Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Canadian Cookbook Review - All The Best by Jane Rodmell

In celebration of 25 years of delicious gourmet foods, Jane Rodmell of All the Best Fine Foods has come out with a tidy and thorough collection of time-tested and favourite recipes for the home cook.
I was excited to try out the recipes in this book, All the Best has a great reputation in Toronto's beautiful Rosedale neighbourhood as being number one in fresh and delicious food, both catered and retail, and over the last quarter century has developed a loyal following.

The cookbook is very well organized; with tips, further information and variations for every recipe. There are only a handful of photographs, in two central clusters, but the upside of that is that there is more room for information and the purchase price is lower than full glossy cookbooks. While I do like glossy photos, I also like saving money!

The book covers all types of cuisine, but never ventures into the too precious. This is a solid cookbook for feeding family and friends. The recipes are spelled out simply and none of them come across as too intimidating to try.

My expectations were exceeded, with all the information, techniques and explanations, as well as the vast and varied recipes, I would consider All the Best to be a Joy of Cooking of this era.

The Cheddar'n'Chive scones were of a much wetter batter than I am used to and they worked out beautifully. Light as clouds, they were excellent for dipping as well as for mini sammies. These were a favourite with hubby.

My daughter was home from university to stock up on good vegetarian food from mommy, so I used this opportunity to create lots of exciting dishes for her.
Above is the Broccoli Primavera, a glorious mix of quickly blanched veggies, tossed in All the Best's signature Mustard Vinaigrette. All the flavours of your favourite primavera in a salad form.

The salad went very nicely with the Wild Rice and Cranberry Pilaf, a mix of mushroom, onion, white and wild rice, punctuated by dried cranberries and pepitas. This would make a lovely holiday dish and is packed with nutrition.

For hubby I made the Beef and Beer Pie. A steamy bowl of warmth and comfort under a delicious puff pastry lid. The hearts are my addition. If you are going to make someone you love a beef and beer pie.. you might as well decorate it while you are at it!

Mmm, can't you just smell how good that is!?!
This is a make-your-man-fall-in-love-with-you-all-over-again stew.

And I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make this Torta Rustica. Such an impressive vegetable pie! It is made in the 6 inch springform pan and layered with vegetable goodness.

Spinach, onions, roasted red peppers, potato, provolone.. all in a delicious flaky pastry shell. Even though my layers aren't perfectly even, I am still proud of this pie! It was much easier than I thought it would be.

And for dessert... Carrot Cake! I had a craving. This is the classic carrot cake, carrot, shredded coconut, pineapple, nuts and delicious cream cheese frosting. We sliced this baby open late last night and had it with tea as my daughter and hubby worked on her school project. It is earthy, spicy and satisfying. A real carrot cake.

We had great fun with these recipes and there are lots more that I am looking forward to trying. The book is bursting with great recipes that you can easily recreate at home and would be proud to serve to company or family.