The Country Show Cookbook: Home Cooking

Home-style recipes from country shows

By Tricia Brown
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The Country Show Cookbook

The Country Show Cookbook [©New Holland]


Following on from the great success of The Country Show Cookbook which showcased the many great cooks and wonderful recipes from country shows across New South Wales, the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW now brings us The Country Show Cookbook: Home Cooking.

Growing up on a farm I can attest to the fact that home cooking and in particular the Sunday lunch has been a great tradition of rural Australia. Of course that was along with afternoon tea, CWA get togethers and the 'bake-off' for prizes at one or more local country shows.

Even if you didn't enter the competition (highly unlikely) it was mandatory that you strolled the food pavilion giving expert opinions on the quality of the produce, preserves and baked items. I loved those shows and it was there (plus in the kitchen with my mother) that my love of cooking was born.

At just four years of age, I was thrilled to win first prize for an orange cake at our local country show though Mum's guiding hand was the tipping point here rather than my expertise. This inspired me to enter every year until well into my teens, though with varying success as competion was tough. No one could produce traditional country fare like country people!

Country cooking however isn't all cakes and biscuits and afternoon teas. It's about sharing great home cooking with friends and family gathered around the table. It's about sharing stories and food that will warm your heart and fill your stomach whether it's pumpkin soup, chicken casseroles or lamb roasts.

For The Country Show Cookbook, The Agricultural Society of New South Wales asked every country show society to submit its best award-winning recipes. Many of the recipes have been handed down from generation to generation but there are also those with a twist on the traditional.

Many recipes are familiar like Classic Chicken Pie, Traditional Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings, Pineapple Curried Chicken (now that takes me back!) and Tuna Slice. However there's something for everyone here with modern recipes such as Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing, Lamb Kalamata, Baked Cardamom Chicken and a delicious Goat's Cheese Tart.

There's a section on jams and relishes and lastly, no surprises here, a substantial desserts chapter. Now I'm really taken back to my childhood with sponges, boiled fruit cakes, jelly moulds, rice puddings and the perfect pavlova (of course). Not just traditional sweets though are found here with Orange Yoghurt Syrup Cake plus Strawberry and Lemon Layered Pannacotta and others bringing this cookbook into present day focus.

On page 143, Ruby Mulley, aged 85, has contributed her award-winning Orange Cake recipe and I'm immediately tempted to give it a try just for old times sake. It's been quite a while since I hung up my cake spatula and retired from country show competition.

At the very back, a thoughtful and useful extra, is a series of blank pages titled My Family Recipes where you can add your own.

Whether you are looking for a substantial three-course menu to delight family or guests, or a light lunch to break up a busy day, these tried-and-true recipes have been enjoyed in country kitchens for generations and are just the ticket.


The Country Show Cookbook: Home Cooking compiled by The Agricultural Societies Council is published by New Holland Publishers (June 2011, HB, RRP A$29.95) and is available here from »



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January 04th, 2012
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