The best food & gardening books in May

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The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey along the Ancient Spice Routes by Eleanor Ford

The one and only Yotam Ottolenghi said publicly that Eleanor Ford is a gastronomic archaeologist and I realised with one quick shiver of delight that surely that is the job of great dreams. Ford’s latest book, The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey along the Ancient Spice Routes is filled with recipes and stories that explore how centuries of spice trading and cultural diffusion changed the world’s cuisine.

This is a unique cookbook. Think curries with historical research as a side; think soups with flavour profiles; bakes with spice journals. This is the type of cookbook you purchase because you like to read and create; this is the book you buy for your foodie friend, and it is certainly the gift you give yourself alongside a visit to the market to stock up on coriander seeds, chilli powder and cinnamon.


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Vegan at Home: Recipes for a Modern Plant-based Lifestyle by Solla Eiríksdóttir

Over in Iceland where the sun does not shine every day, and the average summer temperature is only 12 degrees, Solla Eiríksdóttir decided to go vegan and use vegetables to provide all her necessary vitamins. And it worked. Now she is considered a celebrity in her home country where she is a great advocate for plant- based diets. This vegan food encyclopedia of sorts provides close to 150 simple and elegant vegan recipes designed to take you throughout the day and into the night. My favourite section however, and certainly the one I will find the most useful, is titled ‘Celebrations’. It provides delicious menus for feeding everyone at the table, not just those that sit on the left. This book is suitable for all home cooks and is a classy contribution to the vegan platform.


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Paon: Real Balinese Cooking by Tjok Maya Kerthyasa & I Wayan Kresna Yasa

Tjok Maya Kerthyasa has lived her life either in Australia or her birthplace Bali. Over there, she lives a wonderful life on that beautiful island talking about Balinese food and creating dishes that remind you that fresh is best. Together with I Wayan Kresna Yasa the two travel through mountains and rice fields to bring you recipes of original and authentic Balinese dishes. By doing so, the two reveal a largely untold story of this favourite holiday destination.

There are over 80 recipes – yes, roasted meats, smoked duck, seafoods, rice balls and curries are all included – as well as photography that will bring tears to your eyes. The splendour of this island, the food, the people and the places of worship allow us a unique view into the story of Bali. Not since Janet DeNeefe’s cookbook (Bali: The Food of My Island) have we been privy to such a detailed portrait. This is a picture-perfect cookbook for all of us planning or dreaming of our next venture to those sweet shores.

The Nutmeg Trail

The Nutmeg Trail

Eleanor Ford

$49.99Buy now

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