A charming, old world cookbook that will have even a novice baking like an old hand.
Although this book is arranged in an unusual fashion (days of the week), the recipes are ones that will become steadfast favourites in your repertoire. Many take more than one day to achieve results but are well worth the preparation as the produce is the sort that will win prizes at country fares and hearts amongst your family and friends.
The cover shows a beautiful apple tart and sports the words, “Baked for love, life & happiness”, which is apt. The content has that old-world warmth that only comes from baking from scratch and producing breads and pastries, in particular, that fill the home with a heart-warming aroma as they bake. Photography is a mix of black and white for generic images and softly stated colour for actual examples.
I have become an absolute fan of the sourdough starter on page 195 which, although needing a lot of attention, being fed twice a day for seven days before use, can be rested in the fridge and reinstated for use by starting the feeding process again. I have made several loaves of rye bread using it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys the taste of fresh rye. Unfortunately, the starter recipe is only followed with a sourdough crumpet recipe and not a sourdough bread of any kind. Start with a large jar though, as this grows very quickly, and a tip from me is to use a wet spoon when removing the discard portion.
The other recipe I have chosen to illustrate is Banana, Chocolate and Walnut loaf on page 142. The toasted walnut and dark chocolate are a perfect match for the ripe banana flavour of this loaf. I was disappointed however, at how crumbly this was, especially as it has three eggs in it. It keeps well in the fridge and is a delight served with whipped cream, but a cake fork is required due to its consistency. \
I was surprised to find preserves included in the book and found the anecdotes that accompanied the recipes as a connection to the author and the food being made. There is a well-organised index of recipes with the primary ingredient being the heading. There are also many hints and instructions on procedures for baking that are very informative.
A wonderful book to explore when you have a couple of days spare and one that, once you are accustomed to it, you will visit often. As this book is based on the recipes used by the master baker, Nadine Ingram, of the Flour and Stone inner-Sydney bakery, you will have a book that shows the skills and pleasures of the truly fine baker you may become.
Reviewed by Leanne Caune
Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: October 2018
RRP: $55.00 hardcover