Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Zealand Café Cookbook

New Zealand Café Cookbook
Recipes you love from your own favourite cafés
Anna King Shahab
Penguin; RRP $50.00

Taking us on an appropriately leisurely trip from North to South, well-known food writer Anna stops off at a selection of the cafés she feels collectively reflect the very best of what’s going on in our café scene. 50 popular cafés from around the country have opened their recipe books to share best-loved dishes from their menus — the dishes that never leave the blackboard or cabinet because there would be an outcry from regulars!.

This unique (and hugely appealing) cookbook conveniently doubles as both a handy kitchen companion as well as a trusty travel directory, so you’ll know exactly where to stop off on your next road trip. And, surprisingly, it’s the first book of its kind.

She says our standards in New Zealand are so high that we are spoilt for choice these days and we’d be hard-pushed to get a truly bad meal or coffee at a popular local. “New Zealand is a small place, there’s not really the foot traffic to sustain a business. Cafés really rely on the local community’s support, and it’s a two-way thing. If people want good cafés nearby they need to support them and, in return, cafés need to ensure they don’t disappoint.

The distinctive nature of our café scene were reiterated to Anna on a recent visit to Sydney, where she says there are plenty of great cafes but equal numbers of places that merely survive thanks to the larger population. 

‘A lot of the café owners in the book travel have spent years living overseas and travel regularly, and have garnered some pretty amazing experience. Many of them have fascinating backgrounds, which they don’t tend to boast about, but this international sophistication informs what they do and this has lifted the game with café dining.

‘One thing all the café owners included have in common, even though their cafés are all so different, is that they’re all very progressive in their outlook. They haven’t just opened a café as a way to make money. You can tell that it is their passion and they don’t stop learning, growing and evolving.

And there’s a sweet spot with evolution when it comes to cafes — customers don’t like too much change too quickly, but we like to feel inspired. It’s this balance that Anna had in mind when selecting recipes for the book, creating a compilation of recipes that will please any keen cook aspiring to recreate their favourite café dishes at home and experiment with new dishes. ‘Kiwis like to entertain often, but in quite a relaxed manner, and all the recipes in the book are perfect for that.’

A  beautifully designed,handsome and engaging book which I am delighted to have on my cookbook shelf. And the cafe featured on the cover is one of my favourites in  Ponsonby .

About the author: 
Freelance writer and editor Anna King Shahab fell into, and in love with, writing about food when she started working on the editorial team of Taste magazine. Since 2009 Anna has been on the food team at Metro magazine, which involves the enviable (though she would attest, difficult) duty of judging Auckland's 50 Best Cafés Awards, 50 Best Restaurants Awards and 'cheap eats'. As well as contributing features and recipes to a variety of publications, Anna enjoys exploring New Zealand's cafés and specialty and ethnic food stores.

No comments:

Post a Comment