A LITTLE FOOD FLIGHT READING
ANIL Ashokan grew up in what was Bombay and has worked as a chef at the city’s venerable Taj Mahal Hotel, in Europe, Asia and, more recently, at Sydney’s ANA Hotel (now rebranded as a Shangri-La) as executive sous chef. But now you’ll find him happily planted in his own patch, Qmin at St Leonards on Sydney’s north shore. His attractive new book, Qmin:AFreshNew ApproachtoIndianCuisine (Allen & Unwin, $39.95), features full-page photography by Greg Elms and easyto-follow recipes, most with supplementary chef’s notes and suggestions for, say, alternative cuts of meat or best side dishes.
Ashokan points out in his thoughtful preface that it’s time to move beyond notions of Indian cuisine as being one-dimensional, always hot and spicy.
He prefers the descriptors pungent and aromatic, and all the dishes here look just that: deliciously rich and complex. Ashokan has always been interested in food: the cherished memories of watching his mother ‘‘ turn out the most wonderful meals on her little kerosene-fired stove’’ obviously have influenced his choice of career.
Many of the dishes here no doubt star on the menu at Qmin, which is pronounced, naturally, as cumin. www.qmin.com.au. Susan Kurosawa EATWell,LiveWell,withGrowing Children, with introductory text by Karen Kingham (Murdoch Books, $26.95), is the fifth in Murdoch’s special diet series. This is a compact and comprehensive book of recipes aimed at children but that will satisfy the family: each has a nutritional breakdown giving the kilojoules (and calories), fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, fibre and cholesterol content. Recipes are for breakfasts, light meals and lunch boxes, mains and desserts, with extra chapters on rice and pasta and party food. Each is contained within a page and is straightforward, and there are about six full-page colour images within each section. There is nothing especially surprising here (satay, minestrone, shepherd’s pie), all good family feasts and children’s comfort food, but there are also dishes that should stimulate them, such as chicken meatball soup, fresh spring rolls, parmesan grissini, which look dressier than the usual family table fare and are still easy to prepare. The focus is on health, and the fruitbased desserts, party cupcakes and sprinkle biscuits can all be assessed nutritionally.
The opening 20 pages by nutritionist Kingham are full of important background in an age of child obesity, and with realistic help for parents (snacks, takeaways, healthy drinks, breakfasts and, importantly, eating as a family). Judith Elen