My Underground Kitchen – Jess Daniell

Posted: May 1, 2015 in cookbook, Review
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My Underground Kitchen

The first word that came to mind as I looked through this book was ‘trendy’. This is not a criticism, but it does seem that you’re not entirely fashionable these days if you don’t have (or think you have) a food intolerance, or are on some unusual diet, the weirder the better. So when you come across a book that tags recipes as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and/or paleo you may suspect that you are not looking at cookery for real people. Well, maybe, but the truth is that Jess makes her living cooking these recipes for her clients. So, while the paleo version of lasagne looks like something Garfield wouldn’t go near (it is undoubtedly healthier, and seems more a moussaka given it has aubergines instead of pasta), the regular version is a proper kiwi lasagne. It even has a spoonful of marmite in the meat sauce! I made mine with home-made sheet pasta, and it was yummy! So, underneath the trendiness is good solid kiwi cooking, and I have every confidence that these recipes are well-tested.

However, while it is undoubtedly fashionable to be seasonal; in a book with only eighty or so recipes, arranging them by season makes it much harder to find the recipe you want – I would have preferred all three meatball recipes in close proximity so it would be easier to compare them. I also found the binding to be irritating; rather tight, and defeating any attempt to make it sit flat on the kitchen bench.

I’m sure there is plenty to entertain with here, especially if you happen to have friends who are trendy eaters, or have the urge to experiment. There are lots of recipes for basic items like hummus and harissa, often followed by a lunch or dinner recipe that uses them. Oh, and there’s a feijoa chutney recipe which looks like it might be useful sometime soon…

Random House New Zealand

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

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