The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

GREG Dun­can Pow­ell’s ThePig,the­O­live &th­eSquid (Mur­doch Books, $36.95) is about the ba­sic, rus­tic in­gre­di­ents of cook­ing. Not pack­ets of dried legumes or stand-by cans of beans in the sta­ples cup­board, but the grape, the olive, chicken, pig, the lemon, and more; the in­gre­di­ents and their hum­ble be­gin­nings.

Pow­ell is the wine and drinks ed­i­tor of VogueEn­ter­tain­ing+Travel , and a wine colum­nist. His in­ter­est in food stems from boy­hood and has de­vel­oped along rus­tic lines with strong over­seas in­flu­ences. This book fo­cuses on dishes from hum­ble ori­gins, and on eco­nomic meals. Pow­ell’s ap­pear­ance on the cover dressed in what ap­pears to be monk’s robes and san­dals, em­pha­sises this re­turn to ba­sics, but he is also pour­ing him­self a gob­let of wine. And the first chap­ter, The Grape, use­fully sum­marises grape va­ri­eties grown in Aus­tralia and gives a brief look at the his­tory of wine ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

With chap­ters or­gan­ised around Pow­ell’s cho­sen in­gre­di­ents, two or three pages give a con­densed back­ground his­tory, fol­lowed by six or so recipes. Th­ese can be as ba­sic as pasta with oil, gar­lic and pars­ley, or as in­ter­est­ing as em­padas de gal­inha, chicken pies from the Por­tuguese prov­ince of Alen­tejo.

There are recipes from around the world: Spain, Italy, Greece, Thai­land. San­ti­ago lemon and al­mond cake, with its dis­tinct Ara­bic over­tones, looks in­trigu­ing. It orig­i­nates in the pil­grims’ city of San­ti­ago de Com­postela (where, in­ci­den­tally, the tem­pranillo grape variety is thought to have con­nec­tions with pinot noir cut­tings, brought by the early pil­grims from Bur­gundy).

Don’t be dis­cour­aged by Pow­ell’s re­al­ity television-style get-up. The recipes and the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of their ageold in­gre­di­ents will be a worth­while ad­di­tion to the kitchens of be­gin­ner cooks, es­pe­cially those weaned on prepack­aged meals and fast food. AT the other end of the spec­trum of re­sponses to mod­ern eat­ing, LowGI Gluten-free­L­iv­ing:TheEssen­tialDiet andRecipeGuide, by Kate Marsh, Jen­nie Brand-Miller and Philippa San­dall (Ha­chette Aus­tralia, $35), has been writ­ten for those liv­ing with coeliac dis­ease and di­a­betes. The book re­veals that one in ev­ery 100 Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders has coeliac dis­ease. Many peo­ple with th­ese se­ri­ous, in some cases in­cur­able, dis­eases fol­low gluten-free di­ets. Miller is a pro­fes­sor of hu­man nu­tri­tion at the Univer­sity of Syd­ney, and di­rec­tor of Syd­ney Univer­sity Glycemic In­dex Re­search Ser­vices. Marsh, a di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion­ist, has suf­fered from di­a­betes since child­hood and also has coeliac dis­ease. The book’s in­tro­duc­tion points out that con­di­tions such as coeliac dis­ease and di­a­betes can be treated through diet. There are ex­pla­na­tions, ground rules and guide­lines, and th­ese sec­tions are fol­lowed by more than 100 pages of recipes, con­clud­ing with de­tailed ta­bles of foods, serv­ing sizes and their GI and car­bo­hy­drate con­tent.

Recipes are ar­ranged un­der chap­ters for break­fasts and brunches (peachy pis­ta­chio por­ridge, for ex­am­ple, and ri­cotta, straw­berry and ba­nana wraps); snacks and treats (such as ba­nana wal­nut loaf); light meals and lunches (corn and co­rian­der frit­ters); sal­ads and soups (Ital­ian rice and lentil soup, pis­ta­chio and quinoa tabouli); mains (Moroc­can seafood stew); desserts (co­conut and lime mac­a­roons) and ba­sics (sauces, curry blends, veg­etable mashes). Th­ese ex­am­ples give an idea of the range of recipes in this se­ri­ous book, but in­gre­di­ents are the key. Ju­dith Elen

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