Book review: The Great Australian Bake Off


The Great Australian Bake Off is a beautifully full page illustrated book based on the TV series of the same name. It starts with invaluable baking tips from the two judges Dan Lepard and Kerry Vincent.


Some of the recipes are illustrated with very clear step by step instructions, which includes recipes for the perfect almond tuilles, Victoria sandwich, white loaf, puff pastry, shortcrust pie and meringues.


The book has recipes from the technical challenges and also the best of the bake offs from each TV episode. Impress your guests with chocolate and orange checkerboard cake, Maria’s jaffa tarts with orange liqueur, or Jonathan’s Ukrainian Kievsky cake.


The book also includes savoury recipes, so be tempted by Brendan’s satay pork sausage rolls, or Bliss’s chicken, leek and bacon pie.

There is a great variety of recipes and the three bread recipes I tried helped me master the art of baking bread.

Highly recommended.

The Great Australian Bake-off – buy on Fishpond.

Book review: Baby Boomers, Bellies and Blood Sugars by Jennifer Elliot


Jennifer realised something was wrong when her daughter started gaining weight at an early age, despite a healthy diet and lifestyle. After much research she discovered her daughter had insulin resistance and was more prone to gaining weight than most people. She had followed all the recommended protocols but nothing had worked!

With over 30 years experience as a dietitian, Jennifer believes that the public is being given the wrong message by the majority of health platforms. For this reason she wrote the book Baby Boomers, Bellies & Blood Sugars to educate the public on why many people gain weight easily and the best way to manage diabetes, insulin resistance and weight gain.

Jennifer’s book describes an easy to follow low-carbohydrate eating plan. She explains how carbohydrates are converted into sugar with clear diagrams. She also dispels a number of common diet myths, including busting up the current diabetes management recommendations.

The full colour book includes a list of common questions and answers. The second half of the book features 45 low carbohydrate recipes with illustrations.

Baby Boomers, Bellies & Blood Sugars is a quick read which doesn’t get bogged down in medical terminology and biochemistry to explain the diet theory.

For more information visit

Baby Boomers, Bellies & Blood Sugars is available online. RRP $29.95

Thank you WordStorm for providing a copy of the book for review. 

Book review: Hungry for Change by James Colquhoun and Laurentine Ten Bosch

Hungry for Change is written in the same conversational style as the Hungry for Change movie. It includes inspirational before and after stories of people who are following healthier diets. The book covers why diets don’t work, what to eat, drink and think, as well as eating for beauty and detoxing.

Half of the book is recipes with 120 plus of them. There are quotes from the experts, some of whom are well known. There are details of overcoming sugar cravings and instructions on how to complete a 3 day guided detox.

The movie is powerful and motivating, but the book is a good accompaniment for when you need a reminder or recipe.

Hungry for Change by James Colquhoun and Laurentine Ten Bosch
Hungry for Change website

Book review: Not Quite Nigella by Lorraine Elliot

Lorraine Elliot’s blog Not Quite Nigella is one of the more popular food blogs coming out of Australia. She’s a prolific poster and it’s no surprise that she would write a book about her path to happiness through baking and blogging. Fortunately she did not use a diary style, which some bloggers use when they write a book.

She talks about meeting her “cooking mother” Nigella Lawson (whom the blog is named after). She also writes about going to prison to see how they do their catering, and volunteering to cook for charity. We aren’t talking about any ordinary food blogger here. Lorraine seems to go the extra mile to get a story, and she’s been blessed with some interesting travel stories.

Not Quite Nigella shot to stardom when Lorraine created a pizza which featured Obama’s head for his inauguration. The picture then appeared on the home page of Sydney Morning Herald and Serious Eats. Perhaps the secret to Lorraine’s success is partly her advertising background, coupled with sheer hard work.

Lorraine also talks about some of the pitfalls of blogging, including lessons learnt about threats of copyright and defamation lawsuits. The book is an entertaining and awe-inspiring read about a successful food blogger. I was engaged enough to read the book in one sitting.

Recommended for aspiring bloggers.

Not Quite Nigella – buy on
– by Lorraine Elliott

Book review: Sabrina’s juicy little book of citrus – by Sabrina Hahn


No plants generate more gardening questions than citrus – and zesty gardening goddess Sabrina Hahn has got all the answers, including green and practical solutions to the most common problems. 

Bringing together lemons, limes, grapefruits, kumquats, oranges and much more, this little book is packed full of useful information on how to grow happy healthy citrus in your garden. 

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus is written by Sabrina Hahn, a media presenter on ABC’s gardening talk-back radio. The book features beautiful black and white line drawings which illustrate various points. As Sabrina says, it is “solid information and no photos”. It is the ideal size to fit in your handbag.

The citrus family is an enormous one and its members include sweet oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, bitter oranges,  kumquats, calamondins, mandarins, tangelos, lemons, limes and citrons.

The book covers propagation and care, twelve citrus varieties for the home gardener, and a section on troubleshooting.

I did discover that the risk of growing citrus from seed is that it can take anything from 6 to 30 years before you see any fruit. Perhaps there is hope for my fruit-less lemon tree yet.

I also learnt you need to fertilise citrus little-and-often and Sabrina recommends a half a handful of fertiliser every month from September to February in the first year.

Highly recommended for citrus lovers.

Sabrina’s Juicy Little Book of Citrus – by Sabrina Hahn


Book review: Undiet by Meghan Telpner

UnDiet – written by Meghan Telpner is officially my new favourite book about nutrition. I have followed Meghan’s blog which (I’ll always remember it as) the once cheeky titled Making Love in the Kitchen for many years now.

I even had a few skype sessions when Meghan was an one-on-one nutritionist (sadly she no longer provides this service). Still to this day I go back to the handouts she provided me with and yes she’ll have covered whatever issue I was struggling with. I’ve tried a number of different diets over the years, but I keep going back to the guidelines which Meghan devised for me. It is the way of eating which I’ve had the most success with, and also the ‘undiet’ which makes the most sense. 

I know from first hand experience that eating real food works and is the best for our health.

Meghan Telpner Undiet

“Undiet” is colourful and beautifully designed, just like Meghan’s website. She has a way of explaining complicated nutritional topics in an easy to understand language. For example, this is a great summary of what you need to know about fats:

Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat: We need all three of these to remain healthy. Saturated fat gets a bad rap, but it gives structure to our cells and provides energy . What you want to avoid at all costs are trans fats, which are toxic.

I particularly liked the break down on how to read a Nutrition Panel and the meaning of food labels. Although I was disgusted to discover that “Australian came in second with ….690 kilograms…” of garbage production per person per year! Gross.

Each chapter is neatly summerised with a mantra and transitional tips to make it happen. I love Meghan’s creed:

Meghan Telpner creed

Meghan is a truly gifted wordsmith. She is a knowledgeable, trustworthy nutritionista (as she calls herself).

Highly recommended.

UnDiet: The Shiny, Happy, Vibrant, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Way to Look Better, Feel Better, and Live Better Each and Every Day! – by Meghan Telpner

Book review: What Katie Ate


What Katie Ate is a visually stunning cookbook. The majority of the recipes have a full page colour photograph, along with first class retro styling.

We cooked two recipes – Barbecued ginger ale pork ribs and Sheila’s retro beef curry (circa 1974) – both packed with flavour. You may be tempted by pulled pork sandwich with apple cider slaw, Beef and Guinness Pie, rhubarb franigpane tart, mini raspberry and chocolate meringue kisses.


The book covers a good selection of recipes, including breakfasts, lunches, salads, canapes and drinks, dinners, sides and sauces, and desserts.

The only downside is that the typewriter font (Trixie) is hard to read.


What Katie Ate – buy on
What Katie Ate – buy on
– by Katie Quinn Davies

Book reviews: Oriental vegetables

I borrowed the following two books on oriental vegetables out from the library. Both books have a entry for each vegetable, which includes use, characteristics, climate, site and soil, cultivation, sowing, planting, pest and diseases, storage and choice of variety.


Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom – is a comprehensive reference book. The Telegraph even calls Joy the queen of the kitchen garden. The vegetables are illustrated as line drawings. Based on 10 years of research, it features a cornucopia of crops: a whole new world of vegetables that includes hardy leafy mustards, komatsuna, Chinese yams, lablab beans, Japanese pumpkin and water bamboo. The book is written for an British climate, so the growing information charts list only temperate and warm (subtropical) climates. The book provides over 50 of her own delicious recipes. Look for the revised edition.

Oriental Vegetables: How To Identify, Grow and Use by Waters, Morgan and Geary – sorts the vegetables by classification, and includes Chinese cabbage, Chinese mustards, other brassicas, other leafy vegetables, legumes, root crops, onions, cucurbits and mushrooms. It also has illustrated line drawings and is written for an Australian climate. Snap it up if you can find one. It’s a gem.

Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Queensland 2012


I was excited to get my hands on the very first edition of the Brisbane Times Queensland Good Food Guide.

With more than 450 reviews of eateries in Brisbane and covering the top of Queensland right down to Northern New South Wales.

Each review includes price range, opening hours and a score.

The 208 page full colour book is edited by Queensland food writer Natascha Mirosch. She has dispatched more than 25 reviewers all over Brisbane and up to Port Douglas and down to Coolangatta to seek the best places to dine in Queensland. Find out which dining establishments were dished up a coveted Good Food Guide Award chef hat.

The book is available in newsagents and book stores for $24.95.

An online version of the book is available, with access to all of the reviews. For a limited time the website only subscription for Brisbane Times Good Food Guide is only $4.50!!!

This is a Rocketman Media sponsored post.

Book review: The Starter Kitchen

The Starter Kitchen by Callum Hann (2010 runner up of Masterchef Australia) is surprisingly a solid beginners cook book. It goes beyond most first cookbooks with over 60 inspiring recipes. It features typical classics like scrambled eggs, the perfect steak, roast chicken, spag bol, shepherd’s pie, chips, and vanilla panna cotta.

The book includes the basics of setting up a kitchen and developing key cooking skills. He provides useful and accessible information about purchasing fresh produce, buying and using the right equipment and shopping on a budget.

But then he takes it to a new level and advanced recipes, such as ‘chilli jam mussels steamed with beer’ and ‘mushroom and goat’s cheese risotto’, are things I would never have cooked in my university days.

I was tempted by the ‘Three Pigs Pizza’, ‘Pulled Pork Buns with no-mayo slaw’, ‘Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream’, ‘No-bake Chocolate Cake’, and ‘Peanut Butter Brownies’.

I like the A5 size and the fresh youthful design with full colour illustrations.

Recommended for a cook in their twenties.

The Starter Kitchen – buy on
The Starter Kitchen – buy on
– by Callum Hann