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Aussie Chefs' Cookbooks


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Does anyone own the 'Bather's Pavilion Recipes and Menus' cookbook? Recommended?

I saw it for $19 today (originally $65 I think) and was hugging it to my chest the whole time but didn't buy it at the last minute and now...I regret it! There's only 2 left so I better make a run for it tomorrow.

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Does anyone own the 'Bather's Pavilion Recipes and Menus' cookbook? Recommended?

I saw it for $19 today (originally $65 I think) and was hugging it to my chest the whole time but didn't buy it at the last minute and now...I regret it! There's only 2 left so I better make a run for it tomorrow.

Yeah, it's a pretty cookbook. Nice to look at and all that, but I haven't cooked from it. $19 is a great price, but if you didn't buy it, I don't think you'd be missing out on too much. It's not a bad book, but I just think there are other restaurant cookbooks that are better.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Does anyone own the 'Bather's Pavilion Recipes and Menus' cookbook? Recommended?

I saw it for $19 today (originally $65 I think) and was hugging it to my chest the whole time but didn't buy it at the last minute and now...I regret it! There's only 2 left so I better make a run for it tomorrow.

Yeah, it's a pretty cookbook. Nice to look at and all that, but I haven't cooked from it. $19 is a great price, but if you didn't buy it, I don't think you'd be missing out on too much. It's not a bad book, but I just think there are other restaurant cookbooks that are better.

I bought it today yay!

It is indeed a nice looking book and yes, the recipes don't appear to be the sort I'd use for everyday but they're sure inspiring and surprisingly, quite a few of them are of decent difficulty (not too hard) -at least that's what I gather from the ingredients and instructions. Most are the sort you'd make to impress your friends for a dinner party :)

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Speaking of restaurant cookbooks, which ones do you recommend? Is the Tetsuya one any good? It's certainly out of my range though.

I love the Tetsuya's one, and many of the recipes aren't as complicated as you'd imagine.

For Australian restaurants, I think Justin North's "Becasse" is outstanding. For top end restaurant cookbooks, there's The Botanical (Paul Wilson), Lake House(Alla Wolf-Tasker), French (Damien Pignolet), and Ezards (Tegue Ezard). I think these books are just that little bit better than the Bathers Pavillion one.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Speaking of restaurant cookbooks, which ones do you recommend? Is the Tetsuya one any good? It's certainly out of my range though.

I love the Tetsuya's one, and many of the recipes aren't as complicated as you'd imagine.

For Australian restaurants, I think Justin North's "Becasse" is outstanding. For top end restaurant cookbooks, there's The Botanical (Paul Wilson), Lake House(Alla Wolf-Tasker), French (Damien Pignolet), and Ezards (Tegue Ezard). I think these books are just that little bit better than the Bathers Pavillion one.

I'd add the "Pier" cookbook to this but with an extreme caution: you may find yourself making three different stocks/sauces to simply accomplish one dish. Easy in a restaurant but an absolute logistical nightmare in a home kitchen. Mind you, the products are exceptional.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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I'd add the "Pier" cookbook to this but with an extreme caution: you may find yourself making three different stocks/sauces to simply accomplish one dish. Easy in a restaurant but an absolute logistical nightmare in a home kitchen. Mind you, the products are exceptional.

The Becasse and Botanical cookbooks are the same. I think the Pignolet one is the most home cooking friendly. The Ezards and Lake House cookbooks have many recipes that can be done with a little bit of planning by a competent cook.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Speaking of restaurant cookbooks, which ones do you recommend? Is the Tetsuya one any good? It's certainly out of my range though.

I like all 5 of Neil Perry's cookbooks although his restaurant book Rockpool, barring an updated edition, is a little bit dated. Matt Moran is one that I prefer with reasonable recipes (good reading for pure restaurant-grade recipes, and a few doable ones).

Pier is perhaps the most cutting edge as far as food fashions go, and if you are keen to prepare what's-hot-right-now at home, it's the one to go.

If you are keen to extend the horizon across the Tasman [sea], I would recommend Simon Wright's The French Cafe Cookbook which is like the NZ equivalent of Botanical. I also like Adam Newell's A Consuming Passion. Simon Gault's Nourish is good for showcasing what the top line NZ chefs, similar to Wright, are up to but nothing too original.

In general, I feel that just as Canadian (especially English Canadian) cookbooks are hard to find overseas because the style of cooking is too similar to American ones and thus the small markets, NZ suffers the same in the shadow of Australia. There is a lacking of distinct characters to distinguish NZ restaurant cooks from Australian because the background culture and contemporary developments are too similar. Any comments welcome.

Edited by johung (log)
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Thanks for all the recommendation guys.

Looks like I'll be on the look out for the Pignolet one then -I really need a book that I can actually use I suppose.

As for the others, I'll probably continue to hang around my fav bookstore (which btw is the absolute best -a HUGE bargain) and grab the books as soon as they're in stock.

johung, that's an interesting comment you made about Canadian cookbooks. I would think as much as well. Although I've seen quite a few Australian cookbooks released in the US during my stay there. I was quite pleasantly surprised. And proud.

Speaking of Neil Perry, has anyone ever been to his newest restaurant Spice Temple? I'm really interested to know since it's apparently regional Chinese; a hip thing right now.

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Thanks for all the recommendation guys.

Looks like I'll be on the look out for the Pignolet one then -I really need a book that I can actually use I suppose.

As for the others, I'll probably continue to hang around my fav bookstore (which btw is the absolute best -a HUGE bargain) and grab the books as soon as they're in stock.

johung, that's an interesting comment you made about Canadian cookbooks. I would think as much as well. Although I've seen quite a few Australian cookbooks released in the US during my stay there. I was quite pleasantly surprised. And proud.

Speaking of Neil Perry, has anyone ever been to his newest restaurant Spice Temple? I'm really interested to know since it's apparently regional Chinese; a hip thing right now.

I read some reviews written in Chinese. The comments are rather unflattering that you spend 3x as much and get the same dishes as the mom and pop restaurants in Sydney's Chinatown. Obviously the ambience is much better (it is a shame that most good Chinese restaurants outside Hong Kong aren't noted for good ambience). The dishes offered are in Perry's latest cookbook "Balance and Harmony".

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Thanks  :biggrin:  - this is to play it safe because some other UK-based sources have conflicting info and seemed to imply there is no "regular hardcover version" on sale even in the United Kingdom itself.  In this case I will be on my way to place an order on the UK-based version.

It's a shame that you're not in Australia because I've seen "Balance and Harmony" for sale at $40 at Target.

Just an update: I received the book ordered from amazon.co.uk and it is a hardcover book without the gift box. This suits me because the I found reading a book packed in a giftbox to be very impractical.

Apart from this, none in NZ is selling the regular hardcover version yet. It is too bad for the shoppers in NZ.

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I read some reviews written in Chinese.  The comments are rather unflattering that you spend 3x as much and get the same dishes as the mom and pop restaurants in Sydney's Chinatown.  Obviously the ambience is much better (it is a shame that most good Chinese restaurants outside Hong Kong aren't noted for good ambience).  The dishes offered are in Perry's latest cookbook "Balance and Harmony".

I wouldn't be surprised. It's very hard to impress the Chinese if you're a foreigner trying to cook their food haha. I do know that Perry's restaurant is more focused on his interpretation of regional Chinese rather than being particularly authentic.

Didn't know the dishes were in Balance and Harmony -thanks for the heads up!

I thought B & H was mainly Thai for some reason. It's still quite expensive though...but my friend did say she saw it for a really decent price at either Target or Kmart. Not sure if it's just a limited special...I may be sneaky and wait around till she buys it and then snatch it off her.

Does anybody recommend Peter Evan (of Hugo's) cookbooks?

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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  • 2 weeks later...

To anyone who starts reading now, I would say the best general Australian cookbooks already published in 2009, suited for home cooking, or indicative of how Australian households prepare meal at home, and still in print, would be:

1. Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery by Margaret Fulton, only just back in print in 2009.

Margaret Fulton is probably as close to Australian icon as far as cooking is concerned. May be a little behind the hippest trends and a little like 20 years ago, but I found plenty of old favourites inside. A bit like Australia's Alison Holst and would match The Joy of Cooking.

You may also buy Fulton's The Margaret Fulton Cookbook and Margaret Fulton's Kitchen

2. The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander

A little more cutting edge with more high end ingraidents than Fulton, it is very similar. I would say this is more equivalent to The Gourmet Cookbook if Fulton's work is like The Joy of Cooking.

3. Australian Women's Weekly series Cook, Kitchen, and Bake cookbooks.

It is very family oriented. I would recommend purchase these three cookbooks ahead of Fulton and Alexander if you had absolutely nil experience before stepping into a kitchen. Very much what the average folk cooks but also note it is very contemporary with many recipes not prepared in traditional ways which is a good thing for some but too trendy for others. It sounds a little like The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated.

Cook covers basics, Kitchen covers what's not in Cook, and Bake covers baking exclusively.

Don't buy the 1000 Best Ever Recipes From AWW published after the three mentioned. IMHO it is just a condensed book from the three.

4. Marie Claire's Kitchen and Marie Claire's Seasonal Kitchen by Michele Cranston

These two books are like variations of Alexander's book. I would say it is very trendy with its emphasis on light, fresh, multiethnic cuisines of Australia in the 2000s. Very much complements Fulton's works.

I would say if you want the best comprehensive coverage, get all 7 (or 9 if for Fulton's 3 books).

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I cooked two dishes from Perry's "Balance And Harmony" yesterday. They were the braised chicken, tofu, and glass noodle hot pot and chinese sausage steamed in rice. Both turned out brilliantly.

I love Perry's recipes because they work so well.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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To anyone who starts reading now, I would say the best general Australian cookbooks already published in 2009, suited for home cooking, or indicative of how Australian households prepare meal at home, and still in print, would be:

1. Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery by Margaret Fulton, only just back in print in 2009.

Margaret Fulton is probably as close to Australian icon as far as cooking is concerned.  May be a little behind the hippest trends and a little like 20 years ago, but I found plenty of old favourites inside.  A bit like Australia's Alison Holst and would match The Joy of Cooking.

You may also buy Fulton's The Margaret Fulton Cookbook and Margaret Fulton's Kitchen

2. The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander

A little more cutting edge with more high end ingraidents than Fulton, it is very similar.  I would say this is more equivalent to The Gourmet Cookbook if Fulton's work is like The Joy of Cooking.

3. Australian Women's Weekly series Cook, Kitchen, and Bake cookbooks.

It is very family oriented.  I would recommend purchase these three cookbooks ahead of Fulton and Alexander if you had absolutely nil experience before stepping into a kitchen.  Very much what the average folk cooks but also note it is very contemporary with many recipes not prepared in traditional ways which is a good thing for some but too trendy for others.  It sounds a little like The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated.

Cook covers basics, Kitchen covers what's not in Cook, and Bake covers baking exclusively. 

Don't buy the 1000 Best Ever Recipes From AWW published after the three mentioned.  IMHO it is just a condensed book from the three.

4. Marie Claire's Kitchen and Marie Claire's Seasonal Kitchen by Michele Cranston

These two books are like variations of Alexander's book.  I would say it is very trendy with its emphasis on light, fresh, multiethnic cuisines of Australia in the 2000s.  Very much complements Fulton's works. 

I would say if you want the best comprehensive coverage, get all 7 (or 9 if for Fulton's 3 books).

I can't help thinking these are basic cooking textbooks, without the personality, or individual style that you would expect from a chefs cookbook. I suspect the "The Cooks Companion" is on most serious cooks bookshelf, alongside the UK classic "Leith's Techniques Bible". The Cooks Companion, seems to be an international standard with any serious cookery bookshop in the UK stocking it.

I agree with Shinboners about Perry's books, I have a couple of his older ones including "Rockpool" and the recipes work well and are easy to follow. His, and Bills books (great for the simplicity of basic Aussie food), help bring a little bit of "home" to our UK kitchen.

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I would say if you want the best comprehensive coverage, get all 7 (or 9 if for Fulton's 3 books).

I can't help thinking these are basic cooking textbooks, without the personality, or individual style that you would expect from a chefs cookbook. I suspect the "The Cooks Companion" is on most serious cooks bookshelf, alongside the UK classic "Leith's Techniques Bible". The Cooks Companion, seems to be an international standard with any serious cookery bookshop in the UK stocking it.

I'm with Phil here. I don't think you'd need to get all 7 (or 9 including all of Fulton's). If you get the Stephanie Alexander book, you've got a lifetime's worth of recipes right there. But if you get the whole lot, you're going to end up with a whole of lot of books with essentially similar recipes.

Whatever book(s) you choose, it comes down to your own preferences on how you want recipes presented. I'm perfectly comfortable with books without pictures, so the Alexander one is fine. Others will hanker for food they grew up with, so Fulton might be the go. There is a huge number of people who love to have pictures of the final dishes, so the AWW and Marie Clare books are perfect for them.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I actually have a differing opinion that I believe these books do complement each other in subtle ways, even for very similar recipes.

Michele Cranston is quite lifestyle oriented so her recipes are very much what's the hippest in vogue, while AWW cookbooks are a more gradual evolution of Cranston's recipes. AWW is also very good at teaching a Joe Smith who has never even stepped into a kitchen before to cook - even things like "how to do a good boiled egg" (BTW, Michel Roux Jr has written that there are some tricks to do such simple things in his latest book so it is not a trivial task either), and if my memory is correct there was someone in a previous post on this thread a few years back that asked for an Australian version of "how to cook with nil experience" type.

Alexander wins handsdown on all the major recipes, but AWW cookbooks do complement on teaching the basic cooking so you could take Alexander's recipes. It is no shame - many American chefs like Jonathan Waxman has a trusty copy of their The Joy of Cooking for handy reference. You do need basics and The Joy of Cooking is of no use to us, so the AWW ones serve as substitutes if you are Australian/NZers and I would say for British they do the job as well since it is far more familiar than The Joy of Cooking world).

From time to time, someone will say "Oh I was in Australia back in the 1970s/80s and the food at that time is something I miss. Could you find any book that has those recipes?" or "This is not my good friend Jane Doe in Brisbane prepares when she invited me over for meal. It is more traditional than Cranston's works...". For example, I searched through AWW and Cranston's Marie Claire or Alexander's The Cook's Companion for the older curry powder yellowish type curry chicken. Nil nada zip - yes, green curry, Pehang curry are all there, and so is butter chicken, but no that type of older yellowish curry. Fulton's books come in handy here IMHO.

Of course it is all my two cents, and as foodies we do have different needs. :smile: The books differ in very subtle ways that often owning a majority of them help on different times.

Edited by johung (log)
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  • 4 months later...

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".

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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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.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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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.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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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.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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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.

The sad thing is, she'll probably sell more copies of that than many chefs will sell of their books.

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