The irrepressible Annabelle White cajoles and encourages
her readers in her latest book, Casual Cooking: Recipes for
good times in the kitchen
She promises instant success at your next dinner party with
things like Asian salmon served on mashed potatoes, or
Greek-inspired prawn feta and orzo salad, persuading you they
are simple and delicious, or that you won't be able to stop
at one fried stuffed mussel, and that her sticky date
pudding, "the best ever served with lashings of caramel
sauce", is marriage-proposal material! Her enthusiasm is
infectious and her recipes look good.
Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi are not well known in New
Zealand but I'm pleased to see their latest cookbook
(Ebury Press) here. The two chefs behind the
noted Ottolenghi restaurant in London grew up in Jerusalem,
Ottolenghi in the Jewish west and Tamimi in the Arab east, but
they did not meet until they were both working in London.
In this book they explore the flavours and smells of the
city's food which is influenced by the many peoples who live
there, from eastern Europe, Tripoli, Tunisia, France, Britain,
Palestine, Germany, Spain, Ethiopia, Russia and Armenia, among
other places. While they all have their own culinary
traditions, there are common elements such as cucumber and
tomatoes to make salad, stuffed vegetables with rice or rice
and meat, pickled vegetables, and of course olive oil, lemons
and baked pastries stuffed with cheese, not to mention the
local, seasonal ingredients, they say.
Throughout there are little stories explaining the origins of
a recipe, or how and when and which community eats it, such
as kibbeh, or the heated arguments about who invented hummus
and where the best is to be found.
Recipes include comfort food like the ancient mejadra, a dish
of lentils, rice, spices and fried onions, as well as fresh
salads and vegetable dishes - some beetroot recipes like
pureed beetroot with yoghurt and the herb za'atar, or a spicy
beetroot, leek and walnut salad. Meatballs, chopped liver,
spicy lamb dishes, pies like filo filled with herbs and
cheese, an egg surrounded by pepper and onion strips baked on
pastry, and many desserts.
Despite being chefs, the authors maintain the simplicity and
integrity of the food they write about, rather than fussing
over. This is a book I'm going to enjoy exploring in the
If you've ever entertained the idea of making sausages or
curing meat but didn't know how, Jeremy Schmid's Bangers to
Bacon: A New Zealand guide to making, cooking and using
sausages and cured meats
(New Holland) is the book to read.
The chef started the Little Boys sausage range, but now runs
his own restaurant in Mt Eden, Auckland. He explains the
equipment and ingredients you need and gives numerous recipes
for good old kiwi bangers and fresh gourmet sausages, hot and
cold-smoked sausages, dry-cured European-style sausages like
chorizo and landjäger, and cures for bacon and dried beef. He
also gives many recipes for using sausages, such as cassoulet,
toad-in-the-hole, Scotch egg and various stews, braises and
curries. There are even vegetarian and vegan sausages.
Francophiles, and customers of La Cigale French market
and bistro in Auckland, will be interested in Elizabeth Lind's
(Random House). It's the story of her and her
family's love affair with France, and Paris especially, and how
they developed their Parnell market, bistro and shop which
specialises in things French - although the weekend markets
consists of artisan produce from the North, and a few items,
like Central Otago fruit, from elsewhere. It's full of classic
French recipes from their bistro, from favourites enjoyed on
her travels, and from stallholder produce, and also has small
profiles of the regular market vendors.
It's a handsomely produced book and ends with some of Lind's
favourite things to do in Paris. Ideal coffee-table material,
and to inspire you to visit their enterprise and France.
Energy drinks sound as if they would do you good, but
they are really fizzy drinks with added caffeine and should be
avoided. This is one tiny snip of useful information in
Catherine Saxelby's Complete Food and Nutrition Companion:
The ultimate A-Z guide
(Hardie Grant), a tome chock-full of
sensible and informed advice.
The Australian nutritionist answers questions and busts
myths, such as identifying diet traps, exploding hangover
cures or demystifying superfoods, and explaining things like
the glycemic index (GI), phytochemicals, the ins and outs of
sugar and sweeteners, seasonal and sustainable eating, and
gives information on good diets to help prevent all sorts of
lifestyle diseases. An essential reference book for anyone
concerned about health and nutrition.
For millennia garlic has been considered a medicine as
well as a flavouring, but it was replaced by antibiotics and
other drugs in the early 20th century, according to Natasha
Edwards, author of Garlic: The Mighty Bulb
Edwards grew up on a garlic farm on the Isle of Wright,
cleaning and plaiting garlic from a young age, and is
obviously enamoured of the subject. Her book is an exhaustive
look at the bulb, its origins, history, varieties, how to
grow it, health and remedies using garlic, the story of the
garlic farm, and, of course, some enticing recipes from
around the world: not only things like chicken with 40 garlic
cloves, but also Brazilian fish stew, roast butternut squash
and garlic risotto, som tam (green papaya salad) and
marinated minty garlic carrots.
A fascinating book.
Samoan-born, New Zealand-raised, London-based chef and
judge Monica Galetti has written her first
cookbook, Monica's Kitchen: Exciting home cooking for all
Her recipes reflect influences from her travels: olive bacon
and fennel cake from France, saffron lamb stew with bulgar,
crayfish and mango salad, roast venison with chocolate sauce
or pear souffle with salted caramel sauce. They are not
necessarily quick and easy, although some like tartiflette
and dark chocolate brownie are. However, to my mind her most
interesting recipes are in the section called "Something
different" where she draws inspiration from her Samoan
background with recipes such as Pacific Island cured fish,
steamed pork and mushroom buns, Dad's stewed octopus my way
and crispy pork belly with taro.