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COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Delicious is My New Favorite Cooking Magazine

delicious cooking magazine from Australia

I must confess that I am a magazine junkie. A few months ago, I bought a new cooking magazine from Australia called delicious.

I first read the Entertaining Special Issue, very appropriate for me. Fans of Jamie Oliver will be delighted to know that he is a regular on delicious.

The Entertaining Issue

The December 2007/January 2008 issue featured Jamie Oliver’s fresh festive flavors, Bill Granger’s laidback lunch and a profile on Wolfgang Puck. We visited a Café in Tasmania, explored the Basque cuisine, and baked seasonal sweets with Nigella Lawson.

The recipes are tasty and not too complicated. The pictures are exquisite. Delicious was voted the World’s Best Food Magazine. I do not know when, but I kind of agree since delicious is one of my favorite cooking magazine.

On stand, an issue of delicious costs the same as Donna Hay magazine but I feel that each issue of delicious packs with more stuff.

The Annual Italian Cooking Issue

The May 2008 issue is their annual Italian issue. Discover Valli Little’s collection of all-time favorites, including authentic gnocchi and best-ever lasagne. Ben O’Donoghue prepares a slow-cooked Tuscan ragu, while Jamie Oliver does easy antipasto and fast prawn pasta. Belinda Jeffery whips up creative lemon dishes.

Plus, legendary Sydney chef Armando Percuoco shares home-style dishes. Jill Dupleix stirs up a one-pot seafood stew. Away from the kitchen, we delve into Melbourne’s vibrant Italian food scene and take an insider’s tour of the stunning Amalfi Coast.

It all sounds great to me. I buy my issues at a local magazine shop. In large urban centers, you should be able to find it in kiosk. Since this is an importation, it is cheaper if you buy it in stores. Otherwise, you can subscribe at Amazon or from the publisher site.

>>> Sourcing:
Subscribe: Delicious – Australia at Amazon.com – price: $129.90 USD for 11 issues
Learn more: Delicious Magazine from ABC
Buy online: Donna Hay Magazine at Amazon.com – price: $89.07 for 6 issues

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Jamie at Home will reach my home soon

jamie at home : chicken legs : grilled monkfish : pasta alla normaThis morning, I received my shipping confirmation for the latest book by Jamie Oliver. I cannot wait. I am a huge fan of the guy. When Jamie at Home will hit my cooking library shelf, my count will be 6 out 8 of his books.

Some recipes are in several books but it is fun because you can see how that recipe evolved and refined your own version. My husband and I (we do team work) made the best risotto. We use recipes from two books; handy since the pages of recipe are always visible. We take the better of each one.

My favorite Jamie Oliver’s recipes

I am giving you the recipes that I am cooking over and over, book by book.

The Naked Chef

The Mushroom Risotto with Garlic, Thyme and Parsley is my ultimate risotto. We often make this on a Friday or Saturday night so we can eat risotto cakes for breakfast the next morning. So do not be afraid to make plenty because a risotto cake is divine. The recipe is simply the same as making a patty of hash browns except that the potatoes are replaced by the risotto. I fried mine in olive oil. Check out his basic risotto recipe.

The Naked Chef Takes Off (a.k.a Return of the Naked Chef)

Seared scallops and crispy prosciutto with roasted tomatoes and smashed white beans. This is heaven on Earth! I served this appetizer to all kind of people and it was always a hit. Sometimes, I cook this recipe as a main course for my husband and me.

Get a feel of his book with the seared carpaccio of beef with roasted baby beets, creamed horseradish, watercress and parmesan published on Jamie Oliver’s Web site.

Jamie’s Dinners

For the most delectable side dish, nothing beats the Carrots boiled with orange, garlic and herbs. I often served those carrots with a braised beef an easy entertaining dinner party.

My favorite recipe from Jamie’s Dinners has to be tender and crisp chicken legs with sweet tomatoes. I made this recipe so often that I stop counting. I add new potatoes when they are in season. I like the lightness of this dish. For that reason, I simply served slices of rustic bread with it. Add a nice bottle of white wine and you have the perfect meal.

Jamie’s Italy

Strangely that is the book I cook the least. I said strangely because I love the authenticity of Italian cooking. The freshness of the insalata amalfitana seduces me. When the tomatoes are in season, nothing beats the classic insalata caprese.

I could eat soups every day. You will find wonderful earthy soups in Jamie’s Italy. You can get online the recipes for two delicious pasta dishes: Linguine all carbonara di salsiccia, a.k.a. sausage carbonara plus the pasta alla norma. Looking at the book recipes, I just add Spaghetti with shrimp and arugula to my to-do list.

Cook with Jamie

My husband and I made the lovely easy caramelle with ricotta, basic and black olives last December. It was a trial run for an upcoming dinner party. We glad we tried to prepare the recipe before because we failed miserably. Let me tell you that it is not so easy if you just starting to make your own pasta. The recipe was great but we decide to improve our pasta making skills before making our own caramelle again. We will achieve it one day.

I love eating fish. The grilled or roasted monkfish with black olive sauce and lemon mash is my type of fish recipe. It is so delicious when the weather is warm.

I will keep posted on my cooking experience once I read my copy of the Jamie at Home. In the meanwhile, I want to know:
What is your favorite recipe by Jamie Oliver?

SOURCING:
+ For Americans: Jamie at Home – price: $24.75 USD
+ For Canadians: Jamie at Home – price: $26.43 CAD

RELATED POST:
+ Review of Jamie at Home TV show

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Nominations are open for the 2008 Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards

Australian Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards 2008

If you are or know a deserving Australian food artisan producer do not be shy to fill out the nomination form. You can also nominate a chef who closely works with local organic farmers.

A proud supporter of the Slow Food movement, VE + T Produce Awards reward agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions in Australia. The challenges of running a small family farm are great. These awards give a marketing boost to these dedicated food producers.

The closing date for nominations is February 15, 2008. The nomination form is available online. The awards are:

  1. Best New Product
  2. Most Consistent Product
  3. Primary Producer awards – 4 categories: Dairy, Paddock, Seafood and Earth
  4. The Regional Awards
  5. Maggie Beer Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Food
  6. Food Heritage Award
  7. Outstanding Provider/Supplier in Each State
  8. Outstanding use of regional produce by a chef in each state
  9. Judges’ Favorite Product
  10. Best Farmers’ Market

Sourcing:
Learn more: 2007 winners of Vogue E + T Produce Awards
Learn more: Rules and nomination form to Vogue Entertaining + Travel Produce Awards 2008

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK REVIEWS

The Secret of Fabulous Special Occasion Cakes in 4 books

spectacular cakes :: cakes to dream on :: pretty party cakes :: confetti cakes

We all dream to be able to decorate cakes with like the pro instead of making all-buttercream cakes. If you are not a beginner cake decorator, you may be ready to learn the art of fondant and royal icing.

Before you invest in cake decorating classes, flip the pages of books to see if this is for you. I compiled a list of 4 excellent books.

They all received great reviews on Amazon.com by people that effectively tried to make the cakes. And they passed my tests for the aesthetic and the usefulness of their instructions.

Spectacular Cakes: Special Occasion Cakes for any Celebration by Mich Turner

Mich Turner‘s credentials include wedding cakes for Madonna, Pierce Brosnan, Paul McCartney, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In November 2005, her first book Spectacular Cakes was published. She wrote a second book which will hit the store on November 6, 2007.

Her book, Spectacular Cakes goes over cake decoration styles and techniques from the traditional to the cutting edge. Mich Turner’s book supplies cake recipes plus a portfolio of incredible cake designs with step-by-step that you can copy or adapt to suit any formal or informal event.

Cakes to Dream On: A Master Class in Decorating by Colette Peters

The second book of Colette Peters targets serious home bakers and chefs. But this book cannot be a source of inspirations for all of us. I saw some easy to understand graphics via the See Inside feature of Amazon. The instructions and techniques seem easy to grasp. The difficulty, I thing, comes from the execution.

Cakes to Dream On unveils how to construct a multi-tiered cake, from determining serving sizes and choosing appropriate cake pans to making fillings, and ultimately stacking layers so they don’t tumble off the table. Cakes to Dream On is the most dated one of the four, having been released in November 2004.

Pretty Party Cakes: Sweet and Stylish Cakes and Cookies for All Occasions by Peggy Porschen

Like Mich Tuner, London-based Peggy Porschen is a cake decorator who catered to celebrities. In Pretty Party Cakes, Peggy shares the tricks behind her showstopper cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. They are supposed to be as easy to create as they are spectacular.

Some reviewers on Amazon.com said that this book is more accessible than Cakes to Dream On by Collette Peters while other complained about the lack of instructions for multi-tiered cakes. Since these are affordable, I suggest you get both books. Pretty Party Cakes was first published in April 2006.

The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery by Elisa Strauss and Christie Matheson

If you were a fan of Sex and the City, you might recall the extravagantly beautiful, three-tiered Chocolate Embroidery Wedding Cake done by the Confetti Cakes. Their cookbook contains projects for every skill level.

Featured projects run from the relatively easy Pool Ball Cupcakes, Dice Mini Cakes and Snowflake Cookies to more advanced items like Teacup Mini Cakes that look like detailed porcelain. This is the most recent book of the four; it was published in May 2007.

These four books will help you create show stopper cakes if you have some cake decoration skills and patience. In the worst case scenario, they make delightful coffee table books.

If you have a friend who enjoys baking and cake decorating, why not bring one of these books as a hostess gift? That is an excellent trick to be invited again since your friend will want to show off her creations.

SOURCING:
+ SPECTACULAR CAKES: Special Occasion Cakes for any Celebration – price: $23.10 USD
+ Cakes to Dream On: A Master Class in Decorating – price: $26.40 USD
+ Pretty Party Cakes: Sweet and Stylish Cakes and Cookies for All Occasions – price: $18.90 USD
+ The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery – price: $19.79 USD

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Upcoming cookbook titled Dish Entertains by Trish Magwood

Dish Entertains cookbook by Trish Magwood

I know Trish Magwood since 2005 as the host of the hit show party dish on the Food Network. Trish is known for preparing uncomplicated but delicious recipes. She explores fun and modern dishing techniques that are perfect for easy entertaining.

On September 14, her first cookbook will hit the stores in Canada. It is a cookbook about everyday simple to special occasions entertaining menu. Knowing her style, it sounds promising. So I put the book Dish entertains on my radar.

We can read from the publisher note that Dish entertains is exactly the cookbook needed by time-starved chefs who want both innovative and classic entertaining recipes – simple, beautiful and always deliciously fabulous.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of her cooking classes and a sample of the food presentation done by her catering service. Her business, dish cooking studio cover many angles of entertaining. It is a cooking school, a full service caterer, a specialized kitchen store and a gourmet café.

When you are looking for a new group activity, why not take a cooking class. They are perfect for bridal showers, a girl night out event or a corporate event. Preparing food usually brings people together; so it is the perfect activity if you want to augment the bound between your friends or your team members.

food plating of the catering service at dish cooking studio

Operating facts about the dish cooking school

Next Tuesday, August 28, there is a hands-on session inspired by recipes from Jamie Oliver. Scheduled courses cover 10 topics in September. New Way to Cook, Beginner or Intermediate Chef Essentials, Everyday Simple Dinner party, Japanese Made Simple and Make ahead Thanksgiving Feast are the ones that caught my attention.

If you are looking for private courses, it is good to know in advance that private hands-on classes can accommodate up to 16 guests. Interactive dinner party classes house up to 50 persons while the demonstration classes can host up to 24 guests. To book a private 2.5 to 3 hour class, the price starts at $160 per person.

The little extras

If you want to welcome your guests in style before class, serve a glass of wine and some delicious nibbles when the participants arrive. You can give a party favor to thank everyone for coming and participating. You see that the boundary of entertaining can always be pushed a little bit further.

SOURCING:
+ Web site of dish cooking studio
+ Scheduled cooking classes at dish cooking studio
+ Party dish tv series at Food Network Canada
+ Dish Entertains by Trish Magwood – price: $28.32 CAD

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Kim gives two thumbs up to David Rocco’s Dolce Vitae Music CD

David Rocco\'s Dolce Vitae Soundtrack cover

I received the Deluxe CD that I won on FoodTV.ca blog. Wow! I like the CD a lot. December 2nd, 2008 Update: Now that his cookbook is available, go for the standard CD.

Fans of the TV series will be pleased. The vibes of David Rocco’s Dolce Vitae are all there. The style of music is broad. The selection is excellent. At some point, you feel like dancing. This is a happy album. The music is perfect for alfresco dinner parties and summer cocktails.

The album photo is splendid. If you show the Deluxe CD to someone that has never seen the show, they will grasp the spirit right away. The only thing I am missing is the ringtones, which are coming soon.

Check out the interview with David on FoodTV.ca, Cooking Fusilli with David Rocco. You can win the Olive Wood Dolce Vitae Lemon Reamer. I told you about it in my five kitchen gadgets post last week. Act now; the draw will be July 4, 2007.

SOURCING:
+ David Rocco’s Dolce Vita Soundtrack – $17.99 CAD for the standard CD
+ Listen: David Rocco’s Dolce Vitae Music CD on his Web site
+ Recipe: Cooking Fusilli with David Rocco on FoodTV.ca – see how you can enter the contest

COOKBOOKS FOOD + DRINK

Book review: Dishing with style has all the ingredients for easy entertaining

Dishing with style by Rori Trovato :: cooking book

I received Dishing with style by Rori Trovato for my birthday from a modish girl friend and her husband. She knows that I prefer cooking books with lots of beautiful pictures. I am visual girl after all.

I read the book this morning. Wow, Dishing with style fits like a glove into my entertaining philosophy. And more importantly, the book delivers on its promises.

The chef and food writer Rori Trovato started up this project by acknowledging that no cooking book on the market:

teaches you how to do the one thing that has the greatest impact: to combine great-tasting food with great-looking food, to make guests say “Wow” as soon as they sit at the table, and then again when they take their first bites.

One thing that differentiates Dishing with style from other cooking books is the fact that:

Nearly every recipe includes two stunning options for presenting the dish to your guests. One is more casual, often family-style, perfect for Sunday suppers and backyard get-togethers. The other option is more elegant, usually served in individual plated portions, for dinner parties and more formal affairs.
– these are two excerpts from the publisher text

Cleary if you are looking for food presentations that you can easy reproduce at home, take a look at Dishing with style. Rori Trovato encourages her readers to think outside the box and to experiment new ways to plate the food. Nothing is revolutionary but the book is actually stimulating. View this book as a source of plate inspirations that you can adapt to your own dinnerware, cooking skills and budget. Use the book as a tool to freshen up your party themes and even push you to try new entertaining styles.

If the latest culinary artistry is what you are looking for, you will be better served with a book like Working the Plate: The Art of Food Presentation by Christopher Styler. Make sure to read the user’s comments on Amazon.com to know what you are getting yourself into. Culinary artistry requires lots of tools, perfect techniques and times on your hand.

If you want culinary artistry, I suggest to most people that they go out to a top notch restaurant where they can enjoy a unique dining experience with their friends. Or you can hire a chef at home for one night that will even clean everything up before he leaves.

For my part, I am satisfied with a book that shows me how to make impressive plate ideas and recipes that leave me time to have fun with my guests. What are you looking for: culinary artistry or easy to do stylish dishing?

Sourcing:
Buy online: Dishing with Style: Secrets to Great Tastes and Beautiful Presentations