A Book Review by Franz Scheurer
I love Neil Perry’s passion for creating good, fresh food without taking short cuts. When I pick up one of his cookbooks I know that it’s going to be a good read, full of helpful hints and choc-a-bloc full of recipes that work. When I see that it is styled and directed by Sue Fairlie-Cunninghame and photographed by Earl Carter, I also know that the visual will match the content.
Neil calls this book an extension of the last one, taking the idea that home recipes don’t have to be horribly time consuming in order to tickle your palate and impress your guests. It’s all about using the best produce you can source and afford and the care you take putting the meal together. Taste, smell, adjust, taste some more and you will succeed!
The book is roughly divided into Brunch, Salads, Pot Pies, Egg Dishes, Seafood Dishes, Poultry and Meat Dishes, and Desserts.
It immediately grabs my attention with the simple but salivatingly-good ‘Zucchini Fritters with Spicy Tomato Sauce’; what a way to start a Sunday!
I love the simplicity of the ‘Salad of Roquefort, Walnuts, Radicchio and Witlof’, flavours and textures that work perfectly. With real prosciutto now available I suggest you try ‘Prosciutto with Tomato and Bread Salsa’, a dish that depends entirely on the quality of the ham. Like most Australians I love a good pie; Neil’s ‘Veal and Paprika Pie’ will stay with your taste buds for a long time. Love your Spag Bol? Well, turn to page 72! What are you waiting for?
If you’re a bit over meat, you don’t miss out. Try ‘Eggplant Parmigiana with Tomato Sauce and Basil Oil’, a vegetarian dish that makes you forget you aren’t eating meat. If you are a little afraid of cooking seafood then the ‘Grilled Blue Eye with Garlic and Anchovy Butter’ is a winner; easy and achievable. Neil stresses the importance of resting meat before you serve it; his ‘Barbecued Beef Fillet with Horseradish Crème Fraiche’ is one of the most appropriate hot-weather meals, and if you do rest the meat as instructed, you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully tender, juicy result. No cookbook is complete without a sweet ending and my favourite has to be the ‘Baked Pear Clafoutis’, a great old favourite with a twist.
Good Food by Neil Perry (Murdoch Books) RRP $ 54.95 ISBN 9781740459235
Available from 1 April 2007