In Simon Gault Homemade, the MasterChef New Zealand judge and award-winning restaurateur shares recipes for the dishes that have shaped his cooking.
Simon takes recipes for family favourites such as his dad's Sage Chicken, his mum's Lamb Shanks and his grandmother's Golden Syrup Pudding and adds to them his signature 'five per cent magic'.
Simon's recipes for starters, mains, sides and desserts offer home cooks easy-to-master dishes for a host of occasions, from casual family dinners to special celebrations.
Confession time, I don't really watch a lot of Masterchef. Before I picked up this book, I didn't know anything about Simon Gault or that he was a judge on Masterchef. That said, I do love cooking television programmes and experimenting in my kitchen. So this book goes hand-in-hand with my hobby.
I love that this book is a heavy tome. Its hardback and really top quality. The pages are thick and glossy. The photos are really well presented. There are shots of the food itself as well as candid style photos of Gault cooking. It felt like you were being welcomed into his family home and kitchen.
The introduction was really interesting reading. You get to see a little about his journey as a chef and how it has taken him all over the world. He talks a lot about the 5% magic ingredients, and some of them are listed in the book. It made me curious to try some of the things I haven't tried before.
I played with the Apple Fritter and Caramel sauce recipe this evening. As I started getting the fritter batter together I thought it was really thick, more like cookie dough. I thought, man this doesn't look right. But then I added the apple and it came together more like I thought it should. Frying the fritters, they didn't come out quite as I expected again, but I think I had apple pancakes in my head. These are definitely more like a sweet fritter (think corn, but with apple). The caramel sauce was really easy to put together too. We had these for dessert. The fritters were a bit doughy still, but the sauce really made them.
Negatives for me, was that as the book is quite heavy it was hard to keep open to the page I wanted to use when cooking. The recipes are beautiful and I would love to try so many of them, but my husband would only agree to me cooking a couple because there are a lot of seafood or "banned" vegetables in them. The perfect book to turn to when he is not home for dinner! Positives included the sheer imagination in some of the recipes and all the Simon Says tips and tricks.
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"Computer games don't affect kids. I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."
Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989