Category Archives: Cooking

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!

The best books to help you eat seasonally

Seasonal eating is nothing new – just ask your grandparents and the generations before them. However, over time, with growing global markets and increasing supermarket competition, we have become accustomed to being able to eat our favourite foods year round. This liberty not only makes eating out of season foods expensive but our palate misses out on some glorious tastes that you only get when you’re eating the freshest of fruits and vegetables in the peak of their season (think juicy peaches in summer and fragrant oranges in winter).

As the weather changes across the globe (we can feel the impending winter here in Melbourne) so does the fresh produce that is available and this is a great time to start experimenting and trying new recipes or reworking those old ones. It’s with this in mind that we have had a poke around the internet and found some fabulous titles that will bring a little seasonal flair to your dinner table.

Food In Jars by Marisa McClellan

Stories of wild blackberry jam and California Meyer lemon marmalade from Marissa McClellan’s childhood make this book a read as pleasurable as it is delicious; her home-canned food, learned from generations of the original foodies”, feeds the soul as well as the body in more than 100 recipes.

Popular food blogger Marisa McClellan takes you through all manner of food in jars, storing away the tastes of all seasons for later. Basics like jams and jellies are accompanied by pickles, chutneys, conserves, whole fruit, tomato sauces, salsas, marmalades, nut butters, seasonings, and more. Small batches make them easy projects for a canning novice to tackle, and the flavours of vanilla bean, sage, and pepper will keep more experienced jammers coming back for more. Sample some Apricot Jam and Rhubarb Syrup in the spring, and then try your hand at Blueberry Butter and Peach Salsa in the summer; Dilly Beans and Spicy Pickled Cauliflower ring in the fall, while Three-Citrus Marmalade and Cranberry Ketchup are the harbingers of winter.

Greenfeast by Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater’s Eat was one of his bestselling and most popular books ever. Now he has written GreenFeast, the green follow-up to Eat, packed full of short, doable and fast vegetable recipes that are usefully divided into In the frying pan, In the hand, On the hob and Puddings. The GreenFeast recipes are for those who want easy recipes for eating more vegetable dishes throughout the week and there will be suggestions for changing up each recipe, as well as lists and lists of quick ideas. GreenFeast is split into two volumes: GreenFeast: spring summer (May 2019) and GreenFeast: autumn winter (which will be published in September 2019). This is exactly the food everyone wants to eat now, in the style everyone loved in Eat, all told in Nigel’s warm and unique signature style.

Around the World in 80 Food Trucks by the Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has taken to the streets to bring you 80 fast, fresh and mouthwatering recipes from the most exciting chefs on four wheels. From sea bass ceviche and Lebanese msakhan to old-fashioned American peach cake, discover how to cook some of the world’s most crowd-pleasing dishes, meet the chefs and hear the stories behind their passion projects.

Run by passionate foodies, food trucks have nailed the delicate balance of merging the methods and flavours inspired by personal travels and experiences with family recipes, immigrant influences and local ingredients all the while celebrating sustainable and seasonal local produce. 

Starting up and running a food truck is a vehicle for expression and experimentation, a way to serve food that’s both personal to the cooks and popular with the crowd. After all, food trucks park where the people are no booking or dress code required.

Inside Around the World in 80 Food Trucks, you’ll find out how to recreate chicken and waffles from Nashville; Indian sliders from Melbourne; paneer poutine from Berlin; spicy lamb samosas from Killary, mollete of roasted pork from Gijón; San Francisco langoustine rolls; and burgers, shrimp and breakfast sandwiches from Cape Town, Bogotá and beyond.

No Crumbs Left by Teri Turner

As millions of people know, one of the toughest things about completing the Whole30 is figuring out what to eat next, the other 335 days of the year. Teri Turner, creator of No Crumbs Left, has healthful and great tasting answers. Food is Teri’s love language, and her approach to getting people into the kitchen, rolling up their sleeves, and cooking is contagious. Don’t be afraid to fail: it’s just food,” is one of her mantras. Teri’s passion is evident on every page of her first cookbook, as she leads readers through a discovery of new flavours and spice combinations and teaches people to trust their cooking instincts. Teri’s recipes, most of which are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant, are what makes No Crumbs Left so unique. Simple and incredibly delicious dishes such as Pistachio Pesto Chicken Breast, Shrimp Pad Thai, and Spicy Pepperoncini Beef are on the dinner table quickly. Teri considers this book a love letter to her mother, and woven throughout are tips and favourite quotes to bring you right into her kitchen, where there is always an extra seat at the table.

Hunter Gather Cook by Nick Weston

Hunter Gather Cook aims to set you on a fulfilling, lifelong path of culinary adventures and food DIY, and show you how to embrace the lifestyle that surrounds the 21st-century hunter-gatherer. It will make wild food accessible to you, and take away any sense of trepidation at making your first brew, burger or carpaccio. And if you’re already a 21st-century hunter-gatherer, then it will help you to expand your culinary repertoire, taking your experimentation and enjoyment to the next level. 

While there’s no doubt the world is a very different place to how it was 10,000 years ago, some things have remained the same. We are still hunter-gatherers, just like our ancestors. 

Winter by Louise Franc

When the temperature cools down and the nights become longer, we tend to crave our favourite comfort foods – slow-cooked meats that fall off the bone, rich chowders and hearty stews, succulent roasts with all the trimmings, and fragrant and warming curries served with steamed rice. This is the time of year when we tend to skip the salads, smoothies, and lighter meals, and the art of winter cooking comes into its own. Winter: Warm Recipes for Cold Nights, is a stunning collection of innovative cold-weather recipes perfect for this time of year.

From simple and warming traditional comfort foods like classic French onion soup, slow-cooked beef stroganoff, chicken cacciatore, rich osso buco, and a moreish tuna pasta bake to impressive modern cold weather dishes including Asian-style caramel pork, Panang chicken curry, roasted pumpkin risotto with brown butter and sage, and creamy Calvados chicken, as well as a host of decadent desserts, think dulce de leche and chocolate peanut butter puddings, slow baked spiced quinces, chai-spiced slow-baked rice puddings, and winter-warming dried fruit compote. Winter has a recipe to cover every occasion. With 140 recipes included, designed to not only taste amazing but to warm you up too, Winter is a comprehensive volume on cold-weather cooking. This season now promises to be that much more delicious!

Enjoy!