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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Shinboners

  1. I found a copy of "Thai Street Food" for $50, and I couldn't resist buying it. Firstly, I still stand by my criticisms that the book is too large and too expensive. However, I now back down on the issue of the photographs and the written content of the book. Reading the book, David Thompson's writing provides an insight into the world of Thai street food. It would be impossible for him to do a street food version of "Thai Food", but there's enough here to give people an idea of the range of food available, the techniques required, and how the food interacts with the local community. On the issue of the photographs, there may be a lot of them, but they are a welcome visual addition to Thompson's descriptions of the markets and the people who use them. I did see on Amazon.com that there is a smaller, cheaper version of the book coming out. People who don't want to spend $110 for an A3 sized book should get the smaller version as David Thompson's writing and recipes make it a worthwhile addition to people's cook book collections.
  2. How about "Essential Cuisine" by Michel Bras? "Planet Marx" by Thierry Marx? "Contemporary French Cuisine: Fifty Recipes Inspired by the Sea" by Olivier Roellinger? "At The Crillon And At Home" by Jean-Francoise Piege?
  3. Donati's Butcher on Lygon Street in Carlton. Just give them a call and they'll get a pigs head for you (if they don't already have one on display in their front window). Address: 402 Lygon Street, Carlton Phone: 9347 4948 The meat they sell is outstanding. Put it this way, when I blanche pork belly, there is nowhere near the amount of scum compared to the pork belly I buy from other butchers. They are more pricey than other butchers, but I think it's worth it. If you do go there, buy some of their ham and bacon. And their Italian pork sausages.
  4. Jacques Reymond releases his book, "Cuisine du Temps". It looks like good value at $60. http://www.readings.com.au/product/9781741108606/cuisine-du-temps
  5. Lori Horton, who owns Mexicali Rose in Richmond, has released a book. I saw a copy at The Hill Of Content, and it costs $30. Fans of Mexican food might find it interesting to read Mexican recipes done in an Australian context.
  6. It just depends on what you're using it for. If I'm putting the cream next to a lemon tart or other cake, I'll buy King Island. But if it's used for cooking, I'm happy to use Pura or one of the other commercial brands. If you're using it to cook, the key is to check the recipe, what cream they're using, and the fat content of the cream - and buy as close to that as possible.
  7. All the supermarkets carry double cream. It's just a matter of how much you want to spend. You can get everything from the plain label supermarket brand to King Island.
  8. You can make half and half cream by mixing equal parts milk and pouring cream.
  9. Here in Melbourne, you can get MoVida Rustica for $39 at Target.
  10. Speaking of other people who really shouldn't be releasing cookbooks, former Australian cricketer, Matthew Hayden, has re-released his two cookbooks as one volume. Also, former actor and singer, and now TV show host, Paul Mecurio, has also released a cookbook. Although to be fair to these two blokes, they do love their cooking - so I suppose if it gets people into the kitchen, it may not be such a bad thing.
  11. For those interested in a history of the Melbourne food scene, Michael Harden has released, "Melbourne: The Making Of A Drinking And Eating Capital". It costs $39.95.
  12. 10 Australian cookbooks that everyone else around the world should track down: 1. The Cooks Companion by Stephanie Alexander. It's been well discussed here. 2. Becasse by Justin North. North is a New Zealand born, Sydney chef, who trained under Raymond Blanc. The beauty of this book is that the chapters are based on an ingredient. There is an essay about the supplier of each ingredient, and then a series of recipes. It's a gorgeous book, and the dishes are amazing. 3. Thai Food by David Thompson. It's the Bible of Thai food, and looking at the thread on "Thai Street Food", I figure that most of you know about this book anyway. But for those of you who don't, it's fair to say that this is the bible of Thai cooking. 4. French by Damien Pignolet. Pignolet's philosophy on food is similar to his late friend, Richard Olney. This is a gorgeous book, and whilst many of the recipes will be found in European books, people will still find it interesting to see how traditional French food is put into an Australian context. 5. Ezard by Teage Ezard. A few people will cringe at the word, "fusion", but this is this book covers. Ezard does a wonderful job with his recipes, and the stories behind them. 6. The Food I Love by Neil Perry. I find this an outstanding day to day cookbook with recipes that range from the simple enough for family dinners to sophisticated enough for dinner parties. I don't think I've ever used a Perry recipe that didn't work. The only grating thing about the book are his all too regular namechecking of companies he has consulted for. 7. Est Est Est by Donovan Cooke and Phillipa Sibley-Cooke. Good luck in finding a copy, but if you do, you will be rewarded by some eye opening dishes by the Marco Pierre White trained Donovan Cooke. But the real joy is in Sibley-Cooke's desserts with her mastery of flavours, plating, and colours. No-one I know has ever eaten a Sibley-Cooke dessert without finishing with wide eyed awe. 8. The Botanical by Paul Wilson. Wilson is one of Bourdain's favourite Melbourne chefs, and in this book, we're talking bistro food of a very high standard. For overseas readers, they will get an insight into some of the produce that is available to Australian restaurants. 9. Arabesque by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I honestly believe that if the Maloufs lived in the United States, they would be revered as much as Paula Wolfert is. Arabesque is the Malouf's A to Z of Middle Eastern cooking. Arranged by ingredients, he discusses each item before presenting a number of recipes featuring them. 10. The Lake House by Alla Wolf-Tasker. This is the story of a woman with a Russian background, who builds and opens a restaurant in the countryside where there was no established tourism industry. And yet, she succeeded. It is a story of Wolf-Tasker's life and the restaurant plus her Russian influenced recipes.
  13. I asked same question a couple of years ago, and here's a link to the discussion on Southern cookbooks: I ended up buying "The Gift Of Southern Cooking" by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, and haven't regretted it at all. It's a great book, both for the stories and the recipes.
  14. The sad thing is, she'll probably sell more copies of that than many chefs will sell of their books. While she'll probably do the TV talk show, talkback radio, and womens magazine circuit, I reckon we'll see her book in the $5 bargain bins soon after the 2010 January sales finish.
  15. About the Chinese BBQ pork recipe--did you happen to notice if there was anything unusual about the recipe (as compared to Chinese BBQ pork recipes)? I'm just wondering because I know a lot of Chinese-influenced Thai dishes will have a slight twist. Like S&S pork--one of the main differences is that the pork isn't breaded in the Thai version. I didn't check the recipe that closely. But I think it would be fair to say that there's a good chance that there could be some regional variation to the recipe. Whether or not that variation is significant to the final result, who knows. If you went by the photos, the roast pork could have come from anywhere in the world with a Chinese community.
  16. There's a Food Safari cookbook by Maeve O'Mara out, and I saw the new one from Frank Camorra from Mo Vida called "Rustica" and both look very good. Ordinarily I'd buy "Rustica", but I've already got the Moro cookbooks. ON the more laughable side, Jane Kennedy has released "Jane's Kitchen". Kennedy isn't a chef, either professionally or on TV. She's not a food writer, journalist, or blogger. IN fact, her main claim to fame is to have been a TV personality about 15 years ago and popping out 5 kids. For some reason, she thinks the world wants to know what she cooks.
  17. There are plenty of chefs who run high-quality restaurants and turn out coffee-table clunkers, and perhaps Thompson is someone who has a snazzy, unserious restaurant but managed to write one of the handful of essential cookbooks published in the last decade. Doesn't matter a bit to me: Thai Food set such a high bar because of Thompson's commitment to treating Thai food with the seriousness it deserves, and it'd be disappointing if this book doesn't approach that very high bar. I've now taken a third look at the book. Firstly, the recipes. There's going to be a fair few recipes in the book where you'll look at them and think, "so what?". As I mentioned before, he's put in a recipe for Chinese BBQ pork. But as someone with a bit more knowledge about Thai street food has posted earlier, there will be recipes that haven't appeared elsewhere. However, regardless of the dishes, the recipes themselves show the same eye for detail as Thompson showed in "Thai Food". Secondly, and this is where the irritation starts, do we really need around 20 pages of photographs of Thai street life before we get to the inside title page? There can be up to 30 pages of photographs between the four or so main chapters? There just seems to be almost as many pages devoted to photography as there is to the recipes. At a price of $AUS100.00, the questionable selection of dishes, and the amount of photographic filler, you can understand why the book has drawn such negative views.
  18. I went to the Melbourne Rockpool Bar and Grill for lunch on Monday. We sat in the bar section, and had the wagyu burgers. They were very good, well worthy of the hype surrounding them. We also had some of the hand cut chips, which while good, really didn't justify the $12 price tag. On the way out, we saw the display of the meat being dry aged - so I'm keen to go for dinner.
  19. Like Nickrey, I've also had a second look at the book. I doubt that I'd buy it even if it was in a paperback version.
  20. I'm heading over to the Melbourne Rockpool Bar and Grill for lunch tomorrow. We'll just be eating at the bar though.
  21. A couple of other Australian cookbooks I saw today. George Calombaris has a new book on family cooking. There's another Greek cookbook released by the restaurant A La Grecque. Finally, the people behind Sydney's Buon Ricordo have their book out, and it's also aimed at home cooks.
  22. Why? Would love to know why.. Click onto jummangy's post above for a link to a review of Alinea that I wrote. For cooking professionals, I think Alinea is an outstanding book. But for keen amateurs, I was disappointed that there was little from Achatz about how he developed the dishes and what inspired him. For me, Blumenthal's "Big Fat Duck" is a superior book because you were given an insight into the mind of Blumenthal, and he wrote about what inspired him to create each dish.
  23. I probably won't buy any of those books. I already have Moorish and Sydney Food. If you've got a good collection of family cookbooks, then you probably won't need the Luke Mangan one. I wasn't impressed with Thai Street Food, but I'd get it if it is released later in a cheaper, paperback version. Normally I'd get the Stephanie Alexander book, but at over $100, I'll wait until I see it on sale.
  24. Quite a few new cookbooks getting released and re-released. David Thompson's "Thai Street Food" is out, a new Luke Mangan book based on family cooking, and of course, Stephanie Alexander's book, "Kitchen Garden". Greg and Lucy Malouf have updated and re-released "Moorish" and Bill Granger has repackaged and re-released "Sydney Food". There's also a new Donna Hay book, "Seasons".
  25. Grant Achatz's Alinea book was a disappointment for me.
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