Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cook Book of the Month

Donna Hay
Fresh and Light

It’s always a delight to come home from work and find that Kelly has been ploughing through her cook books looking for something new and delicious.  The other night she had plates laid out on the servery with spicy chicken mince, pickled cucumber and washed lettuce leaves.  The smell was fabulous and I couldn't wait to taste it.  Kelly had decided to make Spicy Chicken Larb with Pickled Cucumber from her new Donna Hay cook book.

Larb originated in Laos and is made with just about any meat or fish, and in Thailand it’s sometimes eaten raw.  I don’t recommend eating raw Larb as several deaths have been recorded and besides, raw pork sounds yuck.

The Donna Hay version is spiced with ginger, garlic, chilli, coriander (cilantro), and lime.  It’s served like a San Choy Bau, where the meat is served in a lettuce leaf cup and the pickled cucumber and fresh chilli are placed on top. 

It’s a fairly simple dish that is quick to prepare and fun to eat.  It’s very messy so have plenty of napkins handy.  The flavours are punchy and the crunch of the lettuce and sourness of the pickle add a fresh dimension to the whole experience.  It’s sweet and sour, salty and spicy, it’s hot and cold and soft and crunchy.  It was so good I think I ate enough for three people, but that’s OK because this is not a heavy dish and I didn't feel guilty about stuffing myself completely.

The book itself has some beautiful photography which is a hallmark of Donna Hay cook books.  All the recipes are quick and fresh and quite easy to prepare.  Donna has designed 180 new recipes for this tome and she covers every meal of the day including desserts, snacks, sides and fast meals. 

I don’t know which of these dishes I want to eat next, so I’ll let Kelly be inspired and decide for herself.  I’m sure that I will love anything that comes out of this book.

If you would like to try this recipe or any of the others in Fresh and Light, I highly recommend you pick up a copy at a good book shop or order one on line.  If you’re sick of stodgy heavy food and want something light and delicious, then this is the book for you.

Of course all the recipes are by Donna Hay.  The photos, which are works of art, are by William Meppem.  Art design by Chi Lam.  The copy editor is Melanie Hansche.  I bet there were a lot of other people involved in producing this book and I believe they all deserve a big pat on the back.  Published by HarperCollins.
Bon Appetite,

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