I can hardly stop running my hands over the pages of Jude Blereau's Wholefood Baking, for the paper it's printed on has a raw, earthy, untreated quality to it, just as the content is based around cooking with the most wholesome ingredients.
Ms Blereau co-founded The Earth Market, a hugely popular wholefood store in Perth, before setting up the Whole Food Cooking School in 2001. She believes that healthy food both nourishes and delights; and says her focus is on 'helping people to learn about good food — what it truly is, where to get it, how to use it — and to give them the tools and information they need to make healthy, wholesome eating part of their everyday lives'.
In the introduction to Wholefood Baking, Ms Blereau explains her philosophy on food in general, as well as healthy eating and sweetness — and writes that 'Food is a deeply joyful and delicious part of life, especially sweetness... in all of its many forms — the sweetness of love, the smile and smell of [her] baby girl (now all grown up), the sweetness of [her] mum cooking that deliciousness... life is sweet and there is so much to be grateful for.' She adds that 'there is a valid place for cake, biscuits or pie in the balanced eating of a wholesome everyday life... but [says]... we have lost sight of what a cake, biscuit or pie [made from highly refined ingredients] truly are.'
Readers are encouraged to explore the 'large and wonderful world of less refined, more whole ingredients for baking, which result in delicious, but more wholesome results, nourishing body and soul.' I love this paragraph that invites us to 'Put your nose to many of these everything old is new again sweeteners and flours and you will notice many dimensions of flavour — the coconut and deep caramel of palm sugars, the forest and perfumed fragrance of maple syrups and sugars, the deep and assertive aroma of buckwheat flour.'
Key chapters include Ingredients and what they do, which covers sweeteners, flours and meals, gums, starches and thickeners, raising agents, gelling agents, chocolate and cacao, flavouring agents, milk and more; and then there's Tools for the wholefood kitchen; and Becoming a baker — instinct and technique. Recipes include specialist baking for intolerances; together with chapters on scones; biscuits, bars and crackers; muffins; cakes; pastry; custards, creams, icings and spreads; and fruit.
The verdict: down-to-earth deliciousness that will inspire every baker to investigate healthier versions of their classic baking favourites.
Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau (Murdoch Books) $45.00 and worth every penny! A note of thanks to Murdoch publicity and Jude Blereau for giving me the opportunity to review this title.
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