Kitchen by Mike – Mike McEnearney

Book Review by Franz Scheurer





Mike has come a long way since he was an apprentice at Rockpool so many years ago and not only did he develop his own style but as he got older his cooking matured into simpler, more classic comfort food. He is a great advocate of big flavours over tizzy presentation and the best accolade has to be his always burstingly full restaurant.


In the book you’ll find a terrific collection of very achievable recipes, some unusual flavour combinations and some really good ideas for the home cook.


The book is divided into:




Winter and



It’s obviously seasonal and a terrific guide to use if you’re having a dinner party. The recipes work and are easily laid out. My favourite dishes are the ‘Cherries with Kirsch Granita & White Chocolate Sabayon’ on pages 104/105

and I find the step by step instructions for making your own tofu on pages 209-211 extremely helpful. I love his simple ‘Fish Pie’ on pages 182/183 and I had a chance to eat his ‘Salt-Baked Barramundi with Braised Fennel’ last night and it's a cracker dish.


Alan Benson, one of my favourite Sydney photographers did the imagery throughout the book and although I really don’t like the stylistic approach (which obviously was the brief) I find the pics instructive.


ISBN 978-1-921383-50-2

Go and get one!





Organum – Peter Gilmore

Book review by Franz Scheurer




Organum (and I quote Peter Gilmore) refers to the idea that multiple harmonies can create a new sound. This term was originally applied to Gregorian chants in the ninth and tenth centuries when polyphonic sound was achieved. The same idea applies to barbershop singing, in which four voices can work together to create a new sound, or fifth voice. This idea has resonated with me in the development of my cuisine. Multiple ingredients achieving harmony, flavours, textures, techniques, aroma, culture and innovation come together to create something new - a unique dish. The principles of harmony in the coming together of many elements is the reason Organum is the world I have chosen to represent my cuisine.


This is a book that brings together the talents of Chef Peter Gilmore extending his knowledge, passion, technique and artisan skills with the help of passionate farmers, producers and suppliers who give him incredible produce to work with. Peter hopes that this book will not just be coffee table book but will inspire a new generation of young chefs to from meaningful, direct relationships with farmers and producers. Peter believes this is the key to producing a cuisine of substance.


The book is simply beautiful. If you are only ever going to buy one cookbook, this has to be it. It’s deep, meaningful, beautiful and relevant. Some recipes are achievable for the home cook, but in most instances the equipment needed and the produce that is so imperative to the success of Peter’s dishes is simply not available to most.


Peter really delves into each and every item he uses in the creation of his dishes; he explores every aspect of the produce he uses, taking into account the age and all the various parts that are useable and when to use them, and where. As you first eat with your eyes there is no doubt that Peter’s dishes are beautiful, delicate, ethereal and a snapshot in time. Once you eat one of his creations you realise just what an impact the combination of aroma, flavour and texture will have both on your body and your soul. You are not likely to forget his creations easily or in fact never. The flavours are complex yet he does achieve a new dimension of flavour by his combination of individual elements in the flavour profile of this dishes, ergo the name Organum is not only appropriate, it’s a revelation.


They also produced an Organum companion App for the iPad (downloadable from Apple’s iStore and it’s comprehensive and intuitive. 


This is, in my opinion, the most important cookbook of our time. I salute you Peter Gilmore!



Pies and Tarts – Stéphane Reynaud

Book review by Franz Scheurer




Oh my God… I’m in love. This is the single most drool-worthy book I have ever laid my hungry eyes on. 190 pages of pies and tarts, every single one better than the one before. This is THE book to own if you’re into pies and tarts.


The book is divided into:

Pantry power

Vegetables and mushrooms

Poultry and rabbit pies

Meat pies

Fish and seafood pies

Cheese pies

Sweet pies


I absolutely adore the step-by-step, supported by detailed pics, of how to make Pâte Brisée, Pâte Sablée and Pâte Feuiletée. No more excuses: you can make your own pastry and it’s so much easier than you imagine.


Chef shows you how to assemble a pie, how to pinch it and fold it and how to bake it. He even goes into tins, trimmings and decoration.


To pinpoint favourites amongst these is a tough one, but here are my personal highlights:

Potato Pie on pages 26/27

Herb and Hazelnut Pie on pages 30/31

Chanterelle Feuilleté on pages 38/39 (you only get fresh Chanterelles in Australia for a very short time but they are around, imported by companies like GJ Foods)

Chicken Pies with 30 Cloves of Garlic, pages 48/49

Pigeon Pastilla on pages 54/55

Wild Duck Pie on pages 58/59

Delicate little Pézenas Pies on pages 76/77

An incredible Bacon Sausage Roll on pages 100/101

A beautiful version of Koulibiac on pages 120/121

Smoked Herring Pie with Witlof on pages 140/141

The incredible Brebis Fingers on pages 144/145

The Picodon in a Sweet Crust on pages 154/155

And finally the Choc-Pear Crisp on pages 176/177


My all time favourite has to be the Picodon in a Sweet Crust, which is basically a soft cheese pie in puff pastry with bacon strips on top. What’s not to like?


Although I’m repeating myself: this is a hell of a book!

The photography by Marie-Pierre Morel is good, and although moody it’s appetising and descriptive.


Published by Murdoch Press

ISBN 978-1743369845  RRP $ 49.99


Last word: GET IT, you can’t live without it.





Southern Ground - Zac Brown & Friends - Vol 1

Book Review by Franz Scheurer

The Zac Brown Band is a well-known American band with some cool hits and a few good albums to their credit. They are outstanding musicians but they're also foodies and have published their own cookbook. 

This book is truly unique; not a word I usually use, ever, but I've never seen anything like it and it must be a rather expensive production. The cover is cloth-bound, and embossed, with a sticker for the text. Each page is about 320gsm thick (bloody thick!) and contains lore, history of the band, great collection of pics and of course the band's recipes. Each recipe is written on a small recipe card; ingredients on the front and method on the back, then inserted into a mylar lightly frosted pocket stuck to the pages of the book; Ingenious!  This way you have the best of looks and the practicality that you can remove the recipe, cook it, then put it back into the book. The whole book is perfect bound (no stitches showing at the back, open up flat and is 18cm high x 23cm wide and 3cm thick with 57 printed pages plus cover, containing 26 recipes). 

I love the recipes; a mix of location and family tradition with some quirky modern ideas thrown in and they work.  From Campfire Filet Tip Chili via Crunchy Polenta Cakes to Boston Stew with Boston Butt the collection is a wonderful snippet of what the band's tastebuds are like. I adore their Lagniappe Gumbo, the Southern Black Eyed Pea Fritters and Mumsy's Deviled Eggs. This is a real fun book with real fun recipes and a perfect complement to Zac Brown's music.  Another wonderful thing they do is that at their concerts they have food trucks stationed outside the concert venue and feed their food to the crowds!

My favourite recipe is: Farmers' Fried Green Tomatoes with 'Joleene' from their Foundation CD




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