In the sea of cookbooks that bring us exotic and intricate recipes from all over the world, sometimes it’s refreshing to go back to basics – back to the recipes cooked by our mothers and grandmothers, back to the recipes we might have started out with on our own culinary journey, back to the recipes that give us comfort and pleasure without demanding any more than just a few rudimentary cooking skills.
If these are the recipes you would like to have on your kitchen shelf, or if you know someone who is just starting out and you would like to give them some basic guides to help them on their way, a new series from New Holland Publishers is worth seeking out.
Central to the collection is The Basic Cookbook Guide, which features more than 300 timeless recipes, from Cauliflower Soup, Coleslaw and French Toast, to Tuna Mornay, Chilli Con Carne and Carrot Cake. From making a basic stock to making the perfect gravy or omelette, it’s all here to guide you towards simple, fuss-free home cooking.
For those who want to explore the culinary world a little further, The Cook’s Dictionary Guide is a great reference tool with more than 3,500 entries covering basic foods, preparation and storage tips, cooking techniques, well-known international dishes, cooking utensils, macrobiotic terms and beverages. Every entry includes the country of origin, while ingredients are listed with recommended uses and cooking methods.
The collection also includes a number of books in the same simple, practical vein as The Basic Cookbook Guide but focused on particular cooking styles. The Slow Cooking Guide shows how to create wonderful slow-cooked dishes with minimal effort. From soups to stews, roasts, braises, casseroles and even desserts, the recipes come with tips and tricks that will help you get the best out of your slow cooker.
For those interested in pursuing a vegetarian lifestyle, or who simply want to include more meatless dishes in their diet, The Vegetarian Cooking Guide is a great place to start. Explore the world of fresh fruit and vegetables, hearty grains and nutritious pulses, in wholesome recipes for everything from light snacks and dips to hearty soups, mains and side dishes. The Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad recipe here is from this enticing guide.
Each book in the collection is illustrated liberally with enticing images, making the guides fun and practical to dip into for anyone wanting to get back to basics.
Recipe for Pulled Pork
250 ml (8 oz) barbecue sauce
125 ml (4 oz) apple cider
125 ml (4 oz) beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 kg (4½ lb) pork shoulder
20 to 24 slider buns
Coleslaw, to serve
Combine all the ingredients except for the pork, buns and coleslaw in a bowl and stir. Pour half the sauce into a slow cooker, add the pork, then cover with the rest of the sauce. Cook, covered, on high heat for 5 to 6 hours or on low heat for 10 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and pour the sauce into a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to the boil and reduce it until it thickens.
Meanwhile, remove the bone from the pork and, using two forks, shred the meat. Put the meat and the thickened sauce back in the slow cooker to keep warm. Slice the buns lengthwise, leaving a join at the back. To assemble the rollers, spoon in enough pork and sauce to fill it.
Recipe and images from The Slow Cooking Guide, published by New Holland Publishers and reproduced with the publisher’s permission.
Buy your copy of The Slow Cooking Guide from Book Depository now (free delivery worldwide).
Buy your copy of The Slow Cooking Guide from Australian-owned Booktopia.
Recipe for Zucchini Salad
600g (1 lb 5 oz) small zucchini (courgette)
45 ml (1½ fl oz) sunflower oil, plus extra for frying
105 ml (3½ fl oz) walnut oil
20 ml (2/3 fl oz) white wine vinegar
salt and black pepper
100 g (3½ oz) whole blanched hazelnuts
170 g (6 oz) watercress, thick stalks removed
75 g (2½ oz) feta, crumbled
Pare the zucchini into lengthwise slivers, using a vegetable peeler. In a bowl, mix together the sunflower oil, walnut oil and vinegar and season. Add half the zucchini slivers to the mixture, toss lightly and set aside.
Brush a large frying pan with a little sunflower oil and heat. Lay the remaining zucchini slivers in the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly charred. Remove, season and set aside. Wipe the pan clean.
Roughly crush the hazelnuts, using a pestle and mortar, or put them in a plastic bag, seal it and crush the hazelnuts with a rolling pin. Place in the frying pan and fry for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden.
Divide the watercress between serving plates. Spoon some of the marinated zucchini into the centre, reserving some of the marinade. Scatter over half the toasted hazelnuts and the feta. Arrange the charred zucchini on top, and sprinkle over the rest of the hazelnuts and the reserved marinade.
Recipe and images from The Vegetarian Cooking Guide, published by New Holland Publishers and reproduced with the publisher’s permission.
Buy your copy of The Vegetarian Cooking Guide from Book Depository now (free delivery worldwide).
Buy your copy of The Vegetarian Cooking Guide from Australian-owned Booktopia.
This story originally appeared in PS News.