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 ├ęclairs, 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.

Kitty

13 comments:

The Mummy said...

Such a brilliant book. All the recipes I have tried work perfectly, the layout and photographs are lovely, and it's the sort of recipe book you can actually 'sit and read' which is always a good thing!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

I can't wait to start using mine. I have already started earmarking recipes and I am eyeing off the sequel - A second helping. I also wouldn't mind a copy of the Edmonds Cookery Book which I guess is a lot like the old CWA cookery book: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780473053802/Edmonds-Cookery-Book

Kiki Chaos said...

Kitty, does it have a recipe for pavlova? I think New Zealanders lay claim to the invention of that dessert, as much as Australians like to dispute it :)

Not Quite Nigella said...

Their Afghan cookie recipe is brilliant! I adore them (I can't be left alone with a batch :P ).

Clare said...

woohoooo go kiwi food.
that is all.
off to investigate said book.

Merowyn said...

Yum yum yum!!! This book looks - delicious!

Don't you love The Book Depository?! I do still love Borders though, there is nothing like leafing through books before you make your selection.

Me, You and Tea said...

The book sounds great. You'll have to post about the lovely baked goodies you make.

sassandspice said...

'Ditto' to what Kiki Chaos said!

My ex's mother (New Zealander) is really into baking and now owns her own cafe in the country...I always thought it was just her and never assumed it was a cultural thing. Interesting!

The Mummy said...

Next on my list to try is the choc-chip Highlander Biscuits (Kiwi Crips). I have never managed to produce a choc-chip cookie I am pleased with, and I think this recipe looks promising.

The Date Loaf on page 120 is excellent too - I add some chopped walnuts, it is lovely served hot and buttered.

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Mummy - my friend Amy from Whisk and Whimsy recommended these cookies to me and they have never not failed to impress: http://whiskandwhimsy.blogspot.com/2010/05/im-still-alive-plus-chewy-chocolate.html The trick is to undercook them slightly so they are still gooey in the center. I'm not sure I'd ever make another type of choc chip cookie again!

Linda in Chile said...

Dear Miss Kitty-Cat, The practice of bringing a plate is not common to all cultures. I have heard many stories of migrants who literally brought a plate thinking their hosts did not have sufficient crockery! I love traditional baking so will definitely order this book. Thank you for telling us about it. Lindaxxx

Carly Findlay said...

This book looks great - thank you for writing about it.

Julia R said...

Wow, that books sounds great!