Tag Archives: cookbook

Toast and Jam: Modern Recipes for Rustic Baked Goods and Sweet and Savory Spreads, by Sarah Owens

27 Jul

33215775Format: e-ARC, 256 pages

Publisher: Roost Books

To Be Published: August 15, 2017

ISBN: 9781611803570

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: Rustic breads, scones, and biscuits paired with fruit-jams, jellies, nut butters, savory spreads, pickles, and more–from the James Beard award-winning author of Sourdough.
Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream–baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award-winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chevre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

My review: The simple title is deceiving, because this is book is far more than just one about toast and spreads. The breads are fancy, and the spreads include not only jam but also butters, pickles, and other preserves, plus how to make your own ricotta and creme fraiche. Every photograph is stunning, almost as if you could reach out and touch the grain of the bread or the sticky gloss of its topping.

I’d like to try the chocolate and orange sourdough, the peach and tea preserves, and the roasted banana and chocolate nut butter, but I’ll admit I’d never heard of some of the other ingredients. It’s definitely not a book for a beginner; more for the gourmets among us.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, by the Editors of Food52

4 Apr

33843312Format: e-ARC, 176 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578021

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A friendly collection of recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.

In Ice Cream & Friends, the editors of Food52 unearth 60 recipes for everyday and special occasion frozen desserts—like coffee frozen custard, cinnamon roll ice cream, and grilled watermelon cremolada—and put their own spin on enduring favorites: spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, even a modern baked Alaska. There are also tips and tricks for reviving melted ice cream, getting even creamier scoops, and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, as well as homemade versions of cones, mochi, sprinkles, Magic Shell, and more.

My review: My daughter and I love making homemade no-churn ice cream, so this book was perfect to give us a few new flavour suggestions. As well as some old favourites, the editors of the Food52 blog have come up with some unusual combinations, including black pepper and feta or butternut squash and tahini ice creams, and tomato, peach and basil sorbet. I think we’ll definitely be trying the carrot cake ice cream, yummy baked alaskas, chocolate tacos, and the Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake, and will attempt to make our own Magic Shell, cones and sprinkles from their recipes. There’s even a genius tip for curing brain freeze, which will certainly come in handy!

The photographs are gorgeous and make your mouth water, and the instructions are clear and written in a chatty manner. I’m now keen to check out the authors’ other cookbooks and blog.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes, by Jami Curl

28 Mar

30780245Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: 14 March, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578397

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Jami Curl, candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin has been called the “new Willy Wonka” by Bon Appetit. Her debut book, This is Candy, includes the recipes that have made Quin a favorite with local and national media, foodies, chefs, and bloggers. But This is Candy is not just a candy book. Instead, Jami’s approach to candy forms the foundation for a world of other confections–from bacon glazed with maple and black pepper caramel to a clever Chocolate Magic Dust that can be turned into chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and even a chocolate lollipop. Packed with more than 200 recipes for totally original confections like Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels, Fig & Coffee Gumdrops, and Pinot Noir cotton candy, as well as serious tips and advice for making amazing candy at home.

My review: I never thought I would be bored by a book about sweets but, sadly, I was. This wasn’t the cookbook I was expecting. Instead, the first quarter is a comprehensive technical explanation of the methodology and equipment needed for candy making, and then there are a series of recipes for infusions and flavoured sugars before we get to any real recipes. Even then, these all seem to be very similar variations on a theme, covering lollipops, marshmallow, gum drops and caramels. The same flavours are repeated for each type of sweet. I really would have liked a bit more variation and something a bit more “out there.”

Maybe there weren’t enough photos. I found the hand drawings a bit amateurish. The rabbit cake was certainly underwhelming. I know I didn’t need several pages devoted to making cinnamon sugar or how to put together cocoa powder and sugar to make a hot chocolate mix.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

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Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes, by Tessa Huff

3 Mar

26240710Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang

To Be Published: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781617691881

Genre: Cooking, Food and Wine

Back cover blurb: It’s time to venture beyond vanilla and chocolate and take your baking skills up a notch. We’re talking layers—two, three, four, or more!

Create sky-high, bakery-quality treats at home with Tessa Huff’s 150 innovative recipes, which combine new and exciting flavors of cake, fillings, and frostings—everything from pink peppercorn cherry to bourbon butterscotch, and pumpkin vanilla chai to riesling rhubarb and raspberry chocolate stout. Including contemporary baking methods and industry tips and tricks, Layered covers every decorating technique you’ll ever need with simple instructions and gorgeous step-by-step photos that speak to bakers of every skill level—and to anyone who wants to transform dessert into layer upon layer of edible art.

My review: It’s clear Tessa Huff is a food stylist and photographer as well as a pastry chef and blogger, because the photographs in this book are glorious. Not only do we get to see the sky-high creations with all their pretty icing and decorations, but there are also separate photos of each cake sliced up, giving us a glorious view of the magnificently layered interiors. If it were possible to gain weight by just looking at cakes, I would have gained at least five kilos reading his book!

Huff begins by outlining the basics: ingredients, tools, basic methods and tips for optimum results. Written for a North American audience, some of the brand names and shops referenced were not familiar to me, but I appreciated the thoroughness with which the author covered these topics. She even gives instructions on how to make homemade sprinkles.

Then came the cakes. Oh my! The flavour combinations were incredible, including fruits, teas, alcohol, and spices alongside the perennial favourites of chocolate, coffee, lemon, and vanilla. I’m definitely going to be trying her Lemon Supreme Cake, Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, Banoffee Tiramisu Cake, and Red Wine Blackberry Cake. Yum!

Making layered cakes is no easy feat – and I’m sure my efforts would look nowhere near as good as Huff’s – but the photographs alone make this book a worthy addition to your kitchen bookshelf. The author’s personal story and historical explanations for recipes are fun to read, and I guess my only qualm would be that very few of these recipes would be suitable for people with food allergies. They certainly weren’t any good for my diet!

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, by Mimi Sheraton

9 Apr

1000foodsFormat: e-ARC, 1009 pages

Publisher: Workman Publishing Company

Published: January 13, 2015

ISBN: 9780761141686

Genre: Cooking, Food and Wine

Back cover blurb: The ultimate gift for the food lover. In the same way that 1,000 Places to See Before You Die reinvented the travel book, 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die is a joyous, informative, dazzling, mouthwatering life list of the world’s best food. The long-awaited new book in the phenomenal 1,000 . . . Before You Die series, it’s the marriage of an irresistible subject with the perfect writer, Mimi Sheraton—award-winning cookbook author, grande dame of food journalism, and former restaurant critic for The New York Times.

1,000 Foods fully delivers on the promise of its title, selecting from the best cuisines around the world (French, Italian, Chinese, of course, but also Senegalese, Lebanese, Mongolian, Peruvian, and many more)—the tastes, ingredients, dishes, and restaurants that every reader should experience and dream about, whether it’s dinner at Chicago’s Alinea or the perfect empanada. In more than 1,000 pages and over 550 full-color photographs, it celebrates haute and snack, comforting and exotic, hyper-local and the universally enjoyed: a Tuscan plate of Fritto Misto. Saffron Buns for breakfast in downtown Stockholm. Bird’s Nest Soup. A frozen Milky Way. Black truffles from Le Périgord.

Mimi Sheraton is highly opinionated, and has a gift for supporting her recommendations with smart, sensuous descriptions—you can almost taste what she’s tasted. You’ll want to eat your way through the book (after searching first for what you have already tried, and comparing notes). Then, following the romance, the practical: where to taste the dish or find the ingredient, and where to go for the best recipes, websites included.

My review: At over 1000 pages, this is a comprehensive look at the foods of the world. I must confess to just browsing some sections, but I suspect that is what most people will do, looking for the food or regions which interest them. This book is definitely aimed at an American audience, which I am not, and at times it seemed clear the author is elderly because of her recommendations.

I would have to query some of the definitions and spellings, and most certainly some of the countries of origin. To say bread and butter, pork scratchings, fried eggs, and – for heaven’s sake – English muffins are American dishes is ridiculous, and to recommend going all the way to Austria for whipped cream seems a little excessive.

What peeved me the most was the Australia and New Zealand section, being my part of the world. The author recommends only one New Zealand restaurant to try all its cuisine, Logan Brown in my city of Wellington, which is a lovely place but I don’t think you need to be seated at a fine dining establishment to get Anzac biscuits or an afghan, as she suggests. She also says afghan biscuits “have a special place on the Christmas dessert table” which would be complete news to any Kiwi. And no, our nickname does not come from the fruit, but from the flightless bird. Sigh.

Despite all this, it’s a worthy resource and would be valuable for any traveller.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5

3cupcakes

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Stacking the Shelves #3

5 Apr

Stacking The Shelvesl_thumb2Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Welcome back to Stacking the Shelves, a regular meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the latest books you have added to your shelves, physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course e-books! Here is my haul from this week… and yes, I don’t know when I’ll get the time to read them all!

librarybks

Library audiobooks I checked out

From my local public library I checked out two audiobooks: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and The Selection by Kiera Cass. Such pretty covers!

mug meals

e-ARC from Netgalley

Netgalley granted me access to Mug Meals by Dina Cheney, and you can read my review here.

Purchased from iBooks

Purchased from iBooks

New Zealand iBooks had Paullina Simons’ early books on sale at $4.99 each, so I picked up Bellagrand and Children of Liberty, both prequels to the amazing The Bronze Horseman, which is one of my favourite books of all time.

Purchased from Amazon

Purchased from Amazon

Amazon had an 18-book bundle, Red Hot Lovers, on sale for 77c which had a book in it I had wanted to read by Daisy Prescott. On its own the book was $3.99, so I grabbed the 77c bundle just for Daisy Prescott’s Ready to Fall. Also on Amazon, I snapped up the freebie novella Valentine by Samantha Young, which was in Alex Margaret’s Stacking the Shelves last week. Thanks for that tip, Alex!

Purchased from Audible

Purchased from Audible

There was also a two-for-one-credit sale at Audible, through which I grabbed The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. I really need to read Throne of Glass – it’s been on my TBR for ages, and Jeaniene Frost is pretty much an auto-buy for me.

Not bad for one week, eh? I’d better get reading and listening! Keep an eye out for my reviews of these in coming weeks. So what new books did you pick up this week? Let me know in the comments.

Mug Meals, by Dina Cheney

30 Mar

mug meals

Format: e-book, 160 pages

Publisher: Taunton Press

To be published: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 9781627109161

Genre: Cooking, Food, and Wine

Back cover blurb: The secret to fast and easy meals cooked from scratch is hiding in plain sight in your kitchen. The microwave oven is not just for reheating leftovers and making popcorn anymore. With pantry ingredients, a mug and a microwave, you can create a meal in minutes that rivals those cooked in the oven or on the stovetop. Mug MEALS! is the perfect solution for new cooks, busy families, singles, college students, teens, seniors or anyone who just wants a hot meal without all the cleanup.

Make a meal for any time of day. Breakfast options include Lox and Bagel Strata, Double Berry French Toast; for lunch try Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew, White Bean Gratin with Olives and Lemon or Double Carrot Soup. Dinner entrees include Chinese Chicken with Noodles and Black Bean Sauce, Classic Shepherd’s Pie and Lasagna; dessert selections feature Mango Coconut Crumble, Molten Chocolate Cake with Truffle Filling, Peach and Cornbread Stuffing and more.

My review: Meals you can make in a mug in the microwave are such a great idea for so many people, from students to people living alone, to those – like me – who often need inspiration for a quick and easy lunch. This book is crammed with a variety of ideas for all meals of the day, and I will definitely be trying some of them out. The recipes were clearly laid out and easy to follow, and the photographs made everything look divine. There is a handy equipment and pantry list, and for American readers a list of preferred brands for best results.

Some of the savoury recipes struck me as more of a reheating effort, consisting of things such as leftover cooked rice and meat which one wouldn’t necessarily have on hand or be bothered cooking in order to then transfer to a mug – if you’re going to that trouble you might as well cook something on the stove or in the oven. However, a lot of the sweeter ideas really appealed, and I will certainly be making the Nutella cake and some of the other desserts and muffins.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3.5/5

3halfcupcakes

 

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