I like cooking from Aussie cookbooks because I don’t have to worry about measurement conversions and ingredient substitutions. This particular book was given me as a birthday present and the reason I love it, apart from the beautiful photography, is that it combines recipes from the best chefs in the country with one common theme: food rescue. I only got to try a handful of recipes this time but have bookmarked several more.
Gypsy chickpea hot pot with pears (recipe by celebrity chef Miguel Maestre): Ok, I admit this is a weird recipe for me to choose since I haven’t eaten many vegetarian legume-based dishes in the past 5 years, but it sounded good enough for me to try. I found it a bit too sweet for my now salt-loving palate and certainly very skinny on the protein content, but it was an enjoyable dish regardless. It is saucy, best enjoyed on top of rice.
Chicken mayonnaise (recipe by Damien Pignolet of The Bellevue Hotel): This is not a dish per se, but rather a template to throw together ingredients that you might have in hand to make a quick and delicious lunch. It’s similar to Peruvian salpicón de pollo, in which chicken, mayonnaise and avocado are the stars of the show.
Salt & pepper pork belly (recipe by 2010 MasterChef winner Adam Liaw): This was my favourite recipe of the lot. It has a small list of ingredients, it’s easy to follow and quick to cook. Delicious when eaten with steamed broccolini or Asian greens.
Ragu (recipe by Logan Campbell of Lucio’s): While this recipe uses ingredients that are fancier than those used for an everyday pasta sauce (e.g. pancetta and dried porcini mushrooms), it is worth cooking. I had to reduce the sauce quite a bit to reach the texture I was after, but the flavour was definitely there. We ate it once on top of konjac noodles and once on top of steamed vegetables, both options were great.