Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Matt Preston’s World of Flavour, by Matt Preston

Matt Preston’s mantra is flavour. Tasty and easy-to-make food that puts a smile on your face is what he’s all about.

The recipes I sampled were so easy to make yet had people asking how much time I’d spent in the kitchen.

At just over 350 pages, the thickness of Matt Preston’s most excellent cookbook can be a bit daunting but it’s one both experienced and novice cooks can enjoy as much as foodies who like to know about what they’re eating.

Preston gives his recipes an Australian focus with mostly easy-to-find ingredients. These are recipes from around the world that are enjoyed in Australia, as opposed to those that are uniquely Australian dishes. But even more unique is that each recipe starts with a myth, which he then dispels in detail. It’s a fascinating read learning what he’s uncovered about the history behind these dishes, such as the first spaghetti bolognese recipe being published in Adelaide, not Italy or the UK (page 195).

The text is in small print making it difficult to read from across the kitchen benchtop, but there’s a lot of information crammed into Preston’s book, from his in-depth myth-busting to comprehensive cooking instructions and extra tips. Complementing the table of contents at the front (ironically written in a very large font), are two indexes at the back: the first being a standard A-Z of recipes, and the second, More Valuable Index by Themes, groups the recipes into useful subheadings like on the table in 45 minutes or less, hot summer nights, midweek favourites, super savers, dinner party favourites, feed a crowd, minimal washing up, and so on.

Preston’s writing style is relaxed and casual, making his fact-finding prose an interesting read. His recipes are joined by William Meppem’s full-page colour photography.

This is an easy book to follow and despite its imposing appearance on the bookshelf, it’s a goldmine of flavour and simplicity, with many old favourites and new dishes to try. Scrap the dumbbells and pick up this weighty tome instead.


Who doesn’t love this classic, filling soup which, according to Preston, is not always made with pumpkin. This recipe is however, with variations given after the main recipe. It’s a basic pumpkin soup that’s not too fiddly and doesn’t require too many ingredients like the more subtly flavoured options in other cookbooks. Even so, basic is all you need, with onion, some herbs and spices and some olive oil to give it all the taste it needs. The recipe serves four and takes about two hours, much of which is taken up by the prep and roasting of the pumpkin. By adding extra pumpkin and a bit more of the other ingredients, I easily expanded this soup to serve eight without any loss to the palate, and every person at the dinner table commented on how much they enjoyed it.


Preston claims it’s a myth that korma curries are always mild, but it’s a hard and fast truth in my kitchen. This one is a mild variety so appealed to my preference. Once again, Preston has delivered an easy-to-make dish that explodes with flavour. His instructions are only five steps, completed in about an hour. I made this while my pumpkins were in the oven roasting for the soup, so by pairing these two up, the timing was impeccable. It can be served with rice or on its own. I opted for a complicated side salad because this recipe was so straight forward and simple to make that I felt guilty for not putting in much effort for the dinner party I was holding that night.

It’s a credit to Preston that the recipes I sampled were so easy to make yet they yielded a result that had people asking how much time I’d spent in the kitchen.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

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

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

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