Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Fairytale Cooking, by Alexander Höss-Knakal

60 recipes inspired by your favourite fairytales, including Little Red Riding Hood, Aladdin, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Snow Queen.

A magical book that will take you on a culinary adventure.
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Fairytale Cooking is the closest one might come to experiencing a true fairy tale. Filled with both stories and recipes, this book allows for true escapism, either into the magic of food or imagination. For those who are curious about the heritage behind their favourite dishes, it doesn’t get much better.

The recipes within are all inspired by a particular fairy tale, and categorised accordingly. There are six classic fairy tales and fables: Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, and The Snow Queen. The recipes that follow these short stories feature ingredients and flavours that you can imagine the characters themselves feasting on, either under the chandeliers of the royal palace or by candlelight in a woodcutter’s cottage. For example, the dishes from Little Red Riding Hood are forest-inspired, while The Little Mermaid’s recipes are seafood-focused.

Many of the dishes presented in the book are imaginative and unique—I hadn’t heard of quite a few of them, let alone tasted them. There are also suggestions for meal plans featuring a selection of recipes from each fairy tale, in case you want to throw a fantastical dinner party.

Being that the book comprises beautiful food photography, artwork, and pieces of classic literature, you’ll want to keep it clean and away from the kitchen while cooking. That said, the glossy paper may be more forgiving on splashes than matte paper would.

The heart of Fairytale Cooking lies in the meaning behind each recipe and the stories that inspired them, rather than culinary tips and tricks. Therefore, this may not be the best book for someone looking to improve as a cook or even learn the basics. Instead, this would best suit a foodie who loves stories and imagination.

I decided to sample some recipes from the Little Red Riding Hood menu, although there are several from the other fairy tales that I can’t wait to try (looking at you, Aladdin‘s rosewater-flavoured saffron rice pudding).

BUTTON MUSHROOM FLATBREAD (PAGE 15)

If you love mushrooms, this recipe is a must. I always feel apprehensive about making any kind of bread from scratch but recipes like this reinforce how easy it is. The end result was slightly too tart for my taste but you could omit the lemon for a completely different flavour.

This recipe actually includes hazelnut pesto, which I bought all the ingredients for but then ran out of time to make. The creaminess of the pesto would have added a nice touch, but I loved the flatbread on its own too. A less-heavy alternative to pizza, this is a creative yet impressive vegetarian dish you could serve up for a crowd. It’s pretty hard to mess up, even if you find the idea of making bread from scratch daunting.

FOREST BERRY CUSTARD DANISH (PAGE 31)

How could anyone bypass the chance to make these Danishes? I ended up using extra buttery puff pastry as that’s all that was left at the supermarket, and they tasted slightly croissant-like as a result. Although the Danishes weren’t as creamy as I would have liked, they weren’t overly sweet, which made me feel less guilty about eating them. Given that they’re not as sweet as they look, they would make a good breakfast option.

There’s not a lot of detail given in the recipe about how to arrange them—unless shaping a Danish is common knowledge and I’m just clueless. But they ended up looking amazing anyway, and I’ll probably make them again as a quick and easy sweet treat to bring when visiting.  

Reviewed by Vanessa Elle
Instagram: @vanessaellewrites

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: November 2021
RRP: $39.99

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

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