One of the major downsides of magazineland is that something brilliant always comes in just a few days too late to make it into the mag. This time, we’d just sent the book review pages off when the most beautiful new cook book arrived in the office. I made a sound like Chewbacca when Han Solo is captured, and there may have been a bit of mild swearing … However, the joy of the internet is that nothing is ever too late, so have a longer and fuller review here instead!
We love Janelle Bloom’s food here at fc. It’s achievable, reliable, seasonal (so, surprisingly cheap) and delicious. Her books are full of gentle hints, tips, techniques, extras and cheats, so it’s like cooking with a really clever friend. And while the end result always looks spectacular, the ingredients are mostly very simple, often ones you’ll already have on hand.
This book sees her pull together her favourite recipes, sorted by season. Using the freshest, and therefore cheapest, ingredients for each time of year, Janelle serves up sides, salads, snacks and mains, then follows up with a separate section for sweets in each chapter. It’s a return to thinking of what is best at each time of year and taking advantage of the most vitamin-packed and taste-filled local produce.
And the recipes are amazing. Barbecued leg of lamb, seared sirloin with green salsa, berry custard slice – that’s just summer! (And probably my Sunday menu …)
Each chapter opens with a list of the best buys for fruit and veg, month by month, and produce tips including storage and buying tips. Variety suggestions for fruit like apples (juice with Granny Smiths, bake with Golden delicious and Fuji) are followed up by partnering suggestions for everything – and the onion section clearly spells out Janelle’s take on the eternal Australian shallot/spring onion/green onion conundrum, so you’ll always know which one she means!
The photography is droolworthy, and having seen Janelle on a photo shoot, what you see is what you get. There are no fancy pants tricks here, it’s all real, and what it should look like at your place. OK, maybe slightly more pristine, they do an awful lot of plate wiping on photo shoots.
Despite the call to seasonal eating, I know that you’ll probably do what I did and flick your way through finding a few faves that can be whipped up any time. It’s still spring for another month, so I’ll be laying waste to a few trays of Little chocolate macaroon tarts. And probably more through summer. Let’s face it, I’m unlikely to stop for autumn and winter.
My Favourite Food is 254 full-colour pages with shots for every recipe and explanations for any tricky steps and techniques. If you’re looking for fresh delish recipes, or if you know someone who needs a bit of help with their kitchen repertoire, this is the book – and just in time for Christmas! Available from next Monday (November 1), for $39.95 (published by Ebury).