Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

Title: Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day
Author: Tara O'Brady
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: April 21st 2015
Source: Ten Speed Press

Book Description via Goodreads:

The much-anticipated debut from the author behind the popular food blog Seven Spoons, featuring distinctive, crowd-pleasing recipes; engaging, writerly essays; and the same stunning photography that has earned her website a devoted following.

Roasted Carrots with Harissa A├»oli and Dukkah. Plum Macaroon Cake. Chaat Tostadas. Roasted Peaches with Glazed Sesame Oats. Few food writers have such an insightful, intuitive understanding of flavor—or a more eclectic and inspiring range of culinary influences at work in their kitchen—than Tara O’Brady. Fewer still write with her trademark warmth and thoughtful prose, which Saveur describes as “like pulling up a seat at the table of an old friend.”

Seven Spoons is O’Brady’s remarkable and much-anticipated debut. In it, she shares more than one hundred of her best and most mouthwatering recipes—crowd-pleasing breakfasts like Blackberry Buttermilk Whole Grain Scones, weeknight staples like Everyday Yellow Dal, and terrifically inventive desserts like Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh. These elegant, flavorful, and wonderfully creative recipes, plus the show stopping photography, will have you heading straight for the kitchen to get cooking.



This cookbook really starts out strong. There is a really big introduction section that introduces what you should have in your pantry, and the gear you might need to use throughout the recipes in the book. There's also a really big ending section, that contains all the recipes that the "main" recipes used- things such as sauces and cheeses. While I love that even these aspects were made for scratch, I didn't really like that they were all scooted together at the end of the book, instead of being on the following page or something.

This book is sorted into chapters according to meal/course: Breads & Breakfast, Lunch, Soups Starters and Snacks, Suppers, Vegetables and Sides, and Sweet Treats & Sips. I liked this way of organizing things, because it makes it easier to find what you need. I also really appreciated that this cookbook included drink recipes. (That's an under-appreciated section in cookbooks, in my humble opinion.)

The book contains nice little notes and tips on techniques or ingredients, which were helpful and a nice touch to the recipes. There's also a fair share of stories that give the book a more personal feel to it. The steps are in small paragraphs as opposed to shorter, numbered steps.

There's a nice variety of cultures present here, ranging everywhere from Greek to Vietnamese to African. This is widely reflected in the dishes themselves, which range from basics like lemon chicken to dishes with bold Indian spices. Some of the dishes in this cookbook are very, very simple. But some of them are pretty complicated and have long ingredient lists. This isn't a bad thing, it's just less likely I'm going to have all of those things on hand to cook on a whim. On the same note, there are some ingredients here that are rather hard to get a hold of, at least near me, such as za'atar and halloumi. I'm sure they're wonderful to cook with, but it's definitely not something I currently can run to the store and fetch. The pictures that are in this book are gorgeous, but there's not really enough of them for my liking. Photos are a key element to whether or not I purchase a cookbook; I like knowing what I'm supposed to aiming for.

Some of the dishes I'd most like to prepare from this cookbook include Dipper Eggs with Cheese-Fried Toast Soldiers, Hard Cider Gougeres, Walnut Cherry Oat Butter Tart Pie, and Roasted Grapes with Sweet Labneh.

Overall, this is a pretty good cookbook. I think both beginners and more experienced cooks can benefit from it, but be prepared for ingredient lists that you might not necessarily be used to.

I received a copy in exchange for my honest review.


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