I have always been a lover of cookbooks, and I have so many lovely ones that I thought it would be nice to start sharing what I love about them, and to show you some of the things I cook from them.
Like with my reading in general, my cookbook collecting has really skewed firmly local over the past few years – I want to see recipes and books that showcase beautiful produce from all around Australia, and there are a bunch of cooks and food writers bringing out books that do just that.
Sophie Hansen’s books are perfect examples of exactly what I’m looking for in a cook book these day. I own and love both A Basket by the Door and In Good Company for the way they focus on celebrating and sharing seasonal food. They are both beautiful books to browse through and I really appreciate how Australian they feel, both in terms of the styling and the way our landscape features as a backdrop to many of the shoots.
When I saw that Sophie’s new, Around the Kitchen Table, book was going to be a collaboration with her mum Annie Herron, and would focus on not just food and cooking but also art – well, I felt like it was just made for me. And even though my expectations – and excitement – were already high, I was beyond delighted when the book arrived (insert all the heart eye emojis here!). This book is divine – the combination of food made to share and art projects and inspiration is just so perfect, and I really like the way it is organised into seasons. I took it along to show my friends at my watercolour class and everyone loved it.
I have baked a couple of things from it already, and this week when I wanted to whip up a quick after-school treat on Wednesday I decided to give Annie’s 5 minute choc-malt cake a try. The recipe was so easy – it’s one of those where you just throw everything into the bowl and mix it for 5 minutes then back. I literally started baking after 2pm and it was ready by the time I left for school pick up. My daughter loved it and it has been a hit in her lunch box.
There is a little section in the book about sourdough, which I’m super keen to try out (hello apricot, almond, and fennel loaf) which I’d like to share on here when I try it, and I think it would also be fun to share some of the arty bits too.
You can get a taste for Sophie’s and Annie’s work one their websites (here and here, respectively), and peek at what is inside the book (including some printable projects and video tutorials) on the Around the Kitchen Table website here. I feel like the book does such a great job of combining both their work and staying authentic to both their beautiful styles – it really works so well!
In case you can’t tell, I absolutely recommend this one. I think it would be a gorgeous gift for anyone interested seasonal, local, beautiful, food, or someone wanting to connect with their creativity – I just found it all so inspiring!
Around the Kitchen Table by Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron
Out now from Murdoch Books.