Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cookbook Watch - April 2012


Markus Pasta
Sweden's version of Masterchef season 2 has just ended. Although I think the production is pretty bad, especially how the three-man jury is portrayed as stiff, mean guys, there's no denying that they can cook. (The jury, I mean- not so sure about the contestants! Especially not as they're often given really lame challenges, with barely any room for creativity.) One of the jury members is Markus Aujalay, who's won Sweden's Chef of the year before and is quite active on TV, and in various cooking events. He's written several cookbooks, Markus Pasta (I'm sure you don't need a translation) is his latest. It's really quite good! I love pasta  - a little too much, perhaps - and I find it an excellent flavor vehicle. It's always nice to find new inspiration for ways to vary it though - and this book is certainly full of that. Everything seems fairly easy and approachable, and as is Markus style, with lots of vegetables.

Matiga Sallader
Caroline Hofberg is a pretty amazing cookbook writer. She's done many books, but what surprises me is always the amount of variation in those books. Her latest is all about salads, hearty salads that'll serve as a meal or at least a sturdy side dish, and I can't believe how MANY of those she's managed to come up with. (Same for her older book about pies - the sheer amount!) A lot of these sound really appealing, and although there are recipes that'll work in different seasons, I think mostly of salad as something for late spring/summer/early fall. So, perfect now that summer is soon approaching. A strawberry tabbouleh is on my top to-try-list! My one complaint with this book is lack of structure - the recipes are not in any particular order at all, and seems to be placed randomly. Strange. But other than that, a good, inspirational book.

Those in the know of Swedish gastronomy probably know about a little restaurant called Frantzén/Lindeberg. It has two Michelin stars, has won a bunch of other awards, and is considered one of the very best restaurants in Scandinavia. I've eaten there, three years ago, and it was indeed unforgettable. They have now finished a book about the restaurant - I'm hesitant to call it a cookbook, because it doesn't actually have recipes. (Well, very few.) It does however talk extensively about their visions, about the dishes, about their ingredients, and it has beautiful photos. It's more of a coffee table book, than something you actually keep in the kitchen. It's the perfect gift for those loving high-end restaurants, for sure. It's not so much for me though - I like books to inspire me to get in the kitchen and cook, and this doesn't do that, but then again, it's not supposed to. I really hope they'll translate this one into English!

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