Cookbook Review: Scrumptious

Scrumptious by Chelsea Winter

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This is the fourth cookbook from Chelsea Winter, following on from the very well received At My Table, Everyday Delicious and Homemade Happiness.  And once again, this book is full of mouth watering recipes that don’t seem too challenging.

Scrumptious has food that is perfect for dinner inspiration whether it is weeknight or weekend.  There is also a chapter on special occasion food such as Christmas family gatherings – yummy stuff like Christmas Truffles and Chelsea Bunny Easter Scrolls.

For us here in NZ, Chelsea probably doesn’t need much introduction as we know her from MasterChef NZ and her recent collaboration with Lewis Road Creamery to produce a double caramel flavoured milk got a lot of press time.  Chelsea also has a strong online presence in social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – as Chelsea says herself on her website – she is everywhere.

Her food is simple without being boring, accessible to most cooks and home kitchens.  We’ve had Savoury Mince on Toast for our Friday night Fake-aways – adding a perfectly poached egg on top of a delicious mix of mince and vegetables is an inspired idea that makes the meal a bit more substantial.  The Sausage, Bacon & Bean Hotpot also gets a big tick from our family, although I can serve them a simple pan-fried sausage and they’re also happy as.  These two recipes are good examples of Chelsea’s recipes – mince, sausages, chicken, lamb shoulder – regular inexpensive food for the everyday eater.  Divided into lunches & dinners, on the side, salads, Christmas and sweets, the recipes range from everyday classics such as the perfect roast chicken or poached eggs on toast through to more exotic Rogan josh or slow lamb puttanesca.  Chelsea’s humour and sunny nature show through in the recipe head notes and often the titles themselves (Chelly con Carne or Spaghetti Chel-fredo).

I had wanted to bake the Caramel Apple Cake before posting this review but time has not been my friend this month.  As the light at the end of the tunnel is still pin-prick size, I’ve decided to box on with the post without the cake.  Stay tuned though as I am sure the cake will turn up at some point – I am quite ambitiously considering making it dairy-free which will be a challenge as it has butter, milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream and more butter to find replacements for.

Cookbook Review: Melie’s Kitchen

Melie’s Kitchen by Amelia Ferrier (Penguin Random House New Zealand)

Melie's Kitchen

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). Continue reading

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).

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Cookbook Review: A Fresh Start

Nadia Lim's Fresh Start Cookbook
I have a lot of cookbooks; more than I care to count.  I use a lot of them for research and some contain favourite family recipes.  Occasionally, I get one out and I’ll try a couple of recipes to try to find a superb dinner to add to our repertoire of awesome recipes.

As part of my writing gig for the local newspaper, I request cookbooks to review (I also receive some that I haven’t requested which is interesting as it causes me to try recipes out of a cookbook I might not have otherwise picked up and in turn, broadens our food experience even more – as was the case with Rick Stein’s ‘from Venice to Istanbul’). Continue reading

Cookbook Review: Little India at home

Little India
As I was flicking through the pages of Little India trying to settle on the first curry to try, I wondered if apples grow in India.  Turns out, apples do grow in India, though not all of India.  Just a few states have the right conditions to grow apples: Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Arunachal Pradesh.  All of these areas border China, and China is the top apple producer in the world, so that kind of makes sense.  It appears that India is the 5th highest producer of apples in the World following China, America, Turkey & Italy. Continue reading

Cookbook review: Bread

Bread – Dean Brettschneider (Penguin Group)

Bread
Dean Brettschneider, known as the Global Baker and the host of Hottest Home Baker TV show, is all about Bread. This is the twelfth cookbook Dean has written or contributed to, each of them in some form or another to do with dough and pastry. Brettschneider, professional baker & pâtissier, shares his tips and passion on how to create the best bread possible in your very own kitchen. Continue reading

Book review: The Best of Apples

What’s new in my cookbook library

The Best of Apples

Looking for ideas on how to decorate cakes, I came across this wee book on TradeMe (NZ’s equivalent of EBay and Craigslist): The Best of Apples.  Offered for the huge sum of $2.60 (including postage), it was too good to pass up. Continue reading

Cookbook Review: Superfoods Cookbook

Superfoods Cookbook

Michelle Bridges: Superfoods Cookbook | Penguin Group

I requested this book to review as a way of shaking my cooking out of a very deep rut – I tend to make similar sorts of meals and occasionally, I wonder if there is a better way of nourishing the body and soul.  This book proclaims boldly on the cover: feel great, get fit and lose weight.  A stunning picture of Michelle Bridges shows she practices what she preaches.

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Cookbook Review: Our food out east

Book Review: Feast

Young Nick points to the Heads beyond the breakwater
Young Nick points to the Heads beyond the breakwater

A trip to Whakatane a few months back saw me looking through my friend Pip’s cookbooks and I discovered Plenty – a really fabulous looking cookbook based in the Bay of Plenty.  The food and photography is superb.  I hoped that one day we could have a cookbook based in Poverty Bay if only just to thumb our nose at Captain Cook and his fellow intrepid travellers.  Young Nick’s Head at the southern end of the bay was the first sighted land of New Zealand.  After a misunderstanding or two between the local Maori and the Endeavour crew led to bloodshed, Cook left with his tail between his legs without the food and provision required to journey on, and in spite or in truth, left us with the name Poverty Bay.

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Cookbook Review: Feeding time at the zoo

I had thought that once children progressed from high chairs and spoon-feeding to feeding themselves, it would feel a little bit less like feeding time at the zoo.  But alas, as they grow, so do appetites and opinions.  It is still feeding time – the animals have just got bigger and noisier.  I am thinking it is politically incorrect to refer to my children as animals, but I call Holdie b’Goldie my baby so I figure the terms of endearment go both ways.

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