You know those crazy people who line up outside Apple stores to be one of the first to get their paws on the latest iPhone or iPad, even though they know if they wait 48 hours they’d be able to buy without the queues?
I’m the early adopter version of those people in cookbook world.
I have discovered a happy truth. If you preorder a cookbook through Amazon (and are prepared to pay for expedited delivery!), it arrives all the way down here in Sydney-town the day after it is released in the States. How cool is that?
I have long been a fan of Simone Miller of Zenbelly blog fame.
Her philosophy of eating ‘gluten free and mostly Paleo’ appeals to me – both because of the ‘mostly‘ bit (absolutes are so last year, don’t you know!) and because it coincides with how I’d like to be able to eat once I finish with this AIP-caper that I’m on. Here’s hoping!
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. (Luciano Pavarotti)
So, when Simone announced that she was creating a Zenbelly cookbook, I knew it was one that I really wanted on my cookbook shelf. I preordered through Amazon and a couple of weeks ago it landed on my doorstep. Yippee!
I’ve never actually met Simone, but her lovely cookbook reflects how I imagine her to be: organised with an irreverent yet pragmatic and accessible style and lots of clean, clever recipes that are achievable for the home cook. To say I like this cookbook is an understatement.
Some things I especially like about The Zenbelly Cookbook
- There’s a handy-dandy section on basic techniques that show you ‘how to cook like a pro’. Inspired!
- Each recipe has a photograph of all the ingredients used. I’m a visual person. This really works for me.
- Every recipe has a photograph of the finished dish. Did I mention I’m a visual person? It always disappoints me when I can’t see what the recipe is supposed to look like in a cookbook.
- The oysters Rockefeller recipe makes me want to experiment with oysters. Badly… Ditto the Steak Tartare (after I have successfully reintroduced egg yolks, of course!)… And, then there’s the Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. SO many great looking recipes.
- Maple-bourbon bacon jam. Do I really need to say any more than that?
- There’s a section on crackers, wraps and breads. Even after all this time, I still miss bread. I’ve made Simone’s biscuits before. A W E S O M E !
I made Simone’s Perfect Roast Chicken last night. And it was crispy on the outside and juicy and succulent on the inside. AND – just about the easiest way to roast a chicken IN THE WORLD!
There were lots of lovely juices in the bottom of the pan for a good gravy, too (I’m a massive fan of roast chicken gravy!)
You could probably get through life without knowing how to roast a chicken, but the question is, would you want to? (Nigella Lawson)
We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly. (Anna Thomas)
But, my absolute favourit-ist recipe in the cookbook – so far, anyway! – is the Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Rosemary Salt. (Those in the U.S. may know these beauties as sunchokes?)
It was the weirdest thing. You might even say it was serendipity… The weekend before the book arrived, I had picked up a rather enormous bag of Jerusalem artichokes at the farmers market without having a clue what I was going to do with them. I had never cooked with them before but I was on one of my ‘time to try a new ingredient’ kicks.
And then, just like magic, when leafing through my new Zenbelly cookbook I spied this recipe. So I tried it. And, it was so good. ESPECIALLY when potatoes are off the menu.
LM and I devoured the first batch while watching this year’s first Bledisloe Cup test.
And then, because we loved them so much, I made them for the second test, too…
And now, I have made another batch so you can see what they look like (it had nothing to do with me wanting more of these scrummy wee beasties!)
The lovely Simone has kindly given me permission to reprint her recipe. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand and you hurry, you might be able to find some Jerusalem artichokes before the season ends.
Trust me. It’s worth it.
Zenbelly's Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Rosemary Salt
Reprinted from the Zenbelly Belly Cookbook with the author’s permission
500 g Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), cut into large dice, peel on
2 x Tablespoons unsalted butter, duck fat, or fat of choice, melted
1/4 x teaspoon finely ground sea salt
2 x teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/4 x teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8 x teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional, leave out if on the autoimmune protocol)
1. Preheat your oven to 250°C/475°F.
2. In a large bowl, toss the Jerusalem artichokes with the melted fat (I used happy duck fat) and finely ground sea salt.
3. Transfer to a rimmed baking tray and roast for 20 – 25 minutes, until soft and golden.
4. Meanwhile, combine the rosemary with the coarse sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. (I gave them a quick bash with my mortar and pestle to release the rosemary oil).
5. Sprinkle the roasted artichokes with the rosemary salt and serve.
E N J O Y !