Jul 20

Cookbook 114: the Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook: Ballsy Food. Ballsy Flavours

James spotted this book at a friend’s house and browsed through it while they were making him some dinner.  He fell in love instantly and texted me to say that I had to buy the Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook by Jez Felwick as it was full of delicious recipes.  He was right.

Despite the title, the book covers meatballs, fishballs and vegballs, so is friendly to your pescatarian and vegetarian friends.  It also covers a range of sauces and condiments to go with your [x]balls so you can have a great eating experience.  It’s published in the UK, so some of the ingredients are a little more difficult to obtain than others, but that said, the balls I made were great, and I want to make them again.  I learnt the important lesson (again) of following instructions so that recipes are more successful.  Overall I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and I certainly want to cook from this book at the earliest opportunity.

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Jul 20

Cookbook 113: Breadmaking

This was definitely a second hand purchase, I know this because it has a dedication to Joan by Geavye (??) dated February 1984.  Breadmaking by Jill Graham is way out of print.  It’s a recipe book of bread, and really that’s all I want sometimes – a whole lot of bread, freshly made and so incredibly tasty.  It’s a good recipe book, full of different types of breads, including yeast-free, sweetened bread, flat breads, regular breads and breads with fruit in them.

The instructions are clear, the results are tasty, and I want to make more bread from this book.  With that, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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Jul 19

Cookbook 112: Sweet food: delicious sweet treats that will cure any craving

It was a cold day and Jacinta had kindly bought me a cook book that she found in an Op shop, and so Sweet Food: Delicious sweet treats that will cure any craving, sounded like a fine idea to bake from.  I also had many lemons lying around as there had been someone with a cold in the house who bought lots of lemons to add to hot water or coffee, so as it would have been a waste to let all those lemons go to waste, I made a lemon slice and lemon meringue pie.

This book is full of great baking ideas, and it would take FOREVER to make them all.  Well maybe not forever, but certainly a very long time – what with 387 pages (or thereabouts ) of recipes and pictures of said recipes.  The instructions are good, the lemon meringue pie is one of the best I’ve ever made, and the lemon slice was absolutely delicious.  Overall I give this 4 out of 5 stars.  I’d give it 5 out of 5, but I’d need to cook more from it first.

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Jun 28

Cookbook 111: a Nonya Inheritance

I was in Penang for a week recently, and one of the things I did in order to prepare for the holiday (and survive a really stressful week) was book a cooking course.  Penang food, to me, is the essence of Malaysian cuisine, and I wanted to learn all I could about it. I researched the various cooking class offerings and settled on Pearly Kee’s classes thanks to both the high rating on Trip Advisor, and because she’s published a cookbook, a Nonya Inheritance.

The cooking class was really great.  Pearly is very knowledgeable about Nonya food, traditional medicine in Penang, and why fresh food is good for you.  She clearly loves sharing her extensive knowledge of cooking with her students, and I highly recommend going to a class if you can manage it.  While cooking three of the recipes in this book (one modified with instruction from Pearly), I remembered the experience of cooking in Penang, the freshness of the ingredients and how good it tasted at the end.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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Jun 28

Cookbook 110: Vegie Food: from vegies on the side to the main event

My sister kindly gave me this book recently, she found it at a second-hand shop going cheaply and she thought I’d like the recipes in it.  She wasn’t wrong, Vegie Food: from vegies on the side to the main event, is full of great recipes.  It’s also out of print so probably generally hard to find.  It’s from the Murdoch Books publishing house, and is in a compact (and heavy) form, containing around 380 recipes.  Lots of great vegetarian and vegan recipes in this book.

I decided as I was making 3 dishes, that I’d try and have a simliar taste and feel to them all, so that they wouldn’t clash.  Though the fritters really didn’t go with anything else, they were too tasty looking for me to pass by.  I’d recommend this book, and give it a 4 out of 5.

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Jun 16

Cookbook 109: The Edible Garden cookbook

I bought The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Edible Garden Cookbook: Growing and cooking vegetables and herbs online from a discount store so there weren’t any reviews and I didn’t really know what I was getting. It wasn’t what I expected.  I was expecting more of a book covering the preservation of produce with the occasional recipe for using some produce fresh.  I also expected a LOT more recipes.  This book doesn’t even cover a lot about growing the produce they want you to cook with.  Overall, I’m really disappointed with the wasted potential in this book.  The recipes though are pretty good, but you’d expect that with anything written by AWW.  Overall I give this 2.5 stars out of 5 because of the wasted potential.

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Jun 08

Cookbook 108: Crafternoon Tea recipe book

I supported this project on Pozible, and received a copy of Crafternoon Tea recipe book: a patchwork of delightful teatime treats, by Fossick Handmade.  Sadly it doesn’t look like this book is actually available for purchase online, you might want to check Fossick Handmade’s Facebook page and ask them if you want a copy.

The book covers hints on how to host a crafternoon tea, and then provides recipes for sandwiches, scones, pastries, cakes, slices, jams, mocktails, and crafty projects.  I made a cake and a slice from this book, and was very happy with both.  I look forward to making more of these recipes.  Overall I give this 4 out of 5 stars.

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Jun 08

Cookbook 107: Cheese

Apologies for the hiatus, I’ve been busy (mostly job hunting) and then away overseas on holiday.  I am three books behind and hope to get up to date with those asap, and to resume cooking regularly.

This tiny cookbook was purchased second hand as a joke, because Scott likes cheese, and liked to answer “cheese” when I’d ask him semi-serious questions.  A Pocket Book on Cheese: A natural food and a versatile ingredient by Shirly Gill as is stated on the cover, a book about cheese, and some recipes about cheese.  There were only a couple of us around for dinner the evening we cooked from this book so I only made two dishes. I did consider making some more, but many of them required the oven and I only have one of those.

The instructions are straight forward, the recipes were tasty and overall not a bad book to have.  All of the recipes are done somewhere else though, so not one you need to rush out and find.  Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.

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Apr 26

Cookbook 106: Mexican: Authentic recipes from south of the border

So when it was my birthday, and there was a cookbook sale, and I indulged (because birthday), I was very excited to see Mexican: Authentic recipes from south of the border by the Australian Women’s Weekly, because my previous Mexican cookbook left me uninspired and wanting a book that was far better.  The AWW does great cookbooks, triple tests the recipes and so I knew that provided I could get the ingredients required, this book would be awesome.

I wasn’t disappointed, the food was amazing.  The menu I chose was rather ambitious, but we pulled it off perfectly (pretty much everything ready at the same time), but I didn’t cook a desert.  You’ll see why, we had a lot of food.  I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.  I’d give it more stars, but I know that some of these ingredients are hard to find.  I do recommend buying this if you do have access to Mexican cooking ingredients though.

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Apr 26

Cookbook 105: Paella! Spectacular Rice Dishes from Spain

I bought Paella! Spectacular Rice Dishes from Spain by Penelope Casas some years ago when I thought it’d be nice to learn how to cook Spanish food.  I didn’t have a paella pan at the time so this book sat on my shelf waiting for the moment when I got one. That happened to be this year thanks to my lovely husband who bought me one for my birthday.

Overall, however, this book is a bit of a problem.  Most of the recipes in this book call for a 17 – 18 inch pan (yes it is USian, how could you tell?), and only a handfull for a 13 inch pan (the one I got).  All the recipes require that the paella finishes in the oven, so you have to have an oven big enough to fit the pan into.  The recipes are also really verbose, so it’s hard to read in the kitchen and remember what you’re up to.  The one dish I made from this book made a significant amount of paella (probably enough to feed 6-8), and was a little dry, but tasty.  I give this 3 stars out of 5, and I won’t be keeping the book.

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