A few of my favourite Australian cookbooks:
by Tetsuya Wakada
The most beautiful cookbook I've ever seen, by one of Australia's greatest - and most modest - chefs. He reveals the recipes for his famous signature dishes.
Tetsuya's Japanese influences mean the recipes are relatively simple, so the book isn't purely gastro porn. You look at some of the recipes and think - "Wow! I could do that."
The dishes are mostly light, with an emphasis on seafood, so the book is a real find for health-conscious food enthusiasts.
by Terry Durack
If you cook Asian-style noodles at home, you need this book.
It has two sections: "Noodle iD" and recipes. In the noodle identification section, each of about 20 different varieties of Asian noodle, gets a double page spread. Big photo, and information about origin, cooking method, appropriate uses.
The recipe section is divided by cuisine. There are terrific, authentic recipes from Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand and other south-east Asian nations.
Author Terry Durack, an Aussie now living in London, is a tremendously entertaining writer. The guy can get a lengthy laugh-aloud column out of the "death" of his beloved kitchen timer.
by Bill Granger
The man behind Sydney cafes bills and bills 2 shares the simple but inspired recipes that have made him the city's breakfast king. While bills and bills 2 are most famous for their breakfasts, the book's lunch and dinner recipes are fabulous, too.
Breakfast recipes include ricotta hotcakes with honeycomb butter; pan-toasted sanwiches with tomato and fontina; fresh bircher muesli with stone fruit; coconut bread; french toast stuffed with peaches; potato and feta pancakes; lemon souffle cakes; crumpets with blackberry butter; roast mushrooms with thyme and taleggio; and toasted coconut waffles with fresh mango and palm syrup.
Lunch recipes include spring onion pancake with gravlax; spaghettini with crab, lime and chilli; chicken noodle soup with lemon; ricotto and tomato tart; Puy lentil soup with Parmesan toasts; smoked trout and potato salad; coconut and passionfruit slice; and ANZAC biscuits.
Dinner recipes include skewered swordfish with crispy coleslaw; barbequed whole fish with fresh herb relish; prawn and chilli linguine; baked snapper with lemon roasted potatoes and chilli relish; poached salmon with green-bean salad and tomato and anchovy dressing; individual blackberry crumbles; Pavlova; and coconut rice pudding with papaya and lime.
Most of the recipes are dead simple. Many are quite light and healthy, even if they do sound decadent and indulgent. I recently saw the author on TV, and he said that he'd tried to create a cookbook people could use every day. He succeeded. Sydney Food is as practical as it is exceptional.
Another Aussie cookbook to look out for:
A massive 700-page reference book by Stephanie Alexander, titled The Cook's Companion here (but perhaps something else internationally). It's the new Aussie classic. Chapters devoted to all manner of ingredients and how to prepare them. It's not the kind of book that you flick though and think - "Mmmm, I absolutely must make that for dinner." But when you're knocking about the kitchen and think "I rather fancy some (insert just about any dish here)", you'll find the recipe - or one for a similar dish - in Stephanie's book. The answer to just about any culinary question you may have is in there.