BOOK REVIEW: Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

The most wonderful time of the year is closer that we think. Or is it just me? The stores seem to be full of holiday items already and I am holding Holiday Cookies by in my hands, looking through my calendar and planning all the things we shall bake come December.


der Nederlander, a food stylist and recipe developer from California has put together a lovely collection of holiday recipes. The book includes a wide variety from classics and ever popular recipes to international favorites and ideas for decorating. I am particularly curious about spiced cookies, as we are too used to sweet treats. Holiday confections section of the book is a nice bonus.

Very excited about making our holidays even more merry with this lovely book. Beautiful photography, the recipes seem very doable and ingredients are easy to find. Might make a little “holidays around the world” event with the international recipes with the kids. 5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review



I don’t often see a cookbook that deals with specific meal of the day, or rather when I do, it’s focusing either on breakfasts or special occasion. It’s the first time I came across a book that is dedicated specifically to dinners. Melissa Clark, a writer for a number of cooking publications offers an astonishing collection of recipes that are meant to “change the game” of typical dinners by adding new flavors and giving new options to a home cook.


The recipes are organized by main ingredient, which is helpful (although I’d prefer to have all the poultry in one section, rather than chicken separate). There is a good number of light dishes and a plenty of vegetarian choices. The author uses lots of ethnic flavors too. Most of the recipes are kid friendly. We tried a few simpler ones, and they turned out pretty yummy. Most of the ingredients look easily attainable.

Overall impressions: With over 200 recipes to choose from this book looks like a delight. It will take me a while to cook through it, which means lots and lots of new dishes for my family to enjoy. The recipes are easy enough to put together and directions are fairly straightforward. Gorgeous photography.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

BOOK REVIEW: Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

Classic German Baking, the recently released cookbook by Luisa Weiss brings back the old-world nostalgia for me for sure. There is nothing like a comfort of a good cake or cookies full of flavor. A hot fresh from the oven roll or potato pie on a  cold winter day brightens up your day immediately. I appreciate all that this book stands for and what a perfect timing for it to come out- just before the holidays!


The book includes famous treats and some less known (at least to me) recipes. Here are the sections the book consists of: Cookies, Cakes, Yeasted Cakes, Tortes and Strudels, Savories, Bread and Rolls and (most importantly this time a year) Christmas Favorites. All recipes are fairly straightforward and adapted to the produce available in US stores. More unique ingredients such as quark can be made at home, and recipes are included as well. I love the photography in this book (although I wish every recipe was accompanied by the picture, insecure baker here) it gives me a “diary vibe” with the mix of recipe photographs and postcards of German towns.

Overall impression: This book will be treasured in our household, the recipes are easy to follow and can be re-created even with limited baking experience. Terrific collection of holiday baking recipes.  I highly recommend this book for anyone, be it someone craving European baking goods, or someone looking for family friendly, no too sweet baking goods. Excellent gift idea.  5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Cook Korean! by Robin Ha- it’s a comic! it’s a cookbook!

Korean food is delicious and I try not to miss an opportunity to leaf through a book on Korean cuisine and try a dish or two. I am also an aspiring artist and art book enthusiast. Robin Ha,  a comic artist,  brings the two together- in her book “Cook Korean!”   . Yes, it is a comic book about cooking Korean Food!


The book features more than sixty recipes of Korean most popular dishes. Each recipe is done in a delightful comic strip with straightforward yet amazingly detailed instructions. The introduction shows us basic tools and ingredients, but also specialty dishes of Korean regions, as well as Korean table layout (which I really appreciate, I see it often in k-dramas, but it’s good to know what’s on it at last). Next 1o chapters cover staple dishes for 10 categories : Kimchi and Pickles, Side Dishes, Meat and Poultry, Seafood, Soups and Stews, Porridges , Noodles and Rice Cakes, Snacks and Street Food, Cocktails and Anju, and finally Korean Fusion. Each chapter introduces reader to a specific food category and includes cultural tips and historical facts as well. I loved the character Dengki who cooks each dishes in the comic strips. I loved gorgeous illustration that opened each chapter as well. A quick leaf-through can be found here.

Overall impression: This book truly stands out. The dishes are not complicated and the fact that the instructions are so thorough helps a great deal. Sometimes the comic format seemed a bit erratic to me, but it took some getting used to and I found it easy enough to follow. The main character is adorable, comics are humorous and fun to read even without any plans to cook. I loved all the cultural information, very helpful and educational. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

Week’s Round Up : First 10 days of January

Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone who reads me 🙂 It’s been a while, but we’re back again.

Photo of the week:



New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

What we were up to until now:

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BOOK REVIEW: Citrus by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson

In their new book Citrus Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson explore wonderful possibilities offered by various citrus fruit. Winter time is perfect for enjoying various citrus fruit because of their high vitamin content, and surely, bright colored fruit make bleak grey winter days more cheerful.


First thing I noticed about this book is its organization-recipes are grouped by fruit rather than by course, although there is a helpful index provided in the very beginning. So is “citrus basics” note.  The sections of the book are the following : lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit and the final section is simply called “and the rest”. The final one includes recipes with kumquat, yuzu and various tidbits like candied citrus fruit. Each section includes a few recipes for each course. The recipes themselves look easy enough. Each section includes note on variety in each group of fruit. Some I haven’t heard about and was wondering about difference between some, so it was rather interesting.

Overall impression: A nice collection of recipes when one craves something specifically with citrus. It comes handy because of recipes for different courses being in the same place. Dishes are not complicated. Photography is lovely. 4 stars.


This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

BOOK REVIEW: Donabe by Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton

Japanese home cooking is one of a few traditions that I like the most –ingredients, processes of cooking and consuming the meals make sense and bring comfort.  Donabe is the book that opens a new range of possibilities for me — to cook traditional Japanese hot pot meals the way they are supposed to be cooked. The book is written by Naoko Takei Moore, a Japanese home cooking enthusiast and teacher , and Kyle Connaughton, chef and culinary educator.


First of all the book explain all about donabe (Japanese clay pot), the process of creating them (very interesting read), the varieties (some are all-purpose, some are meant only for rice, steam etc), the specifics of choosing one, how to properly use it. There is a very interesting section on Iga, the region donabe is made. Chapter 1 focuses on classic-style donabe dishes. This one was the most interesting to me because classic style donabe is the one I am getting soon. Chapter 2 is about double-lidded rice cooker, so naturally it’s all about rice. Oh, some many amazing and easy recipes! I love rice and I am absolutely excited for the possibilities. Chapter 3 focuses on soups and stews  and seems more challenging to me, what with pork shoulder and steaks and curries. Chapter 4 is all about steaming, interesting and healthy recipes are full of variety from veggies to pork belly and shrimp on tofu, even cakes are included (although only 2). Chapter 5 is about tagine style donabe and again, some recipes look like lots of work, but some like Japanese style bibimbap I can’t wait to make. Chapter 6 is dedicated to donabe smoker. Everything looks delicious, but I am not sure I will ever try any of the recipes from this one. The t shorter chapter on dashi, sauces and condiments finishes the book.

Overall impression: absolutely love this book. The author emphasizes that donabe style meals can be cooked in regular pots as well, and ingredients can be tweaked to suit one’s preference and pantry. All the recipes are wholesome and most are simple enough to put together. Cooking times vary, but again, most do not require hours of prep work and can be thrown together quickly. I am getting a donabe pot soon and I can’t wait until it arrives, it will be especially handy in winter for slow family meals.  Loved the photography. 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange to a fair and unbiased review.