Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Fruit: Recipes that Celebrate Nature, by Bernadette Worndl

A beautifully presented cookbook for a cook who likes using seasonal fruits in their cooking, as each recipe contains at least one fruit as its central ingredient.

An exquisitely photographed, eclectic selection of sweet and savoury, fruit-based recipes.

This is a beautifully presented cookbook with stunningly photographed dishes and a versatile range of fruit-based dishes ranging from breakfasts, main courses, side dishes and desserts along with iced treats and pickles. It has easily-defined sections arranged alphabetically, based on the fruits which make the main ingredient list. There is a long introduction explaining the authors thinking on how the recipes have been presented, including “flexibility of serves.”

Not all dishes are photographed but those that are appear opposite the corresponding recipe. Some pages are black with a fine, white font, making them hard to read. This detracts from the overall usefulness of the book, as does the amount of terms which are not familiar to an Australian reader.

I was astounded by the mixture of over-precise and general terms for size and amounts used in recipes and, even as a practiced cook, I found them sometimes quite confusing. For instance, in the Apple Strudel with Quark Short Crust Pastry on page 21, the ingredients list calls for 6-7 large apples and a handful of raisins. You will require a large baking tray and must roll the pastry to 3.8 mm thick and leave a 3.1 cm border. This recipe produces a beautiful strudel, which is a little dry and needs to be served with custard or cream but is enough to provide 8 generous servings.

The photograph of the blueberry pancakes on page 57, was the only reason I chose to illustrate it in my review, having never seen blueberry pancakes that were actually blue. It was a photographic trick because they turned out as all pancakes I have made in the past – a cream colour with blueberry spots. The texture of this particular recipe was very rubbery and I consider this to be an unsuccessful recipe.

Verjuice on page 77, is something that is quite popular in many recipes today and is, as a rule, quite expensive to buy. This recipe is cheap, quick and easy, providing a full-bodied flavour ideal for all of those recipes.

There are many tasty and interesting recipes in this book. For a cook who enjoys looking at the pictures as well as using the recipes, and one who is able to deal with a very small, fine font, this is an useful addition to the kitchen library. It is an ideal book as a gift for a cook who likes using seasonal fruits in their cooking and particularly if they have access to the English elderberry fruit, as there are several recipes devoted to this fruit.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 5:  3

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: November 2018
RRP: $55.00

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