Book Review: Best Home Cooking

Best Home Cooking by David Herbert.

These are all of your favourite dishes in one neat little cookbook – be sure to grab your copy now!

David Herbert is a recipe writer, passionate baker, collector of 20th Century decorative stuffs and enjoys sowing and digging in his garden. He also writes his own popular column for the Weekend Australian Magazine, from which he has created his very own cookbook, Best Home Cooking.

This recipe book is a collation of 200 recipes previously published in his column that received glowing reviews and positive feedback from all who tried them. Readers and avid followers of David’s column are spoilt for choice when looking to re-create the beloved recipes at home. A down-to-earth style keeps recipes simple with proven popular flavours the whole family will love. David’s food philosophies revolve around simplicity, seasonality, local produce and organic farming. He takes his inspiration from restaurant food, but prefers the basics at home where meals can be enjoyed together with family and friends in leisurely hours.

Book Review: Best Home Cooking

Prawn Tagine with Buttered Couscous, p. 159.

Genuine warmth radiates from the pages in gentle encouragement for those apprehensive about cooking for the first time, or trying a completely new dish, perhaps a tantalising Prawn Tagine with Buttered Couscous or a pork and bacon terrine. These are recipes based on what David creates for his own family that won’t involve days of food preparation, an entire laboratory of equipment or a professionally trained chef. These are real recipes to make at home with just a quick flick through of the book and a short trip to the shops for any ingredients you don’t already have in the pantry. Though don’t feel the need to follow instructions to a tee - there is plenty of room for adventure. Throw in a dash of your favourite herbs or spices here, add an extra pinch of salt there and the dish becomes uniquely your own.

David also touches on our privileges of living in such a flourishing country, where fresh fruit, vegetables and Australian farmed meat is high in abundance. Here, we are also influenced by a dynamic, multi-cultural society and a culinary freedom to be enjoyed. It is not strange for us to enjoy Thai, Indian, Japanese, French and Mexican cuisines in the span of five days, whether eating out at local venues or cooking up feasts in our kitchens. Discover a mix of international dishes through the pages of his cookbook; however, David’s most prevalent inspiration is from Mediterranean cuisine. The warm sunshine, fruity olive oils, zesty lemons and the uncomplicated style of cooking is what he gravitates towards most.

These recipes are designed to be pressure free to feed the family with dishes everyone will enjoy and still providing enough variation to keep it intriguing and keep the kids asking ‘what’s for dinner?’ From little coconut cakes and the best ever brownies to wintry soups, succulent seafood and tender red meats, David’s aim is to help anyone in the kitchen just enjoy the experience, and of course the rewards!

By Julie Johnson.

Recipes from the book David Herbert's Best Home Cooking by David Herbert with photography by Brent Parker Jones, published by Lantern. Can be purchased here.