First published in September of 2010, popular self-taught Australian chef Bill Granger's beautifully presented cookbook `Bill's Basics' clearly had the `Average Joe' in mind when he began penning this recipe book. The principle that runs behind the entirety of the book is good, honest and simple food - cooked simply. No experience or any advanced understanding of cooking is required; the book is aimed at taking the user through all the stages to create a vast array of quite simplistic culinary delights.
The book begins with a short introduction by Granger, allowing a brief glimpse into how surprisingly personal the book is to him. This alone adds a genuinely nice touch to the following recipes, and allows you to truly believe that he cooks these dishes all of the time; unlike with other cookbooks, whereby you know that half of the recipes are for dishes that the writer/chef would probably never cook up for themselves in everyday life.
Each recipe includes brief notes on the dish, which are often personal to Granger, as well as snippets of the dish's history ("carrot cake reached our shores in the Seventies"), or honest insights into the recipes and his attitude to cooking ("Satay Skewers are one of my favourite street foods, but I can't always be bothered to thread the chicken onto skewers at home").
An entire chapter is dedicated to soup, with a good number of delectable yet healthy recipes included. There are also one or two unusual recipes, such as `Laksa' which is a rich and fragrant noodle soup that is (or so we're told) becoming the `Spag Bol' of Australia. Don't be fooled into thinking that because the book is entitled `Basics' that you will have seen it all before. With Bill's `simplified' take on cooking, a lot of the classic recipes are seemingly transformed into the glorification and utter enjoyment of the ingredients and the honesty of combining and cooking them.
Not only does the cookbook offer up interesting and so-very-slightly unusual dishes such as the likes of the aforementioned `Laksa', along with `Salt & Pepper Squid', `Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil & Spice Pasties' and `Saffron Risotto With Lobster'; you also have recipes for the justifiably classic dishes such as `The Perfect Steak', `Fish Pie', `Vegetable Soup' and `Tomato Pasta Sauce'.
Each recipe includes a full colour photo alongside it, which brings together a beautifully presented and brilliantly inspiring book. The recipes are simple to locate, put into their own chapters based on the principal ingredient and/or style of dish (as well as an easy to use index). Each of the chapters is exactly 24 pages in length.
The chapters include:
Rice, pasta & bread
All in all, this is a beautifully presented cookbook, which is ideal for everyday use, for absolutely anyone. Running for a total of 256 pages, this high quality and durable publication covers a vast array of dishes, with simplicity and the sheer enjoyment of cooking always in mind. Very highly recommended (and I don't say that often!).