Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Red Hot & Smokin’! by Graeme Stockdale

BBQ, burgers and bird! From quick and easy mid week eating, to serve-the neighbourhood-style feasts!

As a gift for yourself or a friend, this is a can’t-go-wrong purchase.

This is a quirky book full of recipes destined to become signature dishes. It features a collection of flavours that go with the summer barbeque season, ranging from sides to main courses, lunches and dinners to hearty snacks. The recipes are a selection from successful dishes sold from the author’s Stockpot restaurant and family recipes shared with love.

The book has large clear text, although often quite faint and unfortunately, due to the nature of the presentation, some recipes and/or explanations/comments appear on coloured backgrounds which take concentration to read.

The author has written these recipes with food facts, personal anecdotes and uses interesting measurements (‘a handful or so’), but all of this adds to its appeal. The use of splashes of colour for headings and mouth-watering photos are another engaging feature. This is a coffee table recipe book, one that is fun to thumb through and will have guests asking for a paper and pencil, or if it is okay to screenshot a recipe.

The book is arranged into four main chapters that each have their own coloured border: Condiments, Fried Chicken, Burger Geddon, and Meaty, Grilly, Smoky. The index and referencing to page numbers from ingredients lists makes finding recipes and subsequent information easy but the placement of some foods within the chapters has me somewhat mystified – for example, pickles and salsas are dotted throughout the entire book.

Unlike many cookbooks where the publishers have a total disregarded to the messy nature of a kitchen, this book’s pages have a protective coating which enables a quick paper towel wipe of any splashes. Once a page has been looked at a couple of times, this book will sit flat on the counter and you will not have to use any gadgets to keep it open on a page.

Jennee’s Cornbread (page 40)

As I was serving this with a range of other breads, I divided it into muffin pans and served it as muffins. It has the traditional sweet, nutty flavour of cornbread and the muffins disappeared from my table very quickly. I added some parsley to the mix to differentiate them from other muffins on my table. Although a loaf takes about an hour to cook, I took the muffins out after 45 mins. This recipe is one that I will use many times and look forward to putting it into my home-made bread rotation.

Dill Pickled Cucumber (page 56)

The second recipe I tried was an OMG! moment for me! It was ready to eat in two days with the flavour of pickles often found in fast food burgers. The recipe for the basic three-ingredient pickling liquid (found on page 56) can be reused – at the time of writing this review, my first batch was being used for its third load of cucumbers.  It is easily adjusted to flavour what ever vegetable you are going to pickle. I have successfully used, dill, garlic, turmeric and chilli so far.

I am pleased to recommend this book to anyone looking for barbeque style eating hints and recipes, or anyone just looking to spice up their summer entertaining with new plates.

As a gift for yourself or a friend, this is a can’t-go-wrong purchase.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Distributed by: New Holland Publishers
Released: August 2019
RRP: $32.99

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