Finding Inspiration from Afar

Kristina’s Bookshelf

New Year’s resolutions are frequently about mixing things up and exploring different places and new ways of doing things. I enjoy food books from overseas publishing houses, especially those that feature a locale’s chefs, restaurants, produce, and food products. They can provide inspiration for new ways of cooking and an introduction to other parts of the world. Hardie Grant is an Australian press that publishes handsome books, including the two below, which I’ve been cooking from a lot in recent weeks.

The Tivoli Road Baker:
Recipes and Notes from a Chef Who Chose Baking

By Michael James with Pippa James
(Hardie Grant Books, 2017)

If you’ve been to Melbourne, you may have visited the small, much-loved Tivoli Road Bakery. If you haven’t been there, you can experience the restaurant at home through the cookbook, The Tivoli Road Baker, by owner and British-born pastry chef Michael James and his wife Pippa James. I particularly enjoyed it for the seasonal recipes and “British Bakes,” which include traditional Cornish pasties; Eccles cake; a scone recipe flavored with sultanas, buttermilk, and lemon zest; and a treacle and vanilla salt tart. Their sausage roll with pork, caramelized apples, and fennel, a shop standard, is an especially good savory. A handful of hearty, flavorful salad recipes, mainly relying on beans and grains, include combinations like roasted pumpkin and chickpea with barberries, feta, and dukkah.

Grains, Seeds & Legumes: 150 Recipes for Every Appetite
By Molly Brown
(Hardie Grant Books, 2017)

Grains, Seeds & Legumes is full of creative recipes inspired by Middle Eastern, Spanish, Moroccan, and Indian cuisines. In addition to the recipes, this book offers comprehensive description and preparation instructions for a variety of seeds, beans, grains, and nuts including hemp seeds, chia seeds, linseeds, farro, edamame, freekeh, and many others. Brown is particularly attentive to making recipes that cater to gluten-free diets. Ingredient lists are divided into items obtained from the grocer, green grocer, and butcher. Recipes include something for every meal, starting with Oat, Ricotta, and Berry Pancakes with Thyme Honey; Warm Chickpea and Onion Puree with Sizzling Capsicum, Lamb, and Mint; and really nice sides, like a Spelt, Fig, and Pomegranate Salad.

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.