Mandy Wrangles reviews Julie Goodwin’s cook book, and with her young family, it proves to be perfect.
Julie Goodwin has become a familiar face in Australian cooking circles in the last few years. As the winner of the 2009 ‘Master Chef’ television show, she’s gone on to huge success writing for the Australian Women’s Weekly, appearing on TV, and as a bestselling cookbook author.
Her first cookbook, ‘Our Family Table’ was one of the highest selling cookbooks in Australian history. She recently opened ‘Julie’s Place’ on the NSW central coast where she hosts cookery classes, corporate team days and special events. What’s her secret to success? Well, I think it’s her normalness. Julie Goodwin is kind of an everybody. The sort of person you can imagine being friends with, the mum you met at a school fundraiser or the lady from the local shop. Her cooking style is realistic – sure, as we all learned watching her on Masterchef, she can pull out the big guns and whip up a spectacular, world-class meal without blinking – but she realises most of us just don’t have the time to undertake those kind of cooking challenges on a regular basis.
Making a call to the local takeaway shop is so much easier, if not expensive and, well, there’s always that guilt factor if you’re anything like me. Homemade is always best. It’s just not always possible. Goodwin’s latest cookbook, ‘Homemade Takeaway’ solves both those problems. With simple, easy to understand recipes that are actually achievable for the average home-cook, gorgeous photographs and a variety to please the fussiest family member, I think she’s on another winner.
‘Homemade Takeaway’ is broken into chapters such as Thai, Tex Mex, Lebanese, Corner Store and Chicken Shop. There’s a fab bakery section (the baked chocolate cheesecake, oh my!) and lots of quick tip recipes, such as pickled onions and burger sauce to add to your Aussie or American burger. The chapter on Chinese cooking gives us those timeless classics such as Sesame Prawn Toast, Mongolian Lamb and Chilli salt soft-shell crab, along with basics like Special Fried Rice.
For Italian, there’s pizza of course, pasta dough and Spaghetti and meatballs, but you can also check out something a little more special such as the Ricotta and spinach ravioli with burnt butter and sage (I’m SO cooking that one soon…will be back to you with the results). I’m expecting my family favourites to be the Lebanese flatbread and dip recipes, along with those burgers from the Corner Store and Tex Mex chapters.
In all, this is one of the most well-presented everyday cookbooks I’ve come across in a long time. It’s practical as well as beautiful and nothing about it screams too hard or fiddly. Best of all, Goodwin gives us alternatives to buying takeaway, using healthy, locally sourced and easy to find ingredients. She also gives tips on how to make a dish more economical – for example using water instead of buttermilk to poach chicken pieces that will later be fried for Southern Fried Chicken (another must-make, it looks amazing).
I recommend ‘Homemade Takeaway’ for anyone who loves to cook, but is practical and realistic about what is achievable in a home kitchen. It would make a fantastic Christmas gift for anyone who enjoys feeding their family and friends the timeless favourites – and for fussy kids who prefer takeaway to Mum’s cooking…it’s a super-win!
Homemade Takeaway by Julie Goodwin
Published by Hachette Australia
Paperback (re-enforced, glossy) 273 pages
ISBN – 978-0-7336-3213-6