The best food & gardening books of the month

We are so fortunate that we are not in another country battling a pandemic, but rather here in Australia living in relative peace. There are some things we can do to acknowledge that privilege and it can start at our kitchen table. It does not seem much but honouring our produce and our creators does add to our well-being and culture, and the cookbooks below pay respect to the culinary cultures that lie at the heart of our communities. Food can be such a simple way to express gratitude, and all you have to do is cook up a perfect soup or salad or pasta dish, and of course, acknowledge how bloody lucky we are to be able to do so.


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Artichokes and Village Greens by Fofi Gourlas

My neighbours are Greek and often on a Sunday the noise from their backyard reaches delicious crescendos of laughter and song. My place seems quite staid in comparison. Sydney Markets Plaza Café owner Fofi Gourlas is a passionate home cook who, I reckon, learnt to cook at those traditional Greek Sunday feasts. Her speciality is serving a vegetarian banquet.

This book is a treasure trove of vegetarian recipes, ranging from traditional Greek meze to soups, from salads and greens to pasta, pies and tarts. There is also a handy section with traditional Greek biscuits, sweets, cakes and desserts. You will need to provide your own dimotiki music but follow Gourlas’s easy steps and you will have a Greek banquet before you can say cucumber.


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My Darling Lemon Thyme: Every Day by Emma Galloway

Emma Galloway is definitely not a lazy woman. She is a former chef, food photographer and the creator of the multi-award-winning food blog My Darling Lemon Thyme. This is her third book, and it is wonderful. There are over 100 vegetarian recipes, flavour- packed and gluten-free, which are super quick to make. Yes, you heard it here first. Here are recipes you can trust, for every season and for every day.

This collection of recipes passes my Tuesday evening test: can you pick up this book, follow a recipe on a Tuesday eve, while also listening to your kids doing homework and your dog pleading for a walk? Yes, you can. Take it from someone who is lazy.


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Penang Local by Aim Aris & Ahmad Salim

This is one of those books that makes travel easy: simply pour yourself a cold lager, settle into a comfy spot and open the pages to be met with the bustling food markets of Penang, filled with the colour of spices, the smell of chilli and coriander and the warmth of roasting nuts and hot bowls of noodle soups. Included alongside these vibrant images are the best recipes from Penang, a region obsessed with food.

Malaysian cuisine is perfect for any occasion – I find laksa the morning after a big night very helpful – and Penang Local celebrates the traditional cuisine that is cherished by locals and fervently adored by visitors, while embracing the multicultural influences that continue to shape this vibrant and historic food scene. Best of all, we can get all the ingredients needed for these recipes right here.


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Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home by Uyen Luu

Put your Ubereats or Menulog account away right now. I completely understand the desire to have a steaming bowl of rice and egg noodles within the hour, but in Vietnamese, Uyen Luu demonstrates that Vietnamese food is just as easy to whip up as making that order – all you need is a good bottle of fish sauce and a little tenacity.

This glorious collection includes traditional recipes that are easy to prepare. Some have a modern twist on an old classic, but that simply makes it easier to make right now. The recipes are simple yet impressive, and it will illustrate how much money you can save just by doing it yourself.


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Maggie’s Harvest by Maggie Beer

It’s possible you have this copy of Maggie Beer’s signature recipes already, but perhaps your copy is splattered with vincotto or smeared with quince paste or stained by pheasant pâté. Perhaps you know someone who does not own this slice of Australian food history, in which case, this is your opportunity to introduce them to this beautiful re-jacketed cookbook classic.

Divided into four chapters based on the seasons, this book highlights Beer’s philosophy of using the freshest and best seasonal produce available and treating it simply. It provides information on the local seasonal ingredients that Maggie is most passionate about, which she either grows on her farm and orchard in the Barossa, or sources from local suppliers.


Chris Gordon is the events manager for Readings. She also writes on the topics of gardening and cooking for Readings.

Artichokes and Village Greens

Artichokes and Village Greens

Fofi Gourlas

$35.00Buy now

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