Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hi Everyone & Welcome to our 2nd Newsletter!

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has visted us since opening in Ponsonby, or bought from us on-line. We are thrilled with your positive support and comments. We've enjoyed bringing you titles that inspire, and hope they've take your cooking and home entertaining to a new high!

We have been delighted to welcome many new (and old) friends from the restaurant and food writing community in New Zealand to the store. You are an inspiration to us & our customers. We look forward to continuing to provide you the titles you seek that help you to develop your special talents that make the Kiwi dining, food, and wine experience so special.

Our mission is indeed the impossible. Lately we have burnt the midnight oil and scorched up phone and interent lines as we search for the new, the exciting, and the obscure. If you can't see a topic or title on our website or shelves, never fear, we will work overtime to find it for you. We have an extensive international network and boldy claim we can find just any book on just about any culinary topic. Put us to the test!

In this month's newsletter we feature new titles plus a few of the classics (which everyone should own!).

It's Winter!

July has been a cold month all over New Zealand and people have returned to 'slow' cooking for winter. If you haven't experienced the rich and warming flavours of slow cooking then now is the time to try. You will be amazed just how straight forward it is. Prepare, relax, enjoy. That's about it! Spend 20 minutes preparing in the morning, or even prepare the night before and store in the fridge overnight. Turn it on before heading off to work, then return to a house that smells fantastic! The stand out favourites have been the kiwi classics - Robyn Martin & Alison Holst.

We also have available the following fantastic titles:

Winter in the Alps - Manuella Darling Gansser $50

Take a culinary journey from the peaks of St Moritz down to the glittering streets of Zurich. This book showcases the culture, lifestyle and, of course, the food, of this remarkably diverse region. A beautiful book of warming winter food.

Fat - An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with recipes - Jennifer McLagan $65

For all of history, minus the last thirty years, fat has been at the centre of human diets and cultures. McLagan sets out with equal parts passion, scholarship and appetite to win us back to a healthy relationship with animal fats. She achieves this through enlightening us with the many ways fat is indispensable to our health and by demonstrating, through a range of delicious recipes, how fat is fundamental to the flavour of our food. Observing that we may now know everything about olive oil, we may not know what to do with lard or bone marrow, McLagan offers extensive guidance on sourcing, rendering, flavouring, using and storing animal fats, whether bacon, schmaltz or suet. Stories, lore, quotations and tips round out this rich and unapologetic celebration of food at its very best. The book is divided into sections by type of fat - Butter (worth it), Pork Fat (the king), Poultry Fat (versatile and good for you), Beef and Lamb Fats (overlooked but tasty)- and each chapter opens with a comprehensive description of the history, the types and the uses of each type of fat followed by a range of fabulous recipes.

The Book of New Israeli Food - Janna Gur

Israel is a haven for food lovers. A Western society nestled in the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean, surrounded by exciting regional cuisines. Israel is a land of immigrants from places as far-flung as Hungary, Poland and Algeria. The book of New Israeli Food is much more than a cookbook; it is a culinary and cultural journey. All recipes Kosher.

Dessert Fourplay - Johnny Iuzzini $85

(Pastry chef of the celebrated four-star restaurant Jean Georges in New York)

Far from the conventional slice of cake at the end of a meal, Johnny's seasonal creations; four mini desserts in a quartet of complementary flavors and textures--are a culinary adventure. In "Dessert FourPlay," he shares his secrets and inspirations, delivering standout recipes for incredible desserts that can be served alone or combined into his signature fourplay groupings, creating the perfect sweet finale for any meal. With the home cook in mind, Johnny offers tips on simplifying professional recipes and provides basic recipes for transcendent cakes, cookies, tuiles, ice creams, sorbets, granites, and more. These building blocks can be used to create magnificent multifaceted desserts, or they can be perfect desserts by themselves. Some recipes have surprising versatility: the shiny smooth chocolate glaze Johnny uses to ice cakes doubles as the ultimate hot fudge sauce; a lemony madeleine batter becomes a layer in a cake. Iuzzini pairs cool with hot, crispy with creamy, sweet withspicy, and the expected--chocolate, strawberries, and cinnamon--with the unexpected--chiles, beets, and chocolatey puffs. The result: desserts that refresh, inspire, and satisfy beyond expectations. "Dessert FourPlay" invigorates all the senses and inspires home cooks to create innovative desserts of their own.

Rachel Allen!

A Food TV favourite! Her books are some of our most requested titles. Available in-store:

Bake - From Cookies to Caseroles.

Rachel's Favourite Food at Home.

Rachel's Food for Living.

Need a Gift?

Do you need a special gift idea for a loved one, valued client or staff member? Think a little outside the square and provide the gift of inspiration. Books on cooking, or food and wine history make for intimate and enduring gifts. Books from the culinary world are some of the most beautifully produced titles available. Often hard backed and beautifully photoghraphed, these books will be valued highly by the recipient. Contact us to discuss your needs. We can help you find that special gift or a book that fits perfectly with your brand and business. We have recently made quite a few customer's clients and staff very happy with the unique gift of a cook book or gift voucher.

Call or email us, and we can discuss your requirements. Gift wrapping and delivery services are provided.

We look forward to bringing you more news and added functionality on our website soon. Keep an eye out for a few tasty competitions in the next few weeks.

Thanks again for your support. We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you in store soon.

Kind Regards & Happy Cooking!

Felicity & Michael

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello from the New Owners!

An introduction is probably a good place to start. We are Felicity & Michael O’Driscoll. We have been “friends” of Cook the Books since it first opened in Mt Eden, and the opportunity to purchase the business really was the chance to buy our favourite store.

We are avid foodies! Whether its home cooked, a dinner with friends, or dining out – we love it!

For the past 4 years we enjoyed a touch of “The Good Life” – living in Hawkes Bay. Although we already had a passion for great food, living so close to where it is produced really changed our perception of what fresh produce means.

Since returning to Auckland, we are weekly converts to the various Farmers Markets, and are amazed at the ever increasing variety of produce available.

Hello from the New Home of Cook the Books!

We opened the doors at 81 Ponsonby Rd on Saturday 30th May, after a few weeks of what can only be described as frantic activity.

The new Cook the Books really is a “home”. Occupying a lovingly restored pre-1900 cottage on Ponsonby Rd, tucked between Witchery & The Fairy Shop.

As a commitment to our love of fresh produce, we have planted a winter vegetable garden directly fronting the road – proof you really can grow your own anywhere! Hopefully, we’ll soon be harvesting wonderful winter vege’s.

Our website will shortly be updated with new photography.

It’s an interesting and varied retail precinct to visit. As well as our immediate neighbours mentioned above, we would recommend a wander to Rob’s Patisserie, Macy Home, the French Art Shop, or Mecca Cosmetica.

What’s New in Store!

We are actively hunting down new & exciting titles to bring to the store, at the same time building a large & varied back catalogue of favourites. If the book you really want isn’t on the shelves, or displayed on our website – please ask! If it’s in print, we’ll do our very best to make it available.

Currently customers are enjoying the following books. Some are new in store, while others are back in stock.

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook ($50)
From the wonderful Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill, London. A mouth-watering collection of sweet recipes, with everything from Key Lime Pie to oatmeal cookies. Our favourite – Ginger Cupcakes.

Pizza Modo Mio ($40)
From John Lanzafame – current World Pizza Champion. Traditional pizza, kid’s pizza, desert pizza - its all there. Including recipes for pizza sauces and a great recipe for gluten-free pizza dough.

Cooking on the Bone ($60)
Now re-released in glossy paperback. Good cooks know that anything cooked on the bone has more flavour. Covering poultry, fish, meat & game, a reference guide and recipe book in one.

Spice Markets ($55)
An encyclopaedic work on spices, spice mixes and spice pastes. Covering seeds & pods; berries & flowers; roots & barks. Includes over 250 recipes - ranging from Vodka and Juniper Cured Salmon, to Roast Chicken with Wasabi Chive Butter.

Esther Diamond!
We are delighted to have in store this beautiful range of designer t-towels and table napkins. With images by renowned NZ artists Martin Poppelwell, Dick Frizzell, Fane Flaws, Para Matchet & Leanne Culy. A great gift idea, or just add a piece of NZ art to your kitchen. Best of all – they really dry your dishes!

Preview range online @ http://www.estherdiamond.com/

Coming Soon!

In Search of Total Perfection: Reinventing Kitchen Classics.
From Heston Blumenthal; the combined “Perfection” books in paperback format. Due for general NZ release in September, we have secured several air-freighted copies which we will have in store mid-July. We will be offering these at the NZ recommended retail price of $55. If you would like a copy, please let us know.

A Second Helping; More from Ladies, a Plate.
Alexa Johnston’s fabulous follow-up to the incredibly popular Ladies, a Plate is coming in September. Look out for our complimentary recipe card in store. Again, if you would like a copy, we will send it wherever you are.

ps If you don’t have Ladies, a Plate – its available in store and on our website, and remains as popular as ever.

Weekends in Winter!

To warm up those cold winter weekends pop in for morning or afternoon tea. We will be sharing our favourite baking from NZ baking books. Bake by Alyson Gofton; Gran’s Kitchen by Natalie Oldfield; and Ladies, a Plate by Alexa Johnston.


It has been great to meet so many friends of Cook the Books in the past fortnight. If you are in store, please introduce yourselves we’d love to get to know you better.

Happy Cooking
Felicity & Michael