For people who care about their food

Top Ten Foodie Books I Bought in 2009 (3)


5. Modern Salads – Australian Gourmet Traveller

I subscribe to the Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine so I was already a fan of theirs before I found this book. It pretty much does what it says on the tin and includes 200 “perfect starters, mains and desserts”. There’s also a lot of information about ingredients – Middle Eastern, Asian, etc – and dressings. This is really an excellent book.

Modern Salads

Australian Gourmet Traveller
Paperback, 288 pages
2005, ACP Books
ISBN 978-1-86396-423-4
RRP: £20.00


6. The Ultimate Recipe Book: 50 classic dishes and the stories behind them – BBC Good Food publication authored by Angela Nilsen

Everyone has their own way of doing things. But what’s really the best way? Angela Nilsen goes on a quest to find out. The book includes a foreword by Raymond Blanc and recommendations from such worthies as Rick Stein, Gary Rhodes, Shaun Hill and Darina Allen, so it certainly comes highly recommended. This is an interesting curiosity of a book covering all sorts of favourites from Yorkshire puddings to Thai green curry.

Sorry, but I took exception (as usual!) to some of the advice about the Thai green curry. If you want to know about Thai food why consult an American-born Chinese man, such as Ken Hom? Sure, Ken Hom is a great cook and I love his Foolproof Chinese Cookery book and, yes, OK, he’s lived in Bangkok on and off for the last few years. But the “ultimate” recipe in this book for Thai green curry includes snow peas. Peas? Pulleze. Not a pea aubergine in sight. They suggest using muscovado sugar when it should be palm sugar (and the latter is available in the UK, so no excuses, eh? Not for the “ultimate” recipe anyway.) Tsk, if you want to know about Thai cooking then consult a proper Thai chef – perhaps someone like Sompon Nabnian.

Bah! That’s one of my pet hates – people telling you how to do Thai food when they don’t seem to know what they’re talking about and all their so-called Thai food is bastardised for the western palate, like BBC Good Food does far too often. Gee, I can’t believe I’m recommending a BBC Good Food book to you.

Despite all the above, the book is an interesting read, although I confess I haven’t tried their recipes yet. I just wish that they would stick to what they know and do well, which is the Delia Smith style where every recipe works and you must blindly follow instructions and if you add a bit of chilli or lemongrass, then it’s Thai. Some of the western stuff is pretty good, though, so don’t dismiss this book out of hand.

The Ultimate Recipe Book

Angela Nilsen
Hardback, 192 pages
2007, BBC Books
ISBN 978 0 563 52297 3
RRP: £17.99

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