Cookbook Review: Argentinian Street Food

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Argentinian Street Food

‘Argentinian Street Food’ might be a super-cute cookbook with its simple cover and cut-out design, but don’t be fooled – it works damn hard for all that cuteness. A little on the quirky side, filled with simple step-by-step illustrations and gorgeous photographs, it’s the sort of book that will have you pouring over the recipes just for the fun of it. And then, pretty much demanding you cook from it. It’s that irresistible.

 But what I love most about Argentinian Street Food is the subject matter. Yeah, yeah, of course – FOOD – but my favourite kind of food. We’re not talking sit-down to eight courses that take three days to prepare here, Street Food is exactly what it should be: simple to prepare. Simple to hold. Simple to eat, pastries. The kind of food where you’re more concerned about the awesome conversation you’re having with the people you’re sharing that food with than which of the eight knives and forks you’re supposed to use first. In other words, this is social food. It’s fun and it’s tasty. And then there’s ice cream. Well, helados, which is kind of like Argentina’s version of gelato, but… different.


The authors, Enrique Zononi and Gaston Stivelmaher are Argentinian chefs who live and work in Paris, serving up their specialty pastries and ice cream in three different restaurants, as well as a mobile food cart that wanders through the streets of Paris. Called ‘Carrito’, the van is a tribute to the Buenos Aires of the 1950’s, serving empanadas and helados. The book starts out with the basics – how to make the two different styles of dough required for making stuffed empanadas (baked and fried).

Then, with step-by-step instructions even a first-timer can understand, it moves on to how to fill and fold the dough ‘parcels’, and, most importantly, how to ‘hem’ them to get not just a great-looking result, but a empanada that won’t leak. And then, the recipes move on to the actual fillings. For me, the first one I’m going to try cooking is definitely the Blue Cheese and Celery (with pecan nuts and mozzarella too!) though my husband is keen on checking out the Duck Confit and Foie Gras version. But it’s not just extravagant, out-there fillings included here – good old ham and cheese gets a look-in too.

Zanoni and Stivelmaher have also included a handful of ‘Pica Pica’ dishes, which are basically ‘little dishes’ – a bit of something on the side. My favourite here is the marinated beetroot with fresh goat’s cheese and chopped pistachios. Omgosh!

Finally, we get back to the helados and dulces – or confectionary. I’m passionate about making my own ice cream, and the stand-out recipe for me here is the Raspberry-Malbec sorbet. I can’t wait to try it out with some home-grown raspberries. And oh, while we’re at it, I think the Preserved Cumquats recipe just saved me the drama of marmalade this year…


Argentinian Street Food is available from April 1st, 2014.


Published by Murdoch Books

160 pages, hardcover

ISBN – 9781743362945

RRP – $29.95

Cookbook Review: Simply Good Food by Neil Perry

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There’s no doubt Neil Perry is one of Australia’s most distinguished, premiere chefs. Not only does he operate a string of highly successful restaurants, is a regular on our television screens and is the creator of airline Qantas’s menus – he also finds time to write gorgeous cookbooks and share his creations us.

Simply Good Food is Perry’s sixth cookbook, and delivers exactly what the title offers: Simple recipes made with fresh, quality ingredients. Retailing at $49.99, this is not just for Foodies, but it also doubles as a stunning coffee table book. Its hard cover, heavy papers and stylish matt photography makes it a book to ogle over in more ways than one.

neil perry

Neil Perry

Divided into sections covering a few of Neil’s favourite cocktails, soups, salads and pasta dishes, followed by meat dishes such as chicken, pork, beef, veal and lamb recipes, the real knock-out dishes are, for me, the Asian banquets, Mediterranean shared tables and Mexican Feasts. I love this kind of ‘open table’ dining with family and friends – it’s a great way to keep everyone happy!

Recipes at the top of my list to try out include:

  • Smoked Ocean Trout Dip With Lemon Thyme Toast
  • Chicken Wings in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce (omg, wow – right?)
  • Veal Escalopes With Artichokes and Prosciutto (I’m a fiend for both artichokes and prosciutto, so this sounds utterly heavenly to me)
  • Buffalo Mozzarella, Capsicum and Onion Salad (so simple, so stunning, so delicious)

And then, there’s the desserts.

  • Key Lime Pie (because, Key. Lime. Pie)
  • Passionfruit Syrup Cake With Mango Salsa (anything that combines passionfruit, mango and mint is, in my mind, pretty much perfect)
  • And finally, there’s the Bittersweet Chocolate Tart. You’ll just have to take my word for it – and buy the book – on how gorgeous this looks. And simple enough for us mere mortals to make at home.
Perry_Simply Good Food

Simply Good Food

While Simply Good Food is filled with mouth-watering photographs, I was a little disappointed that not every recipe has an accompanying photo. As someone who eats with their eyes first, (as I think most of do!) these are the recipes I skim over – especially when there are double-spread pages of stylistically stunning (but not so informative) photographs of empty crockery and wine corks taking up space within the pages. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of these recipes – the layout suggested a more complex menu. It’s  all about combining flavours and crisp, ‘clean’ food.

Simply Good Food won’t be left sitting on the coffee table at my place. Pretty sure I’ll be needing it far too often in the kitchen!

Simply Good Food by Neil Perry

Published by Murdoch Books

Photographer – Earl Carter

ISBN – 978-1743360514

Hard Cover, 339 pages

Available now


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Fun Fact #1 – There’s no actual honey in honeycomb. Well, not in this version anyway.

Fun Fact #2 – Cooking is science. And what better way to prove it to your kids than watching honeycomb fizz and puff and grow to triple its size?

Fun Fact #3 – Honeycomb is crazy-easy to make.

Fun Fact #4 – Honeycomb isn’t just for kids…

So, Honeycomb is number two in this series of little recipes that will fit together to make one seriously impressive dessert. In the meantime, why not have a trial run?

Honeycomb 1

Hubble, bubble …

What You Need:

4 tablespoons of Golden Syrup

1 cup of Caster Sugar

2 teaspoons of Bicarb Soda

Honeycomb 2

Cool the honeycomb

How It’s Done:

Grease a slice or cake tray and set aside.

Add golden syrup and sugar to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. As soon as it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a low simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes – but stand by to make sure it doesn’t burn. When you think it’s time, add a drop of the syrup into a glass of water. If it is ready, it will become brittle as soon as it hits the water.

Remove pot from the heat, and place close to your prepared pan on the bench. Add the bicarb and stir vigorously. It’s important to work fast at this point, because the mixture will foam up instantly and you need to get it into that cake tray as soon as possible. Leave at room temperature to set, then break into bit sized pieces. Delish!

Honeycomb 3

Delish alright!

Easy Peesy Chocolate Brownies

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Okay, so I’m going to try something a little different over the next week or two. It occurred to me that most of those amazing dessert recipes you find are really just a few simple recipes thrown together. So let’s do just that. I’m going to give you recipes for three sweet, simple goodies and at the end, put them all together for something special.

First up, we have ridiculously easy, and oh-so-chocolatey Brownies.

Choc brownies 1

Chocolate Brownies!

What You Need:

  • 1 ¼ cups of butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of cocoa (use the best quality you can)
Exploded Mixer

Messy Mandy!

How It’s Done:

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C. Melt the butter in the microwave, being careful not to burn. Add to a large mixing bowl – I used my electric mixer with a stir attachment, but these could just as easily be done by hand, probably with less mess (see pic below!). Add cocoa, then sugar and eggs – one at a time. If using an electric mixer, give a quick blitz for a few seconds between each addition. Stir in the flour. If you are using an electric mixer, remember to use the spill guard, or, like me you’ll end up with flour everywhere.

Bake for aprox. 30 minutes in a greased slice tin – I used a pan about 15cm by 25cm. Remember, brownies don’t spring back quite like a cake when tested, so be careful not to overcook. Allow to cool on a rack for 20 minutes, then slice and serve…although they’re pretty delicious served warm!

I served mine with a sprinkling of icing sugar, strawberries from my garden and a little chocolate sauce.

Boys and bowls

My boys!

Celebration Cake Pops

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So, Christmas is done and dusted, and as has been the case for the past couple of years, it was a very quiet and relaxed day for us. All the action happens crazy-early morning when our three boys leap out of bed to discover what Father Christmas has delivered. After that, it’s all about doing as little as possible. Besides my Beloved and our sons, I only have my sister (and her family) and my Mum left on my side after losing my Dad and both my maternal grandparents in a short space of time. Christmas without them is still a bit weird. We call it ‘the new normal’. We don’t do the whole mega-meal in the middle of the day – and there’s definitely no hot oven making the kitchen an uncomfortable place to be (seriously, our Australian summer is enough to contend with!) So this year, in between splashing around in the pool, we adults munched on some gorgeous antipasto platters while the kids were able to choose whatever they wanted to eat – it is Christmas, after all – and they chose chicken nuggets and hot dogs. Why not, I say!

CCake pops 2

Celebration Cake Pops

I did, however whip something special up for dessert. Again, totally non-traditional. Yes, more cake pops! They’re so easy, and suddenly everyone’s favourite – kids and adults alike. They’re easy to eat, don’t require a bowl or crockery, and, they’re FUN. While I served them up over Christmas and Boxing Day, there’s no reason why these can’t make your New Year’s Eve table centrepiece or any other special occasion.

What You Need:

1 packet of chocolate Tim Tams

1 packet of white chocolate Tim Tams

5 malt-style biscuits

2 x 80 grams of cream cheese

White chocolate melts

Dark chocolate melts

Chocolate transfer sheets in various designs. I used two – gold swirls and pink brushstrokes.

Small round cutter, aprox 2cm diameter (for biscuits, scones or icing)

Cake Pop sticks (you could use icy pole sticks)

CCake pops 3

The pops!

How it’s Done:

Add the chocolate Tim Tams to your food processor. Blitz for a few moments, just to break them up a little. Add 80 grams of cream cheese and continue blitzing until combined in a doughy ball. Remove and roll teaspoon sized pieces into balls. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, and pop them in the fridge.

For the white chocolate Tim Tams, the process is the same, except you’ll need to add the malt biscuits as well. This is because specialty-flavoured Tim Tams (white, dark, mint etc) are a few biscuits short in the pack. Sneaky, sneaky.

While your Tim Tam balls are chilling, cut a 10cm strip away from your chocolate transfer sheets. The sheets cost about $8 each and are available from all cake decorating shops, as well as online. There’s a huge variety of colours and designs and available, and I think they’re my new favourite thing! I melted a teacup full of chocolate buds in the microwave before pouring the liquid chocolate over the rough side of the transfer sheet. This bit is a little tricky, mainly because you need to smooth the chocolate to a thin layer with a spatula, but not too thin – about 2 or 3 mm is good. Now, wait a couple of minutes – don’t walk away! – until the chocolate is beginning to set, but is still pliable on the sheet. With your round cutter (mine is about 2cm in diameter), cut out circles just as you would for biscuits. If you wait until the chocolate has set too much, it will crack. If it’s still too wet, it just won’t work. Trial and error, folks. As you lift the remaining circles, you’ll find the transfer has done its job and err…transferred the edible design onto your chocolate disk.

CC pops 4

Melt Icing

Remove your Tim Tam balls from the fridge, melt a little more chocolate, dip the end of each stick in it before pushing gently into the ball. Place back on the lined tray upside down, not minding if a flat spot is created on the top on the ball. Give a few minutes to set before melting more chocolate (I use a deep mug) and dipping the whole ball inside. This isn’t the time to be stingy! Let the excess drip off, and while the chocolate is still wet, attach the decorated disk. Replace on the tray upside down to help the disk stay in place while setting.

CCake pops 1

Decorate however you like!

These quantities made 32 cake pops, and I was able to make them a day ahead of time. I served them in plain old household jars, in the middle of the table. Get creative! Try colouring your chocolate, and who says you need to stick with circles for your transfers? I’d love to hear your ideas. For me, I think I’ll try stars next time…