The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

Sim­ple Chi­nese Cook­ing Class Kylie Kwong (Lan­tern, $59.95) IT’S the lit­tle things in life that mat­ter, such as the pick­les de­liv­ered to each ta­ble at the start of a meal at Kylie Kwong’s cel­e­brated Syd­ney restau­rant, Billy Kwong. The won­der­fully fresh, sharp flavours al­ways have me in­volved in a midair chop­stick duel for the last piece. Hap­pily, the se­crets to pick­ling ev­ery­thing from beet­root and ginger to cab­bage are re­vealed in the Chi­nese-Aus­tralian chef’s lat­est book, an im­pres­sive fol­low-up to her 2006 re­lease, Sim­ple Chi­nese Cook­ing. The lat­ter has had an ex­tremely good work­out in my home kitchen (Kwong’s quick and easy home-style fried eggs, in par­tic­u­lar, are the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment to a last-minute stir fry) and this new book is set to be­come an­other bench­top reg­u­lar. Sim­ple but se­duc­tive recipes in­clude deep-fried school prawns with chilli salt and le­mon; stir-fried chicken with teasmoked oys­ters and pick­led chill­ies; and braised silken tofu with caramel-spiced soy sauce and deep-fried gar­lic slices. It’s a mouth­wa­ter­ing col­lec­tion of dishes, many with step-by-step in­struc­tions and pho­tos, from one of our most in­no­va­tive and tal­ented chefs and ad­vo­cates of sus­tain­abil­ity. Now where did I put that vine­gar? Every­body Ev­ery­day Alex Mackay (Blooms­bury, $39.99) STAR chefs such as Delia Smith and Ray­mond Blanc have sung the praises of Alex Mackay. A for­mer chef at Miche­lin-starred restau­rants in Europe, he has es­tab­lished a solid ca­reer as a cook­ing teacher and au­thor (his first book, Cook­ing in Provence, won a Gourmand World Cook­book Award). This week the Bri­ton is tour­ing Aus­tralia for the launch of his sec­ond pub­li­ca­tion, a weighty com­pendium that show­cases his teach­ing skills. Rather than a straight line-up of recipes, Mackay guides the be­gin­ner home cook through the en­tire process, from set­ting up kitchen bench space (have all the in­gre­di­ents on one tray, plus a tub half-filled with wa­ter to rinse uten­sils as you go, and an­other in which to store them) to how to prop­erly sea­son food. He in­cludes com­pre­hen­sive guides to in­gre­di­ents, cook­ing terms and tech­niques, and equip­ment. Mackay presents six vari­a­tions on one ‘‘hero’’ recipe: basil pesto, for ex­am­ple, ap­pears as pesto meatballs with toma­toes and gar­lic in one recipe, and a prawn, car­rot and noo­dle broth with ginger and pesto in the next, so the reper­toire can be ex­panded as your con­fi­dence grows. The per­fect kitchen com­pan­ion.

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