Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cooking the Books: At My Table

At My Table is a recipe collection put together by the Diabetes Centre of Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital and Amanda Bilson and Janni Kyritsis. Now before you tune out, thinking this is a school fete charity cookbook full of crappy coconut ice recipes, think again. Finally. At. Long. Bloody. Last. There is a book filled with some fantastic recipes that help Diabetics and people who want to generally eat well, make some brilliant "dinner party" worthy food and most importantly informed decisions about what they are eating. This is interesting food - not the fodder of your typical "diabetic cookbooks". And I'd know. One of my nearest and dearest friends is a Type1 diabetic and if there is one thing she cannot stand it's the below par boring Diabetic cookbooks available. Just because she has diabetes doesn't mean she wants bland and unimaginative food. I cannot wait to give her this one - it reads like a who's who in food, chefs who have given up some great recipes with a dietician breaking down the content as well as identifying where the fats, proteins, carbohydrates etc come from. Aside from being delicious, it's interesting. And not "diety" in focus which is something I absolutely abhor - there are enough confusing food messages out there without contributing to the try this try that, promise results dieting that goes on. Hands down this is sensible eating. For foodies.
I am torn between Martin Boetz' recipe for pineapple curry of grilled pork and Andrew McConnell marinated beetroot, shanklish, lentil, apple and mint salad. Martin's recipe is indulgent, full of those punchy Thai flavours that I am obsessed with while Andrew's dish is fresh, crisp and the kind of thing you feel doing you good as you eat it. I've even gently poached some chicken in stock, bay leaf and white wine and added to the salad - equally brilliant and a great way to stretch the dish further if you wanted to call it dinner for a crowd.
Dessert wise there is a beautiful spiced orange salad - I would never have put ras el hanout with oranges but it's amazing! But I think, because it also looks so damn pretty, my dessert vote goes to the rose geranium junket with raspberries. You cant probably gather I am having a little tough time deciding. 

 I think the names speak for themselves. This is a treasure trove of recipes from the likes of Kylie Kwong, Neil Perry, Stefano Manfredi, Martin Boetz, Guillaume Brahimi, Tetsuya Wakuda, Andrew McConnell, Maggie Beer, Damien Pignolet....the list goes on.
The book has been edited by two Diabetics and two food heavyweights - Amanda Bilson and Janni Kyritsis. Hats off to these two for formulating a great book and also for their numerous recipe contributions throughout.
 At all good bookstores, online, the usual. I presume it is also widely available at St Vincent's Hospital, but touch wood, I haven't needed to visit lately so cannot personally check. I hope this book becomes available in the offices of all doctors who treat diabetics. 
 Because you will want to cook from it. And often. Because it has recipes for when you want to spin a few tricks and dinner party delights, down to the beautiful, simple and homely mid week dinner inspirations we are constantly looking for. 
There is genuinely something in this for everyone. It should not be a book restricted to be dutifully given to the Diabetics in our lives - this is a book for anyone watching their blood glucose levels, cholesterol or who simply want to learn more about what they are putting into their mouths.

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