Janet Hudson, Thorsons, 2005
I first saw this book in a little shop in Newtown several years ago, and liked what I saw with a quick glance through. However my student self could not at that point afford another $40 cookbook. But my friends got it for me for my birthday. Yay for birthday presents! The book is a paperback in the sort of size and thickness that does not stay open easily. Also, the binding in my copy fell to pieces soon after I got it, just from opening it occasionally. Contents include Hors d'Oeuvres, Salads, Soups, Entrees, Companion Pleasures, Desserts, Pantry Essentials, Break the Fast, Sandwiches and Snacks, and Juices, Smoothies and Shakes. There is one to two recipes per page. I am not overly fond of the font used for the recipe titles, though that is me being fussy.
I don't have a lot of photos from this book, though I have made more recipes than I have photos of, so I will give you a bit of a run down of some of the better things I have made.
These are nice, crisp little squares of toast with a yummy cream cheese, olive and sundried tomato, cucumber and caper filling.
Roasted 'Chicken' with Apple Creme Sauce
I didn't have access to any 'chicken breasts' to split in half, so I used two 'chicken chops' and sandwiched the stuffing between them. Served here with a bed of Blow Me Down Lemon Spinach, a nice side dish from the book.
Stars and Stripes Timbale
Quite nice flavour, but mainly a star because it was my first timbale and I was so happy it turned out. It was also the first dish I ever took a photo of, thus starting me down this addictive path of food photography.
Tempting Cacciatore Tempeh
This recipe gets its photo here by virtue of being the long photo from this book hanging out in my 'To Upload' folder. It is a nice recipe. It called for smoked tempeh, which I had never seen, so just add a little bit of liquid smoke if that floats your boat. The tempeh is cut into four portions, so it is more of a tempeh steak in a cacciatore sauce.
Portobello Mushroom Sandwich
This book does have some good sandwiches, and this is a great one. I decreased the amount of oil and vinegar used for sauteeing the mushroom (and skipped the capsicum).
Rancho Scripps Patty Melt
This is a great sandwich. It is creamy, cheesy and just yummy. I used Fry's burger patties here. The recipe calls for almond Jack Cheese... sure. I just used some Tofutti slices.
Here are a few five star recipes that I don't have photos for:
Aviary Ravioli with Hip Herb Pesto (uses wonton wrappers for the ravioli and is so delicious and so cute!)
Tomato Phyllo Pie
Cranberry Oatmeal Drops
... Lettuce, Tomato - I Beg Your Pardon... BLT Not!
So how do I feel about this book? Fairly meh. Which is hard for me to say, because I like to be sunshine and light to everyone. One of the things that turns me off about this book is the huge reliance on vegan versions of meat and dairy products. At the time that I got this book, the availability of these things to me was very limited. However, I have had good success making some of the recipes by subbing tofu, tempeh or mushrooms for the meat. But it does read very much like an omni cookbook with the word 'veggie' in front of the meat/dairy product. Now don't get me wrong, I love me some plant-based meat and cheese, I have a very high tolerance for faux. However, it is not something I want to eat all the time. Plus having to source these things and then the expense of these things make it not something I want to do all the time. Maybe it depends on where you live. One of the recipes also calls for bonita, which I assume means bonito, which is fish, so I am not sure what is going on there. I also find that I need to use my own judgement very much with some of the quantities of liquids or sugars being called for in the recipes. There is a naan recipe in it that has so much sugar we had to eat them for dessert as pancakes. However, to be fair I have made some very nice food from this book, even some great food. I will probably make the odd thing from it here and there in the future, but I will not be reaching for it frequently.
What cookbooks have you been given for birthdays?
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
This little sweetie is Pascall, who was my fourth childhood kitty. Unfortunately, we lost Patches (from my last post) to a blood clot when he was three and a half. Pascall was a gorgeous little silver tabby from the RSPCA. Sadly, she lost a fight to kidney cancer when she was not even a year old. She was beautiful, and she used to sleep with her head on my pillow and her body under the covers with me.
Well, that was a bit of a downer post. Lost kittens and not favourite cookbooks. Come back tomorrow though, there will be cupcakes and happy kitty tales!