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Apr 7, 2009 03:59 PM

Maggie's Harvest Cookbook

I never heard of this cookbook until this past weekend in Canada. I don't see it on bookstore shelves in NYC. Has anyone read and/or cooked from this book? I'd love to read a practical review. I must say the book itself is beautiful, so I went ahead and ordered it.

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  1. I just ordered this book from Amazon Canada. Got a hellova deal. Amazon US wants $75 for it. I got it for CDN$47 and free shipping which is about US$40. It looks like a beautiful book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    4 Replies
    1. re: billieboy

      I ordered from for the exact same reason you did--works out to $48USD inc intl postal charges shipping to a US address. At Indigo in Canada, the store price was 75 CDN! I can't wait to get this book and try it. If anyone out there has this book or has cooked from it--I'd love to hear about the recipes tried.

      1. re: Ora

        Is this Maggie Beer who lives and cooks in the Barossa Valley in Australia? If so, I have two of her cookbooks and they're fabulous. I just checked and it is. She's a wonderful resource and I imagine any book she writes will contain great stuff.

        Please let us know what you think once you get the books.

        1. re: oakjoan

          Yes, it is the Maggie Beer you describe. I never heard of her before. I am anxiously awaiting this cookbook in the mail.

          1. re: Ora

            Please let us know what you think. I just read an article in today's L.A. Times (online) about how Australia is the first place to feel the impact of global warming. It was a horrifying article. I don't know how her particular corner (Barossa (sp) Valley) is feeling the blow of the wildfires, drought and floods. Sounded horrifying.

    2. Just got the book today. Late because of Easter. Have not made anything yet, of course, but looking through the book I am quite impressed. It is quite beautiful with an embroidered dust jacket and bookmarks. She goes into a lot of detail about the ingredients. What to look for and how to prepare them.
      No regrets buying this expensive book. None at all.

      5 Replies
      1. re: billieboy

        What kind of recipes does it have? What looks good? (Will give us a sense for the content.)

        1. re: karykat

          Have not had it very long. She divides her recipes by season. I am looking at one now that looks good. Baked peaches with almond and ginger butter. Pickled figs. Verjuice Sabayon with grilled figs. Hare pie.Grower's Grape Chicken. Warm Salad of smoked Pheasant. Minestrone with Cavolo Nero. Smoked Duck Breast salad with pickled Quince and Vino Cotto dressing.
          Just picked a few at random that look interesting. There are 360.
          She stresses local and seasonal. Australia's Alice Waters :-)
          Maggie Beer....what a great name for an Aussie..:-)

          1. re: billieboy

            I, too, have no regrets buying this book. I fell in love with it in Montreal at Indigo Books after looking at it for about 60 seconds. And, the cover is beautifully embroidered as you described--this is what drew me to the book. The photos are very pretty. The recipes are really interesting and inspiring. They range from very doable to somewhat more challenging--I love this range. She has foods and combinations of foods that I would never think of. Some of the iems are not readily available in the USA (for instance kangaroo -- 3 recipes I think)), but the "exotic" recipes are really only a few out (maybe 10%) of the 350+ offered and they are inspirational nonetheless. For example, I think sirloin steak could work for the 1 or more of the kangaroo recipes. I plan to make a half recipe of the Orange Peel Chicken Wings some day this week. It looks easy and very flavoful. It calls for marinating chicken wings with orange peels, soy sauce, szechan pepper, oil, etc., then baking at high temperature. Sounds wonderfule. The cooking terms are in metric and celsius as the book was ordered from Canada. I don't mind merely looking up the conversions on some measurements and cooking temps--a minor inconvenience. What I like about this book is that it is truly different. It is not about yet another pound cake recipe or other oft repeated recycled recipe. There is some sense of adventure.

            There is one ingredient that is mentioned heavily in the book that I am not sure I have seen in stores in NYC--VERJUS or VERJUICE. It sounds interesting as a cooking ingredient.

            In sum, I love this book and I can't wait to cook from it. Finally--something different and off the "Food Network"/Star Chef/Mass Market road well traveled-I am so tired of those books.

            1. re: Ora

              Again, I thank you for bringing this book forward. It will be an interesting few days between this one and Bon Appetit Y'All.

              1. re: Ora

                See my post below regarding verjuice. I'm quite certain Maggie Beer wrote a book about it--at least partially to promote the product.

                I've bought her brand of verjuice at Zabar's. It's not inexpensive. Expect to pay about what you'd pay for a moderately priced bottle of wine. I first got turned on to verjuice as a wine substitute (both cooking and drinking) for a friend of mine who doesn't drink. He likes it a great deal both straight and with a spritz, and it looks like white wine which is sort of nice if others at the table are drinking.

        2. Maggie Beer is perhaps solely responsible for the renaissance of verjuice throughout the culinary world, and it is her brand of it that I see in the gourmet stores here in NYC.

          Lots of information--and recipes--on her Web site:

          3 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            Yes, she writes about her patented formula for verjuice in the book, while not disclosing it, of course. I didn't know it was at ZABAR'S!!! Great! I can't wait to try it. I didn't know it can be taken straight. I thought it was more like vinegar than wine based on how she uses it in recipes (like vinaigrette for example). Interesting. Honestly, I do not understand why this book isn't even known in the US.

            1. re: Ora

              It's only very slightly acidic, more like wine than either vinegar or lemon juice with which it's often compared, and makes for a very refreshing drink. Because the Maggie Beer brand (the only one I've yet found in NYC) is so pricey, I only keep it on hand when my non-drinking friend comes to visit. But I've read that there are a number producers from California who make an excellent, and less expensive, product. If I could find one of those I'd use it more often. It's great not only in a vinaigrette, but for deglazing pans after you made something like pan-fried chops and it's a marvelous complement in fish sauces. It doesn't keep forever, by the way. I've read that it starts to lose its intensity after a couple of weeks and is pretty well shot after four. What does she have to say about storage in the book?

              1. re: JoanN

                Maggie doesn't discuss storage for her commercial product. Given the number of recipes using verjuice in the book, I don't see her having to store an open bottle very long! However, there is a passage on storing homemade verjuice (crushing wine grapes before full ripening and straining)--she recommends freezing in ice cube trays and using it as necessary.