Fun, festive cookbooks to start the year right


  • Food News
  • Sunday, 13 Jan 2019

Get the Sunday Star paper today (Jan 13) for your 25% discount coupon on these cookbooks. Look for it in StarLifestyle.


Baking All Year Round

Author: Rosanna Pansino

Publisher: Atria Books

Price: RM145.90

YouTube has been incredibly kind to Rosanna Pansino, who runs the Nerdy Nummies cooking series, one of the most popular baking shows on the video-sharing platform, with over 10 million subscribers. In her sophomore cookbook (her first was The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook), Pansino offers a fun, photogenic range of baked treats for celebrations like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Like most YouTube personalities, Pansino herself features quite a lot in the book (every chapter opens with an image of her) but, luckily for her, she’s incredibly easy on the eyes, so this is probably a very clever marketing tactic (although if you only care about the recipes, this does reek of overt self-promotion).

Fun festive books in January's Cooking the Books columnOn the plus side, the recipes look delightful – each one so very pretty that even the most baking-averse soul will want to give it a go. Some highlights include Champagne cupcakes, pumpkin dinner rolls, breadstick bones, blackberry cobbler, daisy lemon tarts and Instagram-worthy bird’s nest cookies.

Pansino also very helpfully includes plenty of detailed instructions, including a pictorial guide on how to fold batter and poach ingredients as well as the outlines of all her cookies, so you can outline your own moulds. Ultimately, if you’re after a spot of fun, festive baking, you’ll adore this light-hearted cookbook.


Big Salads

Author: Kat Mead

Publisher: Quadrille

Price: RM104.90

Few things in the culinary world have been as relegated to the sidelines as salads. There aren’t many people who would consider a salad a satisfying meal. Mental images are often of copious amounts of lettuce leaves and not much else, which is why salads are often thought of as the smaller (read: less illustrious) opening acts to the big stars (read: main courses).

Which is what London-based food writer Kat Mead is looking to reverse with the aptly named Big Salads, which is essentially a compilation of very large salads designed to be main courses.

Fun festive books in January's Cooking the Books columnThe pictures in the book are fantastic – vivacious, colourful and just brimming with variety. The meals are arranged according to the seasons, so you can opt for summer salads like BBQ cauliflower taco salad or flame-grilled octopus with peperonata and butter bean salad, or winter fare like burnt orange, mackerel and kale with bacon.

There’s literally everything for every season and plenty to inspire you along the way. If your 2019 resolution is to eat less carbs (and you’re dreading just the thought of it), look to this repository of yummy salads for encouragement and enlightenment.


Mexicana

Author: Esther Clark

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Price: RM69.90

There's so much to love about Mexicana. In many ways, it is reflective of Mexican food itself – the pages bursting with flavour, colour and so much life, you won’t be able to resist the urge to break into a dance (or two). An air of festivity permeates the book and this is mirrored in the images, which are multihued and incredibly celebratory.

Fun festive books in January's Cooking the Books columnRecipes for tacos, nachos, salsas, desserts and drinks abound, and quantities are designed for sharing, so there’s plenty of inspiration for that next dinner party. If you really want to get the party cranking, try out recipes like the crispy squid and sunshine salad tacos, skillet smoky ancho meatball nachos, fiery habanero chicken wings, green tomatillo salsa, and, to finish off, a classic margarita.

This isn’t one of those serious cookbooks with lengthy introductions about the history and etymology of Mexican food; it’s just a good, old-fashioned fun cookbook that’s guaranteed to keep the party going till the wee hours of the morning.


Wine Folly: Magnum Edition – The Master Guide

Authors: Madeline Puckette & Justin Hammack

Publisher: Avery

Price: RM164.50

The deluxe edition of this book (which was first published three years ago) is a fascinatingly detailed exploration of wines. The book is ideal reading for wine hobbyists, enthusiasts and serious oenophiles looking to widen their knowledge.

Fun festive books in January's Cooking the Books columnWhat is likely to appease modern readers (who are notorious for having the attention spans of gnats) is how well-designed the book is – everything is colour-coded, charts in all their permutations are an every-page occurrence (think pie charts, flow charts and pyramids) and pictures are plentiful.

Also, the information provided in the book has been distilled and liberated of its hoity-toity shackles, so regular plebs with a limited understanding of wines can comprehend everything in here with perfect clarity. The book also includes useful information about different wines, wine regions, wine terms, pairing tips and even interesting colour gradients of wines.

The bottom line is, anyone who’s after a beginner-friendly voyage into the wonderful world of wines will love this well-thought out dummy’s guide.

Update: The title of Rosanna Pansino's video series and cookbook has been corrected to Nerdy Nummies. 


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