Saturday, 27 April 2013

Loaf Me, Knead Me, Always Feed Me

Lookbook Cookbook combines fashion and food.

WORDS | Thea Halpin

I never had the pleasure of learning to cook.  I don’t have any of those memories of peering over the bench top as my mother prepared her ‘secret recipe’ apple pie that had been passed down mother-to-daughter for generations.  I possess no quirky age-old kitchen tricks that my grandmother taught as a youngster, that I now proudly employ in my kitchen adventures.  Not that cooking didn’t happen in my house.  My mother continues to slave away in the kitchen every afternoon, accompanying her kitchen movements with a verbal commentary of just how much she hates cooking for our family (which consists of one vegetarian, one sometimes-vegan, a celiac and a picky 12 year-old.)  Cooking was not often a communal pursuit in my family.  Thus, much of my culinary knowledge has been acquired through the quasi-parent of Generation Y: the Internet.

It is amazing the wealth of knowledge that can be accessed with a simple Google search.  Last week I learnt how to remove the skin of almonds: sit them in hot water for less than a minute and the skin will slide right off.  The week before eHow taught me how to steam vegetables in the microwave: in a bowl loosely covered with cling wrap, cooked for two minutes in the microwave.  You may be sometimes led astray when engaging more obscure cooking authorities (as I learned in The Great Flaming Toaster Incident of 2012).  However, when used tactfully the Internet is your own personal Martha Stewart!

Model turned baker extraordinaire Jessica Milan combines her two great loves: food and fashion, and creates a blog that looks as good as it tastes.  Each of her baking creations is gluten free, dairy free and soy free and is photographed being eaten by gorgeous models: a twist on the traditional food photography.  The photography is reminiscent of Terry Richardson with models that look like they stepped out of an American Apparel ad.  But the true stars of the show are the cheesecakes, brownies and cookies being devoured.  The perfect blog for a sweet tooth who likes to indulge, without being too indulgent.

Baker’s Best:

When it comes to skilled baking, this American mother is the cream of the crop.  No doubt you have seen the ‘cake pop’ craze take off in stores everywhere; many credit Bakerella (Angie Dudley) as the creator of cake pops.  She can literally make a cake pop look like anything.  Like anything!  She has managed a cake pop for every holiday, celebration and movie premiere.  Her Muppet cake pops are scary in their likeness (who knew Miss Piggy could be recreated so successfully in the medium of cake and frosting?) 

Baker’s Best:

With the slogan “baking makes friends” you know you’re in for a treat.  Lillie Auld shares recipes from her single-draw Brooklyn kitchen, accompanied with witty anecdotes about skipping school to buy cookies and the perils of learning how to juggle.  Apart from her delicious twists on cookies, her one-pan recipes that cut down on washing time and tendency to roast anything and everything; Lillie is a hell of a pioneer when it comes to adding alcohol to food.  Parmesan garlic herb beer bread, red wine chocolate fudge brownies and cherry white wine slushies are just some of her boozy recipes.  Just when you thought you couldn’t love food more, someone comes along and adds bourbon to it. 

Baker’s Best:

For those who like their recipes simple, their food quick and their photography pretty, Minimalist Baker is for you.  One of the most frequently uploading food blogs, posting three times a week, you’ll never be without inspiration.  The creators, John and Dana, embrace an entirely minimalist life that extends to their baking with every recipe needing less than 10 ingredients, one bowl and one spoon.  Plus they include the nutritional information of all of their recipes (a blessing if you want to make a 60 calorie cookie; a curse if you proceed to eat 15 of said cookies.) 

Baker’s Best:

Let the procrasti-baking begin!

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