Cooking the Books: This is the time for feel-good food

Whether you’re looking for celebrity-infused comfort food or just good, old-fashioned sourdough bread, there’s something to lift the soul here.

Get your copy of Sunday Star tomorrow, May 16,2021, for a 25% discount on two of the cookbooks featured here. Look for the coupon in StarLifestyle, page 4.

Real Vietnamese Cooking: Everyday Favourites from the Street to the Kitchen
Authors: Yumiko Adachi, Shinobu Ito & Masumi Suzuki
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Price: RM69.29 (not available until June)

This fascinating cookbook is written by three intrepid Japanese food explorers who have spent a considerable amount of time cooking and researching Vietnamese food and training with Vietnam’s best chefs to unlock the secrets to the cuisine.

The three are such fans of the cuisine that co-authors Yumiko Adachi and Masumi Suzuki even have their own Vietnamese restaurants in Japan while Shinobu Ito has waxed lyrical about her love for the cuisine on many television shows.

In this cookbook, you’ll discover a whole host of interesting information about Vietnamese cuisine, from the history of pho (which dates back 100 years) to the banh mi sandwich and the fact that the country is made up of 54 ethnic groups that have all contributed to the cuisine’s evolution.

Recipes in the book include crispy stuffed rice paper snacks, chicken pho, lemongrass beef banh mi and steamed rice cakes with shrimp flakes, among a rich variety of traditional dishes.

The great thing about this book is that aside from teaching eager neophytes how to make fascinating new Vietnamese dishes, it also imparts useful information about the origins of these meals, ensuring that readers get a two-in-one history and cooking lesson with each recipe.

So if you’ve been hankering for the food of our neighbouring country, this handy cookbook offers everything you’ll need to get acquainted with Vietnamese cooking.

The Pepper Thai Cookbook
Author: Pepper Teigen with Garrett Snyder
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Price: RM158.85

If you’ve ever taken a peek at American supermodel and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram account, chances are very, very high that you would have seen her mother, Pepper, on there at some point. Teigen clearly inherited her formidable cooking skills from her mama, and in this book, the spotlight is finally cast on the Thailand-born Pepper who showcases a wide range of recipes inspired by her homeland and sprinkled with her indefatigable sense of humour.

In this cookbook, you’ll discover a host of appealing recipes such as chilli-lime fried cashews, naked shrimp salad, garlic stuffed fish and pad Thai Brussels sprouts. The 80 recipes in the book aren’t all necessarily authentic – Pepper herself alludes to this as she has made modifications since moving to live in the United States (her papaya salad doesn’t always have papaya in it!) – but they are all heavily influenced by her Thai roots and certainly offer an interesting range.

Also, if you’re a bit of a star-gazer, you’ll enjoy the fact that the book is literally peppered (pun intended!) with images of Teigen, her music mogul husband John Legend and their two children, Luna and Miles. The images were probably intentionally positioned to add to the allure of the book and it’s a marketing strategy that definitely pays off in leaps and bounds because you’ll spend as much time poring over the charming family photographs as you will staring at the gorgeous images of the food.

So if you’re after a selection of Thai-centric meals to spice up your family meals – in much the same way Pepper has jazzed up the Legend household’s daily fare – you’ll love this cookbook.

The Sourdough School Sweet Baking
Author: Vanessa Kimbell
Publisher: Kyle Books
Price: RM150

This seminal book is written by celebrated sourdough advocate Vanessa Kimbell, an award-winning author who runs The Sourdough School in the British county of Northamptonshire.

In this inspiring tome, Kimbell examines how sourdough baking can help enhance gut microbiome and consequently improve health and mental wellbeing.

Although sourdough, gut health and mental health seem dubiously incapable of being interconnected, research has shown that switching to a healthy diet has about the same effect on our bodies as an antidepressant. Also, according to Kimbell, when our gut microbiome is out of balance, it can lead to chronic inflammation that can in turn cause food allergies, autoimmune disorders and, yes, mental health issues.

The book contains fascinating nuggets of information about how the gut is indelibly linked to wellness. For example, did you know that 50% of the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine is located in the gut? Or that eating grains has been shown to modulate the microbes in the gut?

Although the chunks of information that preface the recipes are lengthy and fairly technical, don’t skip them because this is what gives this cookbook an added edge and will help guide you on your journey to making successful sourdough that nourishes mind, body and soul.

Recipes in the book include mulberry galette, wild blackberry tarts, brioche and live sourdough doughnuts.

Ultimately, whether you’ve been trying to crack the sourdough bread code or simply wanting to eat food that makes you feel better, this book offers recipes to get you started as well as a whole lot of information on how to improve your gut health and overall wellbeing.

Enjoy your comfort food at better prices with Lalamove Promo Code

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