Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Australian Heritage Cookbook

This beautifully illustrated cookbook caters for every occasion from spontaneous entertaining and family cooking to extravagant dinner parties.

A good range of recipes however the assistance of Google may be required.

The Australian Heritage Cookbook is a beautifully illustrated book. It is broken up into seven sections: From the Plains, Paddocks and Pastures, Bounty from the Oceans, Rivers and Stream, Greens, Vegetables, Let’s Go Tropical, How Other Cultures Have Influenced Australia, and Country Cooking. Each section includes photos of stunning scenery to match each category, as well as mouth-watering images of most of the recipes. The book is formatted well, so it is easy to read as I cooked and the page remained opened on the recipe I was using.

A nice addition is the Greens section, as it includes a brief description of the most commonly used salad ingredients and how to prepare them. This includes various types of lettuce, capsicum, cucumber, etc. This is a great reminder of the benefits and differences between leafy greens.

Soda Bread (pg 281)

I decided on this recipe because it included staples found in most pantries. I have made Cornbread and Damper before so this seemed like an easy recipe to tackle first up. I followed each step in the recipe and opted to use buttermilk to see if this gave it a better texture. After mixing all the ingredients together I was left with a pancake batter consistency. I had thought 1 1/3 cups of flour didn’t seem anywhere near enough compared to the 2 cups of buttermilk and I was right. I Googled similar recipes and all suggested around 4 cups of flour to 2 cups of buttermilk. After adding the extra flour my pancake batter became dough. The end result was a nice texture but I would be inclined to add more flavour such and cheese and chives next time.

Chocolate Mousse (pg 286)

Since I received this book in December I decided to make Chocolate mousse for Christmas lunch minus the brandy, as a one-year-old would be one of my guests. I hadn’t made chocolate mousse before but I have seen it made on various cooking shows so thought it should be easy enough to make. This recipe became confusing by the end of the first sentence of the recipe. It advised to add the egg yolk and brandy to a small saucepan…. Okay, and then what? There was no mention of cooking or warming this mixture so I beat the yolk and left it at room temperature. I was then instructed to cool the chocolate but no instruction on how cool. Again I turned to Google where recipes advised to just cool it a little. I cooled the melted chocolate until it was cool enough to touch and added it to the yolk mixture. It seized. Determined not to waste 375g of Dark chocolate I turned back to Google for suggestions. Luckily I was able to add 300ml of cream to the seized chocolate and then use this melted chocolate and cream mixture to make Donna Hay’s Chocolate fudge cake. This was delicious, so not a complete loss, but also not the intended recipe

The Australian Heritage Cookbook is nicely illustrated and the recipes are varied to cater for any occasion. However after two failed recipe attempts I lost my motivation to try anymore. This book could have benefited from a few more tests of each recipe. I would suggest this cookbook is better suited to expert cooks, as they would be able to identify the flaws in the recipes and not lose their enthusiasm for trying something new.

Reviewed by Jessica Incoll
Twitter: @littlejadventur

Distributed by: New Holland Publishers
Released: December 2018
RRP: $45

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