Addictive, flavorful, and mouth-watering

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Addictive, flavorful, and mouth-watering

Andalusia: Recipes from Seville and Beyond by Jose Pizarro, Hardie Grant, US $40.00, Pp 252,  June 2019, ISBN 978-1784882266
Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More… by Hetal Vasavada, Page Street Publishing, US $21.99, Pp 176, July 2019, ISBN 978-1624147746

Andalusia is the southernmost part of today’s Spain. It has fertile farmland, vertiginous mountain ranges, and rugged yet abundant coastline. Most importantly, Andalusian cuisine is unique in Europe. Andalusian cuisine is strongly influenced by historical Roman and Moorish cuisines. As it is a coastal region, Andalusian cuisine is influenced by the fish in the sea, the animals in the fields and fruits and vegetables grown in the orchards. Andalusia is divided into eight provinces and each province has its own traditional dishes and desserts and, in many cases, to the recipes that have made the region famous. Andalusians love to eat happy and healthy. Free-range animals are of utmost importance to Andalusian cuisine. The quality meat makes the Andalusian dishes healthy. In the woodlands, Iberico pigs eat acorns fallen from the trees and roam freely and they are a good source of good meat. The charcuterie and meat, jamon Iberico, is known for its high-quality fat. The delicious Andalusian dishes range from “Slow-Cooked Oxtail” to “Venison Fillet with Wild Mushrooms & Chestnuts” to “Prawns baked in Salt with Mango, Chilli & Coriander Salsa” to “Asparagus Tortilla.” Jose Pizarro takes you on an amazing journey, from the beaches of the south and west to the deserts in Almeria, and across the historical cities, beautiful mountain ranges and hidden towns — cooking incredible food along the way. Andalusian cuisine is uniquely delicious and Jose Pizarro’s dishes are particularly well-chosen. You would love all of them if you are looking for delicious international dishes.

About the author

José Pizarro is an award-winning chef and bestselling author. He worked at Meson de Doña Filo in Madrid before coming to London, where he co-founded the Brindisa restaurants with the Eyre Brothers. He now runs the successful tapas and sherry bar ‘José’ and restaurant ‘Pizarro’ in Bermondsey Street, ‘José Pizarro’ on Broadgate and ‘Little José’ in Canary Wharf. His first book, Seasonal Spanish Food won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award and was nominated for the IACP and Cordon Bleu awards. Basque was one of Observer Food Monthly’s ‘Books of 2016’.

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If you like to eat international cuisines, there is another great Indian cookbook. Hetal Vasavada has chosen the recipes with her Western audience. Hetal Vasavada writes, “It is all about creams, custards, and puddings in an Indian home, not so much about cookies and cakes.” Most homes in India are not equipped with ovens, but they all usually have a stove, refrigerator. Many of them in the rural areas may even have a cow or two and you can have fresh milk, cream, and butter. Many of the puddings in India are made of various toasted flours like semolina-based pudding called “Seero” which is made with ghee (purified butter) and lightly sweetened with sugar. These puddings include “Kheer” (rice pudding with Roasted Grapes) and “Shrikhand.” She says that she took traditional dishes like “Kheer” and added a Western twist to them. She writes, “I created desserts like crème Brulee, panna cotta, that I could identify with as an American Indian. Using flavors that my mother and her mother used in traditional Indian desserts and transferring them into the American recipes.” Indian cuisine is at its best when it comes to small bites. Small bites are the Americanized version of Indian “Mithai” like “Burfi” and “Laddoo.” All these recipes have one thing in common — they are small bites meant to sweeten your mouth and to remind you to savor the sweet moments that happen in your life. You can easily replace your dessert with Indian small bites. Baking is not particularly Indian. Hetal Vasavada says that baking is where the true fusion of East and West occurs. Most baked goods were brought over to India by the Dutch, English and the Portuguese a few centuries ago. In the beginning, bakeries were set up to cater to the population of colonists. Later, Indian spices found their way into their baked goods. Many of these desserts have become as Indian as it can get. Milk & Cardamom caters both Indian and Western foodies. These recipes are irresistible, addictive, flavorful, and mouth-watering. It is a must-have if you want to eat good Indian dishes at home.

About the author

Hetal Vasavada is the founder of the blog Milk & Cardamom. Her recipes have been featured in Huffington Post, TASTE and The Times of India. She also consults on recipe development and content creation for culinary businesses. She lives in San Francisco, California.

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