Melie’s Kitchen by Amelia Ferrier (Penguin Random House New Zealand)
I have a fair collection of cook books both new and old. My favourite cook books are anything with baking or preserving (jams and jellies and such like). Some books I have never made anything from, although I want to try three or four of the recipes. Other books I have get me extremely inspired to get into the kitchen and try stuff out. Melie’s Kitchen falls into the second group – there is so much in there that is just ‘wow’ and ‘oh-my-goodness’ and ‘I’d never have thought of that’. It’s so exciting (and no, it is not sad that I find a cookbook exciting).
Amelia Ferrier started baking and creating cakes when she was still in high school. Her extraordinary talent and vision as well as a few well-timed articles in the media have caused her love for baking turn from something she does at the weekend to the beginning of an amazing career. With a dislike for fondant and artificial colourings (amen to that), Melie decorates with fresh, mostly edible flowers creating cakes that look too pretty to eat. The book is devoted to cupcakes and cakes, cookies and slices, pastries plus all the other things required to make beautiful cakes; icings, caramels, cookie crumbs, honeycomb etc. I especially like the idea of creating home-made cookie crumbs to substitute into those recipes that require a packet of commercially made biscuits (I’m thinking Lolly Log made with Ginger Cookie Crumbs).
The first cake Melie made is a Banoffee Pie inspired cake that has banana flavoured sponge layered with chocolate and Frangelico ganache then coated with cream cheese icing and topped with cookie crumbs, dulce de leche, hazelnuts and dark chocolate. The cake sounds and looks way better than the original Pie that inspired it (I had ear-marked this recipe to make for Mopp’s 19th birthday but he asked for a banana cake with no icing, darn it).
A few pages over I find Mandarin, Tamarillo and Star Anise Cloud Cake so I have hidden away enough tamarillos to make this cake. There are gluten-free cakes, refined sugar-free cakes (using a delicious sounding maple date paste) and even a cake inspired by Crunchie bars. And I haven’t even begun to mention the cookies, pies, choux pastries. These recipes are not so much every day baking recipes but are perfect for birthday parties, wedding anniversaries, or any special occasion where some spectacular baking is required. I only wish I had an inch of this girl’s talent.
Melie also has a website, also named Melie’s Kitchen. She has shared some of her recipes on the website. Try out the Caramelised Cornflake, Caramel & Chocolate Chip Cookie Slice or the Peanut Butter Fudge, Puffed Rice and Cocoa Swirled Marshmallow Bars (even typing out these recipe headings my mouth is watering). The Pretzel, Banana and Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge Slice reminds me I bought pretzels so I could make this slice although the only other peanut butter lover in this house is Miss M so I’d have to de-dairy the recipe (which looks doable apart from the buttered-popcorn (oiled popcorn sounds ghastly). Oh, and not to forget, the photography and styling is also top-notch.