When I first glanced through Alan Dunn's Ultimate Collection of Cake Decorating (New Holland) I thought he must have used real flowers for the stunning decorations.

However, when I looked closer, I discovered that there were photographs and instructions for creating the exotic blooms from flower paste and other cake-decorating materials. Anyone wanting to develop their cake-decorating skills will no doubt find this useful.




With barbecue season upon us, even if fitfully, given the weather, Australian chef John McLeay's Bits on Sticks (New Holland) offers inspiration for your backyard barbecue. He impales everything - meat and birds, of course, but also fish, veges and sweet things, like bananas and figs. There are even retro sticks, like ham and pineapple and devils on horseback. His flavours range from exotic - Hiramasa kingfish with soy honey and ginger or Nonya pork satay with pineapple satay sauce - to things like chicken liver, sage and beetroot skewers, or rosemary potato skewers with melted tallegio. A book for culinarily adventurous barbecuers.


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