Merle's Country Show Baking by Merle Parrish »

From a legendary Country Women's Association Champion

By Laura McKinnon
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Merle's Country show baking - by Merle Parrish

Merle's Country show baking - by Merle Parrish


If you have ever considered entering some type of food dish in a local show, or if you have seen show dishes and wanted to make them, then this book is for you.

Merle comes from the small village of Cudal in New South Wales. In her eighties, Merle has been a part of the Cudal show since she was seven where she entered some ANZAC biscuits in a competition and won first prize. The rest is history, and she now judges at district shows.

Merle’s Country Show Baking shows off some of her champion recipes and a few new dishes that she finds popular amongst her family and friends.


The cookbook starts with Merle’s baking tips and moves onto the recipes from there. The main categories are cakes, bread, scones and muffins, pies and tarts, biscuits and slices, jams, marmalades and jellies, savoury preserves and confectionary. All the things designed to increase your belt size, but food that is irresistible nonetheless.  After all that is what show food is all about; food that looks and tastes good.

Each chapter starts with tips about cooking the particular type of food covered and then launches into the recipes. This is a no frills get straight to it type cookbook – recipe on one page, photo of the end result on the other.

There are many show favourites covered – a Basic Buttercake, Apple Crumble Cake, Chocolate Sponge Roll, Chocolate Mudcake, different types of fruit cake (of course), Madeira Cake, Scones (different types), muffins (different types), breads (ditto), Custard Tart, Egg and Bacon Pie, Gingerbread People and of course White Christmas amongst many, many more. The recipes are extensive and if you like country-style baking you will not be disappointed.

Some standouts are the Caramel Popcorn (the kids will go to town on it even if they do not like the movie they are watching), Tangy Plum Sauce (great for the barbecue), Passionfruit Yo-Yos, Lamb and Potato Pies, Cornish Pasties, Crumpets, Nutty Butterscotch Scrolls and Rolled Pavlova (perfect not only for Christmas, but for a container that is not too bulky).

It really is a sound cookbook; perfect for those looking for more traditional recipes done well. A great gift, an excellent learning tool and a good investment because you know the recipes have been thoroughly tested. Give a copy to the grandparents (or kids) and hope that you end up on the receiving end of some dishes.

Merle's Country Show Baking by Merle Parrish is published in Australia by Random House (Sydney 2013; sc, 222 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP A$39.95

Merle's Country Show Baking is available for purchase online via Booko here »


  • Sydney (NSW)

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