My recommendations for cook books to have in your kitchen library provide useful, practical, achievable recipes that the home cook can easily manage . For example, over Christmas I was wanting to make some mini carrot cakes/muffins, who did I turn to? Julie Goodwin’s Essential Cookbook – it really does cover most things that the home cook might want to bake (this would make an excellent house warming gift or engagement gift).
Poh Ling Yeow’s Poh Bakes 100 Greats took me on a trip down memory lane (and introduced me to some new exciting recipes) ; Bienenstich(Bee Sting Cake), Digestive Biscuits, Coconut Ice, Basic Nut Praline, Brioche Buns, Brownies, Nut Bars, Coffee Eclairs, Turkish Delight… recipes that will have you racing to the kitchen to bake.
Maggie’s Recipes for Life is a book that has recently been released and will garner a lot of attention. Co written with Professor Ralph Martins this book combines health science and nutrition with Maggie’s palate pleasing recipes. Watch out for this one and add to your shelf when you can.
And lastly a book that helps you master the elements of cooking; Salt, Fat, Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat (the how to of cooking ingredients that will give you confidence to trust your instincts in the kitchen). This book is a must have.
Extract from Maggie Beer’s Summer Harvest Recipes by Maggie Beer,
photography by Mark Chew, published by Lantern on 18 November 2015, RRP AU$29.99
CHERRY CLAFOUTIS Serves 6
“I prefer not to pit cherries when making a tart such as this, as the stone helps keep the shape and flavour of the fruit intact. Be sure to warn your guests, though, before they tuck in.
500 g fresh dark cherries
1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons kirsch
2 large eggs
¼ cup (55 g) castor sugar
¼ cup (50 g) plain flour
½ cup (125 ml) crème fraîche or sour cream
½ cup (125 ml) cream
grated rind of 1 lemon
butter, for baking
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the cherries in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle the castor sugar and kirsch over them. Bake for 5–6 minutes or until the cherries are cooked but still firm. Set the cherries aside and reserve the cooking juices.
For the custard, beat the eggs in an electric mixer, then add the castor sugar and beat until frothy. Carefully add the flour and combine, then add 1 tablespoon of the reserved cherry cooking juices, the crème fraîche, cream and lemon rind.
Dot a gratin or small baking dish with a little butter (I use a 30 cm oval copper baking dish), then spread half the custard over the base of the dish. Spoon in the cooked cherries to cover the custard, then add the remaining custard. Bake for 25–30 minutes; the top will be golden and the cherries will appear as little mounds in the custard. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.”
Maggie Beer’s Summer Harvest Recipes
Penguin Random House
This collection brings together Maggie Beer’s signature recipes from the summer chapter of her cookbook Maggie’s Harvest, including detailed descriptions of seasonal ingredients and inspiring accounts of memorable meals. The recipes highlight Maggie’s philosophy of using the freshest and best seasonal produce available, and treating it simply, allowing the natural flavours to speak for themselves. Describing herself as a “country cook,” Maggie cooks from the heart and is passionate about instilling in others this same confidence—to use recipes as a starting point, and be guided by instinct and personal taste. This book from one of Australia’s best-loved cooks is essential for anyone with an appreciation of the pleasures of seasonal food. Includes metric measures.
What perfect timing – our summer crops have been planted and the first of the season’s zucchinis has been picked and the fruit trees are netted, I just can’t wait to start making some of Maggie Beer’s summer produce recipes.
When reading this book it feel like you are working alongside Maggie in her Barossa kitchen, chatting as you work. Maggie’s farm and orchard are in the Barossa Valley South Australia, we love the Barossa Valley – such exciting and fresh produce! “Maggie cooks from the heart and is passionate about instilling in others this same confidence – to use recipes as a starting point, and be guided by instinct and personal taste” the only way to cook!
I cannot wait to start making Maggie’s Apricot jam (you cannot beat homemade apricot jam) and bottling Maggie’s tomato sauce – pasta sauce in a jar; passionfruit butter is another favourite, chicken breasts stuffed with apricots and green peppercorns – yum and sweet roasted red capsicum pate, and we must make cocktail zucchini fritters (there is always a need for another recipe to make use of zucchinis in our house), always! Enjoy your summer cooking with Maggie Beer’s Summer Harvest.