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Lean how in The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre

By Paula Wriedt
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<i>The Little Book of Slow</i> by Sally Wise & Peter McIntyre

The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise & Peter McIntyre [©HarperCollins]


Best selling cookbook author Sally Wise has teamed up with ABC radio personality Paul McIntyre to produce a book designed to encourage readers to be inspired to live mindfully and meaningfully and find their own ways to slow down in this frantic modern day world. 

The Little Book of Slow is part cookbook as well as a practical guide to a range of too-often forgotten hobbies and slow pastimes. It reminds us that both recipes and pastimes don’t need to be so complicated to be fulfilling.

It’s easy to assume that any book by much loved Tasmanian author and cook Sally Wise with the word “slow” in the title will be another in Sally’s series of excellent guides to the art of slow cooking. 

Instead Sally and co-author Paul McIntyre have compiled a book about getting back to basics – both in food and in how we spend our time. It’s a literal treasure trove of suggestions on how to create memories with loved ones – whether through food or activities, and take life at a more leisurely pace.

The Little Book of Slow is divided into two parts. The first devoted to “slow food”. It’s a diverse collection that reminds us of how many items we buy ready-made in the supermarket can be easily made ourselves. Delicious goodies like homemade cheese, bread, stocks, curry pastes, jams and pickles are all covered in a series of easy to follow recipes. 

Sally’s Basic Bread Loaf is a great example of a recipe that surprisingly requires no time consuming kneading, yet produces the most delicious, crusty loaf or rolls. Sally invented this recipe because she knew many home cooks loathed kneading bread. 

Pleasingly, as in many of her recipes, Sally has included handy tips on how to adapt this mixture – in this case using alternative flours or with the addition of fruit. Once you’ve tried this bread and had your kitchen filled with the delicious smell of freshly baked bread there is simply no going back to store-bought bread.

There are several chapters devoted to pickling vegetables and preserving fruits to make the most of the abundant seasonable produce so readily available in Tasmania. A handy table gives a foolproof guide to times and temperatures for bottling 19 different kinds of fruit.

Not even your furry family members are overlooked in The Little Book of Slow with a section on making pet treats, including biscuits and muffins for cats or dogs. 

Another chapter is devoted to using herbs, including handy hints on how to store or cook with herbs as well as recipes for Herbal Tea, a flavoursome Chimichurri sauce and very versatile Gremolata.

Another section “Old Fashion Eats” has a collection of recipes that would do the Country Women’s Association proud. From sweet and savoury pies and pastries to a selection of basic cakes, the ones that I tested were easy to follow. 

The Basic Chocolate Cake is a great example of a cake for those who are time challenged. All ingredients go into a mixer bowl and after two minutes of beating it was in the oven. My teenagers declared it one of the best chocolate cakes they had ever tasted. 

After having slaved over decadent chocolate cake recipes in glossy foodie magazines over the years in the quest for the ultimate chocolate cake, I realised I was guilty of overlooking simpler recipes – and that simple still means delicious.

From sections on Cooking for a Fete, Preparing a High Tea, Cooking in a Woodfired Oven or Over a Campfire as well as Planning a Picnic, this book has suggestions for recipes that are easy to follow for even the most inexperienced cooks.

A delicious addition to the “roasting” section is the recipe for Baked Chickpea and Tofu Loaf, complete with it’s own gravy, to satisfy your vegetarian guests or for when you want a meat free meal.

Other special mentions are damper and billy tea making - a great camping activity for the whole family and yet another “slow” pastime that runs the risk of becoming forgotten by future generations.

Whilst the recipes in this book are simple it certainly doesn’t detract from how tasty they are. This is a small book with no glossy photographs of the finished dishes – photos which are often overly “styled” by food stylists and that you’d be challenged to reproduce exactly at home. This book doesn’t need that glamour as the recipes speak for themselves.

The book’s second part, “Slow Pastimes” originated from the many conversations that the co-authors had over many years of working together on ABC radio segments – Sally as a guest and Paul as producer. They realised they shared a love of a simple life away from the inevitable hustle and bustle of our modern world where it is too easy to let things just slip by. 

This part reminds us of some long forgotten hobbies and activities that I know I want to return to in my own middle age and with my children before they leave the nest.

We are reunited in this section with the joy of collecting vinyl albums – or perhaps these days with so few shops selling records – the challenge of collecting albums these days. Or perhaps taking up stamp collecting again – also a challenge in the electronic world we now live in. 

Many suggestions for activities in this book are easy to accomplish and cost very little – the joy of reading a book, playing cards, rediscovering board games, learning the art of penmanship and knowing how to make the perfect pot of tea (a must-have accompaniment for all of the aforementioned activities).

If these activities sound “too slow” for you don’t be alarmed. There are also chapters on how to host the ultimate dinner party, equip yourself to whip up a range of cocktails, or throw a themed party.  If outdoor activities are more your flavour there are tips on beachcombing, leisurely walks and even effective Op Shop shopping.

I can’t remember the last time I read a cookbook totally from cover to cover – not when searching for a recipe, but just for pleasure.  Maybe it was the compact size of The Little Book of Slow.. It’s the size of a novel and is easy to curl up with on the sofa with the perfect pot of tea and become engrossed in its stories and handy hints.

The Little Book of Slow would make a terrific gift, especially for a young person about to leave home. I know that when the time comes for mine to fly the coop, I will be sending them off with a copy of this handy book.

 Read the press release for The Little Book of Slow here »

The Little Book of Slow by Sally Wise and Paul McIntyre is published by /Harper Collins (Imprint ABC Books; Syd, NSW; Jan 2017; pb;  240pp, RRP A$24.99). It can be found at ABC Shops and wehere all good books are sold. It can also be found online via »

Paula Wriedt is a self-confessed foodie.  Whilst she loves her job running the small charity Cystic Fibrosis Tasmania her real passion is food.   She lives in Kingston with her two teenage children who have inherited her love of cooking so her house is always filled with the welcoming smells of delicious food. 

As a former State Minister for Tourism, Paula is passionate about Tasmanian produce and our beautiful island state. Travelling is high on her agenda but she enjoys returning to Tasmania and sharing with friends and family the many recipes she discovers on her travels.

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April 28th, 2017
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