• Cookbook Reviews
    More from Magnolia by Allysa Torrey
    I am a HUGE Sex and the City fan. So naturally, I had to go on the Sex and the City tour when I was in New York. One of the sites we went to was the Magnolia Bakery. I remembered the scene where Carrie and Miranda eat pink cupcakes on a bench. But did not realise it was this bakery, nor did i realise how iconic the bakery was. The tour guide bought us all a cupcake. They were unlike any cupcake i had ever eaten before. The vanilla bottom was light and the butter cream was pillowy soft and over-the-top. It was very indulgent and (gasp) i couldn't finish it. But that didn't take away from the impression it has forever made in me. I can no longer make a cupcake with just a swipe of runny icing. I must make mountains of icing placed in a icing bag with a star tip and squeeze copious amounts on top of the cake. Isn't that what amazing experiences do to you? They change the way you think and behave, beyond any kind of control imaginable? I emailed my partner that evening and told him to go buy the book immediately, ready for me when i get back to Sydney. Upon my return, i made the cupcakes the following weekend. They were exactly the same. Oh joy! The 'Helpful Hints' section is really... helpful. Technique is the secret ingredient to a successful cake. Everything that i have made from this…
  • Cookbook Reviews
    The Japanese Kitchen by Kimiko Barber
    There is something about the Japanese cuisine that captures my heart and taste buds. It seems that every time we visit a Japanese restaurant or cafe, I am inspired to recreate or research whatever it is that i have experienced. It is more than just a plate of food. It is the current seasons best offerings, prepared with utter reverence to its natural taste and texture. When my partner and i go out to eat, it is usually the Japanese cuisine that we go  searching for. Ramen, Izakaya (bar & grill),  sushi train, sukiyaki etc etc. It is so simple and yet complex. It is mysterious but approachable. It is so healthy and one of the world's most misunderstood cuisines. The Japanese Kitchen is a good starting place for people who have just opened the door to the Japanese cuisine. It goes into the history and uses of essential ingredients and gives the appropriate recipes to accompany the descriptions. It is elegantly put together and easy to read. There are beautiful photos of the ingredients, everyday life and dishes. A great, well written novel takes its readers on a journey straight from the pages and into its intended destination... this is not different to cookbooks. This is the Japan that I know and love.
  • Cookbook Reviews
    Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
    I am a sucker for sales. Especially cookbook sales. It is not very often that brand new books go on sale. Well, the local department store had a 35% off cookbooks. I said to myself over and over again. "I must not buy junk, I must not buy junk." All to often i buy things that i think are a bargain and all too often they end up collecting dust or i later realise it was a piece of junk. And lets be honest. There are many terrible cookbooks out there that do not deserve me and my hard earned money. I parouse the aisle of cookbooks and pick up ones that take my fancy. I am superlucky to find a spare armchair to sit on and leaf through the many cookbooks i have stacked next to me. Apples For Jam was one of four books that i bought that day. And it is the only one that i go back to time and time again. These recipes are what Tessa Kiros wants her children to eat now. They are not however, just recipes simply for children. They are things that parents and children can enjoy together. I do however find that i am adding extra stuff to the recipes to suit my own taste. For example, the mince & potato croquettes. The first time i made them, they were lovely. However, i decided that i would add some garlic, some chopped parsley, and a cooked diced onion to the…