The Great Australian Cookbook returns in time for Christmas and summer entertaining »

The food we love from 100 of our finest cooks, chefs, bakers and local heroes

By Laura McKinnon
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The Great Australian Cookbook

The Great Australian Cookbook


What a brilliant cookbook and a great idea! With OzHarvest receiving royalties from the cookbook and 100 contributors what is not to like? But the news gets even better when you find out that those contributors are Maggie Beer, Neil Perry, Kylie Kwong, Peter Russell-Clarke, Margaret Fulton, Adriano Zumbo… and the list, extensively, goes on.

But what about the recipes and the types of food I hear you ask? Well… there is a fantastic range of recipes and many of them will certainly ring true as recipes familiar to many Australians. Pavlova, Lamingtons, Anzac Biscuits and Sponge Cakes are certainly some of the more stereotypical recipes, but don't fret as there is far more on offer.

There are so many good meals inspired by so many parts of the world – Tabouli; Spanish Omelette; Korean Chicken Soup; Sri Lankan Curry Parcels; Baklawa; Yati’s Chicken Laksa, and many, many more. This is certainly a fantastic tip of the hat to the multicultural country Australia is and a deep reminder of how much is to be gained from inclusivity

There are also a few recipes that are inspired from more home-grown Australian roots – like Bush Tomato Damper; Chargrilled Kangaroo Fillet with Sweet Potato Mash, Quandong Jus and Warrigal Greens, as well as a Bush Fruit Christmas Cake.

Some recipes are healthy, some not so much. Some recipes are hearty and some are light. Some are sweet and some are savoury. The Great Australian Cookbook is certainly not short on variety. It has user-friendly recipes that are accessible to most, tasty and good to put together with friends and family. It really has something for everyone. The editors definitely need to take credit for putting together a book that is really thoughtful in terms of what it delivers.

Further, not only is every recipe listed in an easy-to-use index, but there is also an addition to the index (yay!),  listing recipes into helpful categories, like gluten free, vegetarian, main courses etc. This is extremely helpful in a book with so much to choose from.

The verdict:

The Great Australian Cookbook falls into the category of ‘If you were only going to buy one this year…’ with ease. It is extremely accessible to those relatively new to cooking and to those more experienced alike. Its artwork (Reg Mombassa) and photography (Lottie Hedley) is without doubt pleasing and helps to firmly polish off an already well accomplished publication.

With 165 recipes in total it is without doubt good value for money and a worthy gift for any person who likes spending time in the kitchen. And, if there was any book that gave someone a true taste of Australia, then this would be it!


The Great Australian Cookbook edited by Helen Greenwood and Melissa Leong is published by PQ Blackwell (Auckland, NZ, Sept 2015, 432pp) and is distributed by Five Mile Press. It is available where all good books are sold. RRP A$49.95.

A percentage of the sale price supports OzHarvest, a charity which distributes food to those in need in Australia.

 You can also purchase The Great Australian Cookbook online via »

For another perspective on this book, read Robyn's review here »

The press release for The Great Australian Cookbook can be found here »

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