The Booksnob’s Blog

Books… the best, worst, & weirdest…

Preserving the Italian Way

Preserving the Italian W

A delightful book, written and self-published by Melbourne GP Pietro Demaio, whose love of the food traditions of his native land is very obvious.  His humorous anecdotes about his many culinary adventures in Australia and especially on his visits back to Italy made me laugh, and sometimes even made me cry. 

I loved the story about how he finally managed to foil his patients who regularly used to sneak in and steal the entire olive harvest at his Melbourne surgery just before he was due to harvest them. And wherever that island restaurant is, the one you have to swim to get to, I want to eat there. Although Dr Demaio, a non-swimmer, was thrown overboard attached to a rope and towed ashore. 

In this book, Dr Demaio covers everything you could possibly want to know about Italian home preserving, with not one, but about a dozen different ways of preserving eggplants for starters. There are also sections on every other conceivable method of preserving Italian foodstuffs, including making sausages and the curing of pork products, and there are even detailed instructions on how to build a wood-fired oven.  The only problem with the book is that it has suffered in the editing, and there are too many typos, but this glitch aside, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and very useful cookbook for slow foodies.

Preserving the Italian Way website



March 31, 2008 Posted by | Cookbooks, Non fiction | | 1 Comment

Maggie’s Harvest

Maggie’s Harvest

This is a seriously gorgeous cookbook, by well known South Australian cookery writer and TV presenter Maggie Beer. It collects together recipes from two of Maggie’s previous books, Maggie’s Orchard (1997) and Maggie’s Farm  (1993), together with a great deal of new material.

The recipes are arranged seasonally and are based around Maggie’s own favourite ingredients. They are predominantly inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, to match the Mediterranean climate of the Barossa Valley where Maggie lives and works. The recipes are generally easy to prepare, and let the ingredients speak for themselves.

She also includes lots of useful snippets of information for serious foodies, such as where to source the growers and suppliers of the best ingredients, and adds interesting sections on such arcane kitchen arts as preserving, smoking and making one’s own vinegar.  Just fabulous, and one of the most beautiful cookbook covers I have ever seen (although keep it well away from any kitchen mess).

Maggie Beer’s home page

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Cookbooks, Non fiction | | 1 Comment

Provence Cookery School

Provence Cookery SchoolProvence Cookery School: Shop, cook and eat like a local
by Gui Gedda & Marie-Pierre Moine

A version of this review was published previously on my old blog, but this cookbook is so gorgeous that I’m going to review it again. I’ve already borrowed it from the library twice, and each time I can hardly bear to take it back again.

This is genuine Provençal cookery by a master of the genre, presented as it would be during a week in a French cookery school.  It starts off simply with authentic Provençal ingredients, methods and easy recipes, and progresses gradually to more complex dishes.

What I love about Provençal cookery is its uncomplicated approach. Thank the culinary gods, there is nothing remotely resembling molecular gastronomy or any other avant-garde conceits in Monsieur Gedda’s kitchen. Nor any fussing about with sauces that take eight hours and use every pot in your kitchen, just lovely, traditional fare relying on fresh, top-quality ingredients and simplicity of presentation. 

The recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs, and the Provençal classics are all in there  – soupe au pistou, fish cookery, herb and wine infusions for pot roasts, Provençal breads, pissaladière (Provençal pizza) Socca (the street food of Nice), vegetable tarts, pine nut and lavender biscuits, gorgeous fruit gâteaux, French goat cheeses. Definitely one to swoon over, and even better, every one of the recipes is achievable.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Cookbooks, Non fiction | Leave a comment