Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Monday

The Bookman is off on a family holiday this am to Amsterdam for three days followed by three days in Stockholm. Blog postings will continue subject to time and WiFi access.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

LOVE BAKE NOURISH - London launch

A few days after our arrival in London we attended the London launch of Amber Rose's fabulous new book at Books for Cooks the renowned cook book specialist shop in Notting Hill.

 I knew of the shop's reputation for stocking 12,000 + titles so I was interested to visit for the first time and see the manner in which the books were sorted/displayed. 
It proved to be a fairly typical London bookstore in that it was long and narrow with bookshelves on each side and no aisle stands. The books were arranged one one side by country/region of origin - British books occupying the largest amount of space of course with every cookbook currently in print, and many out of print titles also. American titles were the next most represented but also in there was Australasia, Middle Est, Asia, Africa etc.

 On the opposite wall were books sorted by there - baking, vegetarian, barbeque, seasonal, party, meat, bread, spices etc. A most impressive array of cookbooks. Then there were two other sections - Professional, comprising largely textbook type titles for students, and a general section of books about food related subjects - health, humour, food politics etc.

I could have spent days in there ! And of course it was the perfect location for the launch of LOVE BAKE NOURISH. Author/baker Amber lives nearby too so there was a good number of her neighbourhood friends among the 50 or so guests. It was quite an informal gathering, no speeches, but the book sold like hot cakes.

Another treat for me was to meet the publisher.

Kyle Books was founded in 1991 in Kyle's garage in London. Now, 22 years on, they are widely acknowledged as one of the UK's leading publishers in the areas of cookery (about 40% of the list), health, lifestyle and gardening. Their  books aim to inspire, assist and inform, each written by talented authors from creative chefs to garden experts, fitness & diet consultants to beauty gurus, handicrafters to grammar enthusiasts and many more in-between!

Kyle also proved to be a good source of recommendations for some exceptional and more out of the way London restaurants including a couple in our neighbourhoods - Camden Town and Primrose Hill. Hannah Norris, publicist for the title, also gave us some restaurant tips.
Thanks Kyle, very nice to meet you. And great to catch up with Amber again too after meeting the week before in New Zealand where New Holland Publishers were touring her promoting the new book.

Kyle Books - pds.9.50

 Of course I couldn't visit a cookbook shop without buying a cookbook.. My purchase was RISOTTO - Tasty recipes for Italy's classic rice dish - Maxine Clark - Ryland Peters & Small - pds.14.99. Once I am home again I will make some of the recipes and review the book. Meantime I can say is the book looks superb - photography by Martin Brigdale.

1 / 1

Friday, March 29, 2013


Interview with Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison
We recently sat down with Deborah Madison, winner of too many IACP, Julia Child, and James Beard awards to list. She has just added a new book: Vegetable Literacy, which discusses numerous features of twelve plant families and presents 300 recipes. Among the highlights of our discussion: her first cookbook and the one iconic recipe that is most closely associated with her.

Cookbook roundup

In this month's Cookbook Roundup we introduce 20 new books that have just been published in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Plus Susie opines on the hot trends for the month - cutesy baking and Paleo cookbooks among them. Check out all the new arrivals.
3 cookbook covers

Butter is Better

Alexa Johnston writing  in her latest Ladies a Plate Newsletter:

While browsing through recipe books looking for good ideas for using up a surplus of jams and preserves, I became engrossed in a charmingly titled book 'Treasure Trove of Hungarian cookery'by Mariska Vizvari, published in Budapest in 1961. Here is the description from the dustjacket: 'A collection of delicious recipes written by a delightful Hungarian actress, housewife and hostess, this book is an ideal guide for all women - and men - who enjoy the adventure of excursions into the cookery of different nations.' That's me.

The book was a gift from George Haydn, a generous and amusing man, a great raconteur, a wonderful host and a dear friend. After arriving here from Budapest just before the outbreak of the second World War, George built a good life in New Zealand -  his longevity a testament to the benefits of eating large quantities of cheese, meat and butter, with bread on the side of course, working hard, and playing lots of tennis. George always said that it was the allure of unlimited butter that attracted him and his cousin Andrew to New Zealand. . .

In the 'Treasure Trove' I found a 'Jam Cake' in which three layers of buttery, sweet walnut pastry are filled with home made jams - perfect for my purposes, and some tender cheese biscuits made with ground almonds and sandwiched in pairs with a softened butter and cheese filling. I think George would have enjoyed them.

The other two recipes in this newsletter are from Italy and Spain, both sweet treats suitable for autumn eating. Dulce de Membrillo is the best recipe I've found for Quince Cheese or Quince Paste and comes from Anna MacMiadhachain's 1976 book 'Spanish Regional Cookery'. If you have a few quinces ripening slowly at home do try this approach. She uses grated raw quince instead of cooked quince and the result is a beautiful rose-pink, fresh-tasting quince cheese, which cuts easily and keeps very well.

And from Carol Field's 1993 book 'Italy in Small Bites, a very easily made Salame Dolce, or Chocolate Salami. I suppose it is an Italian version of New Zealand's Biscuit Fudge Cake, but the raisins soaked in marsala or rum, the pine nuts and the apricot jam make it extra special.
So none of the recipes this time are traditional Easter or Passover fare, but all make excellent, rich, special-occasion treats and all, except the Dulce de Membrillo, use plenty of delicous New Zealand butter. In memory of George.

More, including recipes

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Paris Wife and Trout with Ham and Onions

From Bookcooker

Posted: 24 Mar 2013 

Here is part two of my The Paris Wife post, much better for you than a Death in the Afternoon cocktail - trout stuffed with ham and onions.    While the Paris Wife is set mainly in Paris, as with anything having to do with Hemingway, the real heart of the story involves Spain. It was on a trip to Spain, to watch bullfighting, that Hadley and Hem's marriage really started to go wrong.  Hemingway, tempted by what was new and by someone who would fawn over him anew, flirted dangerously with a beautiful British aristocrat.  This woman became the inspiration for the character Brett in The Sun Also Rises.  Following this trip, Hem came home to write that book, and everyone on the trip with Hem and Hadley ended up as characters in the book - everyone except Hadley.   While on this trip, in Pamplona, while Hadley naps in the hotel, Hemingway ventures around the city and comes back raving about an amazing trout dish he had just had - the best fish he has ever eaten - river trout stuffed with ham and onions.  This seemed like the perfect dish to make for the book  - representing some good parts of the Hadley/Hem relationship - their love for the outdoors, they joy in sharing the things they love with each other.   This was a snap to make but certainly packs some special occasion punch.

Trout stuffed with ham and onions, adapted extensively from Random House
(printable recipe

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup of olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
8 slices serrano ham
4 trout, cleaned, head on
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped parsley
lemon for serving
salt and pepper to taste

For cooking directions and more link to Bookcooker

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do today's TV chefs have to be sex symbols too?

Paul Hollywood is the latest TV chef to be acclaimed as a sex symbol. Is 'hotness' now a prerequisite for the job? Lucy Cavendish and William Skidelsky debate the issue

paul hollywood
Paul Hollywood: 'handsome, well-groomed, authoritative'. Photograph: Mark Harrison/Radio Times/Immediate Media

Lucy Cavendish, writer and a former editor of Observer Food Monthly

I remember making bread – and, yes, I do mean bread before any of you out there assume this is a euphemism – with TV chef Paul Hollywood just before the first series of the phenomenon that is The Great British Bake Off came to our screens. I was at Mary Berry's house (to interview her and him) and the first time I saw Hollywood (what a name!) he was emerging from his car and all I could think about was how attractive he was. It seemed obvious to me from the outset that he was heading for TV stardom. Handsome, well-groomed, authoritative and yet somehow reassuringly manly; he might have a trimmed beard, but he has that silver fox thing going on. I was in no doubt then that he'd be a success. Now he has his own series, Bread, and has become the toast of the nation. He has female fans wilting with desire for him, his own "exclusive" photoshoot with the Radio Times and is feted by the Daily Mail. Could he have achieved this success without the sexiness he exudes? I think these days it is impossible. Chefs now need to be more than good cooks. They have to excite. They need to lick their fingers à la Nigella, or knead bread with their big manly hands.

William Skidelsky, writer and author of Gourmet London

Alas, Britain's favourite baker has never had quite that effect on me. However, I can see what it is about him that gets people hot under the collar: as you say, that no-nonsense way with a ball of dough, the sense of manly capability he exudes. But the key word here is, I think, capability. It's mainly because Hollywood is so evidently good at what he does that people find him sexy. Skill is attractive. This is important. It's not Hollywood's pre-existing sex appeal that has propelled him to the heights of TV stardom. It's the fact that he really knows his way around a loaf of bread. His sexiness is bound up with that – of course it is – but it isn't the most important thing about him, despite what the Daily Mail, Radio Times et al would have us believe.
And in any case, there are plenty of examples of successful TV chefs for whom the epithet "sexy" is all but irrelevant. Hollywood's co-presenter on The Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry, for example: a handsome woman, certainly, but by no means a sex symbol. Nigel Slater's TV programmes have proved tremendously popular recently: again, what did this have to do with sex? TV is a medium that has always favoured the good-looking, but in fact, I find it rather cheering that, when it comes to food, there has always been space for odd-looking specimens (the Hairy Bikers, Two Fat Ladies, even Gordon Ramsay) as well as the self-evidently fetching.

LC: I agree that there has to be an element of capability around these TV chefs. Sophie Dahl's cooking show never really took off, despite her beauty. A person has to know what they are doing; it's insulting otherwise. Hollywood comes from a long line of bakers; his father was a baker and he is a baker and that in itself is very attractive. Hollywood is the whole package. Berry gets away with it because, at her age, it would be downright weird if she was a sex symbol. She is the nation's lovely baking grandmother. But the truth is, if a baker had come on to television without the sex appeal of Hollywood he would not have made it. In fact, he would not have been allowed through the door. We seem to want something different from our TV chefs now – not just cooking prowess but a sense of something unthreateningly sexy, something we can, en masse, have a bonding sort of a crush on

Full discussion

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Edible book cakes - in pictures

From Pippi Longstocking (below) to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, there's a cake for every book – and dozens of them have been pouring in for the International Edible Book Festival

Here are some of the yummiest …

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Books for Cooks - the cookbook shop

Books for Cooks logo
drawing of chef

Welcome to Books for Cooks, Notting Hill’s famous cookbook shop, crammed with thousands of tasty titles and equipped with a squashy sofa for cookbook junkies in need of a long read. In this shop we really do cook the books – cookbooks are put to the test in our café at the back of the shop, while cookery classes take place in the demonstration kitchen upstairs.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Following the success of their 2010 cook book, Ripe Recipes, Angela Redfern and her talented team at Ripe have whipped up a fresh batch of recipes with their second book – 
Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch.

In the eleven years since Ripe first opened, the vibrant delicatessen has gained a reputation for creating healthy, delicious homemade style food using only free-farmed and free-range products and the best of local ingredients.
Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch is a collection of over 140 healthy-tasty recipes broken down into easy to follow sections, from finger food to ‘lunch faves’ and fresh salads packed with goodness though to scrumptious deli dinners and gooey decadent desserts. The book also features fun themed menus based on celebration days at the delicatessen, like Mexican day, Friday Pie day and Cheesecake day.
Angela, owner of Ripe Delicatessen, says “With A Fresh Batch we wanted to showcase how to create delicious food that’s healthy and tastes great with health benefits, without compromising on taste.”
This shines through in the salad section, which is bursting with flavour and health in equal proportions. Like the Ripe Red Quinoa salad studded with goji berries, which are sweet and tangy as well as high in antioxidants and vitamin C. The Ripe bakers have even managed to sneak some goodness into their baking with the surprisingly addictive Quinoa Fruit Cookies or the Orange and Lemon Polenta Loaves with chia seeds.
And if you’re not sure what goji berries or chia seeds are, you can look to the new “Nutrition Bites” section on most pages, which Nutritionist, Nellie Pigot has written. These handy, easy to read ‘bites’ of information highlight the health benefits of some of the ingredients included in the recipes.
But don’t fret you will still find plenty of decadent recipes in the latest book like the Pink Powder-Puff cake, covered with meringue or the luscious Lemony Slice with a melt-in-the mouth shortbread base. After all it’s all about balance!
With A Fresh Batch, Angela collaborated with head chef Pip Wylie and chef Amy Melchior to bring unique new flavours to the table. “The whole team at Ripe had a part to play. Some were even kind enough to let us include their secret family recipes in the book” Angela says.
The stunning photography captures the vibrant freshness of each recipe and once again Michelle Ineson has lent her creativity to the pages with whimsical pen and ink illustrations.
Written in Ripe’s signature easy to read and fun style, filled with quirky anecdotes and now new handy nutrition bites, Ripe Recipes - A Fresh Batch will appeal to all food lovers and will have even the most inexperienced cook creating simple, fabulous dishes that are nourishing for the soul and great for the
taste buds!
Beatnik Publishing - $59.99 - Publication April, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Best Cooking Schools Around the World

Courtesy of Willing Foot

More than any historic home tour, the School of Artisan Food provides a true taste of Downton Abbey through classes in traditional English cookery: cider making, wild game butchery, and fruit preserves.
It’s one example of the greater world of epicurean experiences that has opened up for travelers eager to pack their aprons and join immersion classes with local guides or expert cooks—whatever your time commitment, budget, and skill level.

We’ve done the dirty work to identify the best cooking programs around the globe, from a half-day course on chicken gumbo in New Orleans to a farm in the scenic backwaters of Kerala, India, where classes center on family recipes for chutney and curries. They share the ability to help travelers understand a local culture and to revisit a favorite destination with a fresh perspective. After all, it’s exhilarating to start the day at a local market then sit down to a meal of pasta with truffles, tom yum goong, or coquilles St. Jacques of your very own making.

Students are typically teamed up with multilingual instructors versed in the cuisine of the region. You can expect to pick up new kitchen skills and recipes, and lessons are often augmented by exclusive encounters with purveyors and artisanal growers, wine pourings at vineyards, and dinners set in private homes or at top chef tables tucked in a corner of their kitchen domain, so that you can observe pros in the heat of the action.

Some programs are suited to a weeklong vacation: kneading dough with a master pizzaiolo in Naples or cooking spice-infused tagines at a villa in the Palmeraie outside Marrakesh. Other daylong sessions cater to those who simply want to whet their appetites. Hotels and resorts are increasingly offering classes as well. Before booking, ask about class size, type of equipment (knives, stovetops) provided, and what meals and accommodation are included.
Here are the latest programs for seasoned cooks as well as beginners ripe for discovery.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Jewish Smorgasbord Grows in Brooklyn

Welcome to the Kitchen Table Series

Kurt Hoffman

By Cheryl Pearl Sucher

Published March 13, 2013.
Growing up a child of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors in central Brooklyn in the 1960s, the only time I saw a raw vegetable in our kitchen was when celery, parsnips, carrots and turnips were being washed and peeled for the weekly cauldron of chicken soup that simmered on our stove on a low gas flame all Shabbos long. The soup was aromatic, thick with succulent shreds of chicken breast and served with a ladleful of tiny square lokshen noodles topped by lashes of fresh chopped dill. According to my bubbe, the secret ingredient was a single foil packet of George Washington chicken broth powder, which seemed her sole concession to her American naturalization.

My bubbe ruled over our kosher household as my mother was stricken during my infancy by a stroke that left her paralyzed on her left side. Though my mother used her good hand to assist with food preparation, our narrow apartment kitchen, with its double sets of dishes, silverware and cooking pots, was my bubbe’s domain and the center of her existence. If by chance I accidentally used a meat fork for a milk entree, she would bury the soiled implement in the potted plant sitting on the window sill overlooking our concrete playground. And the first question she asked when I woke up in the bedroom we shared was what I wanted for dinner. Though I hungered for Swanson TV dinners and Fluffernutter sandwiches, she prepared each meal from scratch; our freezer was filled with all kinds of offal wrapped in white butcher paper marked with the name of each enclosed organ.

Our daily cuisine was a smorgasbord of Eastern European Jewish delights — from lamb brain sweetbreads to chicken feet fricassee to homemade chopped liver, chicken soup with feather-light matzo balls or hand-rolled meat kreplach. My bubbe’s renowned gefilte fish required a day trip on numerous forms of public transportation to the Fulton Fish Market, where it was said that she required the fishmongers to turn over every fish filet before she was satisfied with her choice of carp and halibut.

But her piece de resistance, the delicacy that defined her as the master of shtetl cuisine, was p’tcha, jellied calf legs, a dish that has all but disappeared from today’s Jewish tables. Prepared only for such special occasions as visits from Israeli relatives or 25th wedding anniversaries, its humble ingredients — calf feet, garlic, onions, vinegar, salt and pepper — required hours of rapid boiling to liquefy the bones to elixir. The sour scent of melting marrow smelled like boiling shoe leather and couldn’t be camouflaged even by the most potent air freshener.

While my relatives swooned when tasting those wobbly gelatinous squares the color of jellyfish, I tried to overcome my aversion, believing that highly coveted delicacies like caviar and p’tcha were tastes acquired by sophisticated palates. But no matter how hard I tried, I was never able to dissociate this prized forshpeys (appetizer) from the steaming farinaceous aroma that suffocated our apartment, filling the refrigerator with its distinctive brew.
While honored guests kvelled over the brilliance of my bubbe’s culinary masterpiece, I opted for potato latkes with sour cream, explaining that such a rare treat should only be savored by those who appreciated it most.
Cheryl Pearl Sucher is a novelist, essayist and reviewer who commutes between New Zealand and Brooklyn.

adapted from the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food”

2 calf’s feet (2-2 1/2 lbs.) cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or fresh lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
7 cups water
8 cloves garlic, minced

1) Place feet in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil until scum rises to the surface, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, rinse feet.
2) Place feet, onions, garlic cloves, vinegar, salt and pepper in a clean large pot. Add fresh water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat falls off the bone, at least 4 hours.
3) Remove bones from pot; remove any meat from bones and chop. Discard bones. Strain the liquid, stir in the meat and minced garlic.
4) Pour mixture into shallow 2 quart glass baking dish. Cover with

Read more:

Cheryl Sucher, writer/columnist/former NY bookseller, is an old friend of The Bookman. She now lives with her Kiwi husband in Hawkes Bay.

In Florence, Food Gets Its Fashion Week


Claudio Bonoldi Studio

Much of what makes Florence’s annual artisanal Italian food fair, Pitti Taste, more enjoyable than say, its sibling, the men’s fashion week, Pitti Uomo, is the simple fact that participants are encouraged to eat. In its eighth year, Pitti Taste opens on Saturday for three days and has become something of a gastronomic fashion show, where more than 250 of Italy’s standout producers show what they are made of with craft beer and grappa, ballooning panettone, enormous wheels of unctuous cheese and peppery and delicate olive oils.

 Over the last several years, the event has catapulted small beer brewers like 32 Via dei Birrai into stardom. Buyers and foodies alike descend to see where the culinary barometer is tilting. The fair includes on-site chats and presentations, like this year’s colloquium about grandiose cake design led by the expert pastry chef Roberto Rinaldini of the famed Pasticceria Rinaldini di Rimini, and discussions about how to encourage your child’s inner foodie presented by Vogue Bambini. The event is held in Florence’s impressive Leopolda train station, but there are more than 100 supplementary food events all over the city at hotels, restaurants and cultural sites like the Gucci museum, where the house chef will be teaching the secrets of cookie-making.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


This totally mouth-watering book is being launched tonight in Auckland. Although written by former NZ'er Amber Rose the book is published in London by Kyle Books Ltd (one of the UK's top cookbook publishers for my money) although the UK launch is not until 20 March.

Amber Rose is currently in NZ for the launch, to visit family, and to get some sunshine, and I caught up with her yesterday over a cup of coffee at Ponsonby Road's renowned Dizengoff Cafe. 
She has lead a most interesting life in her 30 something years having been an actress, a doula, a food stylist, a baker and a personal cook and friend of many rich and famous Londoners. She is the daughter of Kay Baxter a pioneer in the field of organics and sustainable agriculture.

I'm heading off overseas so am not going to have a chance to have a thorough read of this her first book but I can tell you it is full of delicious looking goodies all without refined sugar and white flour in their ingredients. The author is tall and healthy looking with a glow about her, an excellent advertisement for her message on baking in a healthy manner.
 Three recipes which have particular appeal and which I have bookmarked for my return are Pear & cinnamon cake with early autumn berries, Purple berries with marscapone, and a seriously good nut slice.

Kyle Books - Hardback - $45
Distributed in NZ by New Holland Publishers


The Bookman at Dizengoff with author/baker Amber Rose

And here is a link to a marvellous piece about the author and her book by Nici Wickes which appeared in the very popular Viva section of the NZ Herald on Tuesday this week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Simon Gault - homemade

I wrote about this book the other day and said how much I was enjoying it.I mentioned his strong family connections which shine through the book. Right at the back of the book Simon's acknowledgements appear and the publishers have kindly agreed to let me reproduce them here for your interest.


I’m fortunate to enjoy the enduring support of a tremendous group of colleagues,
family and friends. To all of you, please know that I wouldn’t be without you.
Special thanks go to my mum, Ellerie, and dad, Bryan, for gifting me a love of
food. You taught me not to tolerate second best, and to be obsessive in the search
for excellence. You have been there to support me every step of the way in all my
crazy projects and new ventures. You are my staunchest critics, for which I thank
you. I dedicate this book to you.
To my beautiful wife, Katrina, thank you for putting up with yet another
project, and for giving me such honest feedback. You are my best friend and the
love of my life.
Sarah, you are the most loyal sister, and a great support to me, Mum and Dad.
Special thanks go to my right-hand man and friend, Eugene Hamilton. You
have worked tirelessly and shown me unstinting loyalty over the years, and I
have you to thank for keeping me out of trouble most of the time. Thanks, too, to
Darren Lim, another great chef and trusted colleague.
Thank you to my business partners, Richard Sigley, Phil Clark and Brian
Fitzgerald, whose support is unwavering and who (almost) never question
anything I do.
This book would not have happened without the brilliant photographer
Kieran Scott. You are inspiring to work with, and you and your photographs
tell it how it is. Thank you, too, to Tamara West for your creative eye and for
interpreting my food with your sensitive styling.
I wouldn’t have wanted to work with any editor other than Toni Mason.
Thank you for persevering with Skype and for helping to shape my recipes for
the home cook.
It has been wonderful to work with the team at Penguin Group (NZ). Thanks
go to Debra Millar for her vision and patience when I got distracted by other
projects; to Catherine O’Loughlin for her unrelenting attention to detail, and to
Sarah Healey for her design.
And, finally, thanks to all those diners who keep coming back and who share
with us their favourite dishes on our restaurant menus. You also keep us honest.
Ultimately, this book is for you.

Good stuff Simon, well expressed.
Since I last wrote I have made a couple of dishes from the book both with great success.
First up was Mussel salad which went down an absolute treat, as did number 2 - Venetian-style prawns (stunning, so full of flavour) and then number three which the publishers have agreed I may reproduce here:

shrimp fritters

You will find these crisp little fritters, called tortillitas de camarones in Spanish, being sold on every windswept street corner in the port of Cádiz in southern Spain. They source the smallest shrimps they can find, but in my recipe I have used prawn cutlets. Chickpea flour and good Spanish paprika are the secret ingredients that make these fritters unforgettable.

Serves 8
1 tbsp self-raising flour
1¼ cups chickpea flour
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp flaky salt
100ml water
1 egg
90ml extra virgin olive oil
1½ tsp Spanish smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp very finely chopped onion
4 tbsp finely chopped curly parsley
330g raw prawn cutlets (defrosted and roughly chopped) or baby shrimps
100ml olive oil for frying
lemon wedges to serve

Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl. Mix the water and egg, add the olive oil and stir to combine, then gradually blend into the flour mixture to form a thin batter. Add the paprika, cayenne pepper, onion, parsley and prawns or shrimps and mix well.
Heat the olive oil in a frying-pan. When it begins to shimmer, drop in a large spoonful of batter for each fritter, frying 3 at a time (if you crowd the pan, the oil temperature will drop and you will end up with oily fritters). Fry until golden and crisp on both sides and cooked through. Ensure the batter is well spread out so the fritters will be crisp all the way through. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve hot in stacks with lemon wedges.

Simon says
The perfect dip for these fritters is to take your favourite mayonnaise and add some Spanish smoked paprika and a touch of garlic. This makes a paprika aïoli.

And finally a couple more of Kieran Scott's masterful photographs:

Copyright line
Reproduced with permission from SIMON GAULT Homemade  by Simon Gault. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $60.00. Copyright © text, Simon Gault, 2013.
Copyright © photographs, Kieran Scott, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Perfect Meal

I am not really meant to review this yet as it is not published until April but let me just say that I am a great fan of John Baxter's writing. He is an Aussie who has lived in Paris for more than 20 years. He has some 16 books to his credit, all non-fction, including three acclaimed books of memoir, the last one I bought and read and loved while in Paris two years ago - The Most Beautiful Walk in the World - a Pedestrian in Paris.  Now here is his latest which I initially I intended to read on the plane flying to London this coming weekend, with the plan of perhaps a side-trip to Paris? 

However I dipped into it and there right on the first page was the name of my old friend, London-based antiquarian bookseller and writer Rick Gekoski. How could I not continue. I am now almost halfway through the book and being something of a foodie am finding it quite enchanting and totally entertaining.. It will be read before I leave NZ hence my early mention.

To quote from the back cover - Part grand tour of France, part history of French cuisine: an irresistible journey, from Paris to Provence, to find the "perfect meal".

A book for all who love France, a book for all foodies, a book for everyone.

Harper Perennial - NZ$24.99.  Publication April.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Preserving with Aunt Daisy

Good Morning Everyone!

Aunt Daisy, beginning every broadcast with the above cry, was one of New Zealand’s best-loved radio personalities. Forty years later, her cookery books have become a national phenomenon with her tried and true recipes used in every household through the years.

Perfect for March with the last of the summer fruits rolling off the trees, Preserving with Aunt Daisy is a collection of over 200 of her best-loved recipes for jams, jellies, pickles and chutneys. It includes well-known everyday preserves such as Strawberry Jam and Tomato Relish, as well as more unusual ones such as Pumpkin Jam and Pickled Pears, and recipes that are uniquely New Zealand — Guava Jelly, Feijoa Jam, and Choko Chutney. 
This is, of course, a great time of year to preserve your left-over produce from the garden and who better to learn from than Aunt Daisy herself.

This handy cookbook also includes 24 beautiful colour photographs (by Simon Young) as well as a step-by-step guide to preserving, an equipment list, and a seasonal guide. Aunt Daisy’s recipes are simple, economical and as useful today as when they were first published. Home cooks can once again be encouraged by Aunt Daisy’s know-how and unwavering optimism.

Here is a recipe for you to try. I haven't made it myself but I was given a jar made by  Relish the Thought - - and it was delicious on sandwiches with various fillings I had for lunch last week.


1.4kg beetroot
680g apples
2 onions
2 cups vinegar
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
340g sugar

Boil beetroot until tender.
Cut into cubes when cold.
Cut apples and onions small and boil for 20 minutes with vinegar and remaining ingredients. 

Below - a selection of pics from the book - Marmalade, Plum Jam, Mint Sauce.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gorgeous whopper of a cookbook

What a stunner.A big, beautifully designed and illustrated hardback crammed with appealing recipes.

Michele Cranston (below)is an award-winning Sydney-based food writer and stylist and has created a book of recipes and anecdotes which is both innovative and inspiring - recipes that are surprisingly simple at the same time. She brings together more than 250 of her favourite recipes from Marie Claire. This is her 10th Marie Claire cookbook and it is truly beautiful - large, luscious and enticing.

If you are looking for ideas for wedding, anniversary or significant birthday gifts then you need look no further.

Murdoch Books -(Allen & Unwin)

10 Food Secrets You Need to Know

By Michael Moss |PW - March 8, 2013

Sneaky cheese, how salt is shaped, and what exactly "bliss point" means. Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat, tells us 10 things you need to know about how the food giants are hooking us.

10. The inventors of processed food refer to their work as “engineering,” because it involves and incredible amount of laboratory time and high math. When Howard Moskowitz, a legend in the industry, recently engineered a new soda flavor for Dr Pepper, he tested out 61 formulations of the sweet flavoring, each only slightly different from the next, and put these through 3,904 consumer tastings, then applied regression analysis to find the perfect formula guaranteed to be make the soda a hit. 

9. Every one of our 10,000 taste buds is wired for sweet taste, but even we can get too much sugar in our food. So what Moskowitz and other food scientists seek out is called the “bliss point,” which is the perfect amount of sweetness, not too little, not too much. With sugar being added to more and more items in the grocery store, there are now calculated bliss points for pasta sauce, bread, frozen pizza, and on and on.

8. In many ways, fat is even more powerful than sugar as an additive to processed foods. It has twice the calories as sugar, but it will sneak up on the brain when you don’t realize you are eating a fatty food. Even more problematic for consumers, the kind of fat that is bad for you, known as saturated fat, is typically solid and really fools the brain. Scientists refer to it as the “invisible fat” because it slips into your diet and body unseen. But boy does it add to the allure. The attraction of fat is known to food companies as “mouthfeel,” like the warm gooey sensation of melted cheese.

7. Salt is valued for what companies call its “flavor burst,” hitting the tongue straight away with a salty taste that races to the pleasure zone of the brain, which in turn compels you to eat more. And salt manufacturers have learned to manipulate the physical shape of salt to most perfectly suit the needs of processed foods, from powdery salts for soups to chunks shaped like pyramids with flat sides that stick to the outside of food and interact quickest with your saliva.

6. Beyond salt, sugar and fat, the snack food companies have perfected other aspects of their snacks to maximize their allure and irresistibility. Take chips. Research shows that noisier chips taste better, so every effort is made to increase the crunch. The industry also refers warmly to the phenomenon known as “vanishing caloric density,” epitomized by Cheetos. When they melt in your mouth, they fool the brain into thinking the calories have disappeared, as if you were eating celery. No calories, no reason for the brain to tell you to stop eating already.

Full article at PW

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nice guy Simon Gault takes us into the family kitchen

Simon Gault strikes me as being one of the really nice guys out there in the sometimes vicious world of professional chefs. I have never met him but feel as if I know him from seeing him occasionally in the distance at Euro and so often in the media, especially of course the first three series of NZ Masterchef and his 2011 programme Chef on a Mission.

This morning in my Post Office box I found my review copy of his new book, published this week,  SIMON GAULT - homemade, and as a result I have "lost" four hours reading the book from cover to cover, drooling over the recipes, enjoying Kieran Scott's fine photography, and particularly enjoying Gault's obvious affection for his parents and the way they introduced him to interesting food from a young age resulting in him wanting to become a chef from about the age of eight.
This enormously appealing book is all about family food and family cooking. Quite a number of the recipes are from Simon's Mum and several from his Dad, dishes that were favourites when he was growing up and remain so today. He has given some of them a tweek to incorporate foods that were not around earlier.
I have already marked seven dishes I want to make in the next week or so but it is my plan to try and make every dish in the book during the course of this year.

Here are those dishes I have on my priority shortlist:

Mussel salad
Marinated snapper salad
Venetian style prawns
Vegetable Clafoutis
Coq au vin on risotto
Whisky & marmalade Chicken
Dad's sage chicken

More about this book shortly but right now I have to get back to my Barbara Vine novel (The Child's Child).