Author(s): Eleanor Ozich
Eleanor's unique approach to food styling and photography showcases the simplicity of her food in a natural, down-to-earth style that is fresh and inspiring. As the creator of the hugely successful blog Petite Kitchen, she willingly confesses to being hopelessly in love with every aspect of food: where it comes from, how it's grown, its health benefits and how to make it taste amazing. In her second book, Eleanor presents over 100 wonderfully simple, nourishing and wholesome recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family. She takes some classic family favourites and adds her own wholesome, creative twist, keeping it really simple, and using plenty of herbs and aromatic flavours for scrumptious taste combinations. The five chapters of this, her second recipe book, take you through the day - from healthy, satisfying breakfasts like Brilliantly rustic seed and nut loaf, Sweet almond crepes with ricotta and honey-grilled stone fruit, Delicate chamomile muffins, Omelette with gruyere, red onion and fig jam; through to lunch box stars Crispy almond-coated chicken nuggets with homemade tomato sauce, Simple savoury muffins, Incredible vegan choc chunk cookies; family suppers of Jamaican jerk chicken, Quinoa pilaf with peas, mint and parmesan and after-dinner treats of Raw fig tarts with milk chocolate ganache, Salted banana butter caramel mousse. Each recipe contains unprocessed, natural ingredients, and has very few steps, resulting in dishes that are uncomplicated, quick to prepare, yet delightfully delicious...
Occasionally I pick up a cookbook that claims to be for "family" cooking, and flick through it. I take in the quinoa tartlets, the marinated tofu, the kale chips and I think 'yeah, I could eat that'. And then I remember that I have kids, who, while not being particularly picky eaters, are somewhat, discerning in their tastes. They like raw veges, bread, cheese and noodles. All liberally spread with peanut butter for preference. But I try to be a decent mother, which means trying to branch their palates out, away from the kilo of Pics in the cupboard, and into something more adventurous. I want a happy middle ground, something that is healthy and sustainable, but also looks decent on the plate, doesn't require fancy foods (activated cashew nuts anyone?), is friendly to the scathing child's eye and doesn't take three hours and a culinary degree to master.
Eleanor Ozich's My Family Table: Simple wholefood recipes from Petite Kitchen is exactly the book I need to have on hand in my kitchen. It's packed full of yummy, hearty, unfussy and family-friendly recipes, and last week I made two of them, ‘Roast Chicken with Fennel Salt & Crispy Smashed Potatoes’ for a dinner with my Dad, and ‘Spiced Pumpkin Scones’, which I made with the assistance of my 4 year old (see the photos).
The chicken is encrusted with fennel seeds, mashed in a mortar and pestle with rock salt, and roasted on top of veges. It's wonderfully aromatic, and half way through the cooking time the whole house smelled of fennel, but the flavour was lovely and subtle and not at all overpowering. Rave reviews from all who ate it, and for a dish that looks a wee bit fancy, it was very quick to put together.
The scones were not such a success, at least, not visually. I am not an experienced scone-maker, and to say they were dense was an understatement. But they tasted fantastic, and were easy to make. The hardest part was disassembling the pumpkin to make the puree beforehand. I also like that they are easy to adapt to gluten-free, have very little sugar, and are done in no time. Perfect for morning tea with the kids. I'm sure any flaws lay with the cook, not the recipe.
Other recipes I can't wait to try include ‘Hotcakes’, ‘Braised Chickpeas’, ‘Potato Bake’ and ‘Ratatouille with Olives’.
Long-listed for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards - Illustrated Non-Fiction 2016.
Author of best-selling My Petite Kitchen Cookbook, Eleanor lived above her parents' restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand as a child; she has been a self-confessed food lover ever since. She is a self-taught cook who has worked as a food stylist and photographer for various publications, including Taste Magazine and is a weekly columnist for Viva - The New Zealand Herald. In addition to her 45,000 Facebook and blog fans, she is also establishing a loyal following at her Auckland cafe, Mondays Wholefoods, and is planning to open a second Mondays soon...45,000 followers facebook Instagram 21,000 followers. Approx 4,000 - 10,000 page views per day on the blog Weekly columnist for Viva- The New Zealand Herald Writer, photographer & stylist for Taste Magazine- Contributing to The Healthy Food Guide magazine- monthly wholesome family style recipes.