Felicity O’Driscoll Book Reviews Issue 217

By Cuisine3 Minutes
April 17, 2023By Cuisine

Felicity O’Driscoll of Cook the Books picks her favourite from the current crop of cookbooks. Visit the shop within the Bread & Butter Bakery, 3/34 Westmoreland St West, Grey Lynn, Auckland, or go to cookthebooks.co.nz.

PULP

ABRA BERENS, CHRONICLE BOOKS, $55

This is a book about fruit – how to grow it, store it and eat it, from raw to roasted, stewed, poached and grilled. As the apricot season ended I was tempted by a toasted sandwich of good bread, melting brie and ripe apricots – absolute perfection and needing no accompaniment. The baked ricotta with black pepper raspberries served with a crisp salad and toasted bread is as good.

THE ETERNAL CITY – RECIPES AND STORIES FROM ROME

MARIA PASQUALE, THAMES & HUDSON, $60

A beautiful guidebook with recipes leading you through the cobbled streets of the Eternal City. Roman culinary traditions are honoured and celebrated by the butchers, the bakers and artisan makers, with these ingredients brought to life in the trattorias and home kitchens. The freshest ricotta is baked into cassola – a lemon-flecked, flourless cake – and I can tell you that the secret to making the best cacio e pepe is room-temperature cheese, but for the full recipe you’ll have to buy the book!

VIETNAM: MORNING TO MIDNIGHT

JERRY MAI, THAMES & HUDSON, $45

Anyone who has visited Vietnam knows that unless you’re sleeping you might as well be eating. From Melbourne restaurateur and chef Jerry Mai, this is the street food that greets you at every turn no matter the time of day. Wander the streets and markets and grab a crispy breakfast banh mi, a steaming bowl of pho, a crisp, cool noodle salad, charred skewers and rice paper rolls. This is not fine dining. This is how real Vietnam eats.

FRANKLIN SMOKE

AARON FRANKLIN & JORDAN MACKAY, TEN SPEED PRESS, $75

Book three in the Franklin Barbecue trilogy and this time they’re covering the more backyard-style of barbecue. To get the flavour and texture you want from your barbecue – whether you are using a standard grill or a ‘Big Green Egg’ – the trick lies in treating the flame as an ingredient not a cooking medium. It doesn’t matter whether you’re smoking a whole chicken or you just want to cook the perfect steak, this is the science behind the recipe.