As I currently have no 'baking' recipe books (and these are the kind I like most of all) I was very happy to receive The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook which is a collection of winning recipes from 'show' bakers. The show and its baking is clearly a popular part of the 'country comes to town' shows around Australia. The book also includes tips and tricks from judges and winners as well as a bio of each person (not all women) featured. I love the social history element of this book and the huge collection of historical photos throughout.
In terms of the book as a recipe book I really like that they include measurements in cups as well as weights. Having no scales here and preferring a cup of this and that style for my own baking. Personally I would prefer a layout that was by type (biscuits, cakes, etc) than the way it is laid out in alphabetical order.
The first recipe I tried was the lemon slice (which is The Atlas favourite type). It was really good but I under cooked it the first time and it was super gooey, as in eat with a spoon. We didn't mind until The Atlas remembered he had to take morning tea the next day and so he took a slice to share that really didn't have the right qualities for sharing in a work environment where you can't wipe your hands on your trousers and you are likely to get coated in lemon goo.
The second try was consumed in record time and cooked for longer was a greater success. (i used brown sugar rather than caster sugar which is why it looks so caramel coloured).
I also made jam drops (I put too many on the tray so they are not the uniform perfection one might be expected to produce).
Finally I made 'plain biscuits' which I added cocoa and peanut butter to, to make a very popular lunchbox biscuit. Although I doctored the recipe I like to think it's in keeping with the tradition of the show, home cooks doing what works, with the ingredients they have.
I am really looking forward to trying some more recipes from this book and I think they'll be achievable and have that wonderful good old fashioned flavour you can't go past in home baking.
Am I cut out to be a 'show cook'? Not a chance, nothing I make is uniform, but it won't stop me enjoying and making the recipes and learning more about the ladies and men behind them.
The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook is published by Allen and Unwin and came out at the beginning of this month. RRP $ 39.99, you can also get it by ebook if that's more your flavour (he he pun intended!)
love you more than eating warm baking straight from the tin
(for quality control purposes only mind!) xxx