Saturday, 29 November 2014

The Bread Exchange: Tales and Recipes from A Journey Of Baking and Bartering

l love bread. I could live on bread alone. And I don’t know why prior to this, I have never attempted to make bread in my home. But Malin Elmlid may just inspire me to. Her book The Bread Exchange includes tales and recipes from a journey of bread making and bartering. My first thought was how fitting the name of the book was. When I think of the most memorable bread moments – devouring a warm loaf – I think of it as a sharing moment. You never just buy a whole loaf by yourself and eat it all (although now from the sounds of it, that may not be completely impossible to fathom).

But there's a lot more to this book. The Bread Exchange tells the story of one woman’s hunger for greater meaning in her life and how it has been enriched by the sharing of hand-made bread. From her cozy kitchen in Berlin to a flat in London, from a deck in New York City to huddling around a tandoor in Kabul, the author shares discoveries, stories, and recipes from her inspiring travels. And, just like the title suggests, the collection holds recipes from contributors all over the world. Whether it's Cheese Phyllo Squares from Sinai, or Blood Orange Curd With Rosemary from Bavaria, Bread Exchange is an eclectic mix of recipes that isn't just about bread. There's even a Hibiscus-Ginger Cocktail And Concord Spritzer Cocktail, which is colourful and matches perfectly with the early fall season.

There's so much I learned from this book. For example, stories of how the first bread in history may have been baked thousands of years ago in the Sinai Desert.

Tell me a story that moves me.
Show me something I have never seen before.
Teach me something I did not know.
Bring whatever you do that you are proud of.

Share with me.
And I will share my bread with you.

What surprised me the most was the fact that she isn’t a full-time baker who had an opportunity to share her stories. Rather, this busy fashion-industry professional had a bread-baking obsession, started offering her loaves to others in return for recipes and handmade goods. Bread Exchange isn’t just a recipe book…it is a book of tales and reflections, of wanderlust connections. But okay, what would a bread book be with a few recipes, so there are 50 of her favourite naturally leavened breads and other delicious things collected on a journey honouring the staff and stuff of life. 

Published by Chronicle Books and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Toronto Cooks: Fine Dining Comes To Your Kitchen

A few weeks ago I was casually strolling through downtown Toronto and it seemed that everywhere I went this cookbook made an appearance. I love dining out (regular SukasaStyle followers already know that from the various restaurant reviews posted on the site). And since Toronto offers one of the most vibrant and varied food scenes in the world, the foodie temptation in me runs wild to keep up with the best of the best. When I’m having the same ‘ol boring dish at home, while binge watching my favourite Food Network TV shows, I am constantly in wonder of why I can’t cook like the master chefs. 

Well until now. My first sighting of Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants was the massive display at the flagship Bay store downtown. Author Amy Rosen has compiled the best of the best chef recipes in one cookbook. One hundred of them. I feel like I’ve just been handed a key to get into foodie heaven. Why would fancy Toronto restaurants chefs reveal their secrets goes beyond my comprehension, but before they decide to change their minds and take the devoured cookbook off the shelves, I was determined to have a copy (or two, or three…it’s the holiday gift giving time after all). But, I decided I would keep it at the back of my mind and not indulge in an impulsive purchase.

I scurried around the Eaton Centre making a pit stop at another one of my favourite stores Chapters Indigo, and low and behold, right at the entrance was a tower…of none other than Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants. Was this a sign? The excitement was already building in me, and I thought of at least 5 of my foodie friends who would absolutely love this book. Grabbing a few copies I made a beeline for the cashier.

To give you a bit of hints about the secrets this cookbook contains. How about Lynn Crawford’s Braised Short Ribs, or Momofuku’s Milk Bar Crack Pie®, or Bymark’s Fennel-Crusted Black Cod. Yes, this is the perfect book for food lovers who want to recreate the recipes from some of their favourite restaurants. And, with holiday parties just around the corner, there’s sure to be a recipe in here to impress just about any discerning guest (like a mom-in-law!).
“Diving into Amy Rosen’s hotly-anticipated cookbook, Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from The City’s Best Restaurants feels a bit like you’ve been handed the secrets to the hottest menu items at the city’s buzziest restaurants and that you’d better snap up a copy before they all realize what’s happened and take them back.” – Food Network 
Published by Figure 1 Publishing Inc. and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books. 
Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a book blog: T: @SukasaReads)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

There’s Plenty More Love When Yotam Ottolenghi’s in the Kitchen

Chunky green olives in olive oil, a heady marinade of soy sauce and chile; crushed chickpeas with green peas; smoky paprika in a potent dip; quinoa, bulgur, and buckwheat wedded in a citrus dressing; tahini and halvah ice cream, savory puddings, fennel braised in verjuice; Vietnamese salads and Lebanese dips; thick yogurt over smoky eggplant pulp…
                       These are few of Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite things.
The author of the bestseller Ottolenghi and Plenty, has just released a brand new cookbook of vegetarian recipes, Plenty More. And, just like Plenty, Plenty More is filled with gorgeous photographs that make your mouth water, by none other than renowned photographer Jonathan Lovekin.

While several online sources and blogs cited flaws in the recipes from Plenty, it is necessary to perhaps take the book with a grain of salt and use it for inspiration, rather than follow it to a tee. In Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi’s divided the book into chapters that were quite unsystematic. He explained that it’s the way he thinks and works when writing a recipe.

In Plenty More he does things differently. Love the sections he chose to highlight the recipes.


Yotam Ottolenghi aims to capture some of the techniques involved in constructing a dish, in putting together components and arranging them in layers of flavour, texture, and colour.

“If Plenty, through its structure and recipe selection, tried to shed light on groups of ingredients – my favorite ingredients – this book takes these favorites, adds a few new members to the happy family (kashk, dakos, and black garlic, to name just a few), and then focuses on cooking techniques, methods that best utilize their potential. Roasting lemon, for example, or braising lettuce was novel to me a few years ago. Now I am eager to share these ideas.”

A Healthier Planet...
wouldn't that be nice.

When I pick up a cookbook, my natural urge is to gravitate towards meat dishes. Finally, a cookbook that gets me excited about vegetarian creations. And, there aren’t a lot of vegetarian cookbook options out there. Kudos to Yotam Ottolenghi for putting together a cookbook that’s healthy for our body, our planet and our soul.

This cookbook combo would make a wonderful holiday gift that every vegetarian aficionado will gladly be happy to showcase in their kitchen collection. 

Review by @ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaStyle