Love to Cook is the latest book from the food director of ABC delicious and bestselling author Valli Little. The idea behind Love to Cook is to inspire people to discover, or re-discover, their love for cooking.
I was so excited to receive a copy from HarperCollins Publishers to review. Love to Cook is a truly beautiful book. The photos (from food photographer Jeremy Simons and food stylist David Morgan) are stunning, and as I flipped through the pages I found recipe after recipe that I can’t wait to try.
The recipes are relatively straightforward. They aren’t overly complicated and use ingredients you’ll have heard of – or will already have in your fridge or pantry. The recipes range from dishes you’ll cook everyday to others you’ll keep up your sleeve for a special occasion. The book is divided into 12 main sections, which makes things easy to find. These sections include:
- Eggs & Dairy, which covers breakfast as well as sweet treats (such as Three Milks Cake and Buttermilk Pudding) and other savoury dishes (such as meatballs and fried rice)
- Soups and Starters
- Pasta, Rice & Noodles
- Cakes & Bakes
- Festive, a fantastic Christmas section filled with ideas for canapes, mains and desserts
There are also “Essentials” and “Extras” interspersed in these sections, which cover everything from the best crunchy potatoes to stuffing to sauces to crepes to pesto.
There’s also another section at the back called “Menus”, with menu suggestions such as “Sunday Roast with a Twist” and “Asian Summer Lunch”. This is a really great extra, and it makes finding ideas and inspiration for entertaining even easier.
For the purposes of reviewing the book, I tried out a few of the recipes. I was super happy with the outcome each time.
Eggs & Dairy
Herbed Scrambled Egg, Prosciutto and Chevre Crostini
We made these for a weekend breakfast, serving the herbed scrambled eggs, prosciutto (which we baked rather than kept raw) on a plate with toasted bread and goats cheese (chevre) and a cheeky hashbrown. We scooped the eggs on top of the bread and cheese, with the crispy prosciutto and as we ate we agreed that Valli Little is really onto something here. This was a really, really good breakfast and a great start to the day.
Crumbed Whiting with Citrus Salad
Crumbed Whiting is one of my favourite quick and easy seafood dinners. They’re like fancy fish fingers! Valli Little’s recipe didn’t disappoint – the whiting, which we bought fresh that day, was perfectly light and crumbly and the breadcrumb batter golden and crispy. The citrus salad was a delicious accompaniment. I wasn’t sure about the addition of olives but they worked well. The fennel added flavour and crunch and the orange was juicy and refreshing.
Spiced Vegetable Couscous
I made this as a side to accompany a midweek dinner. It didn’t take TOO long to make, and the waiting time (while things roasted in the oven) meant I could get on with other things. It was super tasty and there was heaps left over which means I’ll have lunch to take to work. I really like Valli’s presentation – spooning the couscous onto a platter and then placing the roasted vegetables, then the herbs, over the top. It’s a great serve-at-a-dinner dish, especially if you’re feeding a big group. As the recipe suggests, I served it with a side of homemade tzatziki.
Oatmeal Hotcakes with Berry Crush
We made these for breakfast, on another weekend day (okay, so it was the same weekend as the crostini). As we were making them for breakfast we omitted the chocolate sauce and icing sugar, but they were so delicious all the same. We made enough for the two of us and kept the leftover batter. We used it a few days later to make dessert. We added grated apple to the batter and then served with homemade caramel sauce. It was amazing!
My mum also made the Garlicky Pumpkin Risotto from the Pasta, Rice & Noodles section. I can honestly say that it’s one of the best risottos I’ve ever had. It was just delicious – so full of flavour. Sorry, no photos as I didn’t realise she’d made it from the book until it was too late.
Valli Little’s Love to Cook is a fantastic book, one that I highly recommend. It would make a great Christmas present – if you can bear to part with it.
The title: Love to Cook (ABC delicious)
The chef: Valli Little
The format: Paperback
The publisher: ABC (HarperCollins)
The RRP: $39.99
Love to Cook can be purchased online here.