Bought at: Dymocks Broadway in Sydney. One of the many books I bought there over the time I worked nearby and desperately craved time away from the office and found solace in bookshops.
Recipes Made: Parmesan Soup with Tiny Pasta & Peas (pp.64-66), Julia’s Caesar (p.83), Turkey & Ricotta Meatballs (pp.168-171) and Afternoon Cake (pp.229-230).
The Parmesan Soup uses up parmesan rinds (which I now keep in the freezer we go through so much parmesan), and the flavour is amazing. And like Julia says in the recipe, your kitchen will smell like melted cheese whilst making this (yum). I have made this soup with both water, homemade chicken stock and bought stock, and while my preference is the subtler flavour of homemade stock, they all work well. I have made this quite a few times now, and I have learnt that I always need to make double as we enjoy it so much.
Julia’s Caesar is an excellent and super tasty recipe for homemade Caesar salad dressing. I love a good Caesar dressing, but unfortunately I don’t think many (if any) of the supermarket varieties are that great. This homemade one is quick to put together and lasts a little while in the fridge. I find we always have the ingredients for it, however we do have a well stocked pantry. If you like anchovies in your Caesar then you will love this one, if not Julia gives a great vegetarian alternative using capers - both in my mind are really good and very flavourful.
For the Meatballs, I have to admit I used Julia’s recipe as a guide. Turkey mince isn’t as easy to come by here, so I have used both chicken and pork on separate occasions. I also never used ricotta as we didn’t have any, so I just added some breadcrumbs (I will actually have to try the recipe as is at some point!). I loved that the meatballs were cooked in the oven rather than on the stove (it was so much easier!!), and the tomato sauce that is served with the meatballs made the dish a lovely warming Winter meal.
The Afternoon Cake is a great, and is inadvertently a diary free cake. You just need a couple of bowls and a whisk - no stand mixer required. The flavour of the cake is given by whatever citrus you have at hand. Julia’s recipe uses oranges, however I have used lemon, blood orange, bergamot and mandarin all with great success. This cake is one I turn to often, and can easily be doubled to feed more people. I have also often substituted the olive oil in the recipe for a flavourless oil like vegetable or sunflower to let the citrus flavours shine on their own.
Favourite Things About the Book: Being a food writer, Julia’s writing in this book is genuinely lovely to read and there is such a sense of cohesiveness about the whole book from start to finish. Each recipe comes with at least one ‘small victory’ about the ease of the recipe, a new skill learnt or a helpful tip to make the process of cooking seamless. Plus there are always extras at the end of each recipe on how to change it up and substitute ingredients. Julia is full of helpful advice, and her recipes have really become a staple in my kitchen. Her recipes are really the kinds of food I want to cook and eat, and I am very much looking forward to getting Julia’s newly released book ‘Now and Again’ (which focuses on utilising leftovers - she really knows what we need doesn’t she?!).
Bookmarked Recipes (to make later!): Aunt Renee’s Chicken Soup (pp.74-77), Cauliflower with Anchovy Bread Crumbs (p.118) and Berry & Buttermilk Cobbler (pp.234-236).