Cooking The Books: Guilty pleasures for this festive period

  • Food News
  • Saturday, 09 Feb 2019

Get the Sunday Star paper tomorrow, Feb 10, for your 25% discount coupon on these cookbooks. Look for it in StarLifestyle.


Author: Laura Goodman

Publisher: Quadrille

Price: RM89.90

Humour isn’t often an ingredient you find in cookbooks. In between cooking, photographing, recipe-testing and writing their cookbooks, few authors have any residual time or energy to expend on rousing their readers into belly-laughs. Which is what makes Carbs such a breath of fresh air.

Cooking the Books offers recipes for festively indulgent food this monthAuthor Laura Goodman, who has written for Eater, Food 52, The Sunday Times and Lucky Peach, is a natural-born raconteur, with a comedic touch reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding. As a result, you’ll find it almost impossible not to be drawn into Carbs, Goodman’s ode to carbohydrates.

Going against the current healthy eating, carbs-are-the-enemy grain, Goodman draws up beguiling recipes for all sorts of carb-laden temptations, like honey challah (a sweet Jewish bread), chocolate chip banana bread, lemon chicken orzo soup, and halloumi muffins. Each recipe is prefaced with hilarious anecdotes and tales of culinary adventures that are so engrossing, you might even forget they come attached with recipes.

Perhaps the only letdown in this otherwise delightful book is the lack of pictures to show you just how good the meals are. But if you like your food with a spot of humour, you’ll love this!

Cooking the Books offers recipes for festively indulgent food this monthPleesecakes

Authors: Joe Moruzzi & Brendon Parry

Publisher: Quadrille

Price: RM89.90

Every day, someone reinvents the wheel in the culinary world, creating something new out of something old, like the famed FreakShakes or sometimes meshing two elements together and developing a brand new hybrid, like cronuts. About two years ago, manly men Joe Moruzzi and Brendon Parry (who together used to run a painting and decorating company) created pleesecakes, a creative take on classic cheesecakes.

Since it was first introduced, pleesecakes has taken off, gaining over 150,000 followers on Instagram and a growing clientele hungry for the boys’ inventive cheesecakes. And here’s where the guys are on to something – I mean, you might have had a cheesecake, but have you ever had an alpacino cappucino (a cream cheese espresso-laced concoction in a coffee cup)? I don’t think so.

The cheesecake inventions in the book are boundless and sure to inspire moments when your jaw hits the ground, like when you first discover the cheeseboard cheesecake (cheesecake topped with a cheese platter) and the sizzling bacon and maple syrup minis. While these cheesecakes inspire wonderment and gawking, other beautiful concoctions will inspire intakes of breath and a determination to try them at home. Like the strawberry and lemon layer cake, Eton mess and bang bang mojitos.

Probably the best thing about all 60 of the recipes provided in the book are that none of them require baking, so you can just bundle everything into your refrigerator and you’re good to go. Plus, the great thing about change is that it creates the opportunity for test-driving shiny new things. And honestly, wouldn’t you like to spice up your cheesecake repertoire a little? Having read this book, I know I will be.

Cooking the Books offers recipes for festively indulgent food this monthRun Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.

Authors: Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

Publisher: Rodale

Price: RM112.90

Written by competitive marathon runners Shalane Flanagan (an Olympian and the first US woman to win the NYC Marathon in 40 years) and Elyse Kopecky (an athlete who studied culinary nutrition), this follow-up to the duo’s New York Times bestselling debut is a boon for serious athletes looking for meals to help balance their energy demands and dietary requirements.

The book goes a long way towards dispelling the myth that fat is bad for you – in fact, Flanagan and Kopecky even argue that butter may be better for athletes than kale! Much of this is backed up by their personal experience – Kopecky suffered from athletic amenorrhoea (the absence of menstruation) for 15 years before overhauling her diet. This led to the return of her periods and the birth of her two children.

And whatever you might think about athletes and their healthy diets – the recipes in this book look pretty enticing. From chicken cannellini soup to turkey trot meatballs, miso fast greens and savoury pretzel granola, there’s a lot to stir the appetite and ignite your athletic spirit.

Admittedly, there is still a wholesome slant to all the meals in the book, but if you’re looking to get to get fit and keep up with these two women, you’ll want to try these recipes.

Cooking the Books offers recipes for festively indulgent food this monthTasty Ultimate: How To Cook Basically Anything

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Price: RM129.90

It's no secret that Buzzfeed Tasty’s recipe videos are insanely addictive (so addictive that the site’s Instagram followers now stand at a whopping 28.6 million!). And if you’ve ever watched one of these videos, you’ll quickly understand why. The recipe developers at Tasty are constantly coming up with all sorts of mind-blowing, diet-ditching recipes – think things oozing with cheese or dripping with melted chocolate.

In many ways, this cookbook reflects that ethos with a slew of drool-worthy recipes guaranteed to incite the refrain “I want to eat this” on repeat. I mean, who wouldn’t want to whip up a salted caramel macchiato tiramisu? Or truffle mac ’n’ cheese, Caesar salad potato skins and an easy lobster bisque? It’s the sort of stuff you could easily imagine polishing off on a daily basis (if the laws of healthy eating would allow for it).

In true Tasty spirit, the recipes also all look exceedingly easy, with simple steps and easy-to-source ingredients forming the backbone of all the meals. Ultimately, this little book will help you nail memorable, people-pleasing meals that family and friends will instantly love.

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