Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The CoffeeBar Kid will be off air for 2 weeks

Sadly other commitments are dragging the Kid away from the mike but he will be regularly posting info.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Getting Hot in the Kitchen

Three Kiwi cook books worth a look.

On tonight's show we have a look over a number of books currently out in the market.

A Bit of What You Fancy - Jo Seager - Penguin $55.00 - This will be released in October 2013

Jo "Easy Peasy" Seager is a professional "Home Cook" - a sort of latter day Alison Holst, a woman you can rely on to provide no fuss enduring recipes, and some clever Ideas, to boot.  These are a bunch of recipes from her cooking school, but they're not nancy-fancy, or 'chef-fie!  The ideas are old and new and the are an approach from the point of view of a question: "What am I going to cook tonight?"  The answer.  What about retro 70's Chicken Kiev? - Minus the huge fat content of the decade. This was almost as good as my mum's.  Or what about A nice slice for tea?  Fresh fish Ceviche?  MMMMM.  Or meringues don in the microwave?  Seriously?  Yes, in 2 minutes flat!  I tried them  It does work!  Seager's advice is no nonsense and straight forward.  There are some really cool recipes in here too, ones I'd steal for every day meals like a bacon and couscous salad, quinoa and feta cakes and even a catering quality crayfish roll made with cucumber.  It looks delicious and is very Moorish.  What a brilliant alternative or maybe upgrade to the Holst book.  Mind you, topping Alison is always going to be a tough move.  So let's just say a compliment to Alison's cookbooks.  Yes, let's do that.

Hungry & Frozen - Laura Vincent - Penguin - $40.00

Laura Vincent started a food blog a while ago. Yes it sounds like the plot to Jules and Julia, but she did and it was very successful.  The site was her opportunity to try out ideas and share thinking on food.  But she was a student, on the bones of her ass.  Her vision as it is now clearly proclaimed on her site, is "luxury, squalor, Wellington, the world, ice-cream, tofu, butter, feelings and seriously, so many feelings and one cookbook', err this one. There are some truly neat ideas that I have delighted in - peanut granola, noodles with miso butter and spring onions, bourbon bacon chicken (is that ever a "2 ingredients inn the cupboard' student recipe.  There's fun, too  Vincent attacks the kiwifruit and banana topping of the trad palova and replaces it with a topping of Smarties.  Is that really a recipe? Probably now.  Gordon Ramsay would not be impressed.  But not every one has limited access to Sea Bass and Risoooooto (al Hell's Kitchen) .  Actually, lollies and alcohol feature a bit here.  Clearly plenty of cocktail parties in her flats over the year.  And That's the thing, this is a book for bright young things.  Not expensive but not entirely appropriate for family dinners.  But then not everyone is cooking for kids and grannies, are they?  I tried many of these recipes out but there is one I haven't got to, but must: Red wine chocolate cake.  This is the ultimate Valentine's day treat, surely!  Essentially it's a straight forward 23 CM chockkie cake with a ganache topping (chocolate and cream) but with a twist a glass of pinot noir - which is the ultimate chocolate wine isn't it.  Many of Vinecent's recipes are simple twists on bog standard  recipes.  But I'd contest that if Jo Seager, above is the professional home cook, then Vincent is a budding amateur chef.  Vincent cooks like me - she takes the ordinary or the regular and plays with it.  But she's definitely not the lady in the Vicar of Dibbley - no anchovy and banana sandwiches here!  I'd like to hang with her in the kitchen, it's be fun to see what she does with scrambled eggs of fruit salad - or anything.  I look forward to her next book, and adventures in food. 

Homemade - Simon Gault - Penguin

From amateur chefs to professional home cooks to professional chefs at home.  Simon Gault is a judge on Master Chef, a show that takes home cooks and makes them into ninja warriors of the kitchen - the professional kitchen!  Gault is also a successful restaurant owner, he runs Euro in Auckland, the Crab Shack and Shed 5 in Wellington, he has a range of stocks and spices and he does TV adventures like Al Brown and his mate Logan.  He knows food at a business level and a personal level.  His home food is an attempt to jazz up the Kiwi kitchen.  Though I wonder, does it compete with Chelsea Winter and Nadia Lim, who have their Masterchef prize winning books out there, too.  Is the master stealing the student's thunder?  The proof will be in the eating, I suspect.  Surprise surprise this is a collection of family fav's and parental hand-me-down recipes, tweaked I suspect beyond recognition.  I still find it hard to believe that any mother who fed their children in the 70's and 80's did not over cook the vege or produce grey well cooked steak, nor did our dad's bbq prawns or Hapuku, or even mussels, with a fresh salsa or Asian pesto.  "Mum's Lamb Shanks contain a bunch of ingredients that were impossible to secure back in the 70's when Gault grew up.  Olive oil for example, could only be bought at the chemist, for cleaning the ears!  My times have changed.  Having said that, the Shanks are fantastic, no matter who the patriarchal inspiration was.  PArt of Gault's book is about menus, he has food for fancy and more standard occasions.  And he has brunch and dessert, including the all important ice-cream, which has dominated Masterchef and the competition My Kitchen Rules.  Gault's is a honey flavoured one and is really simple as it doesn't require an ice-cream maker.  although he does recommend churning it in if available.  Also e recommends blitzing ice-cream from the tray if it should turn from soft and fluffy into icebergs - a cool trick and worth a go.   I was not entirely impressed with this collection.  If it was Ray McVinnie the variety would be greater, but Gault's not the galloping gourmet his Masterchef partner is.  His food is comfort food.  Mostly.  I'm not sure his Lobster Thermodore will ever be that, but we can dream can't we?