Snow Flakes And Schnapps
By Jane Lawson
A book review by Franz Scheurer
If first impressions count, then this is a superb food and recipe book. The whole presentation from the blind embossed cover to the appetizing and superb photography is enticing and animating you to buy. Thankfully, if you do, you are rewarded with good stories and wonderful recipes, just the thing you might want for the upcoming winter.
Jane Lawson isn’t only knowledgeable in all matters of food, but she is also a good storyteller. She spins a great yarn and manages to keep the reader’s attention. She takes us on a journey through the cold-climate countries of Europe and Russia and warms our cockles with hearty soups, slow braises, stews, desserts and a selection of Christmas specials, which might just be perfect for your next Christmas in July. I am happy to see that a glass of Schnapps is never too far away as this definitely makes cooking a lot more fun.
Through her searching and probing Jane Lawson eventually catches up with her German heritage in a rather unexpected way and vindicates her preference for cold and snow over humidity and heat. This book reminds me of my own upbringing in Switzerland and it is one of my more prized possessions.
Recipes I particularly like are the ‘Goulash Soup with Caraway Dumplings’, the currently seasonal hit of ‘Rosemary and Spice Chestnuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts’, the ‘Wholemeal Piroshki with Lamb and Eggplant’ and the ‘Raisin Ale Cake with Walnut Streusel Topping’. In the drinks section I like the ‘Honey and Saffron Liqueur’ and when it comes to sweet things it would be hard to beat the ‘Creamed Polenta with Cinnamon Prunes’ or the ‘Warm Chocolate and Walnut Pancake Torte’. Going more upmarket I’d be happy to eat the ‘Grilled Oysters with Cauliflower Custard and Caviar’ any day and if you’re celebrating Christmas in July I’d suggest the ‘Roast Goose with Apple, Cider Vinegar, Gravy and Golden Potatoes’.
No doubt the above paint a picture what this book is all about and if you like hearty, soulful food, this one is for you. Make yourself the ‘Apple Oliebollen with Buttermilk Nutmeg Ice Cram’, settle back on a bear rug in front of an open fire and read SNOW FLAKES AND SCHNAPPS
RRP: $ 69.95, available in May 2009
Published by Murdoch Books