Thursday, 25 August 2011

BOOKS: New & Notable

There's a whole bunch of great new food and drink related books that have just been released or are soon to be hitting the shelves of your favourite bookshop. Read on for a rundown on five of the best!

The Good Life
by Adrian Richardson
Release date: August 2011
RRP: $59.99

Adrian Richardson's been kicking around on cooking shows for a while now; you might have seen him on Ready, Steady, Cook, Jamie's Kitchen Australia, or as co-host on Good Chef, Bad Chef. I haven't. In fact, I've never heard of him. But I happened to see a copy lying around at my work (I work for a library supplier) and decided to have an idle flip through it. Well, I didn't put it down for a good 10 minutes as I pored over the recipes and realised that this cookbook was something a little bit different, and a little bit special.

The recipes are not of the flashy, complicated variety. Rather, they're all very achievable by the home cook, and have a rustic, wholesome feel to them. But as good as the recipes are, what really caught my attention are the 10 fully illustrated Masterclasses that lead you step by step through the process of making things like salami, sausages, pasta and gnocchi, as well as how to cure fish. I think it's a great idea to go beyond the usual recipes and include a guide for creating something totally from scratch.

The Good Life is wonderfully designed and includes some lovely photographs, all of which emphasises the homely, wholesome feel of the book. It's actually one of the first three cookbooks released under the new Plum imprint at Pan Macmillan, and the design of the other two cookbooks (Marion by Masterchef's Marion Grasby, and Hungry by Guy Mirabella) are just as beautiful. Check them all out at Plum's website.

My Taste of Sicily
by Dominique Rizzo
Release date: September 2011
RRP: $39.95

Dominique Rizzo is a Brisbane local, and is the head chef and partner at Mondo Organics restaurant/catering/cooking school at West End. This is her first cookbook, and although I've never dined at Mondo Organics and have yet to lay eyes on the contents of the book, I'm still very much looking forward to seeing it. Just like Adrian Richardson, Dominique's put in appearances on Ready, Steady, Cook and been very active in the promotion of organic and seasonal food. Still need persuading? Just check out the Mondo Organics website and peruse their menu. It's truly mouth-watering.

Dominique is launching the My Taste of Sicily at Avid Reader bookshop at West End on Thursday the 1st of September. It kicks off at 6pm, and tickets are only $5. You can reserve tickets here, and read more about the book here.

Cooking With Beer
by Paul Mercurio
Release date: August 2011
RRP: $34.99

It seems strange that actor and dancer Paul Mercurio, star of Strictly Ballroom, has managed to reinvent himself as a foodie and craft beer advocate. But he's now into the fourth series of his cooking/travel show, Mercurio's Menu, and has just released his second cookbook, Cooking With Beer.

I picked up a cheap copy of Paul's first cookbook earlier this year after being surprised by the frequent use of beer in his recipes. And not just any beer, but good quality brews, usually from a craft brewery. The man clearly knows what's what when it comes to beer, as he's also a beer judge and has contributed to the new edition of the Beer Lovers Guide To Australia, also due out this month.

You can read more about the book at the Murdoch website, and there are two recipes from the book for you to check out while you're there.

Possum Pie, Beetroot Beer and Lamingtons
by Victoria Heywood
Release date: October 2011
RRP: $25.00

I haven't seen too many details about this book yet, but the blurb says that it:

"...brings together around 500 lost recipes from the Australia of yesterday, gathered from farmhouse attics, dusty archives, long-defunct magazines and newspapers, family bookshelves, private and state collections."

Apparently the recipes range from settlement days right up to the 1950s, all presented in a nostalgic design with anachronistic advice and advertisements from back in the day.

It's hard to tell if this is going to be a book more interested in laughing at what people used to eat "back then", a proper cookbook with useful recipes, or some combination of the two. But I think it's worth keeping an eye out for, nonetheless. 

Actually, it reminds me of a book I found in a Salvation Army store not long ago that is a reprint of the very first official Australian cookbook, first published back in the 1860s. It has recipes like Roast Wombat and Kangaroo Brains, but there was still a lot of useful stuff in there. I might see if I can dig it out and share some of the recipes here on Black Ladle.

Read more about the author and the book here.

The Unofficial Sookie Stackhouse Cookbook
by Melissa Lowery, Elizabeth Henderson, and JoAnn Mathias
Release date: Autumn 2012
RRP: ??

Word has gotten out that a cookbook based on the popular TV show True Blood will be released sometime in autumn next year. Details are extremely sketchy at this stage, but it's said to include recipes like "Jason's Bourbon Smashed Potatoes", "Tara's Bewitching Banana Souffle", "Sookie's Steamy Crawfish Etouffee", and "Bite Me Biscuits" from vampire Bill.

Presumably there'll also be many recipes using blood as a main ingredient? Hopefully with some recommendations for substitutes...


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