Cookbookery and Sauntering Gourmets

I’m no great shakes as a gourmet, but I do like to eat – so I cook. My essential guide is a 1997 permutation of the Edmonds (pages most decorated with food – Afghans). Here are my favourite cookbooks – even an ungifted amateur like me can conjure up yumminess galore with these stalwarts:

  • Fast vegies Australian Women’s Weekly – the cauliflower soup recipe is helping me use up old vegies in the fridge, getting the vegetable intake up and what is winter without soup?
  • The Moosewood Cookbook Mollie Katzen – originally bought for a poppyseed poundcake recipe but lots more to love in this classic which is focussed on natural foods
  • The Crabtree Bakery Cupcake Book Jennifer Graham – gastroporn at its most pretty
  • The Best of Alison Holst – the Mummy of them all, hearty menu mainstays to the fore.

I’m also looking forward to exploring Miss Dahl’s voluptuous delights – Sophie Dahl is possibly the only woman who could out ‘volupt’ Nigella Lawson.  And I have Bake by Allyson Gofton out of the library, but I think I need to get one on my bookshelf. Sheer damn baking genius.

How about some of you more gifted in the culinary arts reveal your faves?

14 thoughts on “Cookbookery and Sauntering Gourmets

  1. Michael A 30 June 2009 / 8:51 am

    I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan (all the more so after eating at Fifteen in Melbourne). His “Ministry of Food” book is a brilliant starter book for novice cooks and his others are always an inspiration although getting a little light on innovations now. Of course there is Stephanie Alexander’s
    “Cooks Companion”
    and the best vege book in the universe, Digby Law’s “Vegetable Cook Book”. With the odd Cuisine magazine thrown in, I have all my bases covered.

  2. Donna 30 June 2009 / 11:08 am

    Quite keen to try some of your recommendations Michael, especially Digby Law who I’d never heard of! and Cuisine is wicked … They’ve just announced the finalists for Restaurant of the Year (localeye lists the local ones).

  3. Mo-mo 30 June 2009 / 12:38 pm

    Well, I don’t have any cookbook suggestions per se but your admission of telltale afghan “dirt” calls to mind the “chocolate self-saucing pudding” page in my trusty Edmonds. Cocoa stains ahoy on that one…

  4. Michael A 30 June 2009 / 1:42 pm

    Digby Law (1936–1987) was one of New Zealand’s most creative food writers. A pioneer with New Zealand food, he took what grew in our gardens and lined it up with the best of what was available from overseas. His positive encouragement led many mediocre cooks to a true appreciation of ingredients and cooking method, flavours and presentation. He was well known as a writer and broadcaster on food and was a regular magazine columnist.

    When this book (Vegetable Cookbook) was first published in 1978 it became an instant classic – it has been reprinted over 16 times and is still recognised as one of the best vegetable recipe collections available. It provides over 400 superb recipes that make the most of the combinations, flavours and textures of delicious fresh New Zealand produce. Recipes include side dishes, salads, mains, desserts, dressings and sauces.

    Digby Law’s Vegetable Cookbook has clear and simple instructions, an emphasis on using only the very best ingredients, and the imagination and flair that the author brings to all his cooking.

  5. Marion 30 June 2009 / 3:29 pm

    Totally agree with the Digby Law recommendation. He’s been republished after his death which says heaps. I’ve enjoyed his Pickle and Chutney book and there is a Soup book and the Essential Digby Law.
    Other faves include Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion – it’s my bible, anything by Elizabeth David, Jamie Oliver, Annabel Langbein, Christine Dann’s A Cottage Garden Cookbook and a lovely book called The Artist’s Table which was a fundraiser for the Suter Art Gallery.

  6. lynne 30 June 2009 / 5:08 pm

    My favourite food author is a lady called Claudia Roden. “The book of Jewish food” is her best, not just delicious and kosher recipes but a wonderful exploration of Judaism through its food. She also wrote “The food of Italy” which has all of the classic Italian recipes region by region.

  7. Joyce 1 July 2009 / 12:06 pm

    I’ve just read in the Guardian that the polific Alexander McCall Smith is publishing a Mma Ramotswe cookbook “full of the flavour and colours of Botswana” and including “Mr JLB Matekoni’s favourite – traditional fruitcake”.
    Maybe yum?

  8. clurbee 1 July 2009 / 12:26 pm

    I borrowed Nigella’s Feast from the Library so many times I relented and bought myself a copy. Her Chocolate Christmas Cake, Cranberry Tart and Chocolate Pavlova are all fantastic. I know there will be purists gasping at the very idea of a chocolate pav, but believe me its worth the break with tradition.

  9. cliniclulu 2 July 2009 / 12:17 pm

    Hmm, wondering if anyone has tried Flip Grater’s cookbook?
    My favourites are — SOUP by the guys from Soup Works in Soho. I don’t think the library owns it. Flawless recipes worth buying all the ingredients for — and, well, the oat-chocolate biscuits from “The Garden of Vegan,” which I live on. A meal in a biscuit, better for you than “one square meal” and no matter how much you modify the recipe, it still works! And those Vegan girl books are so cool (cool pictures, cool writing).

    • library grrl 7 July 2009 / 5:29 pm

      It is “The cookbook tour : a NZ tour story (and collected recipes) / by Flip Grater.” (if so, the library has it in stock) and it rocks 😉

      And I gotta agree that “How it all Vegan” is one of the best cookbooks out there 😉

  10. mhaleccl 2 July 2009 / 12:27 pm

    If you’re cooking on a budget there is Sophie Gray’s destitute gourmet series which has some great recipes in it that tend to be easy as well. I’ve had out Stephanie Alexander’s cook’s companion as it is recommended by Masterchef – yay it’s back on for anyone at home by 5.20pm. I particularly love the bits down the side that say which flavours go together so you can try making your own masterpieces – although, as I’m sure my husband would agree, this can lead to some “interesting” rather than tasty dishes.

    • Michael A 3 July 2009 / 2:32 pm

      We saw Stephanie Alexander when she was out here promoting her second edition of Cook’s Companion as one of the Literary Liaisons I think (East’s Bookshop were there with a large sales table) and have recently eaten at her Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder in Melbourne. The side notes in the book are exceptional and very helpful plus all the basic stuff is there – another reason why I love Digby Law who will tell you the best way to prepare frozen peas before wandering off into anything more exotic.

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