Cookbook Review: Pipi at home

Pipi at HomePipi, a vibrant pink café in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay, has locals bowled over and visitors listing it as one of the attractions not to miss when visiting the region. That being said, I haven’t yet managed to find my way there despite being in and through Havelock North many times. The main reason (excuse) is that we are usually on our way to somewhere or we are visiting friends so time to sit and have a leisurely meal hasn’t presented itself as yet. It doesn’t help that Havelock North is stuffed full of fabulous places to visit – from Bellatino’s Foodlovers Market and Poppies bookshop which, as I’ve mentioned before, is packed with a huge variety of cookbooks to the Adam & Eva café & food store and Jacksons Bakery & Café.  It is also worth a mention that Pipi, while described as a café, is open 4pm – 10pm so it is an evening meal destination (or very late afternoon tea/lunch).

The owner of Pipi, Alexandra Tylee, has written two cookbooks.  Her first, Pipi the Cookbook, has been borrowed (by me) from our local library many times.  It is full of interesting recipes using ingredients which are almost mainstream now, but considering this book was published four years ago, were less known/more obscure at the time of publication.  We have grown Cavolo Nero (also known as Black Cabbage) in our garden for almost as long as it was then impossible to buy.  Now it is readily available at our farmers market and perfect to make Pipi’s Anchovy and Cavolo Nero Penne for a light supper.

The second cookbook, Pipi at Home, was released late March.   This is the food that Alexandra cooks at home for her family.  On my first browse through the cookbook, the recipes seem to be fairly ordinary – regular food that is easy to prepare on a weeknight.  But on sitting down for a more in-depth look and to earmark the recipes I’d like to try, it is then I see the little extraordinary touches to these recipes.  Why not add a little rum to the banana bread or spoonful of Marmite (or Vegemite) to your Mince & Cheese Pie.

Bara Brith Loaf:  I make this traditional Welsh fruit loaf fairly regularly.  It’s easy and uses normal ingredients such as dried fruit, sugar, breakfast tea etc.  I have used the concept of soaking the fruit in hot tea and made a chocolate loaf by soaking the sultanas in hot coffee.  I have many packets of filter coffee in the pantry as I’ve tried so many times to like it but I don’t get why people rave over it.  I’d much rather have a beautiful cup of instant Moccona. So this chocolate loaf with coffee soaked sultanas is a great way to use up those packets of coffee, some of which are probably quite stale but the loaf doesn’t care.

I made the Sausage, Apple and Onion Casserole fairly early on.  My kids love sausages and say we don’t have them nearly as often as they’d like.  This recipe got pegged for making as it has apples and cider as well as maple syrup.  It is easy to make, very tasty and I’ll be adding this recipe to our family folder of recipes to make again and again.

Beef and Swede Stew with Gorgonzola Dumplings required a special trip to buy the swede, good-quality dark beer and some Gorgonzola but it was well worth the effort.  Another recipe to add to the family folder.

I’m also keen to try the Spicy Lamb Neck Chop Stew with the addition some port wine jelly or other good-quality fruit jelly.  I have some guava jelly that will do nicely – thanks mum.  Another interesting recipe is the Chicken and Poppy Seed Pasta – with Savoy cabbage, carrots, mint leaves and poppy seeds. Cabbage and pasta aren’t two ingredients I’d normally associate in one meal but I’m prepared to be surprised.

Meatloaf is another meal that PMML love and say I could make more often.  They prefer meatloaves that have a saucy mixture poured over during the cooking time and we all think meatloaf needs at least some measure of sausage meat incorporated to help stop it drying out.  Meatloaf by Tylee has both saucy topping and sausagemeat, lots of garlic, some grated apple and a little molasses.  It sounds like a keeper for our family.

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