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Good life great food

I love cookbooks as you can probably tell, and even though I have hundreds of them (yes, really!) I am always excited when a new one for review lands in my letterbox.

I settle down to read through it. Cookbooks are like novels to me, but better. I have on hand some pieces of paper that I can use to mark the recipes I want to return to. When a book is bristling with papers, like this one, I know I have found one I will use over and over. It's a good feeling to know that there will be some great dishes to try and much enjoyment eating them.

Which makes this cookbook especially interesting. Good Life Great Food is the debut cookbook from Judy Phillips, a Sydney-based cooking teacher, fitness fanatic and mother of five. It showcases her signature style of healthy, delicious and, above all, easy everyday cooking that makes the most of the produce available in Australia. What sets this book apart is that all profits from book sales are being donated to The Black Dog Institute for research into the treatment and prevention of mood disorders and mental illness.

It is a stunning book, featuring over 90 recipes, all beautifully photographed by Louise Lister. It is unique too in that the book begins with an introduction which contains recipes. Phillips' background is Hungarian. 'The tradition of Hungarian baking infused my childhood,' she writes, and demonstrates why with several wonderful recipes, which I have already marked to try: especially a four-ingredient walnut cake, and Hungarian chocolate bread.

As you would guess, the author has a lot going on in her life, so the dishes in this book are flavoursome but (in many cases) fast. Cheat's hummus, is one, as is an eggy avocado dip.  A lovely blend of old and new, there are dishes some cooks may have almost forgotten, such as slow-roasted shoulder of lamb or baked apples stuffed with walnuts and dates. The fig, plum and ricotta cake is so eyecatching it is the cover pic,  and there are many salads and vegetable dishes including a Hungarian cucumber salad.

Grandma's paprika chicken with nockedli (like spaetzle) is also tagged in my copy, as is North African hot fish stew, fragrant with caraway and cumin, half a world away from angel hair pasta with crab chilli and tomato, which also caught my eyes, as dis  BBQ snapper with fennel salt, and roast chicken with tangerines and ouza.

This is wonderful creation holds so many joyous possibilities - with a bonus. The sale of this book will also help some whose joy may have become shadowed, to taste happiness again.


Good Life, Great Food, by Judy Phillips, 2015, paperback, rrp A$35, ISBN: 978 0 646 93695 6.

- reviewed by Sally Hammond  $35



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