Book reviews: Jamie Oliver's Everyday Super Food and Brewed craft beer guide
Everyday Super Food
by Jamie Oliver (Random House, $65)
It's telling that Jamie Oliver has shed that irritating, studiedly casual approach to ingredients where he tended to direct you to chuck in a 'handful of this' and a 'bit of that', for a more straightforward approach that the amateur chef would appreciate.
This is a direct, straightforward book, from the simple cover shot of a smiling Oliver staring down the gun to the message behind it. He even, he says, took the food photos himself.
Oliver remains on his clean food crusade, but it's in a palatable form here: recipe after recipe of straightforward, simple-to-cook food.
Oliver calls it his "most personal" book, to mark turning 40, and while there's a bit of lecturing involved, he has squarely hits his target of being a "solid, reliable source" of meals, costed out at £5.15 per head. As a sample, we tried his seared golden chicken with mint sauce and spring veg. Ten ingredients, 15 minutes' prep time, a bloody good mint sauce and almost no fat: an easy, healthy midweek meal. There's some trickier stuff in here worthy of weekends, but almost of all of it is food that even those with the smallest sense of adventure could attempt. STEVE KILGALLON
Brewed: A guide to the craft beer of New Zealand
by Jules van Cruysen (Potton & Burton, $40)
Jules van Cruysen, a beer, wine and food writer with a hospitality background, raised funds to get this book published through a Kickstarter campaign, and his passion for the subject shines through.
Beginning with a snapshot of the state of the beer industry in this country, next follows brief but well-researched rundowns of the brewing process and what goes in beer, an explanation of styles and notes on storing, serving and tasting beer, as well as matching it with food.
Van Cruysen then launches into profiles of 140 breweries and brewing companies, ranging from the micro to the massive and spanning the length and breadth of the country. The concise profiles cover the brewing philosophies of the people behind the beer, as well as shedding light on personality quirks, foibles and faux pas.
Tasting notes for more than 400 beers are included, covering everything from Lion Red ("very little character") and Mac's Gold ("light and simple but refreshing"), right through to Liberty C!tra ("bursts with huge juicy lemon and lime notes"), Renaissance Stonecutter ("layers of smoky toffee, a hint of milk chocolate and spice") and Kereru Karengose ("wheaten with bristly acidity and a creamy mouthfeel").
With the final chapter covering New Zealand beer destinations, with details of everything from your hipster-filled city brew bar to hard-to-find country pubs and regional supermarkets with great beer selections, this is a definitive guide. Whether you're a card-carrying beer nerd or just beginning to expand your hoppy horizons, it's an excellent overview of the craft beer scene in this country. ALICE NEVILLE