Category Archives: Cooking

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!

Entertaining this festive season with a little help from the top chefs

The big day is less than three weeks away and if you are hosting the main meal or boxing day lunch this year and want to offer something a little different to your guests, then this blog post is for you. 

We have scoured the internet and found the best hosting and cooking books that have been released this festive season for you to pick and choose your Christmas menu and tabletop inspiration from. They aren’t necessarily tricky or expensive ideas, but rather ones that capture the feeling of love between friends and family. 

First off, hands down, the hottest cookbook out this festive season is Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi which we have covered it on the blog previously… in case you missed it you can read our review here. 

Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe 

If you are someone who prepares for guests by sweeping bills, laundry and newspapers behind sofa cushions, take heart! It’s possible to be an imperfect host, but happily so. The essential ingredient is not, paradoxically, the food, nor the perfect house to host in, but the sentiment you convey when you open the door. Do your eyes say: ‘I like you and I enjoy your company,’ or does a weepy cloud of visceral horror descend as pine nuts burn quietly in the kitchen? Special Guest is a gentle guide to turning easy basic fare into something of a celebration. For when you want to say to your friends with their spouses and ten small children, ‘Why don’t you stay for lunch?’ without hating yourself afterwards. Learn the lesson of ‘one splendid thing done well’ without regard to the hundred other things, and call the day a success. Pick up some pointers for the modern conundrum that is cooking for people with seemingly incompatible dietary requirements. Hosting your friends is not about showing off; it is about delighting others. Your dining table might be decorated with a pile of unmatched socks and kids’ homework, but that’s no reason not to invite friends in for a chat, a sit-down and something delicious to eat. Annabel Crabb is one of Australia’s best-loved TV and media personalities and a joyfully imperfect host. Wendy Sharpe is Annabel’s oldest friend, a recipe consultant on Kitchen Cabinet and co-conspirator in mad-capped cookery projects.

 

Together by The Hubb Community Kitchen

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, a group of local women gathered together to cook fresh food for their families and neighbours. Over the chatter and aromas of the kitchen they discovered the power of cooking and eating together to create connections, restore hope and normality, and provide a sense of home. This was the start of the Hubb Community Kitchen. Together is a storybook of this West London community, showcasing over 50 delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen and including a foreword by HRH The Duchess of Sussex. The women invite you to make their favourite simple dishes – many handed down over generations – from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eastern Mediterranean for you and your loved ones. Every dish tells a story of history, culture and family, and each has been developed to use few ingredients and easy methods so that anyone can cook these personal recipes. Together features mouthwatering recipes including Green Chilli and Avocado Dip, Coconut Chicken Curry, Aubergine Masala, Persian Chicken with Barberry Rice, Caramelised Plum Upside-Down Cake, Spiced Mint Tea and lots more.

 

From Crook to Cook by Snoop Dogg

You can see Snoop work his culinary magic on the Emmy-nominated Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, and now, Dogg’s up in your kitchen…with his first ever cookbook. Delivering 50 recipes straight from his own collection, Snoop’s cookbook features staples like Baked Mac & Cheese and Fried Bologna Sandwiches with Chips, and new takes on classic weeknight faves like Soft Flour Tacos and Easy Orange Chicken. And it doesn’t stop there… Snoop’s giving a taste of the high life with remixes on upper echelon fare such as Lobster Thermidor and Filet Mignon. But we gotta keep it G with those favorite munchies too, ya know? From chewy Starbursts to those glorious Frito BBQ Twists, you should have an arsenal of snacks that’ll satisfy. And of course, no party is complete without that Gin and Juice and other platinum ways to entertain. The Dogg Father’s got you covered – complete with epic stories and behind-the-scenes photos that brings this masterpiece to life. Now this would make for an interesting Christmas lunch!

 

Berber and Q by Josh Katz

Ditch burnt, joyless burgers for bold, flavoursome and wonderfully surprising barbecue food. Inside there are over 120 of the very best, lip-smackingly good barbecue recipes from ex-Ottolenghi chef, Josh Katz. Perfect for sharing and pairing in different combinations, all of the recipes are a celebration of flavour. A book that is not just for meat-lovers, equal status is given to vegetables so that they are never treated like a sideshow. Instead each and every component of the meal is big, bold and completely unforgettable. Meats, fish and vegetables are left to marinate and are then smoked, grilled, slow cooked or burnt (on purpose); while essential extras such as punchy pickles, fiery sauces, creamy dips and fresh salads are prepared ahead and ready to be heaped onto the plate. Taking inspiration from East to West, from the modern to the traditional, these barbecue recipes are like nothing you have ever encountered before – mashing tastes and techniques from New York, the Middle East, London, North Africa and beyond. With recipes including Cauliflower shawarma with pomegranate, pine nuts and rose; Harissa hot wings; Blackened hispi cabbage with lemon crème fraiche; Honeyed pork belly with pineapple salsa; Monster prawns with a pil pil sauce and Saffron buttermilk-fried chicken with tahini gravy, you will be inspired to grab a bag of charcoal and a lighter, and create your very own barbecue feast.

 

Gunpowder by Harneet Baweja, Nirmal Save, Devina Seth

The famous gunpowder spice mix is a heady blend of pulses and spices, including chilli, curry leaves and asafoetida. It is a fitting title for this exciting collection of recipes from the founders of the hugely respected restaurant of the same name. In this beautiful book, complete with stunning photography, Harneet, Devina and Nirmal have managed to capture the bustle and flavours of their childhoods in Kolkata, and the intricacy of true homestyle dishes from across India. From Maa’s Kashmiri Lamb Chops (which have garnered outstanding reviews from many restaurant critics) to Wild Rabbit Pulao, these exceptional recipes are impressively authentic, yet given a modern twist. Throughout the book, the authors share personal anecdotes about their recipes and give handy cheats to make things easier for the home cook, including time-saving tips and alternative ingredients. With chapters covering Small Plates, Big Plates, Sweet Plates & Drinks and Sides & Spice, Gunpowder is the perfect opportunity to create some of these widely admired dishes in your own home.

 

Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley

This is carefree, quick cooking with a sense of fun, and just happens to be good for you. This beautiful new book is packed with dreamy recipes. Comfort and indulgence are at the heart of Melissa Hemsley’s flavoursome, healthy food, with plenty of ideas for everyday meals, batch cooking, cutting down on kitchen waste, and meals that can be enjoyed for supper and leftovers for a packed lunch. Bestselling co-author of The Art of Eating Well and Good + Simple and home cook, Melissa Hemsley presents quick and easy dishes featuring supermarket ingredients and designed to see you through the whole week – tempting breakfasts to family dinners and lunches, as well as party food, snacks, baking, desserts, drinks, and simple, healthier versions of takeaway favourites.

Enjoy!

The Hottest Cookbooks of 2018

Over the past few years there has been a change in our approach to what we eat and drink. This shift  reflects our changing attitudes towards our health and the environment – and also how we socialise. We are now in a culinary world of adventurous vegetarian and vegan cuisine with avocado smash being a standard brunch item, not to mention deconstructed and bowl meals. 

But fear not, we have compiled a list of the hottest cookbooks of the year so that you can adopt a few new dishes to pop into your foodie repertoire and wow your dinner guests. 

So make yourself comfortable and get your fingers ready as you’ll want to bookmark these titles as possible Festive Season meal inspiration, or even just to give Santa a nudge as to what you want to unwrap in on Christmas Day…which is only 11 weeks away (yep…true fact)!

 

Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

It’s no secret that we love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes (you can read about Karen’s love of Ottolenghi here) But boy-oh-boy some recipes can be a little intimidating. Ottolenghi Simple showcases Yotam’s standout dishes that will suit whatever type of cooking you find easy – whether that’s getting wonderful food on the table in under 30 minutes, using just one pot to make a delicious meal, or a flavoursome dish that can be prepared ahead and then served when you’re ready.

 

 

 

Lagom By Steffi Knowles-Dellner

Technically this book came out last year, but it’s been a hot seller this year so we have included it on the list. This beautiful, fresh cookbook offers genuine insight into how Swedes eat and cook – with recipes that fit around the seasons, occasions, times of day, and appetite. Eating and cooking in tune with ‘lagom’ means embracing food that is good for body and soul, unfussy, delicious and sustaining, and all in harmony. The Swedes understand that balance is everything – that you crave comforting food when a bitter wind is howling outside, that refreshing, lighter meals suit hot, hazy days, that a mid-morning bun is good for morale, and that a long, sociable lunch with friends and family on a Sunday is the most rewarding way to end the weekend. There is a time and place for every kind of food, and when everything is in equilibrium, you will be content and satisfied. Steffi Knowles-Dellner is a Swedish food stylist and blogger (check out the blog here) who will introduce you to the unique Swedish concepts that encapsulate lagom, in this her debut book. From the well-known smörgåsbord table of open sandwiches, and Fredags mys (“cosy Fridays”) when hunkering down on a cosy sofa and tucking into tacos is a must, all the way to the irresistible idea of lördagsgodis – a single day for eating sweets to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

 

 

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Magnolia Table is infused with Joanna Gaines’ warmth and passion for all things family, prepared and served straight from the heart of her home, with recipes inspired by dozens of Gaines family favourites and classic comfort selections from the couple’s new Waco restaurant, Magnolia Table, which opened early 2018.

Jo believes there’s no better way to celebrate family and friendship than through the art of togetherness, celebrating tradition, and sharing a great meal. Magnolia Table includes 125 classic recipes from breakfast, lunch, and dinner to small plates, snacks, and desserts. Complemented by her love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavour. Inside Magnolia Table, you’ll find recipes the whole family will enjoy. You can check out Joanna’s blog here.

 

 

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen 

Chrissy Teigen serves up a second glorious cookbook packed full of more delicious, irresistible, ‘eat-me’ food that you’ll want to devour right here, right now. Just as in Cravings, Chrissy’s recipes are high on flavour, low on guilt and she knows how to make every bite count. In this book, her focus is on faster and easier, but never less than 100% delicious. You’ll find the best comfort food, the sneakiest midnight feasts, instant dinner party grub to impress your friends, and a few more John Legend favourites. All accompanied with Chrissy’s laugh-out-loud irreverence and page-lickingly gorgeous food photography.

 

 

Platters and Boards: Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion by Shelly Westerhausen

Okay, so this is my favourite style of cooking….platters count as cooking I’m sure! This visual cornucopia of a cookbook is the 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 Christmas gift and resource for throwing unforgettable get-togethers.

 

 

On Vegetables: Modern Recipes for the Home Kitchen by Jeremy Fox

Okay…so this one was also published last year but it’s so good we had to include it. On Vegetables is the highly anticipated cookbook from Jeremy Fox, the California chef who is redefining vegetable-based cuisine with global appeal. Known for his game-changing approach to cooking with vegetables, Jeremy Fox first made his name at the Michelin-starred restaurant Ubuntu in Napa Valley. Today he is one of America’s most talked-about chefs, celebrated for the ingredient-focused cuisine he serves at the Los Angeles restaurant, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen. In his first book, Fox presents his food philosophy in the form of 160 approachable recipes for the home cook. On Vegetables elevates vegetarian cooking, using creative methods and ingredient combinations to highlight the textures, flavours, and varieties of seasonal produce and including basic recipes for the larder.

 

Enjoy!