Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Mum's the word: books for cooks

Does your mum like to cook? Or does she simply enjoy the pleasure of flicking through glossy cookbooks? Here are a few of my favourite cookbooks that will make great gift ideas for Mother's Day. Earn a few extra brownie points and present mum with a book and a dish you've created from it. Aim high with Organum, by Peter Gilmore or keep it simple with Neil Perry's Easy Weekends and whatever you do, don't forget to wash up. She'll be even more smitten with the gift if she is not the one wearing the oven mittens.

For the joy of cooking …  Having Margaret Fulton in her test kitchen made Kate Gibbs the envy of cookbook authors around the country. This is the sort of cookbook that will be passed down through the generations, just like the recipes it contains. Margaret and Me brings the Fulton family's recipes to life by sharing some of the history behind them. With retro baking on the rise, Fulton - who has been nominated by the National Trust as a National Living Treasure - has clearly passed down her love of cooking to her grand-daughter who presents her modern take on comforting classics. Part cookbook, part memoir, the book is a personal account of growing up attached to the apron strings of one of the matriachs of Australian cooking. Nothing says 'I love you' like slow-roasted lamb shoulder or custard-filled profiteroles.
Margaret and Me is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For mums who aim to outdo the neighbours …  
Peter Gilmore is executive chef of the three-hatted Quay restaurant in Sydney, included in S. Pelligrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list five years in a row. In Organum, Gilmore explores the idea of modern Australian cuisine with style and substance in a book that will make lovers of books for cooks purr with pleasure. With its sexy pseudo-suede cover, the book is literally bound to impress and, while many of the dishes sound simple, they are, in fact, complex creations that rely on flavour, texture, technique, aroma and innovation. Test your mettle in the kitchen with pork belly, milk curd, roasted koji, sesame, kombu and smoked pork rib broth. Alternatively, offer your mum a corner to curl up in while she strokes the pages filled with stunning food photography.
Organum by Peter Gilmore is published by Murdoch Books ($100).

For mothers who are partial to a food safari ... 
Enjoy a magic carpet ride around the world, exploring the diverse ingredients of 44 cuisines with more than 400 recipes.  Fans of Maeve O'Meara's TV shows should treat this re-released book like their culinary bible as the TV host and cookbook author takes readers around the globe to visit some of the most vibrant food cultures. In Complete Food Safari, O'Meara will take readers on glorious culinary adventures with dishes such as Peruvian humitas, pork knuckle with potato dumplings, and Hyderabadi chicken, which are just a few of the standouts. If you want to make your mum feel really special, book one of Maeve's magical safaris to Vietnam, the Greek Islands, Sardinia and Corsica.
Complete Food Safari, published by Hardie Grant. ($59.95)

For well-travelled matriachs …

Same Same But Different presents a range of signature recipes and family classics that all tell a story about Poh Ling Yeow’s life growing up in Australia with Chinese-Malay heritage. The book, which has been shot entirely on location in Poh’s own kitchen, is also a personal account of Poh and the real food influences in her life. Featuring recipes such as mussels with tomato and white wine and spaghetti puttanesca, Same Same But Different is a true reflection of how Australians eat and the way we might whip up a Greek dish one night, Italian another, Japanese the next night. This is for mums who love a table laden with offerings from many nationalities. Menikmati makanan anda
Same Same But Different is published by ABC Books ($39.99).

For women who enjoy wielding a pair of tongs ... 
King of the Grill is not just for those new to the art of no-nonsense barbecuing. This bumper collection by Ross Dobson, which draws on culinary influences from around the globe, celebrates that classic Aussie attitude to the barbecue that goes beyond the hiss of fat on the grill and cements this backyard ritual as a social occasion. As well as advice on temperatures and cooking times, techniques and utensils, the book contains recipes that are a step up from snags. If you thrill on the grill, step up to the hotplate and impress your mum with prawn and chorizo skewers, seared tuna with bay leaf and lemon or brined roasted chicken. Mums will approve that vegetables also share the spotlight.
King of the Grill  is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For those with allergies ...
One in 20 children and two in 100 adults in Australia suffer with food allergies. Let Them Eat Good Cake is for Mums who must avoid gluten, dairy, egg and nuts or have someone close to them who fits into that category. The Good Cake Co's Corry Altclass and Nicole Amdur both have family members and close friends who suffer from allergies and struggled to find food that tasted good. Together, the pair have created a recipes that range from baked doughnuts to chocolate and beetroot cake. 'Cause if you're going to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free cake, you want it to taste good, right? An excellent addition to the bookshelves for those that must follow strict diets but don't want to miss out on the occasional guilt-free treat.  Let Them Eat Good Cake is available from www.thegoodcakeco.com.au

A book for the hostess with the mostess...  
Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to cook under the command of one of the country's best chefs without the pressure-cooker heat of working in a restaurant kitchen? Sepia is for those who want to take their culinary feats to the next level. Benn is justifiably famous for his restaurant, which won Restaurant of the Year 2015 and was awarded three chef's hats in The Good Food Guide. This book includes 66 of the chef's defining dishes which are based around four degustation menus. As well as testing your technical mastery, the book is an insight into Benn's background and includes stories from the culinary frontline. Experiment with magic elements such as beetroot glass, rhubarb gel and goat's milk foam. Sepia by Martin Benn is published by Murdoch Books ($75). 

Mum's the word for easy entertaining...
Necessity is the mother of invention. Acclaimed chef Neil Perry clearly saw a need for an essential entertaining cookbook with Easy Weekends. If you want to be in the good books, buy this cookbook for mum on Mother's day, which aims to inspire you not just to create meals but shared moments. The book progresses from Friday to Sunday and includes everything from a family stir-fry on a Friday night to lazy Sunday breakfast ideas. It is also the sort of tome that can be used as a blueprint book for those who want to expand the repertoire of dishes they cook for family and friends. It's a guidebook for all occasions.
Easy Weekends is published by Murdoch Books ($39.99).

For mums who plan dinner while enjoying breakfast...
This is a book for well-travelled mums who want to relive the days when they were backpacking through Turkey. Arranged in the form of a typical Turkish eating day, the book by Somer Sivrioglu and David Dale takes readers to the heart of a cuisine that is still evolving to this day. This is a cookbook that has a lot to teach us - from the tradition and diversity of Turkish cuisine to the rituals, myths and folklore that lies behind 3000 years of Anatolian cooking. With more than 140 traditional and modern recipes, the book is for armchair travellers, too, as it was shot on location in Istanbul around Turkey.
Anatolia is published by Murdoch Books ($79.99).

For mums who like to plan ahead... 
Best-selling children's cookery writer Annabel Karmel is the queen of fuss-free tasty recipes for the whole family. In her latest cookbook, Karmel makes mealtimes a cinch with everyday ideas for light meals, snacks and lunch box treats. Those of us in a rut with their repertoire will appreciate the foolproof 'prep ahead' recipes that can be frozen, as well as ideas for leisurely weekend lunches. Favourites include chicken Karmel, nasi goreng and her best-ever banana cake. If you want to totally spoil your mum, take her out to the nearest InterContinental near you and have all the work done for you. Karmel consulted on the InterContinental's Planet Trekkers menu, which is exclusively for children. Annabel's Family Cookbook is published by Random House Australia ($45).

Something your nonna will treasure... 
Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak have been very generous in sharing Puglia. You see, the locals have been very protective about sharing cooking secrets from the region nestled in the heel of Ital. But as this beautiful book shows, it's no wonder the Pugliese have been protective about their sharing the food of Puglia. The book is divided into chapters marked antipasti, pasta, pesce e fruitti di mare (fish and seafood), carne, insalate, pane (bread), verdure (vegetables) and dolci e bevande (desserts and drinks). For food-focused travellers, this is the sort of book that will inspire a trip to Italy. It will also open your eyes to a whole new world of Italian cooking. Sharing Puglia is published by Hardie Grant ($49.95).

If you’d like to win a copy of Poh Ling Yeow’s book Same Same But Different, simply subscribe to www.carlagrossetti.com and, in 100 words or less, tell me what your signature ‘same same but different’ take on a family classic is. Email entries to carlagrossetti@optusnet.com.au with Same Same But Different in the subject line. Winners will be notified by email.  

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