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Cook with Love

Those who have watched the popular TV cooking series My Kitchen Rules have no doubt formed their opinions of the judges. Chef Pete Evans, who teams with Manu  Feildel, is charming, professional and rock-hard about what he calls 'cooking with love'.


For many people this seems like one of those mushy 'motherhood' sort of statements in kitchen-talk that is impossible to pin down and quantify. How, exactly, does a cook prepare food with 'love'?

Evans goes with the show-don't-tell approach in the book, presenting a collection of recipes which he calls "a snapshot of my years in the kitchen to date". And perhaps the connection to love, here, is that there is a history to each dish, either to key people or times in his life, or even for the great affection he holds for the dish itself.

Beautifully illustrated, with full-page colour pictures for every dish, this is a visual book, the images so real you could lick them!

Spinach and taleggio arancini broken open and exhaling divine scents, turmeric-golden Balinese roasted chicken, crispy trussed whole ocean trout ready for the platter, or lap cheong and egg congee, his way - the menu is enormous and varied, 150 of Pete's favourites - that make simply reading the book a delight.

But, almost certainly, you won't just keep turning the pages for long. Pretty soon, like me, you'll be marking a page here, another there, taking notes for the next day, adding ingredients to your shopping list.

It's ultimately an interactive book. Even the chapters are begging you to get involved: Start the day, Things with drinks, Family feasts, and (of course, why not?) Showing off.

It's a passionate collection of Pete's personal favourites. It's fun, it's adventurous and exciting. It is, after all, a labour of love.

Cook with Love, Pete Evans, Murdoch Books, April 2013, rrp $49.99, hardcover.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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