Cook books

New Holland's little ''500'' series of cookbooks are good value at about $25.

Two of the recent ones are 500 Breads and 500 Light Meals.

They follow the same format with an informative introduction then a section of recipes followed by four variations for each.

Those in Light Meals are healthy, low in calories and flavoursome, using minimal fat, less sugar and lean meat, and there are even healthy desserts and baking, making it a useful book for those who want to watch their weight and health.

500 Breads ranges from real sourdough to soda bread, focaccia to scones, flatbreads to meals in a loaf.

A useful book if you fancy exploring the fascinating world of bread making.




If you missed out on Penny Oliver's Beach Bach Boat Barbecue books a few years ago, they are now combined in one volume (New Holland).

Photographs of beaches and summer holidays get you in the mood for the fresh, simple flavours of her quintessentially summer recipes.





Brett McGregor, the first New Zealand Masterchef winner, has written a new cookbook, A Taste of Home: 100+ easy, tasty, everyday recipes (Random House).

There's a good selection of relatively healthy recipes and, usefully, a section at the back of techniques and tips such as how to make a vinaigrette, a white sauce, marinades, curry pastes, pestos, salsas and other skills that some people will not be familiar with.

A good book for someone just getting into cooking.



Tanya Bartolini is a young Australian food blogger ( of Italian extraction.

Her first book, Blending the cultures (T. M. Bartolini PTY Ltd) tells the story of her grandparents and parents and shares some of their, and her recipes.

It is attractively illustrated; her style and the layout are clear and the instructions simple for beginners to follow, although a good editor might have helped correct a few mistakes like ''passata'' in the ingredients and ''paste'' in the instructions in Aunty Trish's tuna spaghetti sauce, or forgetting about the crostini in the chicken liver crostini recipe.

Apart from these - and the sad lack of an index which makes it difficult to find recipes - the recipes will appeal to cooks looking for an authentic Australian-Italian flavour.



Fans of Donna Hay will want to collect her latest book, The New Classics (4th Estate), a collection of recipes from the Donna Hay Magazine.

Large and heavy with her signature styling, this book has more colour than some of her previous ones.

It's a much a coffee table book as a practical one.

It will take up a great deal of space on the kitchen bench if you put it to practical use.



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