Julie Goodwin's Essential Cookbook

Published April 2017 by Hachette Australia 

"Australia's best-loved home cook and original MASTERCHEF, Julie Goodwin is back with the accessible and practical cookbook every family needs.
Looking for the perfect meal for your family?
All you need to make delicious food to feed your hungry loved ones is contained here in one place. Collected here for the first time you can find Julie's essential go-to recipes: from making a great omelette, to roasting the perfect chicken, preparing simple and satisfying soups and salads and baking classic cakes, muffins and desserts that will become family favourites. Whatever ingredients you have in the house, no matter the season or occasion, you can put together a tasty feast that will please everyone, every time" .....

I've been using this book quite a bit and have discovered a big inconvenience, nothing to do with Julie but with the books layout. So annoying when the complete recipe is NOT displayed on a single page - or even double page spread. Nobody wants to turn the page half way through a recipe!

I do love cookbooks and really looked forward to browsing through Julie Goodwin’s well titled Essential Cookbook.
The book is in paperback form with a glossy wipeable cover, at the back are a few plain pages to use for jotting down notes, and the front and back covers have sturdy flaps to use as bookmarks.

According to the introduction, Julie wrote this with her sons in mind, by gathering all the recipes she has accumulated from family and other sources over the years and bringing them together, along with "little bits of kitchen wisdom”, she has ensured that her boys will always have mum’s recipes close by.

In the Cooks note Julie includes a (blessedly short) list of kitchen equipment that would be helpful to own, comfortingly adding that not to worry if you don't own it all because "there's not much that can't be achieved if you have a good pan, a good knife, a whisk and a wooden spoon".
Heck, she even clarifies that eternal spring onion/eschallot/shallot debate!
What I call "spring onions" Julie calls "shallots", and somebody somewhere calls "eschallots" so now we are clear.

The recipes are, of course, divided in to the usual sections and are well laid out, not every recipe has a photograph of the finished product, probably because there are so many of them!
Where necessary, a recipe will have a footnote with helpful suggestions and a bit of guidance on substitutions or where to buy certain ingredients.

The guide to the various methods of cooking meat is useful, especially as recommendations for the most suitable cuts for each method is included and, importantly, the reasons for why we should use them.
This sets the tone for all of the recipes, if there is a little tidbit of advice she thinks will help then Julie provides it.

I like that the meat section includes not only the cheaper family style recipes, such as cottage pie, meatballs and the like, but dishes for those special occasions, Beef Wellington for instance, a little too technical for me, but on reading the clear instructions I am tempted to give it a go one day.

If, like me, you are a sucker for a good sauce, you will love the Sauce, Soups and Dips section which includes a gorgeous and very tasty pepper sauce recipe, I didn’t have a steak handy but it certainly bucked up the snags!

I couldn't resist trying out the cheese stuffed meatballs in sauce, I didn't have enough Mozzarella to fill them all so for some I used Colby, these were OK but I preferred Julie's mozzarella stuffed ones.
I also tried the foolproof No-bake lemon cheesecake, this was so easy to make and absolutely tangy and delicious.

If parents are looking to send their kids out in to the world armed with the knowledge to feed themselves, then this book is entirely fit for purpose.

In fact I can’t think of anyone who would not appreciate this book, it is full of tasty family recipes that have been well tried and tested. Many are of the straightforward home cooking type, others are a little more challenging and others are a little exotic. There is definitely something for everyone.

If nobody buys this lovely book for you then buy it for yourself

Highly recommended

Review copy provided by Hachette Australia

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