'Shelves of glass candy jars filled with sweets all the colours of the rainbow and every flavour imaginable, trays of cocoa-dusted truffles and brightly coloured foil-wrapped chocolate bars, intoxicating to the eye as well as the taste buds. I am in heaven when surrounded by such delights.'
With the approach of the gift giving season, I am ever so pleased to share with you Sweet Things, which I believe is among the best of the 'sweet treats' books I have had the pleasure of reviewing over many years. Author, Annie Rigg says there's no denying that she (always has and always will) have a sweet tooth. 'I am drawn like a moth to a flame when it comes to comes to eating or cooking sweet things and I feel an almost gravitational pull towards sweet shops and chocolatiers.'
Ms Rigg writes that this passion for all things sweet has translated into her kitchen and cooking. In this her latest book, the author shares 100 inspiring recipes for deliciously beautiful sweets for every occasion and level of culinary skill. 'The recipes have been tested in a domestic kitchen using regular equipment,' she says, 'and require nothing more fancy than a sugar thermometer, a couple of good quality, solid-bottomed pans and perhaps a few chocolate or candy moulds.'
The basics of sweet making are explained, together with the pitfalls and possibilities for disaster (as a cook and reviewer, I love this!). 'Never underestimate the formidable and sneaky powers of a pan of boiling syrup... it can sometimes seem like it has a mind of its own. It will know when you're about to hang the washing out, send an email or answer the phone,' Ms Rigg warns.
The chapters in Sweet Things are divided into Chocolate; Marshmallows; Fruit; Toffee, Fudge and Caramels; Nougat, Nuts and Honeycomb; and Hardy Candy. Then there is a section on gift packaging and UK suppliers. There are much-loved and very yummy favourites such as buttered salted caramels, candied almonds, almond and pistachio turron, honeycomb, summer berry pastilles, and Turkish delight. And then exquisite offerings like passionfruit and pistachio truffles, pomegranate and blood orange Turkish delight, chocolate-dipped pear wafers (definitely my most favourite here!!), violet candies, and goat's milk and vanilla bean caramels.
Yes, this is a drool-worthy book and definitely one you, the passionate cook, should add to your bookshelf, especially if you enjoy the pleasure of giving and sharing home made sweets.
Sweet Things by Annie Rigg, $29.99, Kyle Books. Sincere thanks to Annie Rigg and the publicity team at Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review this title.
Cookbook reviews and interviews with food writers and chefs.