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Late March 2015   


mise-en-place; the art of preparing to cook...

In This Issue
Website Update
Event: Matt Wilkinson
Book Event: Clunes Booktown
Event: Somer Sivrioglu
Event: River Cottage Australia
Signed: White Heat - 25th Anniversary
Signed: Alice's Food
James Beard Awards 2015
Recipe: Justin Gellatly's Hot Cross Buns
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Ah...Easter... the smell of chocolate & baking spice is in the air!

Our daughters 'claim' that they saw the first hot cross bun of the season back in January at one of the big unmentionable supermarkets.  They are probably right!  Spotting the first hot cross bun is a bit like the old tradition of spotting the first robin or the first sign of spring.

Sadly it's all got a little bit too commercial, and in the absence of the decrees of Elizabeth I prohibiting the sale of spiced buns on days other than days of religious observation we thought we'd refer to our own (and regal) Elizabeth David for a Spiced Bun recipe you can use at home but it runs for almost 4 pages!  So we've included Britain's Best Baker - Justin Gellatly's recipe - which will be just as good!

One of the other signs that Easter is approaching is the brief pause in 'festivals' that Melbourne has, as if taking a deep breath, before the onslaught of more major events!  Which is 'code' for: the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival has finished for this year and we have lots of signed books in store including Justin Gellatly, Matt Wilkinson, Marco Pierre White, Janice Wong and Alice Zaslavsky.

Our events calendar has also all of a sudden filled up and we have lots of fun things this month.

Hopefully we'll see you soon!

Website Update
'a dark tale of woe and despair'

Taking My Medicine
...taking our medicine...
If you tried to send us an  email in early March or  have tried to shop online with us recently you'll have realised something was wrong.

On 3rd March the hardware supporting our website (and about 80 others) had a catastrophic failure and we lost our website, online store, and all the backups simultaneously; sort of like winning the 'lotto' apparently!

If you have sent an email recently and didn't get a reply or have an outstanding online store order please contact us. 

The good news is that our plans to refresh our online store have been bought forward (by a year or two) and we already have a replacement website (that still needs some tweaking) but is responsive and far more flexible and hopefully more useful to you as we add more content.

The online store will still take some weeks to sew back together so if you are interested in any of the books we mention...we still do mail order the old-fashioned way with a phone call and a brown paper parcel...  We can even wrap them with string!

Author Event: Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads - 31 March
Matt Wilkinson 'unplugged'

Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads
Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads
by Matt Wilkinson

Tuesday 31 March

Where: Books for Cooks (at Birdman Eating) 228 Gertrude St Fitzroy

Price: $10 (includes tastes drinks, conversation & more)

Bookings: online with  Eventbrite 

Matt Wilkinson is one of our favourite (and cheekiest) local chefs and we've managed to steal him away from his kitchen for an hour or two next week!


His first book Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables (one of our favourite books for 2013) was a runner up for the prestigious IACP Julia Child award in 2014.  


His new book Mr Wilkinson's Simply Dressed Salads, in our view, will be a contender for the big cookbook prizes this year.


Why?  Because it's great casual food, beautifully, yet simply presented that screams "Eat Me"; all in a gorgeous quirky design, richly illustrated with real and personal photographs.


Matt's writing has all the hallmarks of his birthplace - Yorkshire; dry, witty personal, slightly salty and honest.  We loved reading it and have also loved cooking from it!


Coming from a classical and fine dining background, Matt champions local and passionate producers as well as his home grown veg.  Throughout the book Matt shares a wealth of practical experience with his guides to dressings and views on 'salad design'.


We'll be serving up a number of fabulous tastes from the book whilst we have a chat to Matt 'unplugged' about his new book, his love for salads and vegetables and his forthright views on food and it's producers.  


Please join us for an intimate, fun & tasty evening!





Book Event - Clunes Booktown  -  2-3 May

Clunes Booktown
Clunes Booktown Festival

One of Tim's treats every year is a trip to the Clunes Booktown Festival.

A true 'busman's holiday', the idea of 100s of bookstores in one place and thousands of books to fossick amongst is irresistible

You can make a lovely day of it combining with breakfast in Ballarat, Beaufort or Daylesford - just leave a few books for us!

In addition to a town full of bookshops there is a lively and interesting literary program of events and presentations

Don't miss it - we won't!

Author Event - Anatolia: adventures in Turkish cooking - Friday 10 April

Anatolia adventures in Turkish cooking
Anatolia: adventures in Turkish cooking
by Somer Sivrioglu
& David Dale

When: 7pm Friday 10 April

Where: Books for Cooks (at Birdman Eating 228 Gertrude St)

Price:  $10 (includes tastes, drinks, conversation & more)

Bookings: online with Eventbrite


Recently published, Anatolia: adventures in Turkish cooking is a big, richly illustrated cookbook that combines traditional and contemporary Turkish recipes with a personal wander through the regional cooking  and culture of Turkey.



Turkish-born (and Sydney-based) chef Somer Sivrioglu and co-author David Dale have written a beautiful book about Turkish cooking with recipes (classic and contemporary) sourced from the grand banquets of the Ottoman empire to the spicy snacks of Istanbul's street stalls.


Along the way, Somer and Dale reveal the surrounding rituals, myths, jokes and folk wisdom of both the old and new Turkey.


More than 150 dishes are featured, and beautifully photographed.  Part cookbook and part armchair culinary travel book, Anatolia: adventures in Turkish cooking also explores local Turkish chefs and producers and their specialities providing an expert's insight into contemporary Turkish food culture.


Somer Sivrioglu grew up in Instanbul and moved to Sydney when he was twenty-five. He now runs the extremely popular Efendy restaurant in Balmain, where he draws on a multitude of cultural influences to recreate the food traditions of his homeland.


Somer Sivrioglu's co-author, David Dale, is an Australian political journalist, commentator on popular culture, and food and travel writer. In his earlier books, David analysed how Italian cooking charmed the world. He's now convinced that 'Turkish is going to be the next international phenomenon and Somer the next Ottolenghi'.


We're lucky that in the week after Easter Somer is spending a few days in Melbourne and has time to join us.


We'll be serving up a number of fabulous tastes from Anatolia: adventures in Turkish cooking whilst we have a chat to Somer about the food of his homeland, recent food culture in Turkey and the writing of his gorgeous new book.


Please join us for an intimate, fun & tasty evening!



Dinner Event - The River Cottage Australia Cookbook with Paul West @ Pope Joan - 21 April

River Cottage Australia Cookbook
The River Cottage
Australia Cookbook
by Paul West

When: 7pm Tuesday 21 April

Where: Pope Joan 77-79 Nicholson St Brunswick East

Price:  $150

To Book: online at Eventbrite 

Over the past three years we've enjoyed watching Paul West in episodes of  River Cottage Australia; from its humble beginnings to a now fully functional small holding - and often muttered 'wouldn't mind the recipe for that!"  


Well, this April the long awaited cookbook will be published and we'll be joining with like-minded local food hero and chef Matt Wilkinson and his team at  Pope Joan to host River Cottage Australia host and chef Paul West at a dinner to launch his new cookbook.


Over 3 years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall sowed the seed for an antipodean River Cottage installing Paul West in a beautiful old dairy farm on the Southern NSW coast hinterland that needed lots of love and TLC.


Paul is a fresh, exciting face on the global food scene, as well as a brilliant presenter. Predictably, there are comparisons drawn between Hugh and Paul, but despite their obvious differences (for our money Paul is a better cook!)  they have similar passions - sustainability and environmental issues being at the forefront - and on the farm they celebrate beautiful produce, foraging and the importance of cooking and eating with their local community.

Featuring recipes from the first three series of River Cottage Australia, The River Cottage Australia Cookbook showcases the delicious dishes which Paul has been creating on the farm. The book is divided into seven chapters and includes more than 120 recipes such as pumpkin scones, roasted octopus salad, baked salmon, spiced aubergine salad, pig on a spit, borlotti bean broth, raw courgette salad and warm curb cake with honey rhubarb.  


With a preface by Hugh (and a sprinkling of his recipes throughout), plus atmospheric, beautiful photography by Mark Chew, this is going to be one of the better cookery books of the year.


Join us for a lovely 4 course dinner prepared by Matt and inspired from Paul's book.  We'll be celebrating with delicious local produce, local wines provided by Neil Robb of Sally's Paddock at Redbank Winery.


We'll also be having a chat with Paul about what life is really like on the River Cottage farm.


Each ticket includes a four course dinner, matched beverages and a signed pesonalised copy of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook





International Wine & Spirit Communicator of the Year - 2015

The Champagne Guide 2014 to 2015
The Champagne Guide 2014-2015
by Tyson Stelzer

Australian wine writer Tyson Stelzer, and author of several great books on wine including his ongoing The Champagne Guide was recognised last week by the International Wine and Spirit Communicator of the Year at Italy's biggest wine fair, Vinitaly, in Verona.

According to Natascha Mirosch of Good Food,

"The award, which highlights "an individual who demonstrates exceptional contribution to increasing awareness of wine and/or spirits", was given to Tyson Stelzer alongside US restaurateur and MasterChef judge Joseph Bastianich" 


White Heat - the 25th Anniversary Edition by Marco Pierre White

White Heat 25th Anniversary Edition
White Heat 25:
25th anniversary edition
by Marco Pierre White

Probably our most sought after cookbook - White Heat is back in a stunning 25th anniversary edition of the classic cookbook from the 'enfant terrible' of the UK restaurant scene, with a new 64-page section including previously unpublished photographs and commentary from Jason Atherton, Gordon Ramsay and Tom Kerridge.

Once in a blue moon a book is published that changes irrevocably the face of things. White Heat is one such book.  


Since it was originally produced in 1990, it has gone on to become one of the most enduring classic cookbooks of our time.  


With its unique blend of outspoken opinion, recipes and dramatic photographs by the late legendary photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, White Heat captured the magic and spirit of Marco Pierre White in the heat of his kitchen.


This 25th anniversary edition features brand new material, including photographs from the late Bob Carlos Clarke and contributions from James Steen, Lindsey Carlos Clarke and a host of high-profile chefs: Jason Atherton, Sat Bains, Mario Batali, Raymond Blanc, Anthony Bourdain, Adam Byatt, David Chang, Phil Howard, Tom Kerridge, Paul Kitching, Pierre Koffmann, Gordon Ramsay and Jock Zonfrillo.


...and we have signed copies! 


If you would like a signed copy (stock is limited) please call us on 03 8415 1415.


Alice's Food A-Z by Alice Zaslavsky 

Alices Food A to Z
Alice's Food A-Z
by Alice Zaslavsky
Signed Copies Available


Too often children's cookbooks are just bad collections of cheap, cheesy content and recipes for happy-face pizzas, which makes finding a good cookbook for primary school kids or your own 'inner child' very difficult-until now!


Alice Zaslavsky is a Melbourne-based primary school teacher who made it through to the finals of 'MasterChef' series five (she's the one with the 'big glasses'). 


Alice's Food A-Z is an engaging, personal and healthy introduction to food that will intrigue kids, adults-even picky eaters!


Zaslavsky's zany sense of humour percolates throughout (think Andy Griffiths meets Heston Blumenthal) and her 40 recipes for snacks and easy dishes, scattered over 26 A-Z foodie chapters, illustrate good cooking techniques without being preachy.  


Liberally seasoned with interesting and engaging 'facts', 'tips' and 'whys guys' sections, this is a great introduction to food, food science, cooking and health for young readers. The 'What to look for' sections are also perfect primers to make better food shoppers.  


This book is ideal for the home, but will also suit lesson plans and school activities.

Price: $19.95
Format: Softcover
Perfect for: teaching your primary school child about food...

To buy a signed copy please call us on 03 8415 1415



  James Beard Award - Books Shortlist


James Beard Foundation
James Beard Foundation

ften colloquially described as 'the Oscars of the food world', the James Beard Awards are now in their 25th year.


Open to chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists, restaurant designers and architects, (and more), the James Beard Awards are considered one of the highest honours for food and beverage professionals in the USA.


There are myriad categories for various culinary media as well as the highly prestigious chef awards.


Every year we focus on just the book awards (which are sometimes quite parochial - or only refer to US editions of books previously published elsewhere) for books published in English in 2014.    


The winners will be announced on April 24, 2015.  We've marked our tips with a *


Recipe: Justin Gellatly's Hot Cross Buns

"Hot Cross Buns

These are an Easter classic, but you can make them during the rest of the year without the cross and have lovely spiced fruit buns for tea.  You can also roll the dough into two logs and bake it in two 450g loaf tins, to make loaves instead of buns or, if you have any left over; use it to make a cheeky bread and butter pudding.

Bread Cake Doughnut Pudding
Bread Cake Doughnut Pudding
sweet & savoury recipes from Britain's best baker
by Justin Gellatly
Signed copies available

Makes 14
Suitable for freezing (as raw dough or cooked buns)
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Proving/resting time: 4 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Stage 1:
225g strong white bread flour
70g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon ground cinnamon
zest of two oranges
30g black treacle
25g fresh yeast, crumbled

Put the flour, sugar, spices and zest into the bowl of an electric mixer with a hook attachment.  In a jug or bowl, whisk together the black treacle, yeast and 300g water and add to the dry ingredients.  Mix for 4 minutes on medium speed, then cover the bowl and leave for 1 hour.

Stage 2:
400g strong white bread flour
2 egg yoks
1 teaspoons fine sea salt
125 softened unsalted butter, chopped small

Add the stage 2 ingredients to the stage 1 mix and mix together on a medium speed until all is incorporated.
Stage 3
125g chopped mixed peel
4 pieces of stem ginger, chopped small
1 tablespoon syrup from the ginger jar
250g raisins

Add the stage 3 ingredients to the stage 1 and 2 mix, and mix together on a medium speed until you have a glossy, smooth dough (it will be fairly sticky).  If the dough seems too wet, add a little more flour. Then cover the bowl and leave somewhere warm for 2 hours.

Line a baking tray with baking  paper.  Place the mixture on a lightly floured surface and cut into 120g pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and place them on the prepared baking tray leaving plenty of room between them as they will spread out. Cover with clingfilm and set aside until doubled in size (this shoud take about 1 hour).

While the buns are proving make the cross mix and the glaze.

For the Cross
100g strong white bread flour
a pinch of caster sugar
a pinch of fine sea salt

To make the cross mix, whisk the sifted flour, sugar, salt and 120g of water together until you have a smooth paste and pour it into a piping bag with a 4mm wide plain nozzle

For the Glaze
100g caster sugar
20ml liquid glucose

For the glaze, place the sugar and glucose in a heavy-based saucepan with 100g of water; bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the temperature reaches 105 C on a kitchen thermometer - it will take about 5 minutes

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ fan 160 C / Gas 4

Once the buns are proved pipe a cross on top of each one and bake for 14-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  After 2 minutes, brush with the bun glaze. 

Serve warm, with plenty of butter'

Justin Gellatly & Penguin Fig Tree

Which brings us to a close for this Newsletter. 

Happy Cooking, Reading & Eating!


Tim & Amanda

Books for Cooks