Win­ing and din­ing

Start your year on a gas­tro­nomic high note with fab­u­lously fun cook­books guar­an­teed to get the party go­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Taste - Re­views by ABIRAMI DURAI [email protected]­tar.com.my

Bak­ing All Year Round

Au­thor: Rosanna Pansino Pub­lisher: Atria Books Price: RM145.90

YOUTUBE has been in­cred­i­bly kind to Rosanna Pansino, who runs the Nerdy Mum­mies cook­ing se­ries, one of the most pop­u­lar bak­ing shows on the video-shar­ing plat­form, with over 10 mil­lion sub­scribers. In her sopho­more cook­book (her first was

The Nerdy Mum­mies Cook­book), Pansino of­fers a fun, pho­to­genic range of baked treats for cel­e­bra­tions like Valen­tine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Hal­loween, Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas.

Like most YouTube per­son­al­i­ties, Pansino her­self fea­tures quite a lot in the book (ev­ery chap­ter opens with an image of her) but, luck­ily for her, she’s in­cred­i­bly easy on the eyes, so this is prob­a­bly a very clever mar­ket­ing tac­tic (al­though if you only care about the recipes, this does reek of overt self-pro­mo­tion).

On the plus side, the recipes look de­light­ful – each one so very pretty that even the most bak­ing-averse soul will want to give it a go. Some high­lights in­clude Cham­pagne cup­cakes, pump­kin din­ner rolls, bread­stick bones, black­berry cob­bler, daisy le­mon tarts and In­sta­gram-wor­thy bird’s nest cook­ies.

Pansino also very help­fully in­cludes plenty of de­tailed in­struc­tions, in­clud­ing a pic­to­rial guide on how to fold bat­ter and poach in­gre­di­ents as well as the out­lines of all her cook­ies, so you can out­line your own moulds. Ul­ti­mately, if you’re af­ter a spot of fun, fes­tive bak­ing, you’ll adore this light-hearted cook­book.

Big Sal­ads

Au­thor: Kat Mead Pub­lisher: Quadrille Price: RM104.90

FEW things in the culi­nary world have been as rel­e­gated to the side­lines as sal­ads. There aren’t many peo­ple who would con­sider a salad a sat­is­fy­ing meal. Men­tal im­ages are of­ten of co­pi­ous amounts of let­tuce leaves and not much else, which is why sal­ads are of­ten thought of as the smaller (read: less il­lus­tri­ous) open­ing acts to the big stars (read: main cour­ses).

Which is what Lon­don-based food writer Kat Mead is look­ing to re­verse with the aptly named Big Sal­ads, which is es­sen­tially a com­pi­la­tion of very large sal­ads de­signed to be main cour­ses.

The pic­tures in the book are fan­tas­tic – vi­va­cious, colour­ful and just brim­ming with va­ri­ety. The meals are ar­ranged ac­cord­ing to the sea­sons, so you can opt for sum­mer sal­ads like BBQ cau­li­flower taco salad or flamegrilled oc­to­pus with peper­onata and but­ter bean salad, or win­ter fare like burnt or­ange, mack­erel and kale with ba­con.

There’s lit­er­ally ev­ery­thing for ev­ery sea­son and plenty to in­spire you along the way. If your 2019 res­o­lu­tion is to eat less carbs (and you’re dread­ing just the thought of it), look to this repos­i­tory of yummy sal­ads for en­cour­age­ment and en­light­en­ment.

Mex­i­cana

Au­thor: Es­ther Clark Pub­lisher: HarperCollins Pub­lish­ers Price: RM69.90

THERE’S so much to love about Mex­i­cana. In many ways, it is re­flec­tive of Mex­i­can food it­self – the pages burst­ing with flavour, colour and so much life, you won’t be able to re­sist the urge to break into a dance (or two). An air of fes­tiv­ity per­me­ates the book and this is mir­rored in the im­ages, which are mul­ti­hued and in­cred­i­bly cel­e­bra­tory.

Recipes for tacos, na­chos, sal­sas, desserts and drinks abound, and quan­ti­ties are de­signed for shar­ing, so there’s plenty of in­spi­ra­tion for that next din­ner party. If you re­ally want to get the party crank­ing, try out recipes like the crispy squid and sun­shine salad tacos, skil­let smoky an­cho meat­ball na­chos, fiery ha­banero chicken wings, green to­matillo salsa, and, to fin­ish off, a clas­sic mar­garita.

This isn’t one of those se­ri­ous cook­books with lengthy in­tro­duc­tions about the his­tory and et­y­mol­ogy of Mex­i­can food; it’s just a good, old-fash­ioned fun cook­book that’s guar­an­teed to keep the party go­ing till the wee hours of the morn­ing.

Wine Folly: Mag­num Edi­tion – The Mas­ter Guide

Au­thors: Made­line Puck­ette & Justin Ham­mack

Pub­lisher: Avery Price: RM164.50

THE deluxe edi­tion of this book (which was first pub­lished three years ago) is a fas­ci­nat­ingly de­tailed ex­plo­ration of wines. The book is ideal read­ing for wine hob­by­ists, en­thu­si­asts and se­ri­ous oenophiles look­ing to widen their knowl­edge.

What is likely to ap­pease modern read­ers (who are no­to­ri­ous for hav­ing the at­ten­tion spans of gnats) is how well-de­signed the book is – ev­ery­thing is colour-coded, charts in all their per­mu­ta­tions are an ev­ery-page oc­cur­rence (think pie charts, flow charts and pyra­mids) and pic­tures are plen­ti­ful.

Also, the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided in the book has been dis­tilled and lib­er­ated of its hoity-toity shack­les, so reg­u­lar plebs with a lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of wines can com­pre­hend ev­ery­thing in here with per­fect clar­ity. The book also in­cludes use­ful in­for­ma­tion about dif­fer­ent wines, wine re­gions, wine terms, pair­ing tips and even in­ter­est­ing colour gra­di­ents of wines.

The bot­tom line is, any­one who’s af­ter a be­gin­ner-friendly voy­age into the won­der­ful world of wines will love this wellthought out dummy’s guide.

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