The Real Food Companion

2 August 2010
I have been secretly savouring a cookbook that I thought would not only be a rich addition to my recipe collection but also help us all get back to real cooking.  I found this treasure when visiting my son Shane on his birthday.  He always shows me his new cook books and there it was, looking very much like an ordinary book.  Do not judge a book by its cover.  (Although this cover is special with a scarecrow and love heart. I should have known.) Hanno bought it for me the next day.  Well, the first week came and went with many opportunities to tell you but this book is so special and I love it so much, I had to keep the love affair quiet for a while.  Now my heart is overflowing and I have to let it all out and tell you all about this most fabulous of books; to do otherwise would be shameful.  The icing on the cake is that it's Australian and it's not written by a celebrity chef.  This, my friends, is the real deal.  This book is about real food.

The Real Food Companion by Matthew Evans.

This is my kind of book.  He uses full cream milk and loves raw milk, butter and cream and makes no apologies for it.  If you want a low fat cook book, and I'm not sure why anyone would, this is not for you.  This has recipes for  yoghurt, ricotta,  marscapone, chicken stock, lemon curd, asparagus with poached egg and cheddar, slow roasted pork belly, homemade baked beans and bacon, rosewater, braised red cabbage, gooseberry fool and many other delicious foods.

There is intelligent information explaining the gassing of tomatoes; that tomatoes don't ripen best on the vine; that Delicious apples are in season for about two weeks each Autumn, yet are available all year round in the shops; the difference between single herd milk and mass produced milk; what buttermilk is; and how to prepare pulses; as well as many good wholesome recipes.  But overall, in addition to the recipes, it speaks on the ethics of the food we eat in an intelligent and non-political way that I found very appealing.  This is not preaching.

I have not been paid for this post, nor am I attached to this writer in any way, except emotionally now because of his book. The only down side of this book is the price - the recomended retail price is $89.95 but I've done a bit of searching and found it here at Fishpond for $60.00, with free postage if you're in Australia, or better still it's 15 pounds (AU$26), plus postage on the UK Amazon.  I have added the UK Amazon box in my right column if you would like to buy it via my blog.

The Real Food Companion is not a guide to producing restaurant-style food  for your kitchen table, it is a nurturer's book that will aim you gently towards more ethical food choices and wholesome home food.  It will help you with the small and simple things like making yoghurt, washing pulses and selecting eggs but it will also be your guide to improving the food you put on the table everyday.  This book is a real winner.