Tried, Tested and True – a treasure chest of Australian recipes curated by Liz Harfull »

And stories from Australia's much-loved community cookbooks

By Laura McKinnon
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<i>Tried Tested and True</i> by Liz Harfull

Tried Tested and True by Liz Harfull [©Allen & Unwin ]


This cookbook is a treasure chest full of recipes ready to go – ones that have passed the test of time and that are hardy enough for those starting their cooking journey, through to those for more seasoned cooks who can alter a recipe to taste.

However this particular cookbook is about more than just recipes. It is about the history of where many of the recipes were originally published – community cookbooks – and the stories associated with them. Liz Harfull has done some extensive research in an effort to bring back to life some heart-warming stories.

Stories, recipes and vintage photos all intertwine to create a unique cookbook – one of the rare ones that successfully melds a good read and a practical cookbook.

What sort of recipes will you find? How about a hearty Beefsteak Pie? Or the ever-Australian staple of Trifle, based on a recipe from The Rodney Cookery Book of ‘Xmas 1907?! 

Gingerbread; Cream Puffs; ANZAC Biscuits; Pavlova; Scones; Pickles and Chutney all make an appearance. Beware though, there is definitely more of a focus on sweet foods than savoury!

The chapter categories are interesting: ‘Recipes for saving souls’, ‘Recipes for the disabled’, ‘Recipes for wellness’, and ‘Recipes for the young’ give you a taste of the quirkiness that will engross you throughout this cookbook.

Tried, Tested and True is presented brilliantly by Liz Harfull, with a lot of time and thought obviously being put into where the vintage advertisements are placed and matching them with recipes. It is certainly worth adding to your cookbook collection, if only for the ability it gives you to read an interesting historical foodie fact whilst waiting for a recipe to finish up in the oven.

One of the better cookbooks of 2018 not associated with or written by someone hosting or appearing on MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules or any other networked food program.

More in the press release here »

Ed: a winner in our Tried, Tested and True competition sent us this feedback: "Thank you for this delightful book which arrived yesterday.  It is such a wonderful collection of community history and spirit, and of how our palates have changed over time. The author has done a great job of updating the recipes for use today, although I quite like the original Trifle recipes exhortation to add a little more alcohol. That would certainly ensure a festive Christmas! "

STOP PRESS - 18 June 2019: Tried, Tested and True has been shortlisted for an International Gourmand Award. Winners announced on 4 July.


Tried, Tested and True by Liz Harfull is published by Allen & Unwin (NSW; April 2018; HC; 320pp, RRP A$39.99). It is available at good bookshops or directly from the publishers »

It can also be purchased online via »

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July 31st, 2018
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