Monday, March 7, 2011
Ladies, a plate.
New Zealanders are renowned for many things, but among them, their baking reigns supreme: Afghans, Belgian Slice, Louise Cake, hokey pokey... You''l be surprised at the number of fantastic slices, cookies and cakes that come from this small nation. They certainly punch above their weight in the baking stakes.
For a while I have been hearing about a great book of New Zealand baking favourites - Ladies, a Plate. A number of my friends have recommended it and it was on my list of things to try and track down while I am here.
Why is NZ baking so special? Author Alexa Johnson writes about the phenomenon and her book: Many New Zealanders can still recall a time when family cake tins contained a delicious variety of home-made biscuits, slices, fruit loaves and cakes baked each week by mothers, aunts and grandmothers. The contents of the tins brightened children’s lunches, revived them after school, and refreshed friends and visitors at morning and afternoon teatime. Women also baked for suppers and teas at community events in response to the message ‘Ladies, a plate’ – often printed on invitations to attend. Cream-filled sponges, ginger kisses, lamingtons, custard squares, chocolate éclairs, club sandwiches and sausage rolls were just some of the many specialties perfected by New Zealand home bakers. This is a book for anyone who longs to re-create their favourite treats with over 80 easy-to-follow recipes – all of them tried, tested and true.
After reading that, I had no option but to buy the book! I can't wait to get home and try some of the fantastic recipes! An avid collector of community and traditional cookbooks, Alexa also writes about the history of some New Zealand's baking classics, showing how their favourite recipes evolved over time as well as letting you in on the secrets of NZ baking. This fantastic and beautiful cookbook contains over ninety recipes and will be treasured by every kitchen enthusiast.
For Australians, Ladies, a Plate is available from Book Depository for less than $24. A fantastic price for an investment cook book.