Monday, 29 February 2016

The Indian Family Kitchen: Classic Dishes for a New Generation by Anjali Pathak

Classic Dishes for a New Generation
by Anjali Pathak
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Hardcover, 224 pages

I do love Patak's Indian sauces and chutneys and I was thrilled to learn that the granddaughter of this talented family was the author of a new style of Indian cooking.

Not your Indian grandmother's cookbook, this is fresh and fun and, dare I say fusion? In the best sense of the term, to be sure. The vibrancy of Indian cuisine is brought into the modern American age with grace and panache.

Nothing too fiddly, nothing too scary. Just what we have always wanted - new world dishes with old world flavours.

Exciting, colourful, approachable, and fun.

Contents include:

Light Bites
Big Bites
Feel-Good Factor
Veggies Galore
BBQ Indian Summer
Those Little Extras
Sugar & Spice
Cocktail Time

Secret Essentials
Everyday spice box
Pantry must-haves
Magical chiles
Kitchen gadgets
Fridge favourites
Kitchen shortcuts
Wine & Spice

From the Back Flap:

A fresh and friendly introduction to South Asian cuisine, The Indian Family Kitchen reflects how we cook today with seasonal and vegetable-forward recipes. This striking cookbook shows how to coax flavor out of your favorite foods by adding Indian spices: rub butternut squash with garam masala before roasting with salty feta and sun-dried tomatoes; marinate chicken wings in a punchy tandoori sauce; and brighten up a quinoa salad with ginger and cumin.

You'll also find classics refined over the years by the granddaughter of the family that brough Patak's sauces and chutneys to households around the world. Throughout, The Indian Family Kitchen demystifies traditional cooking methods with kitchen shortcuts and the spices you should always have on hand—for delicious family meals that'll be loved by generation upon generation.

ANJALI PATHAK is the granddaughter of the founders of Patak's, the popular brand of Indian-style curry pastes, sauces, and spices. A respected chef, food writer, and culinary teacher, she has been shortlisted for a number of awards for her work with Indian food and flavors, and her cooking master classes always sell out. Learn more at

Thursday, 25 February 2016

She's Not There: A Novel by Joy Fielding

A Novel
by Joy Fielding
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Hardcover, 368 pages

An emotionally wrought whodunnit that goes back and forth from the present to the kidnapping of a little girl 15 years previously. She's Not There will have you yearn and ache with Carole Shipley in her relentless quest to find her daughter and survive the shame of losing her in the first place.

Definitely a woman's book, we feel love, loss, regret, anger, hope and ultimately faith. There is nothing so wonderful and so terrible as family.

Fielding is a pro when it comes to thrillers from a female perspective. She never fails to deliver.

Read with comforting blankets and food. My choice was ice cream.

From the Back Flap:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Someone Is Watching comes this novel of psychological suspense about a woman whose life takes a shocking turn when a young girl contacts her, claiming to be her daughter who was kidnapped in Mexico years earlier.

A lifetime ago, every year Carole Shipley looked forward to her wedding anniversary. But then a celebratory trip to Mexico for the occasion with her husband and friends ended in the unsolved kidnapping of her infant daughter, Samantha. Now, fifteen years after that horrific time, divorced and isolated, Carole is forced to relive the kidnapping by reporters who call every year on the anniversary of Samantha's disappearance. However, this year when the phone rings, Carole hears the sweet voice of a girl claiming to be her long-lost daughter.
     Plunged back into the world of heartbreak, suspicion and questions that led the case to run cold so many years ago, Carole doesn't know what or who to believe. But when she starts to figure it out, she finds the answers dangerously close to home.

Joy Fielding is the New York Times bestselling author of Someone Is Watching, Now You See Her, Still Life, Mad River Road, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Superlegumes. Eat Your Way to Great Health.

Eat Your Way to Great Health
by Chrissy Freer
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Trade Paperback, 224 pages

I simply loved Chrissy Freers Supergrains and was super excited to know that she had a follow up book on legumes. They both sit proudly on a shelf that holds a zillion jars of dried grains and legumes. I am ready for anything. Plus I really like pretty jars of dried goods. They are like jewels. Edible jewels. That help your body.

Superlegumes is a treasure. It includes a full cooking guide for each kind of legume with instructions for soaking, stove top cooking, and pressure cooking.

It includes 85 recipes that are hearty, healthy, and not too fussy. Life is simple if you make it so. Live simply and live healthily. Feel Super!

Contents are arranged by legume: chickpeas; white beans; soy beans & adzuki beans; peas; borlotti beans, fava beans & green beans; pinto beans, fava beans & kidney beans; lentils; peanuts & lupins; carob & mesquite.

From the Back Flap:

Fresh and delicious recipes to help you harness the superfood nutrition of legumes, and prove that beans are anything but boring.

In this bright and bold new cookbook, beans and pulses are the star of the show. From chickpeas to green beans, here are more than 90 recipes to show how these nutrient-packed superfoods make delicious center-of-the-plate meals.

     These health-bringing recipes are a mix of fresh vegetarian, meat and fish-based dishes for every meal and occassion. All of them use beans and pulses in new and inspiring ways--from Pulled Pork Black Bean Sliders, to Pea, Avocado, Walnut and Herb Couscous; Pumpkin, Bean and Coconut soup, to Masala Beef and Red Kidney Bean Curr; Duck Breast with Pancetta, to Piri Piri Chicken with Smashed Chickpeas; Peanut Carob Button Cookies, to Double Choc Bean Brownies, or Mandarin, Pistachio and Chickpea Cake.

     The easy-to-follow recipes are complemented by stunning photography, showing the vibrancy and color of every dish. Superlegumes is also packed with cooking tips, serving suggestions and nutritional information for each and every legume. From breakfast through to after-dinner treats, Superlegumes serves up delicious ways to incorporate these superfoods into your diet. Who said beans are boring?

CHRISSY FREER is a freelance food writer, editor and stylist who has developed a signature style of creating delicious recipes with a wholistic health focus. A qualified nutritionist, she studied Food and Nutrition at the University of Western Sydney, before combining her love of good food and nutrition to work in the food publishing industry, debuting at Delicious magazine. Her first book, Supergrains, sold more than 10,000 copies in North America.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More

500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More
By George Geary
Trade Paperback, 368 pages

Let's get saucy, y'all!

I know, I am a Canadian, and we are not famous for saying y'all. But I sometimes get y'all envy and have to have a go. Try it, it's fun.

And try this book. It excites me. Everything is in it. Every saucy thing you can think of. This is your one-stop guide to saucing up your life.

I am the condiment queen. I long for a fridge just dedicated to condiments and related items. And this book lets me made my own from scratch. A treasure, a real treasure. 

Contents include:

  • Tools and Equipment
  • Common Ingredients
Salad Dressings 
Complete Salads and Accompaniments
Mayonnaise and Other Condiments
Simple Stocks and Brown Sauces
White Sauces and Warm Butter Sauces
Pasta Sauces
Marinades, Barbecue Sauces and Rubs
Savory and Fruit Salsas
Butters and Cheese Spreads
Sweet Sauces, Coulis and Dessert Fondues


The secret IS in the sauce.

As more people get serious about cooking at home, they look to dress up old recipes. The easiest and most effective way of doing this is by using a sauce, salad dressing or marinade. The addition of one of these elements can turn a simple meal into a spectacular meal.

Grilled steak with a rich mushroom sauce. Pomegranate vinaigrette dressing on fresh greens. These are just two examples of the incredibly delicious yet easy-to-prepare recipes featured in this book, and many are accompanied by tips and techniques. Cooking school chef George Geary provides recipes such as:

  •     Salad dressings and salads -- creamy two-cheese italian, Chinese chicken salad, tabouli
  •     Stock-based sauces and brown and white sauces -- poultry stock, champagne sauce, bechamel
  •     Pasta sauces -- fast and easy marinara, wild mushroom sauce, slow-cooker garlic and onion tomato sauce
  •     Marinades and rubs -- Caribbean jerk marinade, American BBQ sauce, curry rub
  •     Salsas, butters and spreads -- watermelon salsa, gorgonzola scallion butter, smoked salmon cheese spread
  •     Dessert sauces -- milk chocolate sauce, pecan-praline sauce, raspberry coulis, almond crunch fondue.

500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades & More has 500 secrets that assure success for every new and experienced home cook.

Country Ketchup

4 lbs    Roma (plum) tomatoes, quartered    2 kg
1⁄2     onion, chopped    1⁄2
1⁄8 tsp    cayenne pepper    0.5 mL
1⁄2 cup     granulated sugar    125 mL
1⁄2 cup    white wine vinegar    125 mL
2 tsp     sea salt    10 mL
1⁄2 tsp     ground cinnamon    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dill seeds    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    ground cloves    1 mL

1.    In a Dutch oven over medium heat, bring tomatoes, onion and cayenne to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to a food mill fitted with a fine plate and press to extract juice into a medium saucepan. Discard solids.
2.    Stir in sugar. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to mound on a spoon, about 45 minutes.
3.    In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt, cinnamon, dill seeds and cloves to a boil. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cook until bubbling. Let cool.

Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Courtesy of 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More by George Geary © 2009 Available where books are sold.

Hollandaise Sauce

2 tbsp    apple cider vinegar    25 mL
1⁄4 tsp    whole black peppercorns    1 mL
1⁄4 cup    cold water    50 mL
6     egg yolks, beaten    6
1 lb    unsalted butter, melted    500 g
1 tbsp    freshly squeezed lemon juice    15 mL
1⁄8 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    0.5 mL

1.    In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook vinegar and peppercorns until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add water and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard peppercorns.
2.    Transfer to a large stainless-steel bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Set bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 8 minutes. Gradually whisk in melted butter in a thin, steady stream until blended. Whisk in lemon juice and pepper.

Makes 1⁄2 cup (125 mL)

Courtesy of 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More by George Geary © 2009 Available where books are sold.

Mango Lime Chutney

1 cup    granulated sugar    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    white vinegar    125 mL
3 cups    chopped ripe mangos (see Tips, left)    750 mL
1     onion, chopped    1
1⁄2 cup    golden raisins    125 mL
2 tbsp    grated lime zest    25 mL
1⁄4 cup    freshly squeezed lime juice    50 mL
1     clove garlic, minced    1
1 tsp    mustard seeds    5 mL
1⁄4 tsp    cayenne pepper    1 mL

1.    In a pot over medium heat, combine sugar and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add mangos, onion, raisins, lime zest and juice, garlic, mustard seeds and cayenne pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool.

Courtesy of 500 Best Sauces, Salad Dressings, Marinades and More by George Geary © 2009 Available where books are sold.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Widow: A Novel by Fiona Barton

The Widow
A Novel
by Fiona Barton

Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Penguin Canada

I loved this book. I was reading something else at the time. Something more technical, and decided I needed to be engulfed in a story that would grab me and take me out of my head.

This was just the book. Smart. Different. Well plotted and laid out. Addictive.

A mystery played out in pieces, through the main players' emotions, experiences, games, fragilities and memories.

I could not put it down. Don't worry, I napped a lot the next day.

Like Gone Girl, I imagine this will be a film soon. And I will likely watch that too. But you and I know - the book is always better.

From the Back Flap:

A loving husband or a heartless killer...she'd know, wouldn't she?

There's a lot Jean hasn't said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with accusing glares and anonymous harassment. Now her husband is dead, and there's no reason to stay quiet. People want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

     The truth--that's all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything. For the reporter who has secured the exclusive interview, this is the scoop of a lifetime. For the detective who has lived a half-life since he failed to get justice for the victim, it is a chance to get at the truth that has eluded him for so long. For Jean, it's a chance to defend herself, what she knew--and when.

     This is the tale of a missing child, narrated by the wife of the main suspect, the detective leading the hunt, and the journalist covering the case. It's a brilliantly ominous, psychologically acute portrait of a marriage in crisis--perfect for fans of The Silent Wife and The Girl on the Train.

About the Author

Fiona Barton trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. Born in Cambridge, England, she currently lives in southwest France.

Friday, 5 February 2016

225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes

225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes
by Cinda Chavich
Paperback, 336 pages

For me, pressure cooking was one of the last areas of cooking that I attempted. Tales of grandmothers and flying lids and stained ceilings were enough to put me off for a while.

But much has changed over the years and pressure cooking is a fast, effective way to cook. Especially with tougher cuts of meats and with dried legumes.

I know that in my neighbourhood, the Indian community has embraced the pressure cooker whole heartedly, and they know a thing or two about cooking.

225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes  This new edition has been redesigned and features a new cover and 25 all-new recipes.

The pressure cooker is indispensable for the busy home cook simply because most foods cook in one-third the time of conventional cooking methods, saving time and energy without compromising the quality of the food. Many food writers and other foodies have embraced it as the kitchen tool of the millennium.

Cinda Chavich provides an incredible variety of recipes that range from everyday meals to dishes for entertaining, and specifically include vegetarian options. For example there is one recipe for hands-free risotto cooked to creamy perfection in 6 minutes. Recipes for almost instant homemade stocks and broths are infused with the flavors usually available only from hours of slow cooking. A tender beef and red wine stew cooks in only half an hour with inexpensive cuts of meats that usually require long, slow cooking that takes hours. The pressure cooker truly shines when it comes to preparing beans and whole grains in these recipes for sumptuous Indian curries or black bean soup.

Here is a sampling of some of the vibrant and flavorful recipes that can be created in minutes:

    Wild Mushroom and Potato Bisque, Cajun Black Bean and Sausage Gumbo
    Beef Short Ribs in Barbecue Sauce, Perfect Pot Roast, Kansas City Pulled Pork Butt
    Wheat Berries Carbonara, Risotto with Mushrooms and Shrimp, Coq au Vin
    Orange Espresso Cheesecake, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Strawberry Jam.

In addition there are great tips throughout the book for pressure cooking essentials, preparing beans and making stocks. There is also a handy table of cooking times for vegetables, fruit, meat and poultry.

Barley with Mint and Root Vegetables, page 261

Barley is a healthy whole grain that makes a nice substitute for rice. Prepared in the pressure cooker, it’s fast, toothsome and never sticky. Adding grated Parmesan to this dish gives it a flavor that’s reminiscent of risotto. Be sure to caramelize the vegetables until they’re nice and brown — that’s what gives this savory root vegetable dish it a full, rich flavor.

1⁄4 cup    unsalted butter    60 mL
2    carrots, cut into small cubes    2
2    parsnips, cut into small cubes    2
1    sweet potato, peeled and cubed    1
1    onion, chopped    1
1 cup    pot or pearl barley    250 mL
3    cloves garlic, minced    3
3 cups    chicken or brown stock    750 mL
2 tbsp    chopped fresh mint    30 mL
2 tbsp    chopped fresh parsley (optional)    30 mL
1 cup    finely grated Parmesan or Asiago    250 mL
    cheese (optional)
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.    In the pressure cooker, heat butter over medium heat.
Add carrots, parsnips, sweet potato and onion; sauté until
vegetables start to caramelize. Add barley and garlic; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes to toast the grains. Pour in stock.

2.    Lock the lid in place and bring the cooker up to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, just to maintain even pressure, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and release pressure quickly. The barley should be tender. If not, cover (but do not lock) and simmer over low heat until tender.

3.    Stir in mint, parsley and Parmesan (if using). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Courtesy of 225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes by Cinda Chavich © 2013 May not be reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.

Pork Wraps with Green Tomatoes and Ancho Chilies, page 124

This is a traditional Mexican stew, made with tart, green tomatillos, a vegetable that resembles a small green tomato in a papery husk. You can substitute unripe, green tomatoes in the fall, or even use regular tomatoes with an added 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice for tartness.

2 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil    30 mL
11⁄2 lbs    pork shoulder, fat removed,     750 g
    cut into chunks
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1 tsp    salt    5 mL
1    large onion, chopped    1
1 cup    chopped green tomatoes or     250 mL
    tomatillos or one 10-oz (284 mL) can tomatillos
1 cup    chopped ripe tomatoes    250 mL
1 cup    dark beer    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    orange juice    125 mL
1    jalapeño pepper, seeded and     1
2    dried ancho or pasilla peppers,     2
    seeded and crumbled
1 tsp    ground cumin    5 mL
2 tbsp    all-purpose flour, whisked     30 mL
    with 2 tbsp (30 mL) cold water
11⁄2 cups    frozen corn kernels, thawed    375 mL
1⁄2 cup    chopped fresh cilantro     125 mL
    (about 1⁄2 bunch)   
12    large whole wheat tortillas     or hot cooked brown rice 12
    Garnishes: sliced avocado, shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream

1.    In the pressure cooker, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork in batches and cook until browned. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

2.    Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and sauté until
fragrant. Add salt. Add onions and sauté for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown. Return pork to cooker; add green tomatoes, ripe tomatoes, beer, orange juice, jalapeño pepper, dried chiles and cumin.

3.    Lock the lid in place and bring the cooker up to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, just to maintain even pressure, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and release pressure quickly.

4.    Whisk in flour mixture and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add corn and cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and serve immediately, wrapped in tortillas with garnishes, or over rice.

Tip: Ancho or pasilla chiles are medium-hot dried chiles; fresh banana or Hungarian hot peppers are the closest substitute.
Courtesy of 225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes by Cinda Chavich © 2013 May not be reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.

Perfect Pot Roast, page 78

Use beef rump or round roast in this flavorful pot roast recipe, a classic comfort food. You can also substitute bison, a popular new red meat that is ultra-lean and raised without growth hormones and antibiotics. The braising makes it tender, and the puréed vegetables add richness to the gravy without extra fat. And it’s done in less than an hour!

1⁄4 cup    all-purpose flour    60 mL
1⁄2 tsp    salt     2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    1 mL
1    31⁄2-lb (1.75 kg) beef braising roast    1
3 tbsp    vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil    45 mL
1    large tomato, chopped    1
1 cup    diced onions    250 mL
1 cup    diced carrots    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    diced celery    125 mL
1 cup    beef stock    250 mL
1 cup    dry red wine    250 mL
2 tbsp    all-purpose flour, whisked     30 mL
    with 2 tbsp (30 mL) cold water
1 lb    wide egg noodles, cooked and     500 g
    tossed with unsalted butter
    Minced fresh thyme or oregano

1.    In a plastic bag, combine 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) flour with salt and pepper. Add roast and shake to coat all sides with flour. Discard excess flour mixture.

2.    In the pressure cooker, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown roast well on all sides. Transfer to plate. Set aside.

3.    Add tomato, onions, carrots and celery to pan; sauté until lightly browned. Place roast on top of vegetables. Pour in stock and wine.

4.    Lock the lid in place and bring the cooker up to full pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, just
to maintain even pressure, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and release pressure quickly.

5.    Transfer roast to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
In a blender or food processor, purée vegetables and stock. Return to pot and slowly whisk in flour mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until gravy is thickened, about 5 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste. Season to taste with thyme or oregano. Arrange egg noodles around roast on platter and drizzle with gravy.

Tip: Try serving this with steamed new potatoes instead of the egg noodles.
Courtesy of 225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes by Cinda Chavich © 2013 May not be reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.