Category Archives: Cookbook Reviews

“Moroccan Soup Bar” back in stock!

Moroccan-Soup-Bar-Book-600x519After what feels like a long wait, the cookbook from the renowned Moroccan Soup Bar in North Fitzroy is now back in stock. The book is by restaurant founder Hana Assafiri, who also appears in the almost-lego room at the Ai Wei Wei exhibition at the NGV. It’s a lovely hardback with recipes and colour photos of meals and venue throughout, interspersed with stories about the food and the patrons. Get in quick for your copy, we know we’ll sell out soon!

Moroccan Soup Bar – Hana Assafiri – HB – Melbourne Books – $44.95

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Slow cooking season has started!

Thoseslow cooking frosty mornings are telling us it’s time to crack out the filling winter feeds, and slow cookers are such a great tool for that. We’ve got a range of slow-cooking titles in-store, so there’s bound be to one that suits your taste — and your appetite!

  • Slow Cooking by Joanne Glynn: A gorgeous, illustrated hardback with recipes from around the world ($49.95).
  • Slow Cooker Central  by Paulene Christie: A handy paperback featuring 250 recipes from the popular online community ($25).
  • The Complete Slow Cooker by Sara Lewis: A lovely paperback with colour illustrations, including the Forgotten Cuts section with recipes your grandmother might have made ($25).
  • Gennaro: Slow Cook Italian by Gennaro Contaldo: A very tasty looking hardback book, with recipes by Jamie Oliver’s Italian cooking teacher ($40).
  • Slow Cookers by Jane Price: Part of the Kitchen Classics series, this one claims to cover “the slow cooker recipes you must have”. (PB, colour ill., $34.95)
  • Ultimate Slow Cooker by Sara Lewis: Includes over 100 recipes and loads of bright, beautiful pictures. (PB, $20)

gennaro slow cook italian

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A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry.

Having heard that chicken if grown humanely has the potential to be a highly sustainable and economically efficient food source, I was very interested to see this book. It’s all about the bird, with lots of lovely recipes. One of the great things about chicken is that everyone likes it, even children, so it makes sense in lots of ways, and with some new inspiration, it’s a winner. Diana Henry has written numerous books and they are always beautifully photographed and produced. Crazy water, pickled lemons was her first, and it’s still gorgeous. She always has interesting titles for her books too! Hardback, $40bird in hand

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Karen Martini: Everyday

Karen Martini is a cook whose recipes have always worked for me.  Her sticky date pudding is my go recipe when I want something warming and sweet. It’s easy and delicious.

This new book is called Everyday, and it has recipes featuring the usual list of core ingredients: chicken, meat, fish but a few different chapters as well, such as mince and savoury pastry.  Sometimes the list of ingredients looks long, but mostly they are pantry staples and if you cook a lot, you are going to have them anyway.  She has  a lot of substantial salads, which are great if you are looking to reduce your meat consumption but still want to feel satisfied.

I love her work. $40karen


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Save with Jamie

save with jamieOf course Jamie Oliver needs no introduction – just a glance at that cheeky grin on the cover and we know what to expect! Delicious,  do-able recipes with a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients. Jamie has been on something of a crusade in recent years, coming up with fabulously quick and easy recipes to encourage us all to eat better. In Save with Jamie he has gone one step further, saving us not only time, but money and waste as well – “Each meal will easily cost you less per person than an average fast-food takeaway”. The book is easy to use, with clear chapters and advice on savvy grocery shopping, so would make a great first cookbook. But really, who doesn’t want to serve up exciting , tasty, nutritious food and save money along the way? And a quick flick through the mouth-watering photographs… well, who could resist? Hardback, $50

And don’t forget – the accompanying television series begins tonight at 7.30pm on Channel 10. Yum!

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What’s for Dinner: Curtis Stone

I had had the idea that Curtis Stone was a bit ‘cheffy’ for me, but in the last week I’ve tried two recipes from his new book What’s for Dinner, and they have both been very good and happily, very easy.

The first was the Scallops with mint, bacon & peas which took all of 10 minutes from start to finish.  It looked lovely and with some good bread to accompany it was delicious.

Last night I made Fish with spinach and orange vinaigrette which was equally lovely.  I bought the fish at the market and had forgotten the recipe was for firm white fish and that it had tarragon in it.  I got Atlantic salmon fillets with the skin on and parsley.  But no matter. I got the skin on the fish really crispy then cooked it just through on the other side and used the parsley instead of tarragon (I’m not a huge fan of tarragon anyway).   The fact that used different fish and herbs is all the better really, showing that the recipe is versatile. The orange zest in the vinaigrette gave it a lovely light zing and all in all it was a great hit.  I made a pilaf to go with it which added to the cooking time, but the fish dish itself was only about 15 minutes all up.

I’m very impressed with young Curtis, and will definitely be using his book more.  I forgot to take photos of my triumphs, but will do them again I’m sure and I’ll try and remember to photograph them.  The book is $39.95curtis


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Get your taste buds out folks

Our cooking section is quite literally overflowing with all these new books we’re receiving. There’s something for everyone here at the moment you can’t go wrong. If you fancy something Asian perhaps pick up Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong. There’s lots to suit anyone who feels like Italian; Nigelissima is Nigella Lawson’s new book, already proving popular. For pizza Pete Evans has a new one out and Theo Kalogeracos’ popular book from a few of years ag

Theo & Co has been revamped in Theo & Co Take 2. 

Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals is, we’ve heard, easier to use than the

insanely popular 30 Minute Meals; we’re sure it won’t last long as Christmas draws ever closer. Matt Preston is the last Masterchef judge to bring out a cookbook (perhaps because he’s not actually a chef) and I already want to eat (and make, I suppose) his macaroni cheese recipe. Matt Preston’s 100 Best Recipes is home cooking you can actually do! Yes please.

If desserts are more your style Darren Purchese of Burch & Purchese has Sweet Studio for you accomplished bakers and Gabriel Gate has picked his 100 Best cakes and desserts for his new book.

You need never look at the pantry feeling uninspired again, and I’ve only mentioned a fraction of the books weighing down our shelves at the moment. So many wonderful choices, so little time.

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So 30 minutes is too long to wait for dinner? Jamie’s 15 minute meals might work for you

Two years ago a huge best seller for Xmas was Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals.  This year, he has cut the cooking time down even further and we have 15 minute meals.  It’s only just arrived so I haven’t road tested any recipes yet, but it’s sure to get a lot of people boiling their kettles and warming pans in preparation.  As you would expect, you do need to have a well stocked pantry, and to follow the recipes carefully. Chapters are arranged by main ingredient, chicken, beef, fish, pasta etc.

So what’s for dinner?    $50

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Vegetable Delights

Vegetables are experiencing a resurgence in our house, perhaps the time of year has something to do with it because of all the great fresh produce around. Another reason is another great book from Yotam Ottolenghi, author of our much loved Plenty. Jerusalem, unlike Plenty, isn’t JUST about vegetables so is perhaps a more complete cookbook of middle eastern inspired dishes. Ottolenghi really knows how to make vegetables the hero of a dish, not just an afterthought to have with your meat. Our entree was from another great cookbook; the recipe for Carrot and Coriander fritters with haloumi and sweet lemon dressing came from Vegetarian by Alice Hart and was motivated by a fritter obsession. These were a fine example of an easy to make fritter with heaps of flavour. You can even make the mixture ahead of time and it’ll actually make frying the fritters easier. My kind of recipe.

The salads from Jerusalem were the Spicy beetroot, leek and walnut salad and the Roasted cauliflower and hazelnut salad. The beetroot salad was unusual and a great mix of textures, the sweet and spicy balance was fantastic. The deceptively simple  roasted cauliflower salad was also delicious, cauliflower isn’t my favourite vegetable but I’d obviously just never had it like this! Roasted simply in salt, pepper and olive oil the crispy golden bits added just the right amount of crunch. I couldn’t believe how much flavour was on my plate. We had these salads with a wonderful whole-roasted rainbow trout and it was a light, summery meal perfect for these warmer days we’ve been enjoying.

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi is hardback, $49.95. Vegetarian by Alice Hart is paperback, $40.

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Theo & Co Take 2 by Theo Kalogeracos

To say master pizza chef Theo Kalogeracos, of Perth Pizzeria Little Caesar’s, is passionate about pizza would be an understatement! He has joined up with a group of pizza professionals who call themselves Theo & Co in a quest to find the perfect pizza. In his first book, Theo & Co, he tells us how he grew to love pizza so much, as well as sharing his wonderful pizza recipes. Theo & Co Take 2 continues the search for the perfect pizza, as Theo travels to Italy where he learns to make traditional pizzas from the experts. He includes a masterclass, in which he details hints on dough-making and cheeses, as well as information about wood-fired ovens. Then he heads off on a road trip through the United States, where pizza has been adopted with gusto, and finds lots of fascinating regional variations, before heading back home to Perth. The book is packed with delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs, perfect for any budding pizza aficionado (or anyone who loves pizza, really!). Paperback, $34.95

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