Cookbook Reviews

Levi Roots’ Food for Friends: 100 Simple Dishes for Every Occasion

This review was prepared by Suzy of Serenely Full.

Levi Roots — creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce, chef, musician, television presenter and food writer — returns with his third cookbook, Levi Roots’ Levi Roots Food for Friends: 100 Simple Dishes for Every Occasion, taking Caribbean cookery out for another spin with a wide array of tasty recipes.

The book is certainly comprehensive: it lists chapters on brunch, lunch, puddings, parties, barbecues, high tea (my own personal favourite) and many more, while winter warming stews snuggle up next to fruit kebabs for a summer afternoon. There’s also a section on Roots’ favourite ingredients, which all feature prominently in the recipes – thyme, coconut, Scotch bonnet chilli, mango, rum and lime to name a few. The flavours of the Caribbean are showcased in inventive ways, including some twists on the classics. You can try Caribbean spiced shepherd’s pie, a special Sunshine Sauce spaghetti Bolognese, or pecan and ginger shortbread for something familiar but a little different.

Dinner at Home

This review was prepared by Lo of Burp! Where Food Happens.

Published in 2009, Martha Stewart’s Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends offers a wide variety of seasonal menus that take full advantage of accessible ingredients that are easily available at your local market. The book is divided by season and features inventive and mouthwatering menus for healthy, delicious meals that make the best use of ingredients in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

The Summertime Anytime Cookbook: Flavors from Shutters on the Beach

This review was prepared by Katherine of Flavor Profiler.

When I think of summertime, I think of light breezes, humidity and doing not a whole lot. When I think of summer food, I think of crisp salads, light lunches and cold treats. The Summertime Anytime Cookbook: Recipes from Shutters on the Beach has recipes that look like they deliver – unless you happen to be the one making them. The recipes are loaded with ingredients and preparation. As an advanced home cook, I knew that I could tackle the recipes in this book but I don’t know why anyone would want to in the summer.

Super Natural Cooking

This review was prepared by Andrea of New Holistic Guide.
As a nutritionist, mother of two little boys, and a cooking enthusiast I am always on the look-out for recipes that are not only delicious and easy to prepare, but also provide ample nutrition. Time and again I bump into recipes that claim to be both nutritious and delicious, but fall short of my standards. This is why I welcomed Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking by Heidi Swanson.

Heidi makes learning about nutrition and preparing new recipes from whole foods fun and easy. No matter where you are on your journey toward healthier eating, she can inspire you to take further steps. She brings you recipes from her travels guiding you to distant lands, but will also guide you through the maze of whole food markets. She helps stock your pantry with natural ingredients, and even if you don’t have much cleaning out to do, you will surely find new ingredients to experiment with. Once you start using them in the dishes found in the book, new ideas will pop into your head. Heidi encourages experimenting by providing variations for many of her recipes. Who could be a better guide into the world of unprocessed, whole foods than Heidi Swanson, the creator of 101 Cookbooks, one of today’s most popular food blogs.

Southern Cakes

This review was prepared by Lori of Butter Me Up.
When one loves to bake, who doesn’t appreciate a great book on cakes? When I found out I was going to be reviewing Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday CelebrationsI was thrilled to say the least. Being from Canada, I wasn’t too familiar with Southern cakes apart from the Lady Baltimore Cake and the Red Velvet Cake. When I think of the South I think of chess or sweet potato pies or bread pudding. Regardless of my limited exposure to Southern cakes in general, I was keen to learn more.

The book is beautifully laid out and the photography is luscious. As always, I wish there were more photographs because it’s the photo which will often sell me on the recipe. The only real criticism I must remark on is that the font is quite small. When you’re in your kitchen working away at a recipe, it’s beneficial to have the words easy to pick out when you glance at the page.


This review was prepared by Recipe Sleuth of Eye for a Recipe.
The liner note for the cookbook ’wichcraft says it all: “This is not your mother’s sandwich.”

That’s for sure. With sandwich fillings ranging from Chicken Liver Pâté with Fried Onions and Radish Salad to Whipped Salt Cod with Roasted Peppers and Parsley, ’wichcraft is full of unusual and creative combinations.

Even those two universal favourites—PB&J and egg salad—get a makeover. The ’wichcraft version of PB&J mixes butter with the peanut butter to add richness and tops it with homemade rhubarb jelly. The egg salad includes caviar, crème fraiche and chervil.

Written by Tom Colicchio (of Top Chef and Craft Restaurant fame) and Sisha Ortúzar, the book includes recipes and techniques from the popular ’wichcraft sandwich shop the two chefs co-founded in 2003. Inspired by their shared vision that “a sandwich should be a portable meal sourced and crafted with the same intention and excitement as we brought to the food in our restaurants”, the two chefs opened a sandwich place that has now expanded to several locations in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Diner Desserts


This review was prepared by Lizanne Gosselin of of Bits ‘n Bites.

A while back, I jumped at the chance of reviewing a cookbook for Daring Kitchen after reading Ivonne’s offer preceding one of the challenges’ post. To my delight, I was given Diner Desserts, by Tish Boyle.

Published in 2000, Diner Desserts is an enjoyable baker’s journey through one of America’s most cherished institution, the diner. A big fan of “triple-D”, I looked forward to trying true diner-style recipes. This soft cover book is packed with vintage photographs and diner lore. After flipping a few minutes through it, though, I was surprised to see no pictures of the recipes in the book, except for the cover photo of the chocolate cream pie. A little strange, I thought, for a cookbook.

Thai Cooking in a Sufi’s Kitchen

This review was prepared by Bunnee of Anna+Food.

This slim volume is as much a philosophy of life as a cookbook. The author, Alima Ravadi Quinn, has a restaurant in Richland, Washington. She brings her poetry, anecdotes and spiritual vision to each recipe, incorporating her love of family and appreciation for her customers. The photography is lovely, with orchid accents in many of the pictures.

There are about 50 recipes, along with a few more for sauces she uses regularly in her dishes. Many of them are very quick to prepare – a boon for people who want a meal without hours of prep. The cookbook also has a glossary of commonly used Thai ingredients, helpful for those unfamiliar with Thai cuisine.

Seasonal Fruit Desserts

This review was prepared by Jill of Jillicious Discoveries.
There is nothing better than a dessert with fresh fruit that has been picked in its prime and is paired with quality ingredients that enhance the fruits flavor. As I excitedly looked through the newly released book, Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market by Deborah Madison, I immediately tagged several of the recipes to test.

Cookies, Brownies & Bars

This review was prepared by Ria of Ria’s Collection.

Good things come in small packages, don’t they? If so, it is true with Elinor Klivans’ Cookies, Brownies, and Bars too! As the cover page says, this book really has dozens of scrumptious recipes to bake and enjoy. The recipes range from the simplest Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches to the exotic French Macarons. The book is divdied into 6 sections: Drop cookies, Shaped cookies, Piped cookies, Rolled &cut cookies, Brownies &bars, Fillings& Coatings. They even have a section with instructions on how to ship baked goodies, which I think is really informative & necessary in every cookie book.

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