, and Manchurian cauliflower straight from the Himalayas.

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