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Phillippa's Home Baking

Anyone who has been fortunate enough to walk through the doors of Phillippa's, a top-drawer bakery and provisions shop in Melbourne (or one of her other two shops), will be delighted to see this book. Now, at last, she has found the time and opportunity to share the secrets of her culinary successes.

In this large and beautiful book, Phillippa Grogan has teamed up with award-winning food writer, Richard Cornish, to assemble 140-plus mouth-watering delights complete with as many helpful hints as will fit on the pages, as well as Mark Chew's great photography.

Better still her recipes are simple, easy to follow and in general don't require unusual or esoteric ingredients. This is good 'home baking' as the title claims. In fact there are heirloom recipes such as the modern twist on her grandmother's gems (a sort of muffin precurser, made in heavy iron pans). But these are cheese and chive gems, courtesy of a friend's mum. You'll find Mum's rock cakes, oat and coconut flapjacks, apple pie - even homemade butter – and playdough!

However, for home bakers who like to impress, there is also medieval gingerbread, roman artichoke pie, Indonesian spiced layer cake, or Stilton walnut pennies, a veritable cakeshop of dainties, and much more.

Breads, pastries, cakes and biscuits – with Phillippa's practical helpful voice almost audible though every the recipe, her words of advice and encouragment on the page, you'll find each one is approachable. And if you doubt this, turne to pages 6 and 7 and meet the team of test bakers who ensured  that these recipes were clear and do-able.

For this is the sort of friendly 'let's share a recipe' book that we all love. Phillippa, for all her successes and experience, comes across as one of us. Someone who loves baking. And especially as someone who loves to make treats for those around her.

As Phillippa puts it: 'Taking time to cook and bake for your loved ones is a gift these days, when it is so easy to take shortcuts and buy a commercially made product instead.'

Phillippa's Home Baking, by Phillipa Grogan & Richard Cornish, published by Penguin, March 2014, hardcover, rrp A$49.99.


- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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