Thursday, September 11, 2008
Cookbook Watch - Various new Swedish books
Elisabeth Johansson is a busy girl - here's yet another little book from her, but this time I suspect that she's used some old material as well. It's called Chocolate, and it really is a tiny thing of 76 pages. Every single one of them with delicious things though, so no complaints here! I really like Elisabeth's recipes in general - they're easy, innovative and dependable. From this one, I can't wait to make her chocolate meringues topped with candied violets and roses! And next in line - if I gather up enough courage to make chocolates again - is coffee- and banana truffles. Because of the tiny format, this book would make a very nice hostess gift.
Africa On My Mind is written by Marcus Samuelsson who is Swedish, but probably much more well-known in the US. His latest book is all about African food, and he's done a very ambitious job indeed. It has a lot of information about the different regions in Africa, and great many base recipes for spice mixes and sauces of various kinds. The book has photos, but not so many pictures of the actual food. That's something I always find quite annoying - my ideal cookbook has photos of everything, and not so many "travel" snapshots. Sure, those are nice, but it's not why I buy a cookbook. So, will this be a book I use a lot? No, I really don't think I will. The recipes sound nice, but not compelling. I actually find that with all the books by Marcus Samuelsson - I can't point to anything specific, but I just don't feel the urge to get into the kitchen. Sorry!
I've mentioned Jan Hedh from time to time - he's Sweden's most well known pastry chef, and he comes out with lovely cookbooks from time to time, as beautiful as they are complicated. He's not particularly instructive - much better in person, I'm sure - but I can't help loving the books anyway. His last one is called Glasspassion, which translates to Ice Cream Passion, and it has the most amazing array of ice cream recipes you could ever think of. All the basics, for sure, but also really out-there creations like lobster ice cream, or even foie gras ice cream. Half the book holds the recipes, half the book is on elaborate desserts using ice cream. It's pretty amazing, really, and the only thing keeping me from loving it completely is a slight feeling of trepidation. His books are overwhelming in general, and so is this one. My favorite ice cream book remain's The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.