“In a century where being ‘busy’ is worn as a badge of honour, it’s a feat to even find time to host friends for a homecooked meal. The last thing you want to do is spend all night fussing in the kitchen.” So writes journalist and news producer turned food author and teacher Annabelle Chapple in her little cracker of a recipe collection, Three Wise Women: The Cookbook ($20). This is a tiny treat of a book, with well-chosen no-nonsense recipes under headings of Starters, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Sweets (including gently spiced ginger-beer scones) and Drinks (Medicinal Margaritas sound just the shot). Chapple recommends a slow-cooked Strong as an Oxtail Ragu for winter nights, served over fettuccine, and who could resist Nana’s Perfect Pavlova to follow. Nana is Leslyn Ashdown, Chapple’s maternal grandmother, and one of the trio of senior sages who give the book its name. Paternal granny Betty Carter has offered an excellent Betty’s Duck recipe to the assembly, while the third wise woman is Rhyle Parker, Chapple’s husband’s grandma, a champion in the art of morning tea. Cooking tips are included and simple line drawings give the book a satisfyingly old-style feel. Buy online or drop into Julie Tjiandra’s Scrumptious Reads on Brisbane’s fashionable James Street. More: threewisewomen.co/shop; scrumptiousreads.com.au.