Now that my mini-series of cook books has been cooked through, I'm back to indecision in picking a book for the challenge. This week was made a little easier for me, as dad picked up another couple books from the op shop for me. I was flicking through one whilst trying to decide on dinner and came across as recipe I just had to try.
The book is New Idea's "Let's Cook Chinese". I'm such a lover of Asian food, but it's something I seldom have at home. Neither of my parents were equipped to cook Asian dishes, so growing up the only Asian food I got was take away. I haven't learnt enough yet to be able to experiment much with Asian flavours, and so I tend to rely a lot of cook books when I'm making it at home. Some are more westernised than others, and I feel this one lingers half way between traditional and bastardised Asian cuisine, but as a Westerner I'm not picky enough to mind. This book had so many dishes I wanted to try, but there was one that caught my attention above all else.
This week is the final installment of the Cook Book Challenge taken from this mini-series (because I am a genius and did #10 weeks ago). Next week we shall return to your regularly-sized version.
Gary Mehigan is another well-known Melbourne chef. He was well known before becoming a judge on MasterChef, but since has become a household name. He began his cheffing career in London before moving to Melbourne and opening a plethora of award-winning restaurants. This book is named after, and full of, my favourite types of eats: comfort food. It's particularly comforting during this cooler part of the year. Choosing a recipe was almost impossible.
Winter, or any time, warmers…
I've just finished another batch of research, and perhaps my final pending on how the data turns out. While I was getting up at 5am and coming home at 8pm, I didn't have the energy to cook anything. Dinner was usually my first meal of the day and often consisted of 2-minute noodles or a pasty. Anything I make quickly and shove in my mouth before collapsing into bed. Needless to say, I fell off the CBC bandwagon once more. This week, I was extra excited to pick it up again given that this week's book is Kylie Kwong "Simple Chinese Cooking".
Kylie Kowng is an Australian chef who is as charasmatic as she is brilliant. She takes the Cantonese cooking she learned from her mother and applies the chef-fy skills she's learned in her adult life. But my favourite thing about her is that she's a proponent of sustainable food and ethical eating. Her restaurant famously uses only local, organic and biodynamic produce and has won awards for it's sustainablity.
I've been a nature and animal lover as far as I can remember, and in my adult life a Zoologist. Conservation, sustainablity and animal ethics are among my highest priorities in life. I've found that a lot of people think that to eat and live sustainably means to go without all the good things. Kylie and her restaurant show just how easy it is to have amazing food that is sustainable.
Chilli-salt Duck Breasts with Lemon
I'm a week late in posting this challenge. I've just started a new round of field work for my research project that has me up at 5am and home way after the sun has set. Ahh, the joys of working with a nocturnal species. But if you're as much of a fan of squid as I am, you'll agree that this one is definitely worth the wait.
This week's book is Tobie Puttock's "Daily Italian". Tobie is a local Melbourne boy who cheffed his way across Europe, working 18-hour days in Italian-speaking kitchens. He worked with many a high profile chef before bringing all this knowledge back to Melbourne. In 2006 he opened his restaurant, Fifteen — a Jamie Oliver founded chain many of you will know of, that gives opportunities to disadvantaged youths. The restaurant fell victim to arson a few years ago, but recently reopened as The Kitchen Cat.
Tobie is a fantastic foodie, and his book was full of recipes I wanted to try, and will do so soon. But I couldn't go past the squid recipe. Not only do I love it, I've never cooked squid myself before, and so it was perfect for the cook book challenge.
Recipe after the jump…
Maggie Beer is one of my all time favourite cooks. Not only are her recipes intelligent, perfectly balanced wonders of deliciousness — she also has the most infectious personality. I still remember watching the Twitter feed exploding with adoration when she appeared on MasterChef for the first time. She's impossible not to fall in love with.
So are her cook books.
While her recipes are intelligent, they are also accessible to most everyone. Some require a bit more skill or practise than the next, but they're not recipes you'll feel too intimidated by to try. Her chatty style of writing talks you through the complicated steps and explains why you are doing what you are doing.
There were so many recipes in this book I wanted to try, but I simply couldn't go past the Olive Tart. Not just because I have an obsessive love for puff pastry…
Pastry, om nom nom…
FThis week sees me get over the half way mark with this potion of the cook book challenge: next up to the plate is Matt Moran's "When I Get Home". Matt Moran is of course the head chef of ARIA, located at the very doorstep of the Sydney Opera House. He became a household name with his continued involvement in MasterCher Australia, and is loved for absolutely scaring the figurative pants of contestants. He's a great chef, his dishes are always drool-worthy, and his book is no exception.
For the second week in a row, I got to tackle a dish I've been promising to make my boyfriend for over half a decade (wow, way to make us sound old). There were two desserts that fit the bill, actually, the other being bombe alaska, but I had to skip that at the first line: "This recipe requires an ice cream machine". Neeext.
Bread and Butter Pudding
This week's cook book challenge comes for the 4th book in this mini series. It's called "Grossi Florentino – Secrets and Recipes". Named after Guy Grossi's restaurant, this book was composed by its head chef as well and the journalist, Jan McGuinness. While the mini version of this book offers none of the history penned by McGuinness in the full version, there's more than enough recipes to peruse through.
There's a lot to love in this book: something that made choosing a recipe really hard. It's packed full of the from-scratch pasta recipes you would expect, as well as some gorgeous meat dishes and more than a few delicious desserts.
White Chocolate Cheesecake
This week for the Cook Book Challenge, I actually remembered to grab the book from the right side of the pile. This is the third book in the mini-series: Donna Hay's "Seasons".
This is a lovely little book split into 4 sections: one for each season. Its contents page is similarly divided, and I love the ease of access and quick reference to recipes this gives you. I had such a hard time choosing a recipe. Even confining myself to the winter section didn't work very well. But I eventually settled on a winter warmer, even though it came from the Autumn chapter.
Apple Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce…
I've been a little quiet on the blogging front this week. I've been finishing off my final assignment for my last subject ever. Now I just have to finish off the research component of my course and I'll have a piece of paper declaring I have mastered science. Exciting. But scary.
While I've not been blogging, I've still been cooking. The masses always have to be fed, y'know. I've got lots to show you guys.
So now that I have time to take a breather, it's time for another cook book challenge post!
I didn't realise until doing this blog post that I took this weeks book from the wrong end of the pile. Now it's out of order. Ah! My OCD! *flail*
It's no secret that I love baking more than anything else in the kitchen. So a whole book on baking is always welcome. This week's book is Belinda Jeffrey's "Mix and Bake".
Crunchy Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Bisuits…
Unlike last week, I was really looking forward to delving into this week's cook book. Second on the list is Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion".
This is a really neat book. The book deviates from the usual entrée/main/dessert structure of cookbooks. Instead, it works its way alphabetically through a list of garden ingredients: herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables. The header of each recipe features the name of the ingredient that starts in the dish. Not only is it unique, but I find it really handy for when you have something you need to use up, but can't think of a good use for it.
I had so much fun flipping through the book that I became spoilt for choice…