Author: Serge Dansereau
ABC Books RRP $59.99
Review: Monique Mulligan 

172853This stunning cookbook arrived in a box so big it could have had ingredients for selected recipes as well … it was a bit exciting, I can tell you. Flicking through it just made me hungry, and, after a week away, keen to get cooking. Seasonal Kitchen is the new cookbook from Serge Dansereau of Australia’s iconic Bathers’ Pavilion (not a place I’ve been to, but a quick look tells me I’d like it).

With more than 200 recipes celebrating Australian produce, it’s a heavy book, and there’s bound to be something in there to tempt most cooks. I marked at least 20 recipes and that’s just for starters. The recipes draw their inspiration from the Mediterranean, as well as India and China; Dansereau (known as the ‘father of the fresh food movement’) continues to use his chef know-how to demonstrate how to turn modern-day classics from good dishes into great ones. The book is separated into four sections, one for each season – it was hard to decide which season I favoured most because each one had so many great ideas. By separating the recipes according to what’s in season, fresh food products are shown at their best – using in-season produce is what I do at home (as much as possible) so that makes this book all the more appealing to me. Of course, there are also health and environmental benefits to eating seasonal produce, which is even better. One thing Dansereau notes is that in Australia seasons can be hard  to pin down – the north has two distinct seasons, while in Tasmania, they include pre-spring (prevernal) and late summer (serotinal) as seasons.

The book is beautifully designed, styled and photographed, making it a true celebration of food, seasons and eating well. A lot of the recipes will appeal to a more adult palate, so Blue Eyes and I could be in for some feasts. However, there are not many that I would feed to the more fussy younger household members … although I could cook them anyway and use the phrase, “More for me!”. Here are a few I’ve marked so far:

  • Armenian rice with vermicelli, sultanas, pine nuts and apricots
  • Orecchiette with chicken, mushrooms and bacon in parmesan cream sauce (the Fab Four should go for this)
  • Spatchcock with yoghurt and Indian spices (will adapt this for chicken)
  • Persian cake with pistachios and pomegranate (for when my pomegranate produces fruit)
  • Pork and fennel sausage with soft white polenta, pumpkin, and sage and raisin butter
  • Piroshky with pear, sultanas and cottage cheese
  • Stuffed chicken breast with spinach, feta and chorizo

The hardest thing will be choosing what to cook first, but I’m leaning towards the Armenian rice. Foodies, this is a gorgeous book and it’ll be a great addition to your kitchen. Happy cooking!

Available from ABC Books, Harper Collins Australia and good bookstores. This copy was courtesy of ABC Books.

Bathers’ Pavilion restaurant, NSW



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