From the pages of Eatstreets

Author: Lyndey Milan and Ian Hemphill

Publisher: Lantern

RRP: $49.95

Just Add Spice

30 March 2010.
Reviewed by Stephanie Clifford-Smith

This book came about when the authors, who are old friends, realised they used a common language, Lyndey when talking about wine, Ian about spice.

It kicks off with an intro to herbs and spices with hints about when to use fresh over dried, whole over ground and what makes a useful selection for the pantry. The style is clear and straightforward, comfortably pitched to beginners but interesting enough for more experienced cooks.

Before we get to the recipes, there's a section on spice blends — cajun, harissa, various curries as well as salad and dessert mixes — and general advice on where they might work.

The recipes are international, accessible, accurate and appealing with a couple of standout features. One is the drink matches, mostly covering suitable wines and beers, dispelling the myth that spicy food is hard to match. But what I really love is they provide the recipe for the spice mix again on the page so the cook doesn't have to keep flipping to the front of the book. On top of this, they give the correct proportions of the mix for the dish in question rather than the irritating approach of some books that simply tell the cook to use a half, triple or whatever quantity of a preparation. It makes such good design sense.

The layout is clean and clear — recipe on one full page, photo opposite. The styling has a retro feel using old china, distressed timber furniture, antique kitchenalia and rustic ceramics. It's earthy and I reckon it makes a refreshing change from all those decades of white minimalism we're starting to emerge from. Recommended.

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