Mandy Wrangles says: The countdown is on! Only one and a bit (or a little more if you count tonight) shopping days until Christmas. If you’re anything like me – there’s that one person still on the list that you have no idea what to get them. You know who I mean. Not the one who already has everything – no, I’m talking about the one who is just too cool to buy for. The Foodie who already has All Of The Cookbooks. The Hipster with too many satchel bags. The Rockabilly Chick with a wardrobe filled to overflowing with vintage frocks and scarlet lipsticks. Well, have I got the solution for you.
Recipes For A Good Time by Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate is the coolest, sexiest cookbook I’ve ever held in my hands (and I’m not talking sexy in the Nigella double-entendre-raised-eyebrow kind of way). I’m talking hot vintage cars, cool tattoos, rockabilly hairstyles, vintage style photographs and absolutely, utterly to die for food. From the under-stated hardcover to the texture of the paper, this is not your everyday cookbook. It’s more coffee table delight with a practical, easy to follow internal instruction guide. With diagrams!
The authors are a pair of besties who also happen to own a couple of Sydney restaurants. In their introduction, they note that the idea for their first restaurant, ‘Bodega’ came from the two of them being sick of working in fine-dining restaurants. They opened the type of eatery they’d like to go to: somewhere with great quality food and a fun environment. They wanted Bodega to be a place that played good music, where you could sit at the bar and watch the chefs at work. These days, their award-winning restaurants include the original Bodega as well as Porteño and Gardel’s Bar. You can certainly get a feel for the restaurants from the stunning photographs contained here.
The contents in Recipes For A Good Time cover topics such as ‘The Perfect Picnic’ to ‘Cooking With Fire’ to ‘Pickles & Sauces’ (which will be my personal go-to around March when my tomatoes and chillies and ripe).
Their signature dish of Fish Fingers might sound basic, but as the boys note, they don’t call them fish fingers because they’re fingers of fish – it’s because ‘you’ve gotta use your mitts’. What I love most about this particular recipe is that they’ve added four pages of variations – one with a double spread of photographs, and another double spread of illustrated, coordinating diagrams. Win! While the original recipe uses cuttlefish and sashimi kingfish, they suggest using ingredients such as mud crab, sea urchin, prawns and even…wait for it…grilled spam. Kind of makes things accessible to every level of cook, huh?
I don’t think you can go past Recipes For A Good Time as that last minute Christmas gift, and not just for the Rockabilly Chicks or the Hipster crowd or your favourite Foodie. It’s a book that will be treasured and loved for many years to come by anyone lucky enough to receive it…if you can bear to give it away and not keep it for yourself that is. I couldn’t!
Photo Credit: Anson Smart
Recipes For A Good Time by Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate
Published by Murdoch Books (Allen &Unwin)
Hardcover, 290 pages.
ISBN – 978-1743364376