Dessert

Cookbook Review: Dalmatia

Dalmatia is a celebration of the food of Croatia’s Mediterranean Coast, a region with a long, rich history, but one that is only slowly coming to prominence as tourists continue to discover its rugged beauty, blue waters and rustic, simple cuisine.

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Cookbook Review: The Complete Asian Cookbook

I love this book! It’s the 40th anniversary edition of Charmaine Solomon’s influential and iconic The Complete Asian Cookbook. Instantly heralded as a classic when it was first published in 1976, the book covers 800 classic and contemporary dishes from 15 countries (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, The Philippines, China, Korea and Japan). Written with the home cook in mind, Charmaine’s recipes are straightforward, simple to follow and work every time. Recipe and chapter introductions give valuable information about how local dishes are prepared and served, while the comprehensive glossary explains unfamiliar ingredients (which are steadily more commonplace in supermarkets today). The Complete Asian Cookbook is a book that belongs in the kitchens of every household. I highly recommend it! (more…)

Book Review: Harvest 

Harvest is a collection of recipes divided up by the seasons, with recipes for produce at its best in summer, autumn, winter and spring.

The book contains beautiful photography accompanied by gorgeous watercolour illustrations of the produce featured in the recipes. Embrace the summer sun with Seared tuna with fennel confit, or Butterflied king prawns with mango; watch the leaves fall while indulging in Chestnut risotto with sage and pancetta or Five-spiced duck with pomegranate salad; snuggle into winter with some Chipotle-braised beef ribs with spicy baked pumpkin or an Apple and quince pie; or celebrate the freshness of Spring with Moroccan broad bean salad with yogurt and crispy breadcrumbs or Blood orange and dark chocolate trifle.

Harvest will inspire you to build delicious seasonal feasts for any occasions in the year. (more…)

Book Review: Bowl by Lukas Volger

Bowl by Lukas Volger: Vegeterian recipes for Ramen, Pho, Bibimbap, Dumplings, and other one-meal dishes

I liked this cookbook—a lot.  It’s by Lukas Volger, a New York-based chef who set out to develop one-bowl meals that are all the rage today—but in vegetarian form. The possibilities for improvisational meals full of seasonal produce and herbs are nearly endless.

Volger’s ramen explorations led him from a simple bowl of miso ramen to a summer ramen with corn broth, tomatoes, and basil. From there, he went on to the Vietnamese noodle soup pho, with combinations like caramelized spring onions, peas, and baby bok choy. His edamame dumplings with mint are served in soup or over salad, while spicy carrot dumplings appear over toasted quinoa and kale for a rounded dinner. Grain bowls range from ratatouille polenta to black rice burrito with avocado. And unlike their meatier counterparts, these dishes can be made in little time and without great expense.

Volger also includes many tips, techniques, and base recipes perfected over years of cooking, including broths, handmade noodles, sauces, and garnishes.

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The best thing I ate this month – February 2016

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Photograph by Carl Tremblay – America’s Test Kitchen

A two layer cake with one batter? Lemon pudding cakes are a desert that should be beset with any number of issues. Yet during baking, the egg whites miraculously rise to the top in soufflé fashion, while the lemon pudding skillfully sinks to the bottom—just like magic! But how is this achieved? Carefully and with expert guidance from the fine folks at America’s Test Kitchen.

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Is it wrong to use food as a reward?

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Is it wrong to use food as a reward? I mean, everyone has got everything these days. How do you say ‘well done’ in an extra special way? Beautiful baubles? Tantalizing tchotchkes? Nyet! Food is the answer. What says ‘I love you and thank you for being exemplary human beings’ better than Thomas Keller’s Five-Spice Roasted Lobster with Port-Poached Figs and Beurre Monté? Nothing else, really.  So I set out to reward two individuals that I hold dear with a full-out extravagant gourmet feast.

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Early Thanksgiving

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Who knew I could bake? For this early Thanksgiving dinner I attempted a Salted Caramel Apple-Pear Tart from Fine Cooking Magazine. It looked great (if I do say so myself) and was not too arduous. This lattice-topped tart combined fall fruit with cardamom. Salted caramel tied the flavours together and large-crystal sanding sugar on the lattice added crunch. The Classic Pumpkin Pie, also from Fine Cooking Magazine, had a flaky, buttery crust and a creamy, spiced pumpkin filling.

The other standout dish was the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions (again from Fine Cooking Magazine) which was flavoured with thyme and a little cider vinegar. The soft and sweet onions nestled into the tender, roasted sprouts, so you got a taste of them with every bite.

I swear I’m not sponsored by Fine Cooking Magazine but I have to say that it was a nice having them by my side whilst cooking this whole feast.

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Salted Caramel Apple-Pear Tart

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Classic pumpkin pie

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Roasted brussel sprouts with caramelized onions

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Bread stuffing with fresh herbs

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Pecans

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Potato and Celery Root Gratin with Leeks

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Apricot-glazed turkey

Book Review: 10 Superb Granola Recipes

10 Superb Granola Recipes

Recipes often say much about a place and time. And let’s face it, Granola will forever be associated with the hippie generation and a youth movement that placed emphasis on natural foods.

In 10 Superb Granola Recipes, author Rachel Ellner recounts that during the Free Love Era in the 60 and 70s, commune food was to be shared, and granola was made in big batches. It was an expression of wholesomeness, and an alternative to processed ingredients.

The food consciousness of that era has made a reemergence and this book conveniently provides 10 granola recipes that have an emphasis on health and are free of gluten or refined sugar.

The cookbook is succinct and in no way intimidating, concentrating on ingredients that are found in most kitchen cupboards while expanding the granola palette with new flavour combinations. You’ll find granola recipes for cocoa cherry, banana chia coconut, pistachio golden raisin, tahini date and apricot nut, and the classic old fashioned, to name a few.

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