Cookbook 166: Have your bake & eat it

I’m not entirely sure where Have your bake & eat it by Casual Cooking came from. It was a book I cooked from in 2019 and then lost all the photos (and almost all the memories of) from, so I cooked from it again. It’s out of print now (the link above is an ebay link), so finding this book is going to be tricky, that said, I don’t think you really need to rush out and find it. Other recipe books (and the internet) have better or as good as versions of these recipes and there is nothing particularly special or unique about this book when there are so many good or better cookbooks available.

Overall, I give this 3 out of 5 stars.

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Cookbook 108: Crafternoon Tea – revisited

I had some leftover strawberries and lemons from a very quiet New Years Eve gathering, so looked for something to make with them. I opened Crafternoon Tea, which I have cooked from before, and found this recipe for a Stawberry Lemonade Slice. It’s good, do recommend next time you have excess fruit lying around and you don’t want to waste it.

I used two lemons for this recipe – grate the rind off them first, then juice them both – you’ll need 4 tablespoons of juice and 2 teaspoons of rind.

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 113g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Filling

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup plain flour

Strawberry Layer

  • 2 heaped cups of diced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, or to taste
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp plain flour

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 85g butter

Method:

Base: Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper.  Combine softened butter with sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat until fluffy.  Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until crumbly.  Transfer crumbs to the baking pan and pat down firmly to make an even layer.  Bake for 10 minutes until the surface is dry but not browned.


Filling: In a medium bowl, add the egg, Greek yoghurt, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and whisk to combine.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Evenly pour filling over the crust and set aside.


Strawberry layer: In a separate medium bowl, add all the ingredients and toss to combine.  Gently spoon the strawberry mixture evenly over the filling.


Crumble topping: In a medium bowl, stir together the sugars, flour and salt.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the brown sugar mixture.  Rub the butter into the mixture with your fingers until uniform crumbs have formed.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the strawberry layer.


Bake for 60 minutes or until the edges are bubbling quite vigorously and the middle is bubbling slightly.  Crumble topping should appear set and lightly golden.   Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Notes on this recipe

  • Very delicious. Despite the lack of actual lemonade in this, the lemonade flavour is strong
  • Still happy with my previous rating of 4 out of 5 stars for this book
  • Still disappointed that I can’t find anywhere for you to buy it so you can have your own copy.

Cookbook 165: Abla’s Lebanese Kitchen

I bought Abla’s Lebanese Kitchen by Abla Amad during lockdown because it was on sale, I love Lebanese food, and Abla’s restaurat in Melbourne is an institution (highly recommend going there if you live in Melbourne and can afford it). It was hard to pick what I was going cook from this book as there are so many tasty looking dishes. In the end I had to get someone else to be the arbiter between some of the dishes, because I couldn’t choose.

The cookbook is good, the recipes in it are easy to follow, the stories of Abla’s life and family are interesting and beautiful, and the photos are fantastic. I am looking forward to cooking from this book again and give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Cookbook 164: Grilled

I bought The Australian Women’s Weekly Grilled cookbook a while ago, looking for more interesting things to cook on the BBQ beyond the standard sausages, chops, onions and halloumi (not that I mind any of that). This book covers all that and more, with sections on grilling, roasting, using the wok burner, using a smoker (if you have one) as well as sides and desserts.

Because I was ambitous, I cooked 4 different things, including one dessert. The meal was a success and I am curious to try more from this book. There aren’t a huge range of vegetarian options in the book and there are a lot of seafood options I will never make, but still overall I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

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Cookbook 163: Orange Blossom & Honey

Orange Blossom & Honey by John Gregory-Smith was on sale when I bought it recently, and given I love Moroccan food and this book was all about Moroccan food, I thought I’d give it a shot (because I really need another Moroccan cookbook). Gregory-Smith travelled extensively throughout Morocco, spending time with the locals and learning about their recipes. He then went home and adjusted the recipes for Western/Anglo kitchens – swapping in replacement ingredients for things that can be hard to find in the UK, all without sacrificing taste. I would say he succeeded, the recipes we cooked were delicious, and I already want to make them again.

The instructions are good, the recipes tasty and there is definite revisit potential with this book. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Cookbook 162: Ethiopia

So there was an email from a bookstore (Booktopia) about things including cookbooks, and one of the ones that I saw was Ethopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus (with Jeff Koehler). I LOVE Ethiopian food and was super excited to find a cookbook full of Ethiopian recipes, so I bought it. I was not disappointed. There were a couple of missteps (my fault), but the dishes were amazing, I want to make them again as well as try some others. Though I won’t try making the injera, because sour dough bread things are definitely not my jam. Would happily buy some if there was some on offer in my neighbourhood because injera is great. Oh and berbere spice mix is amazing (though I made mine with the wrong chillies so it’s deadly and tasty versus slightly spicy and tasty). We’ve already used the excess spice in risotto and bolognese, and will continue to do so.

Definitely recommend this book if you enjoy Ethiopian food and cooking, 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Cookbook 161: Jacob Food

I backed Jacob Food: An Entertainer’s Guide to Food You’ll Actually Make by Jacob Leung on a crowdfunding platform because a) cookbook, and b) cookbook. It was a while ago now, but thanks to lockdown and needing something to look forward to, I finally reached cooking from this cookbook, and I wasn’t disappointed. Jacob has certainly thought about what people like to eat, what flavours go together, and how to provide that information to people in an easy to understand way.

I made three dishes from this cookbook and I’d make them all again. The only one I’d change slightly, if I made it again, would be the gnocchi – and that’s only to suit Nigel’s taste because he wanted more garlic – something he claims you can’t have to much of, and I tend to agree with him. Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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Cookbook 160: Hong Kong Food City

Wow, this is a lot of cookbooks. Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan is a new addition to my bookshelf, because I have had so many people rave to me about the food of and in Hong Kong, and I can’t travel for the foreseeable future, so recipe books it is.

I like that this cookbook not only talks about the brands of certain sauces that you should buy, and the types of places you can get them, but also gives you information as to where you can try this dish in Hong Kong if we’re ever allowed to travel internationally again.

Tony Tan is a very well renowned chef (who does not have a wikipedia page), so you can trust that the recipes in this book have been well researched and thought about before being published. The one gripe I have with the recipes that I made was that one of them didn’t give guidance on approximately how long something should be deep fried, and the answer was longer than I did. Otherwise the recipes were delicious and we’d cook them again. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Cookbook 159: Modern Flavours of Arabia

So this book, Modern Flavours of Arabia by Suzanne Husseini, is out of print in Australia, which is a shame, because it’s a good book. Not surprising though as it was published in 2012, and that is a long time in publishing years. However, if you do see if for sale in a second hand bookshop, and you like what I describe below I do recommend buying it. We cooked 3 dishes, heavy on the yoghurt and lemon, and loved all of them… well the cauliflower was loved by Nigel and that is the main thing about cauliflower.

The dishes are really generous, the instructions aren’t too hard to follow, the flavours were delicious, and there are several other dishes in this book that I want to try. Overall rating 4 stars out of 5.

One note, some of the recipes call for pine nuts and I don’t support the pine nut industry (I haven’t for some time), so just used extra slivered almonds. I’ll list the pine nuts in the recipes, but I beg of you to stop buying pine nuts and just enjoy the awesomeness of almonds instead.

Also, there are more nuts here than you need. If cooking all these dishes just halve the nuts.

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Cookbook 158: Simply Bread

It’s hard to go past a good bread cookbook, and frustratingly with the constantly reducing number of bookshops in Melbourne, it’s hard to browse bread cookbooks to know if they are good or not (or have the types of bread I want to cook). Thankfully this online purchase of Simply Bread by The Australian Women’s Weekly was a good one. The book guides the user through several different types of bread, from basic through to pastries, sweet breads (not internals), quick breads, etc. It doesn’t address the bread vs cake thing that I have in my head sometimes – do breads have to contain yeast in them to be breads, or is any rising agent sufficient – but that’s just my head.

Being an AWW cookbook and triple tested, it was clear and easy to use, the results pretty much as described and the hardest part of the book was choosing which bread to make. I over committed and planned to make 4 different types of bread, but due to time and general bleah at the state of the world, I only made two. This is ok. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars

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