Slow Cooker, by Sally Wise

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

If you ask me every home should have at least one crock pot or slow cooker, but some cook books I’ve seen for crock pots have been down right boring. This one is anything but. Just reading through the recipes in this book is enough to make you hungry.

The dishes in this cookbook make the mouth water, with recipes for Lamb and Quince Hotpot and Middle Eastern Lamb Stew to name just a couple. It has recipes for standards like Stroganoff and Lasagne, as well as Lemon Roast Chicken or Spicy Roast Chicken made in a crock pot. And there are the old favourite Hedgehogs which are always popular with adult and child alike.

When it comes to desserts, who could resist Clafoutis made with blueberries and raspberries, Summer Fruits Cobbler and the richly beautiful Black Forest Self Saucing Pudding?

As well as myriad recipes designed to please the palate, Sally Wise gives helpful hints about using the slow cooker or slow cookers. She has several which give you some indication of how much they get used. I know other people who have several.

I liked the way she gave hints of other ingredients that could be substituted for those in the recipe

The other advantage is the recipes are not complicated, which for no fuss cooks like me is ideal. The book doesn’t have colour photos, but to me this is no disadvantage. I’d rather just have great recipes than an elaborately photographic book. If you have a crock pot or slow cooker, this book is a must.

Slow Cookerby Sally Wise
*** ABC Books- HarperCollinsPublishers $24.99
Reviewed By Dale Harcombe

Delicious, by Valli Little

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

If you like your cook book to show the finished product you might appreciate this book. It is beautifully presented with a colour picture on the opposite page to each recipe.

Personally I found many of the breakfast recipes not to my taste but others may well have other ideas.

It has an interesting collection of starters and salads. Anyone who likes couscous will like the Tomato, Couscous and Salami Salad. Vietnamese Chicken Salad is another good one.,p> Spanish Soup which can be served chilled or hot would be a useful addition to any cook’s repertoire, as would Thai-Style Tomato soup.

Where ingredients in some recipes are less familiar, Valli Little directs the reader to the right place to find them.

According to Valli, when she had a gourmet food shop one dish (DPS- Daily Pasta Special) was so popular customers wouldn’t let her ever take it off the menu. The great advantage for the busy person is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.

On the whole this book is not one for those on a tight budget, as some ingredients are expensive. That is counterbalanced by others like Vegetarian Chilli in Avocado and White Bean and Coconut Curry which are tasty, inexpensive and dead easy. What more could the busy cook want?

I immediately thought of someone I know, when I came across the Kumara Galettes as she is a sucker for anything using pumpkin or kumara. And who could resist Roast Chicken with Pan-Roasted Romesco (a Spanish sauce) or Moroccan Chicken with Olives? Moroccan Cottage Pie is a new twist on an old favourite.

Of course there are also simple desserts, cakes, and low fat recipes. Most people should find several particular favourites the will use in this book. Having said that, it’s not one I’d buy myself as I wasn’t that enamoured of some of the recipes or found others used ingredients too expensive for our budget. But I’m prepared to concede others may end up with a different idea.

Delicious: Quick, Smart Cook

Delicious: Quick, Smart Cook, by Valli Little
***ABC books RRP $39.99

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Survival Around the World

Top athletes spend a lot of time travelling overseas, and one of the most important things they need to focus on when away from home is maintaining good diet. Even non-athlete frequent travellers are well advised to do the same. Survival Around the World is a recipe book which makes maintaining a healthy diet just a little easier.

Put together by sports dieticians at the Australian Institute of Sport, with help from the athletes, it presents a range of healthy and nutritious recipes from around the world – from regions including the Pacific, North America, Asia, Greece and the Middle East.

Recipes are supported by nutritional analyses as well as cooking hints and a range of travelling hints from AIS athletes.

Survival Around the World is the third official cookbook from the Australian Institute of Sport, following on from the popularity of Survival for the Fittest and Survival from the Fittest. You don’t need to be an athlete or a traveller to enjoy the book – with recipes such as Thai Chicken Soup, Ham and Zucchini Risotto and Lemon Coconut Muffins, there are plenty of ideas on hand for any cook.

Survival Around the World, by Louise Burke, Greg Cox, Nikki Cummings and Ben Desbrow
Allen & Unwin, 2004

Modern Classics Book 1, by Donna Hay

Times may have changed in the kitchen (as elsewhere), but that doesn’t mean modern cooks want to reinvent the wheel. They still want to make soups and salads, roasts and pasta, pies and puddings.

In Modern Classics renowned food writer Donna Hay takes these traditional numbers and combines them with the best of modern ingredients and techniques to give them a fresh new life.

Old and new are wonderfully intermingled so that as well as explaining how to roast a leg of lamb and make gravy, Hay also shows to make Pad Thai and risotto. Dishes such as risotto, she explains, will be as commonplace to the next generation of home cooks as macaroni cheese has been to the current one.

These delicious and easy recipes are mostly made with ingredients that can be sourced at the local supermarket, a boon for busy shoppers or country residents like this reviewer.

The book is gorgeously illustrated by the photography of Con Poulos, whose images seem so real they make the reader’s taste buds tingle.

The presentation of the book is beautiful. It seems almost too good to live in the kitchen – seeming to deserve to be shown off.


Modern Classics Book 1, by Donna Hay
Harper Collins, 2002

Huey's Best Ever Barbecue Recipes, by Iain Hewitson

The weather is starting to warm up and the sun is shining which can mean only one thing: barbecue season is here! What better way to entertain family and friends?

Australia’s favourite TV chef, Iain Hewitson, is determined to make this summer’s barbecues the best ever, with over 100 full-flavoured treats in his newest cook book offering, Huey’s Best Ever Barbecue Recipes.

Forget about bangers and chops: Huey wants you to be a little more daring. And you can be, with recipes for prawns, fish, vegetables and even kangaroo. The book is also liberally laced with hints and advice about marinades, sauces and salads to complement the barbecue.

This volume will prove a winner with those who love to entertain, but you don’t have to be a party-animal to get value from it – the recipes are just as suited to a casual family meal.


Huey’s Best Ever Barbecue Recipes, by Iain Hewitson
Allen & Unwin, 2003