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Dec 29, 2009 04:32 PM

Australian Cookbooks

Any recommendations Re: Australian Cookbooks? The only lead I have now is the books by Donna Hay.



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  1. I can't get by without Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion:

    10 Replies
    1. re: MsJK

      Agree with Stephanie - number 1 reference for Australian food. Also have a look at Neil Perry's Food I love and balance and Harmony. The recipes do work!

      1. re: MsJK

        I'm a Stephanie fan too. She has a new one out which is half gardening, half cookbook.

        David Thompson's book on Thai is regarded as the best english language thai cookery book in the world, but the recipes are appallingly hard work.

        The there's Bill Grainger, a sort of male Donna Hay.

        And a good seller this xmas according to my contacts was the Red Lantern vietnamese book, by Luke Nguyen

        1. re: mr_gimlet

          I admit to owning several of the above mentioned but often consult Womens Weekly series of magazine style cook books.

          1. re: legume

            I need to confess to having a pretty well-thumbed Presbyterian Womens Cookbook (Millenium edition...!)

            1. re: legume

              Women's Weekly do amazingly good cookbooks, I love them. AGTs annual cookbook is a big fave too. Also a shout out to the Country Women's Association recipe compendium.

              Young guys can read CWA jam recipes, it's not weird....

          2. re: MsJK

            What's her specialty? What are her must-try recipes? I have the Cook's Companion but most of her desserts are OK and no exceptional. Her meat, soup and salad recipes seem to be better.

            1. re: pearlyriver

              Isn't the "speciality" the fact it's more like a basic reference book and thus good for basics. I don' think it was written as anything else

              1. re: PhilD

                But I haven't found a crowd pleasing recipe in her cookbook, which I attribute to my poor skills. I've found more keeper worthy recipes from Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cookbooks, which are also written as the basic reference book. Would you mind sharing an excellent recipe from it?

                1. re: pearlyriver

                  As I say a reference book, it has recipes but is more useful for techniques or info on ingredients and the basics of how to cook them. For me the recipes are either good examples of a basic recipe or else a recipe that can be used to build from and modify. So no "crowd pleasers" as such - also quite different from Julia Child which is more of a homage to French food rather than a reference (and IMO Elizabeth David is better than Julia at that anyway).

                  1. re: PhilD

                    It also has a big advantage of being ordered by ingredient, so if you come back from the market with whatever is in season, you can always get some great ideas. The mini recipes in the margins are especially good.

                    My go to recipe from the book is harira.

          3. If you want to go with the big names, both Mark Best (Marque) and Ben Shewry (Origin) both came out with books on their restaurants this year. I haven't looked at Origin yet, but am hoping to pick up a signed copy when I eat at Attica in January. Marque has also gotten some good press.

            1. It's Vietnamese recipes... but very Australian; The Secrets of the Red Lantern by Pailine Nguyen (Luke's sister) is a fantastic cookbook.

              1. My very first Aussie cookbook was the one by Margarest Fulton - back in the mid-1970s. I still have it on my shelf.

                My current fave is Sydney Food by Bill Granger:

                1. Maggie Beer is another cook with some great recipes. I have 'Maggies Kitchen'.
                  I also have the Cook's Companion' by Stephanie Alexander, I too use it mainly as a reference book and not so much for the recipes.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Frizzle

                    Love cook's companion but can i take this moment to have the slightest gripe about Maggie?

                    Love Maggie's Kitchen, Love Cook and the Chef, and love her, hated Maggie's Harvest.

                    I don't know about others but i actually thought the recipes were really pretty lacklustre and in a couple of cases actually a bit patronising and a bit of an ad for her whole brand including the quince paste recipe that calls for 3-6 hours of continual stirring.

                    The ingredient list might as well have been 'my Quince Paste from a shop and while you're at the shop why not get some other fine products from the Maggie Beer range.'

                    1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                      I've had other people say they've found Maggie's Harvest disappointing too. Maggie's Kitchen is the only one I have.