MEAT: The Ultimate Companion
Anthony Puharich and Libby Travers,
Murdoch Books, $95
Even this book’s title is a big, hearty, unapologetic slab – a bugle call to carnivores everywhere. Curated by legendary butcher Anthony Puharich and food writer Libby Travers, this go-to guide contains more than 110 recipes, and looks at meat through the eyes of farmers, butchers and top cooks. You’ll learn butchery techniques, find diagrams of cuts, and tips on choosing, storing and preparing meat. In his foreword, the late Anthony Bourdain calls Puharich’s Sydney butcher shop Victor Churchill “A temple of meat. A dream. A gift”. He might well have been talking about this book.
My Indian Kitchen
Potton & Burton, $49.99 (hardback)
The best food doesn’t just thrill the palate; it’s time-travel too, with the flavours and aromas evoking places and people we’ve loved. That sums up My Indian Kitchen. Of Indian heritage, Ashia Ismail-Singer lived in Africa and the UK before moving to New Zealand in her 20s. Missing her mum Zarina’s cooking, she began to recreate her recipes, which appear in this book. There’s the familiar Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry and Chilli Prawns – plus ‘East meets West’ creations; Masala Baked Beans, Spicy Shepherd’s Pie, pavlova with a twist. It’s food with heart, soul and plenty of zing.
Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights: A Journey Deeper into Dining Hell
Jay Rayner, Faber, $14.99
Okay, enough with the great food; now for something completely different. In this spicy little volume, Observer food critic Jay Rayner regales us with tales of, well, it’s all in the title. After one awful vegan meal: “I find myself eyeing the Yorkshire terrier greedily”. At a restaurant named Lands End: “It is indeed the end, though not of land. It is the end of hope, of good taste”. Another eatery’s Potatoes Sautéed in Marmite came in “a puddle of fat so deep you could measure it with an engine dipstick.” Thankfully, his chief targets are pretentious, overpriced establishments. And if you’re going to be mean, you might as well do it with panache, which this book serves up by the gravy boat.
The Food of Argentina
Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz,
Smith Street Books, $59.99
It may take two to tango, but it takes a multitude of cultural influences to make up the cuisine of Argentina. Many dishes in this book speak of the nation’s European heritage: Black Forest Gateau, Ensalada Rusa (a common sight at barbecues), Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo, Gnocchi with Beef Ragu. But there’s a distinct South American accent too. The book is divided into three sections: ‘afuera’ (outside), restaurant, café and street food; ‘en casa’ (at home), a celebration of family fare; and ‘la merienda’ (afternoon tea), an important “culinary pit-stop” in every Argentine’s day. The writers step inside the homes and kitchens of the nation to find trout and lamb from Patagonia, stews from La Pampa, and Humitas from Salta and Jujuy. There’s creamy-sweet Dulce de Leche, the street-food staple Choripán (chorizo roll with chimichurri and salsa criolla), veal croquettes and, of course, empanadas galore. Delicioso.