Monday, May 28, 2012

Food, glorious food...........The Bookman revels in five books for foodies

I have been having a foodie book feast these past two weeks with five quite different but all special books.

Orchards in the Oasis – recipes,travels & memories
Josceline Dimbleby - Quadrille Publishing – Hardback
Dimbleby is a popular and successful UK cookery writer with more than 24 books to her credit. In her latest, a memoir really, she explores the food influences on her varied life. From Syria to Peru, from Turkey and Iran to Morocco, the US, Burman, Vietnam & India her adult life has built on and broadened the gastronomic experiences of her extraordinary childhood (she had a diplomat step-father). Fascinating, compelling.

Maggie’s Verjuice Cookbook – Maggie Beer –  Lantern
A few months ago I was given a bottle of verjuice and I had absolutely no idea what to do with it so it has sat in the pantry until now. I knew it was used in cooking but that was the extent of my knowledge. Now thanks to much-loved Australian food writer Maggie Beer and her just-published book I not only know what to do with it, essentially it adds flavour to your food, but I have a whole book of recipes (over 100) all of which include verjuice. Recently I made her Pumpkin Risotto rather than the version I usually make, and it was a hit. It contained half a cup of verjuice. Within a week or two I am going to need another bottle!

A Foodie’s Guide to London – Cara Frost-Sharratt – New Holland
Reading this book made me wish I could jump on the next flight to London. In gorgeous full colour throughout it takes the reader on a gastronomic tour searching outall the best food outlets – bakeries, butchers, cheesemongers, chocolatiers, delis, fishmongers, farmers markets, grocers – they are all in here along with address details and maps showing tube stops.

French Bistro – Seasonal Recipes
Bertarnd Auboyneau and Francois Simon.  Hardback -Flammarion
Bertrand Auboyneau is the owner of the Paul Bert in Paris while Francois Simon is the renowned Le Figaro food critic and this is their homage to the classic French Bistro. The handsome and highly illustrated book offers a selection of seasonal recipes from Paul Bert while Simon explains the ten essentials that make or break a great bistro. It also includes details on a dozen of the best Paris bistros.

Love & Hunger – thoughts on the gift of food
Charlotte Wood – Allen & Unwin
Unusually for a book on food this one contains no illustrations.
Charlotte Wood is a novelist with four acclaimed titles to her credit. She has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. She is also a food writer with stories published in various travel and food magazines. And she was a guest at the recent Auckland Writers & Readers Festival. Although the book contains more than 75 recipes, mostly simple & classic, it is really a warm and amusing distillation of everything the author has learned about food and cookery over the past 20 years as a passionate home cook.

This piece, by Bookman Beattie, was first published in the Herald on Sunday, 27 May, 2012.

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