The Tivoli Road Baker - Michael James with Pippa James

There are cookbooks that are so beautiful that I am transfixed by the passion reflected in the photographs and stories from the moment I crack open the cover. The Tivoli Road Baker: Recipes and Notes from a Chef Who Chose Baking by Michael and Pippa James is one such book - the couple's love of great food and community radiates off each page.

The craft of baking has captivated the British born chef who has been called "one of the greatest bakers of his generation". The goal of this debut cookbook, co-written with his partner in all things, Pippa, is to inspire readers to make nourishing real bread at home and to give them the confidence to adapt it to suit their own tastes. That statement won me over; any cookbook that encourages creativity after nailing down basic techniques is a winner in my estimation.

The Tivoli Road Baker delivers the secrets of the Melbourne bakery's best-loved creations along with baking basics and the keys to a good larder. Michael's British heritage is reflected in traditional Cornish pasties, Saffron buns and Eccles cakes shared in the British bakes chapter. Also included in the 80 recipes here are Australian favorites such as Lamington doughnuts, Anzac biscuits and Monte Carlos. The heart of this book beats in the Bread chapter which guides the baker step by step into creating a great loaf of bread to share with those you love. 

Readers are also introduced to the beloved growers and suppliers that the couple credit as being so important to the success of their little Melbourne bakery. "What we do isn't magic, it's the result of excellent ingredients, years of trial and error, and dedication to an ancient craft," they state in the Introduction. But they are wrong, they do make magic with their work but where they are different is that they share the secrets of that magic with us. Their infectious spirit will unleash the baker in all of us inspiring us to learn from them and then learn from ourselves. 

Special thanks to Hardie Grant for sharing the following gorgeous cake with our members today as well as providing three copies of The Tivoli Road Baker in our contest below, opened to members in the US, UK, AU and NZ. 

 

Chocolate, orange and almond cake

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This decadent moist chocolate cake always gets a good response - the rich brown colour and caramelised almond crust on top draws people in. And once they've tried it, they always come back for more.

Makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients

Almond topping

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) butter, diced
  • 130 g (4 1/2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) honey
  • 150 g (5 1/2 oz) flaked almonds

Cake

  • 170 g (6 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 225 g (8 oz) butter, soft
  • 340 g (12 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • 160 g (5 1/2 oz) buttermilk

Bakery notes: If the almond topping sticks a bit in the tin or falls off when you invert the cake, you can fix it if you act quickly, before the caramel sets. Use a spoon or spatula to stick it back onto the cake, being careful not to touch the caramel directly, to avoid burning your fingers.

It's best to use a serrated knife to slice this cake, as the top sets quite firm. Gently saw through the almond topping to avoid squashing the cake. It will keep well for a few days in an airtight container.

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Grease a 9 x 22 x 10 cm (3 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 4 in) loaf tin and line it with baking paper.

To prepare the almond topping, melt the butter, sugar, orange zest and honey in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and syrupy. Pour the syrup into your prepared tin, then sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. With the mixer still running on a slow speed, gradually add the egg to the butter mixture a little at a time, ensuring each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Alternate between adding a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well between each addition, until all the ingredients have been added and the batter has just come together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the batter is completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the tin over the almonds and caramel, and bake for 60-70 minutes, until the top is firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool for a few minutes, then set a wire rack over a tray lined with paper. Invert the still warm cake onto the wire rack then gently lift off the tin, being careful to avoid the caramel, which will still be extremely hot. Leave to cool completely before serving, to allow the almond caramel top to set.

Recipes excerpted with permission from The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James, published by Hardie Grant Books November 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover.

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US, UK, AU and NZ. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 25th, 2018.


Chinese Soul Food - Hsiao-Ching Chou

For years, with envy, I have studied photos on social media of friends attending dumpling workshops with Hsiao-Ching Chou in Seattle. I wanted to be there learning to pleat pillows of deliciousness into perfection. Traveling to Seattle for a dumpling class was out of the realm of possibility for me, so I resorted to wishing Hsiao-Ching would write a cookbook. Sometimes wishes come true. Chinese Soul Food: A Friendly Guide for Homemade Dumplings, Stir-Fries, Soups, and More was published a few weeks ago.

This title is everything I thought it would be and more. I love that that it focuses on food that the author makes for her family and not overly complicated or pretentious dishes. Nearly every recipe here is tagged to be made including the Orange beef, Stir-fried fresh rice noodles, and Red-braised pork belly pot stickers. A week back, I made the General Tso's that we are sharing here today, and it was wonderful and far better than any I have had from take-out.

This weekend Darcie covered the Denver Post piece on this title along with the news of the special app that the author is testing. In addition, this April one of our main selections in the Eat Your Books Cookbook Club is Chinese Soul Food, it will be a delicious month. Hsiao-Ching is a member of our group and will be available to answer questions should they arise. Join the group and cook this book with us. 

Special thanks to Sasquatch Books for sharing the recipe below and for providing five copies of this book in our contest open to US members; Eat Your Books will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter! 

General Tso's chicken
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I always say that there's nothing inherently wrong with crispy chicken cutlets in a thick, spicy, sticky-sweet, and salty sauce, but General Tso's chicken isn't Chinese. (There is a documentary about this topic called The Search for General Tso.) It does have the spirit of Chinese cooking, in that it combines textures and balances flavors, which is why it works. While it may not be authentic to Chinese cuisine, this dish is delicious. Because customers demanded General Tso's chicken, we had to figure out how to make it. My father, who loved strawberry jam, decided on a whim to add it to the sauce. We also served a mild version of this dish called Strawberry Chicken. Customers loved it.

Makes 4 servings

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 stalk green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • About 2 cups cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

1. In a large bowl, put the soy sauce, onions, sugar, and garlic, and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into pieces about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Add the chicken to the soy sauce marinade and stir to coat. Cover or transfer to a ziplock bag and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

3. Line a plate with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

4. Place about 1½ inches of vegetable oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Heat the oil until it registers 350 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Dredge the marinated chicken pieces in the cornstarch. Fry the chicken in batches, stirring carefully to ensure even frying, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the chicken to the prepared paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

5. To make the sauce, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of the water with the cornstarch. Set aside.

6. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and pepper flakes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, jam, sugar, and the remaining ¼ cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the jam and sugar. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. You may not need all of the slurry. Let the sauce simmer for about 1 minute, or until the sauce darkens and starts to glisten. Remove the pan from the heat.

7. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, and toss to combine. Serve with rice.

©2018 by Hsiao-Ching Chou. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Chinese Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books.

 

The publisher is offering five copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and EYB will choose one additional winner from members outside the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 23rd, 2018.

The Comfort Food Diaries by Emily Nunn

At some point over the last four years, I feel as if I have lost myself as a person but found myself as a writer. I do not have delusions of grandeur, or even mediocracy, and this play on words is my motto "me write pretty one day". 

Since moving to Colorado, I have stopped engaging in activities that bring me joy: reading for pleasure, making time for friends, traveling and connecting. I have just not had the heart for anything that wasn't a necessity or work involved.

It is no secret that my, now 13 year old, son has bipolar and high-functioning autism and we have been struggling since we've moved from New York (and long before that but not to this degree). With that stress which included hospitalizations and feelings of hopelessness, I stopped reading for enjoyment. It is as if my brain is overloaded and I just wanted to fill up on "stupid" telelvision in the evening. 

Yes, I read cookbooks, but I do not read them like a novel. I can put down a cookbook and pick it up weeks later. But when I am presented with a great novel, I cannot put it down. Defying sleep, I will stay up speeding through the pages seeking a resolution. Why am I telling you all of this? I am oversharing to justify why I have not read The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by Emily Nunn yet.

This morning I picked up Emily's book. It has been near my desk since I received it taunting me as I have heard incredible things.  As I wanted to put up this promotion today, I thought I should glance through the book, read the first few pages to be able to speak personally about its style. Immediately, I was drawn in and an hour later, I had to force myself to stop. I want to spend my entire day finishing this book, but I cannot. Work needs to be completed before I leave for New York next Thursday. My reward for not indulging myself now will be finishing The Comfort Food Diaries on the plane (who am I kidding this book will keep me up all night, thanks Emily.) The first few chapters are riveting, sad, funny, hopeless, hopeful and powerful. The book needs to be devoured in one sitting and the fifty recipes that are nestled throughout her journey of healing may help to mend my broken heart.

The publisher, Atria, has provided me with an extra copy of this title for one of you and I will ship it worldwide. The author is also providing two copies so we have a total of three copies to giveaway. Please enter below but do yourself a favor, buy the book now.

The publisher provided me one copy of this book which I will ship worldwide and the author is generously providing two additional copies.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 19th, 2018.

On the Side by Ed Smith

Do not let the unassuming cover fool you, On the Side: A Sourcebook of Inspiring Side Dishes is a stunningly photographed cookbook packed with tempting recipes that we all want to cook and eat. This title also made the top ten best of the best cookbooks of 2017 from information gathered from UK sources and I now know why!

Smith left his career as a lawyer to train as a chef in 2012. There seems to be a great deal of that type of thing happening (business professionals turning toward food careers). Presently, he is a food writer and Creative Director of British cured meat wholesalers and retailers, Cannon & Cannon, based in London's Borough Market. Smith also authors the food blog Rocket & Squash.

In On the Side, the humble side dish is brought front and center, where it should be. How many of us would be happy with just turkey or ham on the table during the holidays with no bowls of steaming potatoes or roasted vegetables? Not me. I want Sweet potato, celeriac and porcini bake, Curry leaf, cashew and coconut rice, or Spiced roast carrots on my plate.

140 plus recipes are spread out over four chapters: Greens, leaves and herbs;  Vegetables, fruit, flowers and bulbs; Roots, squash and potatoes; and Grains, pulses, pasta and rice. A recipe directory entitled What's your main dish? takes the guess work out of which side would best complement your main dish. Where is the side dish prepared is another directory that specifies: counter, hob, oven, or hob and in the oven. Big family meal and the oven is full? Check out that directory for a side that can be made on the counter (no cooking) or on the hob (stove top). Lastly, How long does it take to make?  indexes the recipes by time committment from less than 15 minutes through more than an hour. 

This is a book I will turn to time and again. I just received the title on Saturday and knew I wanted to make something straight away. The Roman rosemary polenta was my choice to serve my Steak pizziaola and what a perfect choice it was. I used an additional 1/4 cup of milk and two tablespoons of butter (warmed together) to loosen the polenta before serving. The essence of rosemary was subtle and truly magical in the polenta. My husband and son were crazy about the dish but I cannot use the words Andrew used to describe it (if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen his declaration). It was rated NSFEYB (Not suitable for Eat Your Books). 

Special thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for providing the original version of this fantastic recipe to share with our readers. Next time I will follow through and make the polenta cakes, if I can stop myself from eating the polenta right out of the pot.

 

Roman rosemary polenta
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These rosemary-infused squares of set-then-baked polenta are, to me, more satisfying than polenta 'chips', which never live up to their name. I'd serve them with almost any tomato sauce-based dish, but also next to chargrilled lamb chops, chicken thighs in a cheesy sauce or as part of a meat-free medley. There's a bit of work involved, but the first two steps can be done in advance of eating. Also: it's worth it.

The instructions below are to suit polenta that hasn't been pre-cooked. If you have the instant or quick-cook type, follow the instructions on the packet, replacing the water with milk, then pick up the method when the cheese and butter are added.

INGREDIENTS

  • 800 ml milk
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 150g polenta
  • light olive oil, for greasing
  • 70g butter, cubed
  • 80g parmesan, grated
  • sea salt

Method

Put the milk and 2 of the rosemary sprigs in a large saucepan, bring to a rapid simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 25 minutes, then discard the rosemary.

Sprinkle the polenta into the pan in a slow, steady stream, stirring continuously. At first it will seem as though there's far too much milk, but after 3-5 minutes the polenta will swell and thicken. Continue to stir vigorously, almost without interruption, for 10-15 minutes over a low heat. Once the grains are less visible and the polenta starts to become smooth, reduce the heat to very low and cook for 10 minutes more, beating it frequently. Add some extra water to loosen the mixture if necessary.

Meanwhile, line an approximately 20 x 20cm baking tray with baking parchment and grease the paper with 1 tablespoon oil. When the polenta is cooked, smooth and slick, add 40g of the butter and 60g of the Parmesan and beat well, season with salt, then pour it into the lined tray. Use a palette knife or the back of a spoon to push and smooth the polenta into the corners to an even depth of around 3cm. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Once the polenta has cooled and set, turn it out onto a clean work surface and cut into 5cm squares. Place these smooth-side up on a larger lightly oiled baking tray (or two), leaving a little space around them. Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Strip the leaves from the remaining rosemary and chop them very finely. Melt the remaining butter and pour or brush this over the polenta squares. Sprinkle the rosemary over the top, then finish with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool and firm up for 5 minutes before serving.

Roman rosemary polenta recipe excerpted from On the Side by Ed Smith, Bloomsbury Publishing 2017© and used with permission. Photos here by Jenny Hartin. 

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and UK. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 18th, 2018.

____________________________________________________________________________________ 

Steak pizzaiola 
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To the left is the polenta with my version of Steak pizziaola. A few of you asked for my recipe and I'm sharing it here for you.

3 lb. beef chuck roast 
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 large cans (28 oz each) of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning mix 

1 teaspoon of salt *or more to taste
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes - 1/2 tsp of sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper to season the meat before searing 

Preheat the oven to 325F

Fifteen minutes before searing the meat, take the roast out and pat both sides with a paper towel to remove any moisture (so that you get a nice sear)

In a large shallow dutch oven add the olive oil and two tablespoons of butter and turn the temperature to medium high. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat generously. When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, sear the meat. Five minutes on each side. Don't peek - I set the timer and walk away because I have been found guilty of peeking. 

Once seared, scoot the meat over a bit. Add a little more olive oil, if needed, and toss in the garlic, onions and Italian seasoning and cook for a minute or two.  Add the two cans of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and stir. Let come to a simmer and watch out for that bubbling sauce so you don't get splattered.

Cover the pot and place in the oven to cook for anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. This always changes for me - after 2 hours I check the meat with a fork for tenderness and to see if the pot needs more liquid. Yesterday the roast took the full 3 1/2 hours to become fall apart tender and I needed to add 1/2 cup of water (or 1/2 cup of beef broth if you have it) to loosen as it thickened as it cooked down. Serve over pasta or over this delicious polenta. 

 

Sally's Cookie Addiction - Sally McKenney

Most bakers may know the name Sally McKenney but more likely they follow her popular baking blog, Sally's Baking Addiction. Sally left a job in finance to feed her addiction to baking and documents her sweet creations on her blog to share with her many followers. 

In addition to her popular site, she is the author of three books: Sally's Baking Addiction, Sally's Candy Addiction and last year's Sally's Cookie Addiction: Irresistible Cookies, Bars, Shortbread, and More. (Note: Sally's eight cookie recipe book sampler is currently less than a dollar on Amazon.)

Sally's Cookie Addiction shares the author's versions of many of the classics - Pecan tassies,  Shortbread jam thumbprints and others. Along with these traditional favorites, newcomers for our cookie jars are included such as Maple walnut slice-and-bake cookies or Cranberry spice rugelach. There is a recipe for Chocolate chip cookie dough dip here which every kid (or at least my kid) would devour (and probably some adults, too). Bars, meringues, and a few no-bake treats are covered.

While I realize the recipe we are sharing today is for a holiday-ish type cookie, there is no reason why you couldn't omit the peppermint extract and crushed candy canes and enjoy Chocolate biscotti this Valentine's Day maybe with some red and pink sprinkles. That is how I would roll  because while I am not anti- many things, I am anti-peppermint. 

Thanks to Race Point for sharing the biscotti recipe as well as providing three copies of this title for our contest open to members in the US and Canada. After you add this cookie to your bookshelf, scroll down to enter! 

 

Chocolate peppermint biscotti
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PREP TIME: 40 minutes TOTAL TIME: 2 hours YIELD: 32 cookies

It doesn't need to be the holidays to enjoy these holly jolly biscotti! Making biscotti may seem daunting, but the process is anything but. These cookies are twice-baked, which contributes to their traditional crunchy coffee-soaker-upper texture. That's a term, correct? Crushed candy canes add to the festive fun!

  • 1¾ cups (210 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and hands
  • ½ cup (43 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons (75 g) butter, cold and cubed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup (270 g) mini or regular-size semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
  • 4-ounce (113 g) bar semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup crushed candy canes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, whisk 3 of the eggs, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract together. Pour into the flour-butter mixture, then gently mix with a large spoon or rubber spatula until everything is just barely moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, knead lightly until the dough is soft and slightly sticky, about 8 to 10 times. If it's very sticky, knead 1 to 2 more tablespoon(s), or 8 to 15 g, of flour into the dough. With floured hands, divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place each portion onto its own cookie sheet. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long (20 cm) slab, patting down until each is about ½ inch (13 mm) thick.

5. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the milk. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top and sides of each slab of dough with the egg wash.

6. Bake the slabs of dough for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, but do not turn off the heat. Allow slabs to cool for 10 minutes. Once the slabs are cool enough to handle, cut each into 1-inch-thick (2.5 cm) slices (see photo, left). Set slices, cut sides facing up, 3/4 inch (6 mm) apart on the baking sheets.

7. Return to the oven to continue baking for 8 to 9 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes. The biscotti will be slightly soft in the center with harder edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets.

8. Transfer biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely. As they cool, the biscotti will become crunchy.

9. Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 15-second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth. Drizzle biscotti with chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

10. Allow the chocolate to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature, about 30 minutes, before enjoying. Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP

Biscotti can be frozen for up to 3 months, but I suggest freezing without the chocolate drizzle; allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then drizzle with chocolate 30 minutes prior to serving.

From Sally's Cookie Addiction by Sally McKenney, © 2017 by Sally McKenney. Used by permission from the publisher, Race Point Publishing, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group. QuartoKnows.com

 

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 17th, 2018.

Palate Passport by Neha Khullar

Neha Khullar's Palate Passport has been mentioned here a time or two since December when I first received her book.

The author states that she spent three years and a lifetime writing Palate Passport, traveling the world collecting experiences and food memories like others collect postcards. The photographs here are lovely and plentiful. The recipes each share an experience. For instance, the South Indian tomato chutney tells the tale of hotel breakfast in Mumbai and a French dinner in St. Martin inspired the Cauliflower shooters. We are lucky to experience these memories through Neha's beautiful narrative, and we can immerse ourselves further by creating these dishes and memories for ourselves in our own kitchens.

I love this collection for its international dishes as I love to travel the globe through cooking, but also because I've learned a thing or two while reading it. When I reached the Singapore carrot cake, I wondered if Neha knew she made a mistake. The photo next to the recipe title was not cake or anything resembling cake and not one hint of orange, where were the carrots! This dish is a spicy, savory dish with Chinese daikon, rice flour, and absolutely no carrots or sugar. I love learning about new dishes and Neha's book is packed with them. Genovese pesto mac and cheese, Australian meat pie rolls, Philly cheesesteak samosa, and Pretzel crusted calamari are other recipes that inspire me.

Today, I made the Soy sauce chicken which I adjusted a bit because I had a whole chicken which I split and it smells incredible. I am looking forward to dinner. Update: We all had a pre-dinner bite and it is marvelous - I can't wait to make this with chicken thighs again. (No bell pepper we aren't fans.)

As we are approaching Fat Tuesday, Neha thought it appropriate to share her New Orleans muffaletta recipe with our members today so that if you are so incline you can gather up the ingredients, throw on some Madri Gras beads, and celebrate like you are in NOLA.  Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Neha is offering two copies of her book to our members in the US and EYB is supplying one copy worldwide. Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. 

 

New Orleans muffaletta
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Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup green olives - pitted and coarsely chopped
  • ⅔ cup Kalamata olives - pitted and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup pimiento peppers - chopped
  • ½ cup hot cherry peppers - coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 anchovy fillet - mashed
  • 2 tablespoons capers - drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves - finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large round bread loaf (at least 10-12 inches in diameter)
  • ¼ pound salami - thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound capicola - thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound mortadella - thinly sliced
  • ¼ pound provolone - thinly sliced

Method:

1. Place the first 11 ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Reserve this olive salad in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. To assemble the sandwich, cut the bread lengthwise and if especially thick, tear out some of the doughy inside. Lay the bread slices face-up on the cutting board.

3. Spoon the olive mixture onto both halves of the bread.

4. Layer the meat and cheese onto the bottom half, then close with the top half.

5. Cut the sandwich into quarters and serve immediately, or for better flavor, wrap in plastic and allow the bread to soak up juices for 1 hour before serving.

A traditional-style Muffaletta sandwich consists of a muffaletta-style loaf (a round loaf somewhat similar to focaccia, except lighter on the inside), mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, provolone, and a signature olive spread. It hails from New Orleans yet has Italian origins due to the Italian immigrants that settled in the bayou.

What makes the sandwich particularly unique from place to place is its signature olive spread, along with the quality of meats used. The signature olive spread consists of olives chopped with a slew of other pickled vegetables such as carrots and cauliflower; basically what one would find in a bottle of Italian Giardiniera, with olives added.

Unlike other sandwiches with wet ingredients that encourage you to serve the sandwich right away to avoid sogginess, this sandwich pretty much requires a little resting time for all of the flavors to truly marry.

 

The author is offering two copies of her book to EYB Members in the US and EYB is supplying one copy worldwide.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 15th, 2018.

Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home

Who is this Matt Wilkinson and why haven't I had my cookbook-craving hands on any of his books until now? Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is at Home: A Cookbook for Every Family by Wilkinson and his wife, Sharlee Gibb, was my inauguration into the Wilkinsons' world. 

For those who are in the dark as much as I am, Wilkinson is the chef and owner of the Melbourne eatery, Pope Joan and has authored several cookbooks which I have now ordered based on how much I loved  this collaboration with his wife.

Mr and Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home has a comfortable feel about it with lovely photographs and a selection of recipes that are approachable all served up with a side of honesty. Things are wonderfully imperfect at their home just as they are for the rest of us.

The Chicken and miso noodle salad is fantastic and eliminates those cravings I have for ordering bad Asian take out. I made it a few months ago and couldn't take a picture that was suitable for sharing. I'll let you in on a secret - every time I take a photo of a dish I pray to the powers that be to make the result reasonable to look at. The powers weren't in my favor that night however I plan on making it again tomorrow as it was that tasty (and the photo turned out half-way reasonable!). The Wilkinson family favorites are shared from past generations such as Edna's biscuits (from the Mrs' nana) and new favorites such as Chocolate and fennel cookies from the Mrs herself.  I also love the different versions for recipes they provide - for instance Mum's version of porridge versus Dad's version - Mum's has some extra yummy ingredients. 

This title is a great mix of easy throw together weeknight suppers (Double cheese quesadillas) and meals that take a little effort for a weekend (Prawn dumplings with Asian greens). There is something for everyone here. 

Special thanks to Hardie Grant for sharing a comforting Beef & mushroom pie recipe with our members today as well as providing three copies of this title in our contest below. 

Beef & mushroom pie
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MR: This pie is perfect for winter days. I usually cook the filling the day before while getting that night's dinner ready, spooning it into the pie dish and leaving it to cool before transferring it to the fridge. Then the next day it's as simple as popping the pastry on top and putting it in the oven to bake.

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) stewing beef, roughly diced
  • 200 g (7 oz) Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 frozen butter puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten

 

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the beef pieces and brown on all sides, then add the mushrooms and spices and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, mustard and stock and stir everything together, then bring to a simmer and cook over a medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is nice and tender with a gravy-like consistency.

Mix the cornflour together with 2 tablespoons water in a measuring cup to make a paste, then stir into the pan with the beef. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for five minutes until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste, remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Pour the beef mixture into a 30 x 22 x 5 cm (12 x 8 3/4 x 2 in) pie dish and nestle a pie bird, if you have one, in the centre. Cut a cross in the middle of the pastry sheet and gently place the pastry over the dish so that the bird pokes out of the hole in the middle. Seal the edges, brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg wash and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and flaky. Serve with mashed potato, pumpkin or sweet potato.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How It Is At Home by Matt Wilkinson and Sharlee Gibb, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2017, RRP $29.99 hardcover.

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 12th, 2018.

Plantlab by Matthew Kenney

Plantlab: Crafting the Future of Food by Matthew Kenney is a visual feast for the eyes. Kenney, long considered a pioneer in raw and vegan cuisine, delivers the definitive vegan cookbook for serious foodies and chefs. His life's work has been his commitment to plant-based innovation as well as culinary nutrition, and here he employs inventive techniques and creative thinking in dishes that are visual masterpieces as well as delectable meals.

As founder of Plantlab® a high end vegan culinary school  created to meet the increasing demand for health-conscious cuisine by offering world-class, plant-based culinary training and Matthew Kenney Cuisine, an integrated, California-based lifestyle company, Kenney states that his role is to share the benefits of what his companies do, and to ensure that future generations treat food and food preparation with respect, in order to best serve the world's citizens, its animals, and the planet. 

Plantlab, the cookbook, begins with an introduction that details the author's work as mentioned above, his thoughts on the future of food and the role creativity plays in his food. Photo albums come next with each section divided by skill level: Fundamental, Advanced, Professional and Future. Trailing the stunning photography, recipe text is set forth with the same. The index before each section outlines the recipe titles and descriptions of dishes and sets forth both the recipe page number and the page number where the photograph can be found in parenthesis. The same goes for each photograph and recipe sharing cross information which makes this very user friendly as it is not your typical cookbook that has photos and recipes set out on the same page. There is nothing typical about this book at all. It will stretch our creativity and skill levels with the bonus of sparking an interest in how we approach and think about food which is one of the reasons it made my best books of 2017 list.

Like all masterpieces, work is involved. Creating dishes that are visually stunning, while incredibly delicious, isn't for the faint of heart - there is a required dedication in using the best quality ingredients as well as time to address each component and assembly of the finished dish. Plantlab is true inspiration as a resource to explore our creative side and hone our culinary skills. 

Special thanks to Regan Arts for sharing the following recipe with our members today along with providing two copies of Plantlab in our contest below. 

Hearts of palm ceviche, leche de tigre, red pepper oil

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Serves 6-8

Hearts of palm

  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound hearts of palm, sliced into rounds

Whisk lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a bowl. Add hearts of palm, making sure they are completely covered with dressing. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Leche de tigre 

  • 2 cups celery juice
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1⁄2 habanero pepper, seeded
  • 1 aji amarillo, whole
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoons sea salt

In a high-speed blender, blend the celery juice, cilantro, habanero, aji, ginger, lime juice, and garlic until smooth. Reduce speed to low, slowly add the coconut milk, and continue blending until emulsified. Add salt to taste and strain through a fine mesh strainer.

Red pepper oil

  • 1⁄2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1⁄4 cup Sichuan chili flakes
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Blend the oil, Sichuan chili flakes, and salt in a small blender at the highest speed for 3-5 minutes. Pour oil and chili mixture through a strainer with a coffee filter inside. Let the oil drain undisturbed; do not force it through. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Garnish

  • 2 celery stalks, shaved with a vegetable peeler, stored in ice water
  • 1 watermelon radish, sliced thin with a mandoline
  • 1⁄2 cup micro or small Thai basil leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup seagrass
  • Edible flowers (nasturtium or Johnny Jump Ups)

Assembly

Place the marinated kale in a pile in the center of a shallow bowl. Place the cubed watermelon on the kale in a circle. Pour 1 tablespoon ponzu-lime marinade over the watermelon. Garnish the watermelon with ginger, mint, and flowers. Season with flake salt.

Excerpted with permission from Plantlab: Crafting the Future of Food by Matthew Kenney (Regan Arts, Nov. 2017) Photo: Adrian Mueller

The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe from the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 11th, 2018.

The Ivy Now by Fernando Peire



When I first held The Ivy Now in my hands, I knew I was in for a treat. From its elegant crimson cloak to the satin green paper edges, the book exudes class.

As I turned the history soaked pages filled with modern recipes, I felt as if I were at The Ivy, as it was then and as it is now. The celebrity haunt serves Modern British food to the London pre-theatre crowd and has been doing so for over 100 years. Director Fernando Peire has created a stunning tribute to the art deco adorned restaurant by sharing 100 recipes nestled within 100 years of stories.

The Ivy Now will transport you with its tales, inspire you with its dishes and have you longing to visit the iconic spot. Slow-roasted pork belly with bacon, marjoram, peal onions and peas and Broad bean, mint and goat's cheese tortellini are a few examples of the stars that take the stage in the 9 Acts (chapters) here. From the artistic design, photographs, to the stories and recipes, I adore everything about this book. I am quick to fall for restaurant cookbooks but when they are done as elegantly as this tribute is - I had no hope  to resist its charms.

Quadrille Publishing is sharing the first recipe in the book, the Bang bang chicken (a favorite of mine), with our members today as well as providing three copies of this stunner in our contest below open to members in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Go. Get. This. Book. Now.

 

Bang bang chicken
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This originally came to The Ivy after Chris Corbin (the owner at the time) ate it in a restaurant in Chinatown. He was so taken with it, he came back and asked his head chef, Mark Hix, to develop it for the restaurant. It quickly became a firm fixture on the menu, so much so that when Gary tried to take it off briefly, the outcry reached the national press! Need we say more?

Serves 6

Chicken

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock (broth)
10 lime leaves
30 g (1 oz) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 sticks of lemongrass, bashed
100 ml (7 Tbsp) coconut cream
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 red chilli, halved
4 skinless, boneless, free-range, organic chicken breasts

Peanut sauce

100 g (scant 1/2 cup) good-quality smooth peanut butter (we use Skippy)
1 Tbsp hot chilli sauce (look for a good-quality brand such as Linghams)
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
finely grated zest of 1/4 lime
30 g (1/4 cup) unsalted roasted peanuts, lightly crushed

Salad

2 large carrots, finely shredded
50 g (1 3/4 oz) mooli (daikon), finely shredded
50 g (1 3/4 oz) mangetout (snow peas), finely shredded
1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely shredded
50 g (scant 1 cup) beansprouts
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the chicken, in a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock (broth) to the boil with the lime leaves, ginger slices, lemongrass, coconut cream, soy sauce and red chilli. Add the chicken breasts to the boiling stock, cover with a cartouche (disc of baking parchment) and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken becomes firm and is no longer pink inside. Remove from the heat and leave the chicken to cool completely in the poaching liquor.

For the peanut sauce, soften the peanut butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or for 20 seconds in the microwave. Whisk in the chilli sauce, followed by the sunflower and sesame oils, pouring in a thin stream, and whisking constantly. Once all the oil has been added, whisk in the lime zest and crushed roasted peanuts. Keep this at room temperature until you are ready to use it.

For the salad, put the shredded carrot, mooli (daikon), mangetout (snow peas), spring onions (scallions) and beansprouts in a bowl, add the lime juice and olive oil and mix together. Leave to stand for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables a little. Meanwhile, shred the now-cool chicken breasts. (The leftover poaching liquor from the chicken makes a wonderful base for a fragrant chicken soup, so do save it.)

When ready to serve, divide the salad between 6 plates and top with the shredded chicken. Spoon the peanut sauce over the chicken and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Recipe excerpted with permission from The Ivy Now by Fernando Peire, published by Quadrille September 2017, RRP $40.00 hardcover.

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 10th, 2018.

Deepa's Secrets - Deepa Thomas

Part cookbook and memoir, Deepa's Secrets: Mouthwatering, Slow-Carb New Indian Recipes introduces the author's breakthrough slow carb and gut-healing recipes that are simple and nutrient-packed, without sacrificing traditional rich South Asian flavors.

After her husband's diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, Deepa Thomas set out to demystify and create healthy Indian cuisine. Here, in her debut book, she shares shortcuts and techniques that will make her "New Indian" cuisine our everyday fare.

A stunningly photographed book, packed with dishes that will inspire cooks to explore the beauty of Indian cuisine - it is clear why Deepa's Secrets is a winner of a Gourmand World Cookbook Award.

I visited Deepa's website and found inspiration in her words: "I did not set out to write a book any more than I set out to have an arranged marriage, raise two sons, or be the CEO of my own international design company. Deepa's Secrets is a hybrid cookbook and memoir, wherein I impart kitchen wisdom - recipe tips, techniques, menu plans, stories and advice for a healthy life."

The author has an amazing background steeped in success. She graduated Delhi University with degrees in journalism and political science before moving to the US. In 1985, she founded Deepa Textiles. After 23 design awards, the company has been credited with transforming the $10 billion a year contract furniture industry.

Since 2010, Deepa has combined her passion for journalism with her newfound love of cooking, deconstructing the principles of the most successful diets and healthy living practices in order to create a simple, slow carb New Indian cuisine. Apparently, there is nothing this woman can't do.

The Ginger cabbage slaw, General Joseph's five-star chicken batons, and her Best-ever oven-roasted sweet' potato fries (which Andrew, my son, did declare as best ever) are full of flavor and simple to replicate. Deepa's New Indian gremolata is my new favorite condiment. If you enjoy Indian cuisine, you need this book - stunning dishes that are good for you and approachable, make it a must-have.

Special thanks to the publisher for sharing the following recipes with us today and for providing three copies of Deepa's Secrets in our contest below. 

 

Smashed Chickpea and Toasted Peanut Cakes

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Vendors in Delhi used to toast peanuts on the streets during the cooler winter months. They'd light fires and warm the peanuts in their shells, then slip them into newspaper cones. The peanut-chickpea combo doubles the protein in this recipe for a great vegetarian meal, side, snack, or appetizer.

SERVES 6

Toast and grind:

  • ¼ teaspoon anise seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 cup peanuts, shelled, toasted, and rough chopped (skin-on Indian peanuts are fine)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chaat masala
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut or chickpea (garbanzo) flour
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

Make ahead: Cakes, cooked or uncooked, freeze beautifully for a grab and go snack, appetizer, or meal. Use parchment or waxed paper to separate layers before freezing.

Toast and grind seeds. Mix all the remaining ingredients except for the flour and coconut oil. Use a hand blender to puree to a rough consistency. Check seasoning.

Shape into 2-inch patties.

Press patties into coconut or chickpea flour to help them hold their shape.

Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Use enough oil to "moisten" the pan (about one tablespoon).

Brown the cakes (several at a time, without crowding) over medium heat (about four minutes). Gently flip (I use two spatulas) and brown the other side (another four minutes). Repeat until all cakes are done. You may need to add oil between batches. Keep the finished cakes warm in a 200ºF oven until ready to serve.

Serve with Reemsie's Tamarind Sauce (p. 34) or Chutput Ketchup (p. 36) for dipping. (Recipes below.)

Reemsie's tamarind sauce
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Yield 1 cup

  • 6 Medjool dates (seeded and soaked)
  • 1 cup tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon (Lucknow) fennel seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teasoon chaat masala

Make ahead: Your Medjool dates need to be soaked in hot water for at least an hour. If you soak ahead, make sure to reserve the water.

1. Mix soaked dates with tamarind paste and dilute with reserved soaking water.

2. Add remaining ingredients.

3. Mix well and add more water to thin, if necessary. Check seasoning. 

4. Store in an airtight glass jar for up to two weeks in the fridge, and up to one month in the freezer. Reemsie's Sauce is great for dipping and glazing - brush fish with olive oil and Reemsie's Tamarind Sauce before cooking.

Chutput ketchup
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Yield 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 oz. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teasopon chaat masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

1. Blend all ingredients well in a food processor or blender. Check seasoning. 

2. Refrigerate in an airtight glass jar for up to 2 weeks. 

The publisher is offering copies three of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 10th, 2018.

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