Sunday 17 September 2017

Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura      {Reviewed by STELLA}
Occasionally I treat myself to a new cookbook. There are many I would like to have on the shelves in the kitchen, but we don't have the room for all the gorgeous cookbooks that arrive at VOLUME. So, for a book to make the cut, it has to be extra tempting. Ostro from Melbourne foodie Julia Busuttil Nishimura made the cut. I was immediately attracted to the book (by its cover!). Usually, I don’t like cookbooks with a picture of the chef front and centre - even though I understand the marketing reasons for doing so. Anyway, here is Julia, relaxed, sated looking - a pose that says food is a delight and should be enjoyed - the look that you may have on your face when you’ve tasted something delicious or about to indulge. The subtitle, "The pleasure that comes from slowing down and cooking with simple ingredients", is so apt for her Italian/ Mediterranean influenced food and her philosophy about food and lifestyle: Slow down and enjoy. The recipes are divided into several categories, including Bread & Pizza, Vegetables, Pasta & Grain, Seafood & Meat, and Desserts - as well as cakes! There are everyday recipes, food for families, and special occasion dishes. The food style suits our climate and coastal location, where we ​enjoy the benefits of wonderful​,​ fresh local produce. I can’t wait to make and eat 'Soft Polenta with Bitter Greens and Walnuts' (just right for this time of year), 'Roasted Broccoli with Lemon, Garlic and Anchovy Crumbs', and 'Whole Orange Cake with Candied Fennel Seeds' (and many others: the gnocchi, the pizzas…. the roasted peach tart). Cookbooks not only have to have sumptuous recipes (ones that you will cook), they also have to look good to entice me to open and explore them. And this is a beautiful book.

PS: Also new - Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Helen Goh's Sweet - All Ottolenghi's cookbooks are superb and this is no exception. Just looking at these sweet treats makes you want to rush home to don your apron and have a reason to bake something splendid!

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