Cooking The Books: Decadent desserts, virtuous veg and plant food

  • Food News
  • Sunday, 13 Oct 2019

Get your copy of The Sunday Star, Oct 13, for a 25% discount on these cookbooks. Look for the coupon in StarLifestyle.

I’m Just Here For Dessert

Author: Caroline Khoo

Publisher: Murdoch Books

Price: RM99.71

It’s not hard to see why Caroline Khoo has over 400,000 followers on Instagram. The dessert maven at online dessert boutique Nectar and Stone crafts whimsical, feminine desserts in magical unicorn shades that look far too pretty to gobble up.

So, it’s a good thing she’s sharing her tips, tricks and recipes with the public, because having seen the pictures in her new book, there are many treats you’ll be angling to bake. Recipes include a chocolate tower, blueberry waffle haze, salted caramel pretzel and frangipane dream.

Recipes For Decadent Desserts And Virtuous Greens |

The only tangible downside is that her writing style is not her biggest selling point. Some cookbook authors make you long for and dream about their food just on the strength of their description and literary imagery. Khoo writes like a soldier on a military drill.

Her narratives are stilted and often bland. It’s hard to stay focused on what she’s saying, so you’re likely to skim past her words to just get to the desserts. More’s the pity because without those introductory real-life tales, the recipes can seem complicated and intimidating.

Perhaps her book is better suited for those who really, really enjoy the intricacies of baking and don’t care much care for personal stories.

Recipes For Decadent Desserts And Virtuous Greens |

Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals For Everyone

Author: Jamie Oliver

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Price: RM150.95

Jamie Oliver’s trademark charm is instantly apparent in the introduction to his newest cookbook, which is warm and inviting. It’s all vegetarian recipes this time, collected from his encounters with cooks and chefs on his worldwide travels.

You’ll discover a colourful array of recipes from potato and mushroom al forno to easy pea and spinach samosas, cauliflower tikka masala, veg tagine, mushroom risotto and veggie pad Thai.

The only drawback is that the recipes aren’t accompanied by any introduction at all. You don’t get a sense of the history, origin or interpretation involved in any of the dishes, which I find one of the most interesting aspects of a cookbook (and most often, the deciding factor on what to make).

For what it’s worth, the recipes look interesting and very accomplishable. So, if you’re after an international range of vegetable-friendly options for a home-cooked meal, this will hit the spot.

Recipes For Decadent Desserts And Virtuous Greens |

Whole Food Cooking Every Day

Author: Amy Chaplin

Publisher: Artisan

Price: RM188

There’s a growing whole food (unprocessed and unrefined plant-based foods) movement snaking the globe. Those who see the virtue in this way of cooking and eating are proponents of natural sweeteners like orange juice and exotic sounding butters like black sesame-nori butter.

Amy Chaplin is one of those proud advocates. The former executive chef of renowned vegan restaurant Anjelica Kitchen in New York, Chaplin was raised on a whole food diet by vegetarian parents. She has also served as a private chef for the likes of Natalie Portman.

Her previous book, At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen, won a James Beard award (the Oscars of the culinary world), so Chaplin knows what she’s doing.

Here, she gives readers more insight and ideas for embracing a whole food diet. Recipes run the gamut from dandelion latte to beet hot chocolate, root vegetable soup, sweet corn and basil dressing, French lentil tomato bake with kale and capers, fennel-poppy seed crackers and almond cake.

Some seem fairly digestible, like the restorative mineral-mushroom broth; others like buckwheat millet bread may be daunting for neophytes just wanting a dip into the whole food culinary ideal.

Still, there’s plenty to try in this inventive cookbook, so even if you don’t end up going down the whole food path, the book will encourage you to potentially incorporate some of the meals into your diet, which is already a step in the right direction.

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