Are you also feeling bored with what you’ve been cooking lately? I don’t know, I just feel like mixing it up at the moment. Maybe it’s the coming change of the season and my palette is pre-empting a shift of what we’ll be eating combined with a touch of wanderlust. Whatever the reason, there’s a slew of ah-maa-zing looking new cookbooks out there and these are the ones on my radar. All of them share regionally-inspired recipes, beautiful photography and my very best thing in a cookbook, personal anecdotes. Looks like my credit card is going to be taking a bit of strain.
Meera Sodha’s book sharing her family’s Anglo-Indian food includes a chilli paneer, an intriguing 100 garlic-clove curry and whole roast masala chicken. The beetroot and feta samoosas sound amazing.
This one is due for a May release (just in time for my birthday, hint hint). Acurio is probably the country’s best known chef and this book would suit foodies wanting to be inspired, challenged and educated on a cuisine that, until now, has not got lots of airplay.
I adore Italian food and the broader (pun intended) my knowledge of it the better. This little island has so much to offer in terms of cuisine, and the book Sicily features 50 recipes that, though uncomplicated, are delicious and surprising enough to wow even the most well-travelled, well-eaten foodie.
Phaidon are brilliant at bringing out the-only-version-you’ll-ever-need when it comes to regional cuisine. Chef and author Jeanne-Pierre Gabriel has Thailand covered in this hardcover tome that includes more than 500 recipes gathered from home cooks, street stalls, restaurants and markets. A divine gift for that special foodie in your life.
I fell in love with the cover before I even checked out what was on the inside, but rest assured if you’re wanting to delve into authentic Mexican food this is the one for you. Offering an encyclopaedic take on this vast country’s gorgeous cuisine, you’ll never want to touch a Spur Nachos plate again after cooking from this wondrous book.
This is one that I own and let me tell you, I love it. Middle Eastern food ranks up there with Italian for me when it comes to favourites. I’ve probably got around ten recipe books focusing on the food of the Middle East sitting on my bookshelf, and next to Claudia Rodin’s Arabesque this is my ultimate favourite.
My very best and beloved Australian cousins are heading here in April and one of the lesser reasons I’m so excited is that they’re bringing me this recipe book by Sujet Saenkham, a well-known Sydney chef with a chain of restaurants that they’ve raved about to me before. It’s due for a March release so look out for it in the local bookshops or online.
Here’s a recipe from the book. Sounds yum!
Crispy prawn & lemongrass salad
Prawns and lemongrass are a heavenly match – just be sure to take the time to finely slice the lemongrass or it won’t be that nice to eat. The fragrant, citrus flavour of lemongrass also goes well with other seafood, so you could use fish instead of the prawns, if you prefer.
6 large raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, with tails intact
50 g tapioca flour
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable oil
50 g unsalted cashews, toasted
1 large stick lemongrass, very thinly sliced
2 red shallots, halved and thinly sliced
1½ spring onions, julienned
small handful coriander leaves
4 sprigs roundleaf mint, leaves picked
1 large fresh red chilli, julienned
roasted cashews (optional), to serve
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 fresh red birds-eye chillies, sliced
2 tablespoons soft palm sugar
70 ml fish sauce
50 ml lime juice
> For the dressing, place the garlic and chillies in a mortar and use the pestle to lightly crush. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and stir to mix well until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside
> Coat the prawns in tapioca flour and dust off any excess. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat until hot. Add the prawns and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes or until they change colour and are just cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
> Roughly crush the cashews with the mortar and pestle and transfer to a small bowl. Add the lemongrass, shallot, spring onion, coriander, mint and chilli to the bowl of crushed cashews and toss gently to mix. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the dressing and pour the remainder over the lemongrass salad, then toss again.
> Place the prawns and salad on a serving plate, then scatter with the roasted cashews, if using. Drizzle with the reserved dressing and serve.