culture latest news
More Cooking the books…NZ style
All the books this month are by New Zealand authors – and all of them are scrumptious.
I am exceptionally pleased that we are not rating these books in the same way we rate movies – as basically they would all be five out of five. They are all different books, with some for slightly different audiences, so basically there is something for everyone.
We asked our resident chef Sarah Jane Gillies to cast her experienced eye over these books for us…
Our first one up is What’s For Pudding by Alexa Johnson – a follow up to her extremely successful Ladies A Plate Please. The first book was a homage to baked goods (cakes, biscuits scones etc), and this book is a loving homage to puddings of all shapes and varieties: Cool, Hot and Very Special. The first thing you have to get used to with this book is that the recipes are in both grams and ounces. One imagines this is because so many of the recipes have a pedigree, and were obviously once only made in ounces.
What’s For Pudding is most certainly not for the novice cook, but someone with a good knowledge and love of cooking.
The recipes are lovingly spoken about – with much made of their history. The first section of the book is devoted to Cool Puddings, with ice creams, jellies, fruit puddings and custard and milk puddings all covered. We love the look of the Feijoa Mousse – especially with feijoas in season at the moment. And the Plum Ice cream – heavenly!
The next section is devoted to Hot Puddings, with everything from self-saucing, to sticky, to crumble, sponges and pancakes. The recipe for Lemon Delicious (A Lemon Sponge that has its own sauce) is a taste of my childhood – and a wonderful thing to use those lemons from the tree in the back garden.
This is true of a lot of the recipes – they are great for using the in season produce – both from our own back gardens – and our local producers. Also, the Gingerbread Upside Down Cake looks divine.
The last section is Very Special Puddings. This section is dedicated to those slightly more tricky puddings that are worth the effort. Pavlovas, Baked Alaska, Pies, Pastries, Soufflés and Christmas Puddings are all covered. We have tried the Never Fail Flaky Pastry recipe – and we can vouch for both its name, and its taste. Both are fabulous!
With a distinctive 70’s feel to the styling in this is book, it is just right for the nostalgic at heart – and is of course a perfect Mother's Day book. What’s for Pudding by Alexa Johnson is published by Penguin Books. It is $50 and is available now.
Julie Biuso is of course a household name in New Zealand. I have always liked her straightforward approach to food, and her styling.
Her new book Sweet Feast is a delight. These are all the very best of Julie’s recipes from Taste Magazine. We loved the “cooking classes’ at the end of each chapter where she demonstrates key techniques with step-by-step photography, with lessons on Choux pastry, Piping, Blind Baking and even lining a tin.
And speaking of photography – we really do love the photographs by Aaron McLean – simple and mouth-watering.
The book has chapters on Cakes and Sponges, Tarts and Pies, Chocolate (of course) Special Occasions, Comfort and Festive. We just love the look of the Brown Sugar Meringue with Chocolate Cream, Three Berry Fool, and the Hazelnut Meringue Gateaux is going to be the star at my birthday dinner this year. It looks divine! Sweet Feast by Julie Biuso is published by New Holland. It retails at $45.00 and is available now.
I need to come clean about the next two books by Natalie Oldfield.
Dulcie May's on Mt Eden Rd is my local café. It is so local (it is across the road from my house), that they know what my usual is (English Breakfast tea with milk), and whether I like my sandwiches (ham and cheese) toasted, and which salad I would prefer (it is the Chicken and Israeli Couscous). The staff are just lovely there – just good old-fashioned service.
Dulcie May’s is a loving homage to her Gran – and the recipes she left her. Gran’s Family Table is the second book (after Gran’s Table) and it is about the meals she shares with family and friends. For her it is about honouring the past – and the pleasures of preparing and cooking flavoursome food. Natalie has captured the recipes for us before we lose them, with simple things like Lemon Honey, and Peach Chutney, though to Beef Olives, and a great recipe for Ham On The Bone with Tangelo and Mustard Glaze that will be used next Christmas. Gran’s Family Table by Natalie Oldfield is published by Harper Collins. It retails for $60 and is available now.
The second book of Natalie’s that we are looking at is the simple Dulcie May Kitchen Everyday. This is a great “home” book with simple ingredients and great photography. This is just the perfect book for first homebuyers, or those just setting up home or flat.
It is a great book to start entertaining with. The book is divided into sections: Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Cooking with Kids, Cakes and Loaves, Dinner, and Puddings.
This really is a book you can use every day, with some really special treats thrown in. We can’t wait to try the Lemon Baked Alaskas as we head into the colder weather. This book has the nostalgia dialled back, but the same straightforward approach to creating simple, healthy food for all the family. Dulcie May Kitchen Everyday by Natalie Oldfield is published by Harper Collins. It retails for $44.99 and is available now.
The last book we are reviewing is the Treats From Little and Friday by Kim Evans.
For those of us lucky enough to be able to squeeze into a table at one of the two Little and Friday locations here in Auckland (Newmarket and Takapuna) you will know that Little and Friday is just a slice of Loveliness. A self-taught baker, Kim Evans started her career exchanging baked goods for art supplies as a cash-strapped student. After later owning Ice It, a cake company here in Auckland, she eventually started Little and Friday selling at weekend markets. She then opened her bakery and has simply gone from strength to strength.
This book is filled to the brim with 65 recipes of buttery brioche, addictive cream-filled donuts, dainty cakes and delectable tarts (and much more) straight from the bakery kitchen. The time and passion that has gone into this book makes you just want to leap off your chair and throw yourself into the kitchen and bake, bake, bake! The recipe for Lemon Coconut slice had us in a spin, as did the Walnut Caramel Tarts. A little bit of kitchen experience would help with this book but with such clear concise recipe notes you could probably have a crack at everything in this book. Treats From Little and Friday by Kim Evans (photography by Rene Vaile) is published by Penguin. It retails for $44.99 and is available now.
By Anya Brighouse, 15 April 2012