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The Cook's Companion : The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes - Stephanie Alexander

The Cook's Companion

The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes

By: Stephanie Alexander, Earl Carter (Photographer)

Hardcover Published: 4th October 2004
ISBN: 9781920989002
Number Of Pages: 1192

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The Cook's Companion has established itself as the kitchen 'bible' in over 500,000 homes since it was first published in 1996.

This 2014 revision includes two major new chapters, two expanded chapters, 70 new recipes and a complete revision of the text to reflect changes in the marketplace and new regulations. Stephanie believes that good food is essential to living well: her book is for everyone, every day. She has invaluable information about ingredients, cooking techniques and kitchen equipment, along with inspiration, advice and encouragement and close to 1000 failsafe recipes.

About the Author

For 21 years from 1976, Stephanie Alexander was the force behind Stephanie's restaurant in Hawthorn, a landmark establishment credited with having revolutionised fine dining in Melbourne. From 1997 to 2005 Stephanie, along with several friends, ran the Richmond Hill Café and Larder, a neighbourhood restaurant renowned for its specialist cheese retailing. In her recently published memoir, A Cook's Life, she recounts how her uncompromising dedication to good food has shaped her life and changed the eating habits of a nation.

One of Australia's most highly acclaimed food authors, Stephanie has written fourteen books, including Stephanie's Menus for Food Lovers, Stephanie's Seasons and Stephanie Alexander & Maggie Beer's Tuscan Cookbook (co-author). Her signature publication, The Cook's Companion, has established itself as the kitchen bible in over 400 000 homes. With characteristic determination, Stephanie initiated the Kitchen Garden at Collingwood College in order to allow young children to experience the very things that made her own childhood so rich: the growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing of good food.

I learnt to cook at my mother's side, and the images of her that have stayed with me (and that still bring a feeling of loss almost 20 years after her death) include Mum bent in front of the Aga oven scooping baked potatoes into her apron, shaping bread rolls for dinner, forking rough troughs in the mashed potato on top of the shepherd's pie, slipping a slice of butter under the crust of Grandma's bramble cake, or in full beekeeper's outfit setting out to gather the honey from the hive.

So much has changed in Australia's culinary world since I first started work on The Cook's Companion more than a decade ago, but it is my mother's influence, mentioned in the Introduction to that edition, that above all else continues to inform my cooking. Her enthusiasm for fresh ingredients, her joy in creating new combinations and her love of providing for family and friends underpin everything I do.

I have been overwhelmed by the response to the original edition of this book, especially as many cooks have confided that it has become their 'bible'. But to continue to deserve this confidence I realised the importance of incorporating the changes in farming, horticultural and marketing practice that have taken place over the last 10 years, as well as documenting growing community concerns, in a new edition.

I have always encouraged feedback, and there has been a constant stream of letters and emails from family, friends and readers. A variation has been suggested, a tin size adjusted or a temperature revised, and here and there a better version of an old favourite has been included. Facts and statistics have been scrutinised and rechecked and industry authorities have offered opinions and new insights, and the text is even more authoritative as a result. I have found this re-writing, re-testing and tweaking most enjoyable and have rediscovered dishes that have become favourites all over again.

When planning the original edition the publishers and I were both conscious of the risk in producing such a voluminous work, and space became a major consideration. Now, encouraged by the support of Australian food lovers, I have been able to include 12 new chapters and to expand 11 others. Now POMEGRANATES and PERSIMMONS, ABALONE and VENISON have their own chapters; VERJUICE is considered along with GRAPES AND VINE LEAVES; and RABBIT has grown to become RABBIT AND HARE. The new entries are there not only because of extra space, but because they reflect a growing curiosity in the marketplace and the steady but sure acceptance of ingredients that were once considered only of marginal interest. I have also added many more personal recipe introductions, so that the recipes are placed in a broader context. There are new entries in the EQUIPMENT section, and one of the most popular features of the book, BASICS, has been considerably enlarged to include even more preparations essential in every cook's repertoire. There are more than 300 new recipes, and I'm pleased to be able to include many favourites – from a flyaway sponge and gingerbread men to corned beef and an improved guide to roasting the Christmas turkey – as well as contemporary dishes such as soft-centred chocolate pudding, Chinese roasted belly pork and new ways with lamb. The total recipe count is now close to 1000! To add to this there are more than 500 new margin ideas, and all of them appear in the expanded index. The recipe style has also been made more consistent throughout the book. And thanks to the generosity of the Australian Women's Weekly Test Kitchen, I have been able to include much-requested conversion tables (now you'll be able to convert your own family's heirloom dishes to metric).

I ended the Introduction of the first edition of The Cook's Companion by saying that it would 'all have been worthwhile if this book encourages young people to cook and experienced cooks to enjoy cooking more'. The public's response to that first edition has been the single most important experience of my professional life. It has been extraordinarily confirming to learn that first-time cooks, keen cooks, boys, girls, men and women were all turning to The Cook's Companion for guidance, and that they were enjoying themselves, and eating well.

Free recipe from The Cook's Companion, by Stephanie Alexander - Lemon Delicious Pudding, page 556.

This is a classic and, in many families, the ultimate pudding - the golden sponge topping hiding a creamy lemon sauce. Lemon delicious belongs to the era when a roast was invariably followed by a hot pudding. Making 2 dishes rather than just 1 would have been seen as a sensible way of utilising the heat from the oven.

2 lemons
60 g butter
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 180°C and butter a 1 litre oven proof basin or serving dish. Zest 1 of the lemons and juice both. In a food processor, cream butter with zest and sugar, then add egg yolks. Add flour and milk alternately to make a smooth batter. Scrape mixture from sides of processor bowl and blend in lemon juice. Transfer to a clean basin. Whisk egg whites until creamy and firm and fold gently into batter. Pour batter into prepared basin. Stand basin in a baking dish and pour in hot water to come halfway up sides of basin. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool a little before serving. I like lemon delicious best with pouring cream.

ISBN: 9781920989002
ISBN-10: 1920989005
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 1192
Published: 4th October 2004
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 25.2 x 19.6  x 6.9
Weight (kg): 2.55
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised

Earn 164 Qantas Points
on this Book

Stephanie Alexander

About the Author

Stephanie Alexander's early food life was influenced first and foremost by her mother, Mary Burchett, a wonderful cook who was interested not just in recipes, but in the culture that inspired the dish. She was eager to experiment. When she left school she went to the University of Melbourne and then studied to become a librarian (with no thoughts of working with food professionally). She left Australia at the age of 21 to see the world. The world for her at that time was France, and she was delighted to discover that France was every bit as thrilling and satisfying as she had dreamed it would be. In the intervening 40 plus years she has returned as often as possible and, whilst acknowledging change, there remained a value and respect accorded to food that she found renewing and reassuring.

Visit Stephanie Alexander's Booktopia Author Page