Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Good Food Every Day, by Gary Mehigan

The essential collection of Gary’s favourite home recipes, for down-to-earth and delicious cooking that’s achievable any day of the week.

Family recipes that make choosing what to cook as straightforward as possible.
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Former Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan delivers his first cookbook in seven years, sharing some of his down-to-earth personal recipes that he cooks at home.

At over 400 pages, this is a massive book that includes 250 recipes and more than 19 chapters, including a glossary and information on basic techniques and equipment. Mehigan divides his recipes into very specific groupings: for example, desserts consume four chapters separated into Cakes & Pastries, Puddings & Souffles, Custards & Ice Creams, and Biscuits & Sweet Treats.

Mehigan’s recipe tips are short and useful, and his instructions are easy to follow. Each recipe includes an introductory paragraph which is both informative and personable. The recipes themselves are about meals that are flavoursome and easy to prepare–a “homely translation of his professional notes”.

Additionally, Mehigan uses icons with each recipe to classify them into one of four groups: Everyday Favourites (simple ingredients and easy to cook), Inspire (try something new), Worth the Effort (best when you’re not in a rush), and For Sharing (good for entertaining or feeding a group).

Surprisingly, there’s no flashy photography in Good Food Every Day. Grace West provides some simple illustrations to decorate pages, but there’s zero photography to make you feel inadequate about how your own efforts turn out!

There’s useful information on meat cuts, boiling, stewing and braising, poaching, roasting, deep frying, cooking temperatures, pan frying, grilling, steaming, sterilising jars, and more. In fact, the introductory pages get right down to the basics of cooking eggs and rice. There’s a fount of knowledge to be found before the recipes begin.

When it comes to accessibility, orange text on a white background and white text on an orange background just don’t cut it. The thickness of the book doesn’t help keep the pages open to the recipe either. It’s disappointing that in today’s day and age of awareness that accessibility doesn’t seem to have been taken into consideration in the design.

Overall, there are some marvellous recipes in this book, with many on my to-do list to try in the future. These include Char Kway Teow stir fried noodles, Chicken Biryani, Beef Wellington, Coq au Vin, Lamb Kofta, Butter Chicken, Apple & Blackberry Pie, Apple Tea Cake, and Raspberry Muffins.

Novice and experienced cooks alike will find a lot to like within these pages, with many recipes that can be built upon according to your experience and taste.

QUICK FLATBREAD (PAGE 23)

This simplistic recipe is not exclusive to this cookbook, but it’s a tried-and-true recipe for making flatbread very quickly with only three ingredients. Mehigan suggests ways to make it more interesting by adding a stuffing of feta, spinach, dill or similar, but I opted to try the basic recipe with his addition of brushing the dough with some olive oil to add flavour and help to brown it. I was impressed with just how successful such a ridiculously easy recipe can be. The flatbread was a satisfying side dish which can be frozen for later use. The speed and ease of the recipe is a guarantee that I will be making it very often from herein–as I discovered a work colleague already does on a regular basis!

PUMPKIN SOUP (PAGE 111)

I have to confess that I was disappointed in this recipe, but only because my usual recipe is much more complex and therefore has more subtle flavours. Mehigan’s recipe is another easy and basic concoction that is tasty and will undoubtedly satisfy most people, but it uses a milk base with the pumpkin instead of water. As someone who doesn’t drink a lot of milk, I really noticed that full-cream flavour which I’m not used to. I’m also used to adding more ingredients to give the soup more subtlety. For a quick and easy recipe, I would happily consume this soup again if someone else made it. I did enjoy it with the flatbread. But if it comes down to making my own pumpkin soup again, I would opt to go the extra mile with my usual recipe instead of this one.

Mehigan’s pumpkin soup recipe is ideal for those with limited time and those who just want to get food on the table without much effort. There’s nothing wrong with it. I’ve just been spoiled by a classier recipe.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: October 2021
RRP: $39.99

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

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