As the Melbourne Wine & Food Festival winds up, we've come up for air!
The end of summer is a quiet time for new books. Publishers are either just getting over Christmas or holding over titles until Mother's Day or Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. January and February are (with apologies to TS Eliot) the 'cruelest months'; populated mostly by diet books and overseas titles not considered popular or good enough to get in for Christmas - think TV celebrities you've never heard of!
On the other hand, as the season wanes, it seems people like to get their house in order again, and although not as marked as 'Spring Cleaning', we always see a surge in the flow of cookbooks looking for a new home.
This Summer was also the first time we have managed to get away from the store; a week in New York was the reward but the impetus was an inaugural 3 day cookbook conference
bringing together cookbook writers, editors, publishers, bloggers, commentators, recipe developers and much more. The future of the cookbook was a hot topic.
As Summer ends, Melbourne enters a frenzy of festivals - The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
has just finished its 20th year celebration extravaganza (Happy Birthday!) - whilst almost subversively - the Melbourne Fringe Food Festival
- keeps on popping up with quirky & interesting events when and where you least expect them.
With the advent of Autumn, mushrooms are the hot topic this year. The weather has been perfect and pundits are expecting a bumper crop of wild mushrooms. We've spotted the first pine mushroom of the season at the Queen Vic Market and Mushroom Tours at Mooroduc Estate
are on again this year. We also love the new season apples and pears; more and more heritage varieties are available again (as are artisanal and hand crafted local cider and perry!!!); and the arrival of Victorian walnuts and chestnuts are not far off.
|Author Event: Wednesday 28 March - Matt Wilkinson Degustation Dinner at Gerald's Bar|
|Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables by Matt Wilkinson|
To celebrate the release of Matt Wilkinson's Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables we are excited to announce we are having a degustation dinner based on recipes from the book with Matt at one of Matt's (and our) favourite hangouts - Gerald's Bar in Rathdowne St North Carlton next Wednesday 28th March.
Matt will of course be chatting about his book, his views on Zucchini, Pistachios & Horseradish and pretty much anything else that comes to mind; just don't mention Barnsley FC!
How much? $60 (drinks extra)
Where: Gerald's Bar 386 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
When: 7.30pm Wednesday 28 March 2012 - 40 seats are available
To book: - call Mario or Gerald at Gerald's Bar on (03) 9439 4748 (ignore the message about not taking bookings - leave a message or you'll miss out!)
Gerald's Bar was Gourmet Traveller's Bar of the Year in 2010 and Gerald was the recipient of the Donleavy Fitzpatrick Award in 2011.
|Books: Rosa's Farm: country cooking|
by Rosa Mitchell
|Rosa's Farm by Rosa Mitchell $50|
One of our favourite books a few years ago was Rosa Mitchell's My Cousin Rosa. We've cooked many things from it and the cauliflower fritters and the fig & anise biscotti have become family traditions.
We've known for some time that Rosa's second book was coming and it has been a torturous wait. But now its here (well, actually at the end of the month - but we did get a few copies for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival) - and we are now pouring over it choosing what to cook next.
Rosa & Colin bought a small farm in Yandoit, probably the coldest part of central Victoria and planted a range of Italian varietal grapes about 20 years ago. Their neighbour (and sponsor) was the patriach of an old established local family with Swiss Italian background and when he passed away a few years ago they became the custodians of a much larger farm & heritage.
Rosa's Farm is a beautiful and generous collection of the recipes Rosa has cooked for years on the farm; from local ingredients, farmed or gathered. Her Sicilian heritage shines through in the style of cooking - generous, economical, unusual and definitely tasty.
If you liked My Cousin Rosa (now also available as a paperback) then you will love this. If you haven't cooked or eaten Rosa's food this is well worth seeking out.
Rumour has it Rosa will be soon returning to the Melbourne CBD with a new restaurant. In the interim, you can catch her at the Lara Food & Wine Festival this weekend and we are planning to do a dinner with Rosa in May
|Salads by Battman $59.95|
Alan Batt, more commonly known as 'Battman' is a New York photographer with a passion for food. Over the past 8 years Battman has published 11 volumes of beautiful food created by 80 or so chefs in New York. Each recipe & photograph is of a signature dish of a well known Manhattan chef.
Salads: savory, sweet & green recipes from over 125 great chefs is the latest volume and continues the trend with plated dishes from:
Not the sort of thing for whipping up a quick salad for dinner (try Matt or Rosa above for that) this will provide inspiration to chefs and caterers alike.
The other volumes in the series are: Bagel & Lox, New York Sweets, Summer in New York, Sandwiches of the World, The Colors of Dessert, Soup, Small Things Savory, Small Things Sweet, Pasta, Pudding, & Pies
|Books: Recipes from my Mother's Kitchen|
by Guy Grossi
|Recipes from my Mother's Kitchen by Guy Grossi $49.95|
Behind every good chef, there is their mother and Guy Grossi is no exception.
This is a lovely collection of authentic Northern Italian home cooking. In between the recipes Guy tells the story of his family's travels to Australia and their adaptation to Melbourne.
If you enjoyed Guy's family cooking in SBS' Italian Food Safari, you will have fun with this book. Classically styled, this is a beautiful simple book that will make you hungry
|Books: Short & Sweet|
by Dan Lepard
|Short & Sweet: the best of home baking $55|
A few months ago, we gave Dan Lepard's new baking book Short & Sweet: the best of home baking a plug and said we liked it - a lot.
Well it's nice to have one's opinion vindicated!
Last week Dan won the
Needless to say Dan's pretty chuffed! We liked the interesting selection of home baked goods (many without chocolate) reflecting the heritage of British home baking. We've tried a number of recipes and been very pleased with the results.
Almost counter intuitively, given that Dan is also a highly regarded photographer (he was the photographer for Giorgio Locatelli
's books and the recently published Hawskmoor Cookbook
) the book is long on recipes and short on images. Thankfully Dan is a dab hand with a pen as well and the recipes are a delightful read.
Oh, and we should mention the Drink Book Award went to Garrett Oliver's The Oxford Companion to Beer and a Special Commendation was given to The Finest Wines of Rioja & Northwest Spain.
Conference: New York
a sort of review
|New York Cookbook Conference|
In early February we took our first week off from the Bookshop for almost a decade and attended the inaugural Cookbook Conference in New York. The program was a mix of interesting topics about cookbooks and their sociological & historical value, sessions on how to write a cookbook, how publishers, editors and agents work with cookbook authors and an entire stream of sessions on the 'future' of the cookbook.
Needless to say our interest was firmly on the latter. Its difficult to summarise the extremely wide-ranging and interesting discussion (and we recommend the video podcasts from the conference site) but it is fair to say that publishers and authors alike see as many opportunities as challenges with digital publishing and the move to multiple publishing formats and channels. No-one had a clear answer as to what the future will bring but there were lots of exciting and interesting ideas on offer. Of comfort was the fact that we are almost unique in the world offering a range of culinary books from antiquarian to eBooks and that Australian cookbook publishing is some of the most innovative and interesting in the world.
Highlights for us were meeting some of our culinary heroes (chefs & authors), meeting some of our colleagues - there are about a eight specialist cookbook stores world wide, and eating at some of the places recommended to us. Balthazar, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Union Square Markets, Blue Smoke, Ed's Lobster Bar, Per Se and a few others kept us sustained! Although we were only there for a week and we could only try a limited number of places, we were excited to confirm that dining in Melbourne, or indeed Australia is truly world-class. And as for coffee...well...it was a long time between 'hits'. Thanks to Ports
for keeping us on an even keel.
|Origin: the food of Ben Shewery|
by Ben Shewry
|Ben Shewry's Attica Restaurant|
We first started hearing about the forthcoming book from Ben Shewry almost two years ago.
To be published in November by Murdoch Books, this will be one of the bench mark professional/restaurant books of the year. We've only seen and heard tantalising tidbits about the book...but by all accounts it will be stunning and ground-breaking.
The photography has just been finished and the jacket image is still to be finalised - but we thought you should know about it now.
Ben Shewry is a New Zealand Chef cooking at Attica in Elsternwick, one of Melbourne's inner Southern suburbs. Attica has been recognised in the San Pellegrino Top 50 restaurants and Ben's presentations at Madrid Fusion, Rene Redzepi's Copenhagen Conference and most recently the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Theatre of Ideas and Chef Jam have been inspirational & critically acclaimed.
To celebrate the release of Origin: the food of Ben Shewry we have a pre-release offer: pre-order your copy from us ($95) before the end of August and we'll get it signed, posted for free and you'll go into the draw to win a dinner for two at Attica Restaurant
...contact us to pre-order...
|eBooks: some new titles|
Our eBook collection continues to grow online. Since our last newsletter the number and range has increased significantly and new titles are being added every day.
We have a few titles that are particularly useful for keeping as reference on your smart phone (if you are in hospitality) including Charles Sinclair's Dictionary of Food - an invaluable reference for correcting menus, blackboard menus and orders on the fly:
And if you are a food blogger or tweeter - have a look at Mark Pearson's Blogging & Tweeting without Getting Sued
|Blogging & Tweeting by Mark Pearson|
...browse our ebook store...
Which brings us to a close for this Newsletter.
Tim & Amanda
Books for Cooks