Have you ever wondered about this or that faraway place? What it would be like? What are the people like? What foods can be found there? I know I have. Although at the moment a mere armchair traveller, I am fascinated with tales of places beyond my reach, faces and flavors. Shane Mitchell and James Fischer, both contributors to Saveur bring their amazing experience traveling the globe and exploring the food in their new bookFar Afield.
The book allows us to glimpse into life in India, Uruguay, Kenya, Mexico, Hawai’i, Iceland, Peru, France and Japan. Shane’s almost diary-like travel notes were very interesting to read, especially Kenya, Uruguay and India bits, as I have the hardest time imagining what life must be like in these places. The Calais Jungle in France was the most powerful part of the book for me. Now, the photography is amazing in this book! Gorgeous vistas, small details of everyday life, people’s portraits made me feel like I almost know them. The food notes were fascinating as well, some ingredients I have never heard of and now even more curious to try. Although some dishes I won’t even attempt to re-create, a handful is quite do-able and the list of places providing ingredients can be found in the end of the book.
Overall impression: this book is a treasure and a rare chance to learn more about life in regions most people never get to visit. The photography is gorgeous, even if I wasn’t curious about the food, I would have gotten this book just for the photography. This book would help with my children’s multicultural studies as well. 5 stars.
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.
Summer is approaching. It’s the season for outdoor parties, afternoon get togethers and picnics. Finger food is a must. New book by Leela Cyd“Food with friends” is meant just for such occasions.Leela is a contributor for Kitchn, as well as Food & Wine, New York Times, Kinfolk and more.
The book offers 6 chapters,one per occasion. Each chapter holds a dozen or so recipes. In the beginning of the book, the author also gives tips on styling the scene and taking pictures of the food. First section is Breakfast and Brunch, it includes baked goods, and some fruit dishes. Second chapter is Teatime includes recipes of cookies and drinks, such as spa waters and vegan hot chocolate with coconut cream. Third section is Happy Hour. Here we see some savory snacks at last. I enjoyed this section the most because of interesting flavor combinations such as Pickled Fig, Pistachio and Ricotta canapés and Purple Cauliflower Hummus. Potlucks and Picnics section has more savory dishes, this time including soups and salads, and again a couple of sweet dishes. Desserts section follows with all its sweet glory, bringing recipes of cakes, puddings and tarts. The final Tiny Takeaways section gives some ideas for treats and party favors to send home with one’s guests. A combination of sweet and savory snacks recipes. All the recipes in this book are vegetarian.
Overall impression: I liked the balance between sweet and savory dishes. Although the book is organized by occasion, I would have probably preferred it organized by the type of dish and had occasions listed in the recipe, some dishes can easily work for multiple occasions. The photography is lovely and put me into mood for summer.
I love, love, love Korean food, be it barbecue, street snacks or a nice big bowl of bibimbap. Yet, Korean cookbooks seem to be rather rare comparing to any other ethnic cuisine. I am super excited about Koreatown : A Cookbook written by Deuki Hong, a chef of a Korean barbecue restaurant, and Matt Rodbard a food writer.
The book is as busy as Koreatown itself, mixing recipes with essays and interviews with people on the scene- chefs, merchants and Korean food enthusiasts. The book is actually organized by the type of food one feels like eating. After the introduction of tools and ingredients comes the section main ingredient of any Korean meal- kimchi! The most beloved side dishes recipes are included in this section. Rice, Noodles and Dumplings section follows with Barbecue after that. Drinking food is the next one with a bunch of recipes that go well with drinks and for a hangover – salty and greasy snacks and hearty soups. Soup, Stews and Braises section is my favorite- lots of soups to choose from, perfect for winter days. The guest recipes and drinks sections come after that . A rather small section with sweets recipes completes the book. The organization of this book felt a little bit erratic- I would have probably put drinking food closer to drinks and guest recipes section, but it’s easy enough to find as it is.
Overall impression: I liked this book for what it was- an ultimate comfort food book, recipes are straightforward and easy to follow. Many of my favorite dishes are included. There are helpful guides to where to find ingredients. The little essays are fun to read. 5 stars.
It feels very nice to ease into days of candlelight, baking side by side and slowing down to watch the year end.
Day 1-3 of our December went well, kids cut out some paper snowflakes, we put up lights at home and today we baked our first batch of cookies.
rolling out lights is probably just as much fun as hanging them up
Vienna crescent cookies, the recipe is very easy – 2 1/3 c of all purpose flour +1/3 c of almond meal +pinch of salt – mix together; 1c of softened butter +1/3 c of sugar – mix until fluffy; slowly add flour; chill for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F and bake about 12 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar.
I made some holiday sketches:
We read “Snow” by Uri Shulevitz and “Tiger in the snow” by Nick Butterworth. It’s amazing how kids are still enjoying picture books that they loved as babies.