The hardest thing about writing this book – that’s “Matt Preston’s 100 Best Recipes” by the way – wasn’t writing the recipes but on deciding the title. As this is a recipe book for people who like to eat, and who have to cook, perhaps I should have called it I Eat Therefore I Cook as one smart twitter follower suggested.
It is certainly a better title than Great Food Isn’t Posh Food which is my motto and one of the great truths about eating but is hardly inspiring. And way, way better than my original idea; Quick, Simple and Cheap! which I liked because it not only ended with a “!” but, also neatly refers to both me and to the recipes that you’ll find in the book. You see, if working for magazines like “delicious” and for the “Taste” section in your favourite metro newspaper has taught me anything it’s that if a recipe isn’t easily achievable, affordable and minimum fuss for maximum flavour then you and me just aren’t going to make it.
The actual title “Matt Preston’s 100 Best Recipes” does capture what the book is about as it is about how to make the best stuff I eat at home but it is also one big lie. Actually there are well over 100 recipes (well, actually it’s about 203 but who’s counting – well, other than some poor intern at the publisher’s!) using some of Australia’s favourite ingredients that are common from Albany and Ballarat to Cooktown and Darwin. This is affordable, easily-achievable, and delicious food that I hope you’ll want to try – and then cook again and again.
In fact, that’s really the only selection criteria for the recipes that made it into the book – that these are the things I love to cook regularly at home for my friends and family; and that they love to eat! And there are rather a lot of them because like I said… I like to eat and I like to eat well.
I promise that these recipes are free of any cheffy trickery unless it’s a wheeze or tip that will help you do something quicker or more easily. Oh, and you won’t need to fill up the tank to take a tedious trip around town searching out expensive, hard to find ingredients either. Here you’ll find great, easy and sometimes surprising recipes for using such much-loved staples such as mince, salmon, chicken wings, lamb chops, eggs, veg, and supermarket ice cream. You’ll also find great suggestions on how to lift everything from your chocolate brownies and banana bread to Bolognese or a favourite soup to new levels of flavour and texture with smart tips on how to accessorise or improve those familiar dishes. There’s also a really good meatloaf recipe.
Here is not the place to find recipes for preparing eel, making dusts of obscure forest mushrooms (that you have to forage for, obviously) or recipes that begin “please start this dish four days before you want to eat it”.
No, here are ideas for lunch, tea & dinner that you can throw together within minimum fuss for maximum impact. These are recipes for home cooks written by a home cook who actually cooks them at home, which I suppose makes this book a bit of a rarity these days! Even better, you’ll probably already have all the ingredients in the fridge or cupboards. (I’d say “pantry” rather than “cupboards” but I’m worried that if I do this might let slip the mask that hides my “Downton Abbey” delusions.)
So basically the best title for this book would have been Home Guide to Cooking Most of the Stuff that Most of Us like to Cook. Oh, and Using Readily Available Ingredients And Which Can Be Cooked Without The Need To Equip Your Kitchen with $8k of Lab Equipment. The trouble is that 38 word book titles went out in the 19th century so “Matt Preston’s 100 Best Recipes” it is!
So here’s the pitch: From the novice to the innovative cook, this book is destined to live above the fridge to provide inspiration and illumination for Australian cooks of all levels. Please buy it and feel free to stain the pages with your favourite recipes. I will take this as the greatest compliment. And please feel free to copy out your favourite recipe and pass it on to a friend. Recipes should be shared with an open hand; for only when you give away a recipe does it truly become “yours”.
Matt Preston, thank you very much for being a guest blogger
on the Booktopia Blog
You may buy a copy of Matt’s book – Home Guide to Cooking Most of the Stuff that Most of Us like to Cook. Oh, and Using Readily Available Ingredients And Which Can Be Cooked Without The Need To Equip Your Kitchen with $8k of Lab Equipment…
AKA > Matt’s Preston’s 100 Best Recipes – HERE
Matt Preston is a food journalist, restaurant critic, television personality and passionate home cook. He writes a national column for the Taste section for all News Ltd’s metropolitan papers. Best known as a judge on MasterChef Australia since 2009, Preston currently writes for delicious and MasterChef magazines. A keen home-cook, Matt Preston has written recipes for Delicious, MasterChef magazine and Taste for several years, taking home classics and adding his own Preston twist, bringing a whole new world of flavour to the everyday.