The Sweet Life by Kate Bracks, HB $49.95
For those of you with a sweet tooth, 2011 Masterchef winner Kate Bracks provides the perfect cookbook to tempt you.
Over 200 pages of mouth-watering sweet treats of varying difficulties beckon. The book is organised into sections such as Syrups & Sauces, Ice-creams & Sorbets and Pastry among others.
From the basics of a really yummy Chocolate Cake or Apple Pie to beyond the basics such as Buttered Popcorn Ice-cream with bitter caramel and salted almond crumb or Rhubarb & Vanilla Semi-freddo, Kate’s book delivers variety and quality.
A lovely hardback gift for Masterchef fans or dessert fanatics!
Manu’s French Bistro, HB $49.95
From the gorgeous Manu Feildel comes his second delicious cookbook, Manu’s French Bistro. The recipes in this one are a little more complex but still very manageable and don’t use a dozen odd ingredients that you have to buy and never use again.
The book is divided into Entrees, Mains & Desserts but Manu also suggests certain seasonal combinations. There is a nice mix of traditional French recipes like Coq Au Vin or Chocolate Souffles intertwined with more modern dishes that will satisfy any foodie.
The French obviously know how to cook meat; the braised beef cheeks with carrot puree are to die for and the whole book just has a really yummy, enjoyable feel to it.
At only $49.95 in hardback, this beautifully put together cookbook would make a great gift for an aspiring cook.
Paul McCartney and his family are amongst the world’s best known vegetarians, and in 2009 they helped launch the Meat Free Monday campaign. They recognise that not everyone wants to become a vegetarian but could consider having a meat free dinner once a week. While the book talks about the benefits to health, the environment and the domestic budget of meat free eating it isn’t preachy. It offers lots of recipes and meat free suggestions and with lots of good photographs they look very tempting. Hardback, $35
Everybody’s favourite kitchen scientist is back with a new book Heston Blumenthal at Home. This is, theoretically a ‘basic’ cookbook but it is Heston so theres digital probes and all sorts of interesting things to keep things exciting. As you would hope from the king of molecular gastronomy. He’ll have you considering buying a sous-vide set up (water bath and vacuum packing machine) and delighting in his secret to the Ultimate Cheese Toastie all in one book. That is covering quite a few bases in just over 400 pages. And just to sweeten the deal the covers amazing and the price is nice at $65 for a hardback. A lovely Christmas gift for the avid home cook (aspirations of chemistry greatness optional).
If the restaurant Vue de Monde is beyond your means, then indulge in chef Shannon Bennett’s follow-up to his hugely successful Paris and New York food and travel guides, Shannon Bennett’s France. This beautifully photographed hardback book is a compact guide to Shannon and his pals’ favourite restaurants, bistros, brasseries and hotels in France. Be warned, this is “fine dining” at its highest, and does not include street creperie stalls or market foods!
Traveling throughout regional France, the guide is also interspersed with Shannon’s favourite French recipes (accompanied by mouth-watering photographs), hotel guides, and even a list of the 75 best French films!
No French guide would be complete without a section on wine, and this volume includes a sommelier’s tips on choosing the best French wines.
A gorgeous Christmas gift or one to add to your own collection, Shannon Bennett’s France is in store now!
rrp $45 in hardback
When looking for a cookbook that covers all the bases, look no further than the bible-like In the Kitchen. This is the cookbook for every occasion and cuisine, managing to cover all the basics without ever being boring. When looking under corn in the index, one will find 3 alternate recipes for corn fritters; an item everyone knows is simply the best Sunday breakfast dish on earth. Having recently more-than-successfully road-tested the apple, fig and pecan cake (iced with the proposed suggestion – cream cheese frosting, page 702), we are satisfied that In the Kitchen is the cookbook for all kitchens! Hardback, $59.95
This Christmas there will be another terrific crop of cookbooks to tempt us all. Here are a few:
Gingerboy is producing their first book in November, It will be $70 and who wouldn’t want to recreate some of those gorgeous flavours at home
Donna Hay is a publishing sensation and she will have another ocokbook before Xmas this year. It is called Simple Weeknight Dinners, which as it sounds will help you produce some good food when time and inspiration is short.
Bill Granger has two new books coming out. One focuses on Asian food, and the other is a ‘best of’ compilation of his most requested recipes from his previous books. I always find his recipes reliable.
Serge Dansereau has a book Called Summer Food, perfect timing for hot weather entertaining.
Matthew McConnell, the multi awarded and multi venued Melbourne chef has a book coming in November called Cumulus Inc.
Shane Melia from Maha is also sharing his recipes, and Phillipa Sibley is letting us in on the secrets of her fabulous desserts, including the famous Snickers Bar.
These are just a few of those coming up. All are available for pre order, so write up those Xmas lists now!
The Age Good Food Guide and the Age Cheap Eats Guide are well known to Melbourne diners. There have also been guides for cafes and bars. Now there is a new guide out called Eating and Drinking Melbourne. It differs from the others in that it is divided into geographical areas, and then has sections for restaurants, cheap and cheerful eateries, and bars. Each review discusses the food, and the feel of a venue, as well as prices. It is nicely laid out, and is generally a classy production. There are maps of the areas, which each venue marked, and a number of indexes. You can look in a geographical, venue or cuisine indexes, which makes it very user friendly. One quibble, is that two Ivanhoe eateries are correct on the map of the area, ie the North, but their review is in the East section. Assuming there aren’t too many errors like that, this is a good looking guide that doesn’t overwhelm you with too many choices. $29.95
and The Best Coffeemaker. Gaye Weedon and Hayley Smorgon have provided the most comprehensive guide for a Melbourne Foodie I’ve ever seen. Think a thorough mix of the Age’s well-loved foodies’ guide, good food guide and good cafe guide, PLUS a whole lot more. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to buy bread for lunch, get a cake for a party, have a quiet (or loud) drink with friends, this book will help you find it. And give you more choices than you realised you needed! The subtitle says it all; Classic recipes, hidden gems and fabulous flavours from the heart of Melbourne. Couldn’t be more true.
Whether you want to go out for coffee or stay in and cook up a storm, The Butcher, The Baker, The Best Coffeemaker is a must for your book shelf and also makes a lovely, not to mention practical, gift for you foodies out there. You know who you are, this should be on your wishlist; it’s on mine. Paperback, $39.95
Michele Curtis is one half of the team that created the perennially popular In the Kitchen – always a bestseller at Fairfield Books. It is a huge book, and includes just about everything you could possibly need to know about food and cooking. What’s For Dinner? is equally fabulous, though on a smaller scale! In it Michele has focused on recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, perfect for weekday family meals. It has over 220 recipes set out in easy-to-use categories (stir-fries, one-pots, on the grill, in the oven etc), with lots of gorgeous photos to provide inspiration.
I have two young kids, and not a lot of time to cook. Although we have a rotation of tried and true recipes that we all like (read: that both kids will actually eat!), we really could do with some new ideas to add to the mix. After a flick through What’s for Dinner?, I decided to try out the Greek lamb and feta meatballs. The recipe was laid out clearly and was easy to follow, didn’t take too long, and actually ended up looking just like the picture! I served them with tzatziki, lemon, Greek salad and pitta bread – yum. And best of all BOTH kids ate it all and asked for more! Now I just have to decide which recipe I should try next… maybe Spanish rice with chicken, Moorish lamb with quince glaze, or sticky lemongrass pork patties? Fancy being this excited about everyday cooking! Highly recommended. Paperback, $39.95.