Please Pass the Recipe

sharing recipes from one generation to the next


Yesterday I posted the first part of my favourite cookbook list, the general cookbooks that have been the most use to me as a cook, and the baking books I turn to first. Part two of this list incorporates my favourite ethnic cuisines plus some specialty produce books.

Middle Eastern Food:

Roden MEClaudia Roden’s “New Book of Middle Eastern Food” (1970)broadly covers the food of the countries with a Meditteranean margin from Greece to Morocco via Turkey, Syria and Egypt. There are recipes for mezes, salads, vegetable dishes, main courses, desserts and confectionary. Travelling in the regions covered in this book brought home to me the authenticity of her recipes and the genuine flavours achieved.

“Saraban”, “Turquoise” and “Saha” by Lucy and Greg Malouf are coffee table style books, large format, sumptuous presentation and photos to make you drool. Greg, who is of Lebanese ancestry was the first chef to bring the flavours of the Middle East to fine dining in Melbourne. His books follow his journey through the cuisines of the Middle East. He has applied a modern interpretation to his restaurant style recipes, but there is nothing too daunting for the home cook. These books are so gorgeous, they have become part of my living room decor.



Indian Cookery:

An Indian migrant to Australia, Charmaine Solomon published her classic “The Complete Asian Cookbook” in 1976 . I have used the recipes in the sections covering India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka continuously since acquiring this book. Fresh whole spices and other authentic ingredients Solomonwere difficult to procure then, but Charmaine set me on the path to reproducing authentic Indian food at home.India 2

“The Food of India” ( 2006) a Murdoch publication and “The Indian Kitchen” (2006) by Monisha Bharadwaj (recommeded by an Indian friend) are where I look for authentic regional dishes of India using whole fresh spices and traditional techniques. Neither have ever disappointed me. Using the recipes from these books has spoilt my enjoyment of Indian food anywhere but at home or in India!


Italian Food:

Roden ItalyI have many classic Italian cookbooks in my collection, but it is Claudia Roden’s “The Food of Italy” (1990) I open for simple inspirational Italian food, though most times I cook Italian food from the heart. The principles of economy, fresh seasonal ingredients cooked well with Italian method I learned from cooking beside a wonderful Calabrese home cook named women Nancy who worked for me late in the 1980s. Nancy’s cookbook is indelibly etched in my brain.



GrigsonThe Fruit Book” (1982) and its companion “The Vegetable Book” (1978) by Jane Grigson are timeless Penguin paperback classics. Structured alphabetically, each chapter focuses on one fruit or veg. The recipes are honest, simple and tasty interpretations of classic French, Italian and English recipes. I have loved every recipe I have ever made from these books and many of Grigson’s ideas are committed to memory. Bryant

“Simon Bryant’s Vegies” is a recent publication. Paired with Maggie Beer on ABCs the Cook and the Chef, Simon reputation grew as a down to earth, no BS chef with a genuine love of vegetables, grains and pulses. He’s a self confessed cack hand when it comes to any food that involves sugar, but his ability to transform wholefoods into restaurant quality dishes shines through in this book.

Evans “The Gourmet Farmer” food as it used to taste by Matthew Evans, Nick Haddow and Ross O’Meara, three mates from Tasmania, excites the senses at first glance. Matt, formerly a restaurant critic, is a small lot, rare breed farmer. Nick is a cheese maker and Ross a forager. Together they preserve, pickle, salt, ferment and smoke whatever comes their way. There are recipes for meat , milk, fish and vegetables, all subjected to one or other of the above treatments. After all the preserving efforts, they cook wonderful rustic food.

Inspired by these guys, I now make my own yoghurt and I’m currently working with a friend to construct a cold smoker.

The “The Gourmet Farmer” is currently screening on SBS Australia.


About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

16 comments on “STELLAR COOKBOOKS part 2

  1. What Donna Cooked
    May 12, 2013

    I was given a copy of Saraban by an ex-boyfriend who had travelled extensively in the Middle East. I remember him discussing the places he visited with such passion, and me feeling a little closer to the real thing reading through the gorgeous pages of this wonderful book.


  2. johnnysenough hepburn
    April 30, 2013

    I’m almost gulping! I used to own Charmaine Solomon’s, The complete Asian cookbook, that you have featured. I then went off for eleven months travelling and gave it away!! Ouch.


    • ladyredspecs
      April 30, 2013

      It has been re released, though there are plenty of secondhand copies kicking around, you might pick up a cheapie online. The veg curries in there are just fantastic!


  3. ohlidia
    April 29, 2013

    Oh! Wish you lived next door so that I could spend endless hours through your cookbooks…


  4. Fae's Twist & Tango
    April 29, 2013

    Beautiful collection, and I’m jealous! introduce by an Australian Blogger, ‘What Donna Cooked’, Saraban is on my wish list and I featured it on my Facebook page.


    • ladyredspecs
      April 29, 2013

      Just followed Donna! Malouf’s boks are evocative journeys, better still, his food. I’ve been fortunate enough to eat with him on numerous occasions. He’s in London now, trying to work his magic on the Poms. 😀


  5. Pingback: Favorite Cookbooks | Fae's Twist & Tango

  6. oiyoufood
    April 29, 2013

    I have/had Sarban! It’s a great book.
    Heard a lot of good things about Simon Bryant’s Vegies.
    I like to have non-celebrity chef books. Makes me feel wiser 😉


  7. Sally
    April 29, 2013

    Claudia Roden ME cooking has been one of the most useful books on my shelf during my 18 years in the Middle East. The meatballs in tomato sauce is my favourite recipe


    • ladyredspecs
      April 29, 2013

      Now thats one I haven’t used. The carrot salad with lemon and cumin is my favourite.


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This entry was posted on April 28, 2013 by in Food, The Cookbook Guru and tagged , , , .
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