Review: The Catalan Kitchen – Emma Warren

The Catalan Kitchen

The Catalan Kitchen

Emma Warren

Smith Street Books

ISBN: 9781925418842

RRP $ 55

 

Description:

The Catalan Kitchen is a celebration of one hundred authentic and traditional dishes from Spain’s culinary heart.

 

The Catalonia region is situated on the west coast of the Mediterranean and blessed with one of the richest food cultures in Europe. Although Catalonia is still geographically and politically connected to Spain, Catalans consider themselves independent with their own language, history, culture, and cuisine. Its food is considered unique in Spain, and it is home to one of the highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

 

Catalan cuisine does not centre around tapas, and although pintxos do feature heavily, they are not the mainstay of the region and most dishes are larger, stand-alone meals. Dishes are heavily influenced by pork and fresh seafood, with a focus on fresh, seasonal produce that varies from recipes as simple as crushed tomatoes smeared on bread to hearty, slow cooked stews. Famous dishes include calcots–large salad onions cooked on a coal barbecue and then dipped into nutty and addictive Romesco sauce, a unique paella made without saffron and the addition of vermicelli noodles, myriad types of Catalan sausage served with white beans, sauces such as aioli and picada, and multiple pastries and desserts including crème Catalan (a version of crème brulee). Beautifully packaged with stunning location and food photography, The Catalan Kitchen is the ultimate cookbook for lovers of Spanish and Mediterranean food.

 

 

My View:

 I live in the Margaret River region, an area that is often described as having a Mediterranean climate and perhaps this is why when I open a cook book that focusses on fresh, local ingredients from a Mediterranean region – such as Catalonia, I embrace the recipes and the ingredients; this book is no exception. Amongst the pages I find recipes for Quince paste with Manchego cheese (both the cheese and a home made paste are a favourite of mine), Pan Fried Goats Cheese Salad (this makes fabulous shared lunch or a spectacular entrée for a gathering if you are seeking to impress), Rabbit in Chocolate (perfect for Easter in our household), Ratatouille, Sautéed Chickpeas and Silver Beet (we have plenty of silver beet growing in  our garden at the moment and we are always looking to find ways to incorporate it in our meals, fresh is best), there is a recipe for serving wild olives – we have 5 olive trees that supply us with glorious fruit each year, the recipe (p.25) for serving wild olives is flavoursome and simple, the trick is warming the ingredients so the flavours infuse (now that is something I would not have thought of).  And that is just a start…

 

The Catalan Kitchen is a great resource for your home kitchen library.

 

 

Pea and Pine Nut Salad: David Herbert’s Best Home Cooking – David Herbert

The Garden: Snow Peas and Sugar Snap Peas

What do you do when your garden has an abundance of sugar snap peas, snow peas (and broad beans very soon)? You make this spectacular yet so easy salad. I served this as a side dish to a very impressive birthday dinner I made for my husband recently – it looked and tasted fantastic. There were left overs which I converted to a filling lunch by simply adding some halved cherry tomatoes and some quartered hard boiled eggs. Fresh and delicious. (If you are vegetarian simply omit the bacon from this recipe)

David Herbert's Pea and Pine Nut Salad

 

Post Script: ChinaTown Kitchen From Noodles to Nuoc Cham – Delicious Dishes from Southeast Asian Ingredients – Lizzie Mabbott

ChinaTown Kitchen

Chinatown Kitchen:

From Noodles to Nuoc Cham – Delicious Dishes from Southeast Asian Ingredients

Lizzie Mabbott

Hachette Australia

Mitchell Beazley: Octopus Publishing Group

ISBN: 9781845339616

 

Description:

Southeast Asian food is more popular than ever before, but what ARE all those mysterious ingredients in the southeastern section of the supermarket – or, even more so, in your nearest Southeast Asian market? Lizzie Mabbott identifies key ingredients, explains the differences between the 77 types of noodles (not counting “Pot”) and tells you how to use them. AND she provides all the recipes you’ll need to cook your own delicious meals at home using the tastiest ingredients from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan and all across the region. So tuck in to the authentic (from Grilled Aubergines with Nuoc Cham to Chinese Chive Breads and Korean Summertime Noodles) or the inventive and absolutely delicious (Kimchi Toasted Cheese Sandwich, Tempura Soft-Shell Crab Burgers and Chinese Spag Bol), and cook your way around the Asian supermarket.

 

 

My View:

This is a fantastic book suitable for all to use, with some beautiful photos that will have your mouth watering in anticipation of the delights you will  be able to create. You do not need to be a kitchen guru or master chef – this book is about fresh ingredients, fragrant sauces and spices. Lizzie Mabbott devotes sections of the book to introducing the key ingredients, sauces and condiments, noodles, rices, spices, pickles and preserves, fruits and vegetables; the basic ingredients that will bring your South East Asian cooking alive. Read through, pick out of a few recipes you might like to try and then start with a shopping list. Most of the sauces and species are available in your local supermarket, some may need to be purchased from speciality Asian cooking stores.

 

I think we will try the Udon Cabonarara or Salt and Pepper Tofu, the Xinjian Lamb Skewers look perfect for the BBQ and the Chinese Pork Belly Roast looks divine. And then there are old favourites like Chicken Katsu Curry or Rice Paper Rolls (with a step by step pictorial guide on how to roll these family favourites) or how about making your own Kimchi? A toasted cheese and kimchi sandwich sounds perfect! I am sure you will find many recipes here to enjoy.