The best food & gardening books of the month
Cinnamon and Salt by Emiko Davies
I fell hard for Emiko Davies’ recipes when she released Tortellini at Midnight. The title of the book inspired me, but the recipes were what kept her book in constant rotation at my place, partly because they’re easy and partly because they’re equipped to cope with a busy lifestyle and hordes of hungry family members. Davies is an Australia-born author based in Florence (I know!) known for her focus on regional Italian food.
Her latest, Cinnamon and Salt, is an invitation to beautiful Venice through its beloved cicchetti. Cicchetti (pronounced chi-ke- tee) are appetisers, but with a delicious nod to Venice’s casual way of life. Think meatballs and whipped cod, or fritters tossed in rose petal jam and finished with a luscious hot chocolate. This is the type of book you spend time with, deliberating your next cocktail-hour mouthful while sipping on a Bellini. As you travel through the pages of this beautiful book, it will be as if you have left the shores of Australia and begun a new romance.
Lanka Food by O Tama Carey
You might already know O Tama Carey through her work for The Saturday Paper or her (most fabulous) Sydney restaurant, the Lankan Filling Station. Either way, this book is your opportunity to involve all your senses in Sri Lankan food. You might start with a simple recipe like hopper, a type of pancake that can be eaten with curries or even – and there is no shame in this – by its delicious self. Lanka Food reflects the diverse peoples, history, flavours and ideas that have overlapped to create a distinct yet difficult to define cuisine. This is a cookbook that will take over your weekend. By the evening, your kitchen will be brimming with smells that will entice your entire neighbourhood to your table.
Yiayia Next Door by Daniel and Luke Mancuso
There are many reasons to purchase this book, but here are my top two. Firstly, and most importantly, this is a Melbourne story of love and kindness. Yiayia Next Door was inspired by the authors’ Greek neighbour who passed meals over the fence to them in the aftermath of their mother’s death at the hands of their father. They set up an Instagram page to share Yiayia’s efforts with friends and it ended up reaching thousands.
My second reason is the recipes: they are delicious, thoughtful, easy to make and evocative of pure happiness. There are pasta dishes, bakes, soups and pastries; all suitable for any home cook and all created with integrity and generosity. The authors say it’s their mission to ‘support initiatives and people who inspire communities where people feel safe, and neighbours connect and care’. We are all in here at Readings. And so is the publisher, who will donate a portion of the sales of this book to the Australian Childhood Foundation.
Portugal: The Cookbook by Leandro Carreira
I know that Portugal seems a long way away, and I know we don’t always have access to European seafood, but do not let this deter you from poring over this cookbook from cover to cover. It is a giddy celebration of a vibrant cuisine. London-based chef and food writer Leandro Carreira has researched more than 550 traditional recipes for home cooks that encapsulate the breadth and diversity of the food of Portugal, a country whose immense culinary influence has spread far beyond its borders. Think seafood dishes perfect for summer lunches, hearty soups and stews for long winter nights and pastries suitable for every meal.
Portugal: The Cookbook is about delivering dishes to the table that will make you pause and feel grateful to be surrounded by friends and family – and pastries. One should always be surrounded by pastries.