Category Archives: Cooking

New Year Party Planning

We hope you all survived the fun and excitement that is Christmas Day and now that that is behind us we are continuing the party season with New Year celebrations. Can you believe it is 2020 next week? How is it that when we think of 20 years ago we naturally think of the 80s but, no… it was 2000. Yikes! (makes us feel old…).

To ring in the new year, many people have a bit of a bash and we thought we’d share some of the best books on the market that will help elevate your soirée into something a little more memorable. 

Just a note, some of these books contain ideas for fancy smanzy drinks involving alcohol so please remember to drink responsibly and look after each other as you welcome in the new year. 

Mix Tape Pot Luck by Questlove

What if Questlove threw a potluck dinner, and everybody came? He picked the guests. The guests picked the recipes. The result is the ultimate potluck cookbook. Questlove is best known for his achievements in the music world, but his interest in food runs a close second. He has hosted a series of renowned Food Salons and conversations with some of America’s most prominent chefs. Now he is turning his hand to creating a cookbook. In Mixtape Potluck Cookbook, Questlove imagines the ultimate potluck dinner party, inviting more than fifty chefs, entertainers, and musicians such as Eric Ripert, Natalie Portman, and Q-Tip and asking them to bring along their favourite recipes. He also pairs each cook with a song that he feels best captures their unique creative energy. The result is not only an accessible, entertaining cookbook, but also a collection of Questlove’s diverting musical commentaries as well as an illustration of the fascinating creative relationship between music and food. With Questlove’s unique style of hosting dinner parties and his love of music, food, and entertaining, this book will give readers unexpected insights into the relationship between culture and food.

The Champagne Guide by Tyson Stelzer

This one is for those who like to ring in the new year with some bubbles. This is the world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to Champagne, featuring all the latest vintages. The Champagne Guide 2020-2021 contains fully independent assessments, with profiles and ratings, of over 120 champagne producers and 800 cuvées. Inside you’ll find: Independent assessments and ratings of more than 800 cuvées, all tasted recently; all of the latest insights on the top 120 champagne houses, growers and cooperatives; a Hall of Honour to acknowledge the best producers in Champagne this year; highlights of all the best champagnes of the year at every price and style; updated assessments of the past 24 vintages in Champagne; a chapter on decoding champagne labels and bottling codes along with maps of the champagne villages and vineyards.

Popsicle Party by Louise Pickford

Okay, so this may not be the book of choice for a New Year’s party in the UK but we know those down under will love it. A chilled popsicle, grabbed and shared round languorously from the freezer on a boiling hot day is a simple, nostalgic pleasure. These juvenile treats have clearly not lost their appeal amongst fun-loving adults, and recent trends have seen these childish ices transformed into something far more sophisticated, with fresh natural ingredients and gourmet flavours. Adults and children alike will adore Coconut, Mango and Passion Fruit ice pops: a rainbow of colours and three of your five-a-day in the most enjoyable way. A stash of dairy-free Almond Milk, Honeycomb and Salted Chocolate Pops will always be welcome, while making Buttermilk, Rosewater, Raspberry and Pistachio Pops with whole raspberries set inside would be the most attractive end to any dinner party. It is remarkably easy to make these frozen treats at home, so stock up your freezer and have a posh popsicle ready for any occasion.

The Modern Gentleman by John McCarthy

This compact volume introduces modern gentlemen to some of the greatest pleasures in life, from the very best spirits to the most complex hot sauces to the suavest of accessories. The book is targeted to aspiring bon vivants, modern metrosexuals, millennials, and hipsters eager to become the new gentleman. Content not only includes quick guides to great drinks, foods, and cigars, but also makes the case for why every real gentleman needs a great flask, a classic pen, and a watch that may not be ‘smart’ but will make you look and feel like 007. Features short essays on each subject, with classic illustrations accompanying each, all in a handsome package that will evoke thoughts of a trusted old leather-bound book.

Paper Pom Poms and other Party Decorations by Juliet Carr

We love to add a little decoration or two to jazz up a party and why not try your hand at making your own this year. Discover how to create a spectacular setting for your next party with these 35 fabulous projects. From eye-catching pom-poms to pretty garlands and stunning giant flowers, you’ll want to make every one of these wonderful paper decorations. Begin with the classic pom-poms–popular in the 60s and 70s, but enjoying a stylish revival today. Make them in different sizes and colours for a real impact. Learn, too, how to make honeycomb balls, a star piata, and rosette snowflakes–all beautiful hanging decorations that will look great hung from the ceiling, or in a window. In chapter 2, you’ll find garlands and bunting. Why not try the cupcake garland, using cupcake cases to sit around fairy lights and look like twinkling flowers? Or have a go at the vintage book bunting that would add character at a themed party, or even in your workspace. Finally, create impressive centerpieces – giant roses and daffodils, a coffee filter flower wreath, and waxed floating lilies are among the striking designs. The projects use a variety of paper materials, including tissue, cardstock, and crepe paper, as well as recycled magazine pages and gift-wrap–and no specialist craft experience is needed. Step-by-step photography will show you exactly what to do. You’ll also find out about all the different types of paper available–such as water-resistant tissue paper, and two-tone paper that has a different colour on each side of it–as well as where to buy them. Plus, every template you’ll need is included at the back of the book.

Batch Cocktails by Maggie Hoffman

As anyone who has hosted a dinner party knows, cocktail hour is the most fun part of the evening for guests–but the most stressful for whomever is in charge of keeping the drinks flowing. The solution, though, is simple: batch it! In this fun collection, Maggie Hoffman offers 65 delicious and creative cocktails that you don’t have to stir or shake to order; rather, they are designed to stay fresh when made ahead and served out of a pitcher. Recipes such as Tongue in Cheek (gin, Meyer lemon, thyme, Cocchi Rosa), Friendly Fires (mezcal, chili vodka, watermelon, lime), BirdsnBees Punch (rum, cucumber, green tea, lemon), and even alcohol-free options are organized by flavor profile –herbal, boozy, bitter, fruity and tart, and so on– to make choosing and whipping up a perfect pitcher of cocktails a total breeze.

Enjoy!

Festive Food… part two.

And just like that, it is Christmas next week! Friends and family are starting to arrive from out of town, presents are being wrapped and popped under the tree and the sun is starting to settle in for a long and hot Summer here in Melbourne. 

Whether your family cooks up a big roast dinner with all of the trimmings, or grills seafood on the bbq or even prefers a lighter approach with salads, we have found some great cookbooks with mains and desserts that will wow your guests this festive season. 

This week we’re focussing on the main meal and sweet treats for afterwards, if you were looking for inspiration for starters and tasty beverages, then be sure to check out this blog post here

Prepare to be inspired. 

The Whole Fish by Josh Niland

We all want to eat more fish, but who wants to bother spending the time, effort and money cooking that same old salmon fillet on repeat when you could be trying something new and utterly delicious? In The Whole Fish Cookbook, Sydneys groundbreaking seafood chef Josh Niland reveals a completely new way to think about all aspects of fish cookery. From sourcing and butchering to dry ageing and curing, it challenges everything we thought we knew about the subject and invites readers to see fish for what it really is – an amazing, complex source of protein that can, and should, be treated with exactly the same nose-to-tail reverence as meat. Featuring more than 60 recipes for dozens of fish species ranging from Cod Liver Pate on Toast, Fish Cassoulet to Roast Fish Bone Marrow.

Scandi Bites by Trine Hahnemann

This is the perfect little gift for Scandi fans who want to bring some Nordic charm into their kitchen. With over 60 sweet and savoury recipes for all sorts of snacks, treats, fingerfood, bakes and pastries, it will provide plenty of inspiration for every occasion throughout the year. Doyenne of Danish baking, Trine Hahnemann, shares all her favourite treats in this cute cookbook so that you can make your own delicious cardamom buns, almond cookies, honey bombs, coconut macaroons and smoked salmon open sandwiches, among many others.

Pana Chocolate, The Recipes by Pana Barbounis

Cacao Crunch, Cardamom Dream, Spiced Chocolate Chai, Butterscotch Apple Crumble! Pana Chocolate, The Recipes is the book vegans and health-conscious sweet tooths have been waiting for. It includes 60 beautiful recipes that cover the spectrum: from fillings for your own raw chocolate creations; to fancy but achievable plated desserts using raw chocolate; to traditional desserts that you can make raw; to raw desserts for kids’ parties (think chocolate crackles and honey joys) to breakfast (chia pudding, granola, buckwheat porridge!) The recipes are all raw, organic, vegan, free from dairy, gluten, soy and refined sugar.

Chefs Host Christmas Too by Darren Purchese

Hot on the heels of his highly successful Chefs Eat Toasties Too, Darren Purchese is sharing his take on Christmas with us in his 2nd book in the Chefs…Too series. With Chefs Host Christmas Too there’s no need to be stressed about Christmas – at least not when it comes to hosting and feasting. It’s time to play with Christmas – and we don’t mean having a starring role in a pageant, but being the star of your own show. The approach here is fresh, fun, lighthearted and accessible, with an enticing and cleverly put-together line up of Christmas greats, and new twists on how to prepare them. Chefs Host Christmas Too includes everything you need to keep the throng fed and entertained during this festive time, including family favourites, all the chef tips and tricks, and new takes on some classic fare.

Mary Berry Cooks Up A Feast by DK

Mary Berry makes cooking for gatherings of family and friends easier with over 160 recipes that work well for both small and large numbers of guests. Discover how she cooks for her family and friends during the Christmas party season, and for other occasions and celebrations throughout the year. Her timeless guidance and expert tips will help you cater smoothly and successfully on a small scale for dinners and lunches around a table, or on a larger scale for drinks parties, buffets and teatime. Adapting quantities is made easy. Each recipe provides two sets of ingredients for serving either 6 or 12 guests, plus there is new, detailed advice on how to scale up recipes for any number. Discover tips for preparing in advance and simple shortcuts and cook up a feast the stress-free way.

Just Desserts By Charlotte Red 

You’d butter believe this is the only baking book you’ll need this Christmas! Instagram sensation Charlotte Ree is famous for her simple and delicious sweets … and her love of puns. Her easy, user-friendly creations are designed to taste amazing, rather than just look pretty (though pretty they most certainly are!). Just Desserts showcases 30 of Charlotte’s most popular and delicious cake, biscuit, slice and dessert recipes in one outrageously gorgeous little package. Featuring essentials, such as chocolate brownies, shortbread caramel slice and chocolate-chip cookies through to show stoppers, such as layered berry pavlova and chocolate ganache & blackberry bundt, Just Desserts is the ideal gift for the baker and sweet-lover in your life – even if that’s you!

Enjoy! 

Festive Food…part one

With roughly a little over six weeks to go, the festive season is nearly here. In fact, invitations to parties, BBQs and drinks have already begun. If you happen to be hosting friends and family this year it can often be daunting. Luckily there are a ton of entertaining options; you can keep it casual with a BBQ where everyone brings a dish to share, go all out with a formal sit down dinner or opt for nibbles and ramp up the drinks instead. Tasting tables have been growing in popularity too, these are the ultimate grazing tables for the platter lovers and super easy to pull together.

We have had a little poke around the internet and found six inspiring books that are bound to give you ideas for nibbles and tasty beverages for your guests. 

Pull up a chair, and prepare to get into the festive spirit with these great titles… oh and they make great gifts for those who like to host too… just saying!

Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen

Santa’s little helpers bought me this book last Christmas and I love it. This book has been described as a visual cornucopia of a cookbook with a guide to entertaining with effortless style. Celebrated author and food blogger Shelly Westerhausen shares the secrets to creating casually chic spreads anyone can make and everyone will enjoy (and envy). Organised by time of day, 40 contemporary arrangements are presented with gorgeous photography, easy-to-prepare recipes, suggested meat and drink pairings, and notes on preparation and presentation. Helpful advice includes tips on portioning, picking surfaces and vessels, pairing complementary textures and flavours, plus a handy chart featuring board suggestions for a variety of occasions (from holiday parties to baby showers). Platters and Boards is an inspiring housewarming or hostess gift and resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers.

Tapas by Ryland, Peters & Small

Bring an authentic taste of Spain to your table with this collection of more than 60 mouth-watering recipes for small plates to share. Traditionally served as a bar snack with a glass of sherry or a cold beer, tapas has become a firm favourite thanks to its wide variety and versatility. Whether you are serving a starter before a meal, enjoying some small bites with drinks, or going all out and filling the table with multiple dishes to feast on, there is no bad time to indulge in these flavour-filled dishes. This book includes all the classics from the perennially popular Patatas Bravas and Spanish Omelette to Chorizo in Red Wine and Peppers Stuffed with Salt Cod. Many of these dishes can be made in advance for ease, so you too can enjoy time with your friends – Buen Provecho!

Vegetarian Party Food by Jessica Oldfield

Vegetarian Party Food is a thoughtful collection of vegetarian and vegan bites perfect for any get-together. Mix and match the recipes to create the ultimate spread for gatherings and dinner parties. The book is divided into condiments, dips, vegetarian, and vegan chapters – including everything from easy no-cook bites like Turmeric and Lime Hummus and Peach Salsa and Cheese Crostini to more complex ones like Indian Cauliflower Bhajis and Hasselback Baby Beetroots with Feta. Put together the ultimate party spread and impress guests with Baked Black Sesame Camembert or Mini Vegetarian Gyros. With quick and easy make-ahead recipes you can have on hand for impromptu gatherings and versatile condiments you can make it batches and use for various dishes, this collection will help you become best host you can be.

Flour and Stone by Nadine Ingram

Flour and Stone is a petite bakery in inner-city Sydney with a large and devoted following for its pannacotta lamingtons, flaky croissants, chewy cookies, dreamy cakes and delectable pastries of every kind. Nadine Ingram and her dedicated team bake with finesse and love to bring pleasure to the city. In this book Nadine shares her signature recipes, all carefully explained and rigorously tested for the home kitchen. Family, in every sense, is at the heart of Flour and Stone – this recipe collection is given in the hope that you will nurture your own loved ones with the timeless, comforting art of baking. These are the treats you’ll want to eat for the rest of your life.

Last Call by Brad Thomas Parsons

From the James Beard Award-winning author of Amaro and Bitters comes this poignant, funny, and often elegiac exploration of the question, What is the last thing you’d want to drink before you die?, with bartender profiles, portraits, and cocktail recipes. Everyone knows the parlour game question asked of every chef and food personality in countless interviews – What is the last meal you’d want to eat before you die? But what does it look like when you pose the question to bartenders? In Last Call, James Beard Award-winning author Brad Thomas Parsons gathers the intriguing responses from a diverse range of bartenders around the country, including Guido Martelli at the Palizzi Social Club in Philadelphia (he chooses an extra-dry Martini), Joseph Stinchcomb at Saint Leo in Oxford, Mississippi (he picks the Last Word, a pre-Prohibition-era cocktail that’s now a cult favourite), and Natasha David at Nitecap in New York City (she would be sipping an extra-salty Margarita). The resulting interviews and essays reveal a personal portrait of some of the country’s top bartenders and their favourite drinks, while dozens of cocktail recipes and stunning photography make this a keepsake for barflies and cocktail enthusiasts of all stripes.

Wine for Normal People by Elizabeth Schneider

This is a fun but respectful (and very comprehensive) guide to everything you ever wanted to know about wine from the creator and host of the popular podcast Wine for Normal People, described by Imbibe magazine as “a wine podcast for the people.”

Millions of listeners have tuned in to learn a not-snobby wine vocabulary, how and where to buy wine, how to read a wine label, how to smell, swirl, and taste wine, and so much more! Rich with charts, maps, and lists-and the author’s deep knowledge and unpretentious delivery-this vividly illustrated, down-to-earth handbook is a must-have resource for millennials starting to buy, boomers who suddenly have the time and money to hone their appreciation, and anyone seeking a relatable introduction to the world of wine.

Enjoy!

Monday Inspo

Now this is some advice we are happy to take on board!This week on the blog we’re diving into the delightful topic of festive food and will be bringing you ideas for platters, tapas, nibbles and drinks to wow your guests this party season.


Christmas is coming… and we’re here to help you get ahead of the silly season

With the 25th December inching closer (there’s only 8 weeks until Christmas), it can be hard to remember everything on your to do list so we thought we’d share the most anticipated books that are expected to make a huge splash under the Christmas tree this year. 

Earlier this year Dan added a brand new feature to Booko helping you to search books that are on pre order and boy has it been popular (just like the newest feature to buy LEGO via Booko). On the front page of Booko you can click the Pre Order section to see what’s coming, click through on one of the titles and you’ll be taken to the stores selling pre orders. So if you are thinking it is time to check a few presents off the shopping list (and avoid the dreaded shipping costs) then have a look at these beauties below. 

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

From the New York Times bestselling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, comes a bold new framework for leadership in today’s ever-changing world.

How do we win a game that has no end? Finite games, like football or chess, have known players, fixed rules and a clear endpoint. The winners and losers are easily identified. Infinite games, games with no finish line, like business or politics, or life itself, have players who come and go. The rules of an infinite game are changeable while infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no winners or losers, only ahead and behind. The question is, how do we play to succeed in the game we’re in?

In his new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our life meaning. Sinek’s message is leaders who embrace an infinite mindset build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organisations. Ultimately, they are the ones who lead us into the future.

The Body by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody. Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body, how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so strongly that she even became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mum comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads. The sharp insights and humour are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life offstage, including the brutal single life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.

Cookie Perfection by Martha Stewart

Prepare yourself for some showstopper cookies from Martha Stewart to take your cookies to the next level in flavour, technique, and decorative appeal. The editors of Martha Stewart Living present a new, fun source for anyone looking to make their go-to cookies even better and bolder. These recipes make ordinary cookies absolutely extraordinary, packed with the familiar favourites you love, but taken up a notch in variety, flavour, and creativity. Classic recipes discover new life with unexpected twists such as Lemony Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies and Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies. Go over-the-top in super-sized fashion with Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookies; get inspired by cultures around the globe with Brazilian Wedding Cookies and Stroopwaffels; and celebrate with beautifully decorated holiday treats, such as Easter Egg Puzzle Cookies and Snowball Truffles. Whether for a special celebration or a sweet anytime-treat, you’ll be sure to find inspiration to trade in your everyday cookies for versions far more special, and especially delicious.

You Suck at Cooking by You Suck at Cooking

Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less. You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings. You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeño Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).

In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*

*Results not guaranteed

Bluey: Fruit Bat based on the hit ABC KIDS TV show

We’re tipping all books containing this little Blue Healer and her sister will be a popular choice under the Christmas tree this year. Bluey has been a phenomenal success since airing on ABC KIDS in October last year. Bluey has gained legions of dedicated fans and taken the coveted position of being the most watched program ever on ABC iView, with over 100 million plays. It has also topped the Australian iTunes Kids Chart with the series peaking at #1 and consistently remaining in the Top 5.

In Fruit Bat, Bluey wishes she was a nocturnal fruit bat that stays up all night and soon she finds herself flying through the night sky. This is a fun and imaginative tale that anyone avoiding bedtime can relate to. 

Enjoy!

#tuesdaychat

There are so many books coming out later this year that we know will make a fab Christmas present. On the blog this Thursday we’ll share our favs with you…which book are you hoping to see under the tree this year?

New food ideas for the changing season

Everyone hates being stuck in a food rut. Making family favourite dishes each night for dinner can get a little tiring after a while which is why we love to sit down at the start of a new season with a handful of our favourite cookbooks and leaf through to see which recipes suit the season. This way we get to change up the flavours, and focus on buying seasonal food. We also enjoy adding in a new cookbook into the mix so we have found six glorious books that are sure to delight your taste buds. 

Breakfast by Emily Miller

Breakfast is the most important – and comforting – time of day for billions of people everywhere. Here, for the first time, a collection of hundreds of home-cooking recipes celebrates morning meals as they’re prepared in kitchens across the globe. Each recipe is accessible and straightforward, with notes offering cultural context and culinary insight. Whether it’s sweet or not, classic or regional, it’s here: Egyptian Ful Medames (stewed fava beans); Mexican Chilaquiles; Chinese Pineapple Buns; American Scones; Scottish Morning Rolls; and so much more.

Modern Lunch by Allison Day 

Modern Lunch is the new lunchtime hero for time-strapped, budget-conscious, and salad-fatigued people everywhere. Focusing on healthy, quick (and, yes, Instagrammable) recipes, Allison takes readers on a feasting journey inspired by fresh flavours and ingredients, her travels, and minimal effort. Meals in jars and adult-appropriate lunchboxes will actually make you look forward to lunch now, especially when recipes like Chicken and Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Peanut Butter Vinaigrette, Tomato Sourdough Soup with Cacio e Pepe Socca Triangles, and Walnut-Crusted Avocado, Feta, and Eggs with Pesto Rice are waiting for you. 

Find inspiration for delicious lunches to eat at home, too, like Greek Chopped Salad with Crispy Peppercorn Salmon, and a new take on the classic ploughman’s lunch. 

Spend weekends with friends gathered around easy-to-assemble platters and picnic baskets, and enjoy homemade brunches that rival any restaurant’s. And, if you’re someone who likes to improvise, Allison shares her staple recipes and tried-and-tested strategies for mastering meal prep, as well as ideas and combinations for quick, on-the-fly lunches that encourage creativity but promise satisfaction – even if you have to dine at your desk. 

With dazzling recipes and photography, and smart tips on hacking the lunchtime game, Modern Lunch proves that a delicious, exciting, and inventive lunch can be achievable for any appetite, wallet, and busy schedule, and maybe even spark a little office envy.

Eat. Cook. LA by Aleksandra Crapanzano

This book offers an intimate culinary portrait of Los Angeles today, a city now recognised among food lovers for its booming, vibrant, international restaurant landscape, with 100 recipes from its restaurants, juice bars, coffee shops, cocktail lounges, food trucks, and hole-in-the-wall gems. 

Once considered a culinary wasteland, Los Angeles is now one of the most exciting food cities in the world. Like the multi-faceted, sprawling city itself, the food of Los Angeles is utterly its own, an amalgam of international influence, disposable income, glamour, competition, immigrant vitality, health consciousness, purity, and beach-loving, laid back, hip, unrestrained creativity. With 100 recipes pulled from the city’s best restaurants but retooled for the home cook—like Charred Cucumber Gazpacho, Roast Chicken with Spicy Harissa, Vietnamese Coffee Pudding, Blackberry Mint Mojito Ice Cream and Thai Basil Margaritas—Eat. Cook. L.A. is both a culinary roadmap and a sophisticated insider’s look at one of America’s most iconic and fascinating cities.

Ruffage by Abra Berens

Ruffage tackles the questions that home cooks (of any skill level) ask themselves about vegetables: how do I cook this? How do I make this exciting? Do I store this in the fridge? How do I make this into dinner? This accessible (but comprehensive) vegetable-focused cookbook picks up where Vegetable Literacy left off, focusing on the simple techniques and information that help any cook prepare a variety of delicious vegetables in a number of ways. Organised into 20 short chapters by vegetable, including a good balance of vegetables that are best used fresh and in-season (asparagus, peas) and those that store well during those long winters (potatoes, celery root), as well as a comprehensive-but-accessible pantry chapter (no Calabrian chili paste here!), this is the vegetable book that both new and seasoned cooks everywhere can turn to again and again.

Vegetables Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen 

We’re all looking for interesting, achievable ways to enjoy vegetables more often. This must-have addition to your cookbook shelf has more than 700 kitchen-tested recipes that hit that mark. Sure, you’ll learn nearly 40 ways to cook potatoes and 30 ways with broccoli. But you’ll also learn how to make a salad with roasted radishes and their peppery leaves; how to char avocados in a skillet to use in Crispy Skillet Turkey Burgers; and how to turn sunchokes into a chowder and kale into a Super Slaw for Salmon Tacos. Every chapter, from Artichokes to Zucchini, includes shopping, storage, seasonality, and prep pointers and techniques, including hundreds of step-by-step photographs and illustrations, gorgeous watercolour illustrations, and full-colour recipe photography. The inspirational, modern recipes showcase vegetables’ versatility in everything from sides to mains. All along the way America’s Test Kitchen shares loads of invaluable kitchen tips and insights from their test cooks, making it easy, and irresistibly tempting, to eat more veggies every day.

…and because Summer is right around the corner it would be rude of us not to include at least one ode to ice-cream!

Salt & Straw Ice-cream Cookbook by Tyler and Kim Malek

Salt & Straw is the brainchild of two cousins, Tyler and Kim Malek, who stumbled into ice cream making. But that stumbling is what made them great. With barely an idea of how to make ice cream, they turned to their friends for advice – chefs, chocolatiers, brewers, and food experts of all kinds, and what came out is an ice cream company that sees new flavours and inspiration everywhere they look. Using a super-simple ice cream base you can make in about the time it takes you to decide on a scoop in their shop, here are dozens of their most beloved, innovative, (and a couple of their most controversial) flavours, like Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, Roasted Strawberry and Toasted White Chocolate, Roasted Parsnip and Banana, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Olde People. But more importantly, this book reveals what they’ve learned, how to tap your own creativity and how to invent flavours of your own, based on whatever you see around you. Because ice cream isn’t just be a thing you eat, it’s a way to live.

Enjoy!

How we can eat our landscapes

What should a community do with its unused land?

Perhaps plant food.

With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst shares the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

The top books that can help us slow down

Balance. Apparently we’re all meant to find it, embrace it and have it all of the time. The problem is, when we are busy it just ends up being yet another thing added to our ever-growing to do lists. The slow movement is one that isn’t new. There are cultures around the world that do not embrace being busy and rushing about and certainly don’t consider the idea of being stressed as a badge of honour. When we slow down we can take time to reflect on what’s important, see the bigger picture when we have problems, and find things that truly make us happy. 

In a effort to help you find a moment to yourself we have scoured the internet and collated a number of great books that all discuss the notion of slowing down. So pour yourself a cup of tea and find somewhere comfy to sit for five minutes for a readyou never know, it may be just what you need. 

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome by Dr Libby Weaver

In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver explains the true cost of constantly rushing and the impact this can have on our health. Through these pages you’ll learn how and why your body interprets constant rushing as a ‘stress’, how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight or disrupting your sleep, why you feel tired but wired and how to identify if you have adrenal fatigue, whether stress might be behind your sluggish thyroid, how daily stressors may be affecting your sex-hormone balance and contributing to issues such as PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility, and debilitating menopause symptoms, why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite and how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush. This book offers real solutions to restore your health, so that you can stay productive, healthy and energised in today’s world. Don’t let it take a health crisis to wake you up to change the way you’re living and get to the heart of what’s driving your rush, allowing you to live a more meaningful life that you love.

The flourish formula, and overachiever’s guide to slowing down by Courtney Pinkerton

Courtney Pinkerton reveals a simple yet comprehensive process that will help you slow down and accomplish and savour more of what is important to you. Courtney shares eight powerful mindset and mind-body techniques to help you break out of the “busyness fog” so you can contribute your unique professional and creative gifts and thrive in your personal life. The Flourish Formula is a bit of a self-care manual that every overachieving woman should read. Every page offers fresh insights about how to lean back before you can lean in. 

It’s about time by Valorie Burton

Our culture makes it so that even the most organised and efficient among us feels the pressure of the ticking clock and the possibility and regret of missing out. Modern life has evolved in a way that sets us up for stress, pressure, and overload. New norms and attitudes tap into deeply-wired psychological impulses that make it harder than ever to take control of your time. On top of that, many of us also have innate personality traits that make the struggle even worse. No wonder time can become a tyrant that leaves us chronically stressed and discontented. In It’s About Time, you can unlock an approach to life that bestselling author Valorie Burton calls “living timelessly.” You will come to understand the gradual changes that have led us to a place where having too much to do and too little time to do it is the norm, the vision for what it could look like if you were free from the stress of time and how to blast through the obstacles to those possibilities, and the practical steps to choosing the meaningful over the urgent so that your life is unhurried yet purposeful and reflects the values and impact that are unique to you.

It’s About Time helps you reimagine a life that is meaningful, at a pace that is natural, with a load that is doable and equips you with the tools to make it happen.

Ostro by Julia Nishimura

For some of us the way to slow down is not by sitting still, it’s by doing something…something meaningful. If you’re one of those ‘active slow downers’ then Ostro is for you. Since launching Ostro online in 2014, Julia Busuttil Nishimura has gained a strong and loyal following for her generous, uncomplicated, seasonal food. As an Australian of Maltese descent and a fluent Italian speaker, who is married to a Japanese man, Julia and her food represent everything that is good about modern Australian eating. She deftly brings together a broad range of cuisines and culinary influences using the very best produce on offer. This truly is good food, made by hand. Julia guides us through the uniquely satisfying experience of making pasta or pizza dough from scratch, clearly explaining the processes and demystifying the reasons behind them. She also shares plenty of simple, flavourful salads and one-tray bakes for days when time is scarce. Baking and desserts, too, needn’t be overly complicated – as Julia shows us, some of the best go-to recipes are the ones passed down the generations. But we also need the odd show-stopper on standby for special occasions! This is simple food that is comforting and generous in spirit. Slow down, take your time and enjoy it.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany: Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. With humour and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself, nor did she want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her — and what didn’t. this is a great read. You can check out Gretchen’s other work here

The Art Of Simple by Eleanor Ozich

This book has the potential to be life changing. I read this in a day and absolutely loved it. When Eleanor Ozich moved to the outskirts of the city with her husband and young family she set about enjoying a much calmer way of life. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, Eleanor found herself with more time and energy to appreciate her family and friends and the natural beauty that surrounded her. In this, her third book, Eleanor shares recipes and ideas she has embraced in her quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals you’ll find practical ideas to declutter your home, get your children to sleep and bring order to your day. There are also instructions for making natural beauty products and household cleaners, which promise to cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment. The author of My Petite Kitchen and My Family Table, in this book Eleanor unlocks the secrets to a more fulfilling life.

Enjoy!