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By Laura McKinnon
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Kitchen Mojo by Paul Mercurio

Kitchen Mojo by Paul Mercurio


Kitchen Mojo is a cookbook for those who want to get into the kitchen and have fun, create tasty food and to do so without taking up too much time.

Paul Mercurio, of Strictly Ballroom, Dancing with the Stars and Mercurio’s Kitchen fame, has delivered a book that is not afraid to be what it is – a cookbook that is about encouraging reluctant cooks to get into the kitchen and give cooking a go.

Describing himself as a bloke that likes to cook the aim of this book is to take stress out of situations like entertaining for a crowd, cooking for one, or for the family.

Kitchen Mojo is divided into six chapters that cater to different types of cooking depending on your needs. A clever way to utilise chapters as it gives the feeling that each chapter is its own cookbook.

The first chapter is called ‘Home Alone’, catering to those who find themselves struggling to prepare something nice and nutritious to eat for one. It's designed for those who often opt for takeout or drive-thru, eating something that looks nothing like the picture and ends up tasting far less appealing than anticipated.

There are some real standout recipes in this chapter, easy to achieve. The Breakfast Burrito is one such recipe, or the Easy Omelette, there is a Pizza for One; Sesame Sichuan Chicken, a Crumbed Pork Chop and even a Chocolate and Raspberry Soufflé to make your lonesome self feel better.

The ‘Footy’s On’ chapter provides recipes that are relatively easy in an effort to help with entertaining, ensuring that you deliver something nutritious to your guests, but more importantly something interesting and tasty.

One such recipe is the Sun-dried Tomato Crumbed Zucchini Sticks – the flavours really work and will be totally unexpected by guests. Some other more prominent recipes include the Nachos Extraordinaire; Goat Fajita; Lamb and  Rosemary Pies as well as a Chocolate Chilli Ice Cream. All are perfectly suited to entertaining and will be consumed quickly by those lucky enough to be in their vicinity when they are first laid out.

Eat Your Veggies!’ is a section about keeping things simple and cooking and nourishing your body with the flavours of veggies. This is obviously a chapter of particular interest to vegetarians or for those looking for ways to encourage their children to eat more vegetables. There are some really nutritious and yummy recipes here; the Super Food Salad with Avocado Dressing; a Warm Potato Salad; Cauliflower Soup; Orange Rice and a Bok Choy Stir-fry to name a few.

Blokes Don’t Eat Quiche!’ delivers recipes that revolve around dinner, in particular meat dishes. However, Mercurio doesn’t cover typical ‘meaty’ recipes like big steak sandwiches or a parmigiana that flops over the side of the plate. He delivers well-balanced recipes that include many different types of meat; turkey, chicken, lamb, beef, quail, duck and venison are all used, giving the dishes far more variety, taste and appeal than many other cookbooks in a similar category.

The Beef Bresaola Fattoush is mouthwatering and a taste sensation; the Corned Beef with Mustard Sauce is sure to please a hungry family and for those that appreciate Mexican cooking the Stuffed Chicken Mexican style with Salsa will become a staple at the dinner table.

'The One that Didn’t Get Away’ is a chapter that covers seafood recipes. Mercurio lures the reader in by admitting that cooking seafood can be scary even for him. He explains some measures to help novices get over their fear and encourages anyone to use his recipes to become a seafood pro in no time. Oysters Two Ways will be popular at any dinner party; the Seafood Salad is perfect for a summer night, and the Prosciutto-wrapped Cod Cassoulet is a real taste of delicious textures.

The final chapter is called ‘Feeding the Rug Rats’, and what a great idea for an addition to a cookbook! The section is not only about foods for children, but about recipes that parents can make with them in an effort to foster a love of cooking and to engage with more healthy recipes. Mercurio writes about getting his daughters to form and alter their own recipes in their own personal cookbooks so that they can always cook their favourite recipes, and so they have a collection of great things to cook when they leave home.

The recipes he shares in Kitchen Mojo are a way to celebrate this and pass on some of his child-friendly ideas to others. Pancakes make an appearance, as does Minestrone Soup; Bolognese and an Apple and Rhubarb Crumble. The kids will love putting together the Soy Chicken and Garlic Stir-fry and creating the Fish and Veggie Patties.

Kitchen Mojo is a fantastic package as it covers such a diverse range of dishes that can be used for a wide range of occasions. It really is the one cookbook you could use to create a family menu that would last for a long time to come.

For someone who wants a practical cookbook but also likes the idea of impressing friends, family, colleagues etc, this cookbook would also be a good choice. It gives you what you need: easy-to-follow, tasty recipes, something a little bit different and some recipes that are a bit like old friends. Kitchen Mojo would be a sure winner as a gift for a dad who likes to cook but could do with a little guidance, or for younger family members setting up on their own.

Kitchen Mojo by Paul Mercurio is published in Australia by Murdoch Books (Aug 2015, SC, 256pp) and retails for $39.99.

Kitchen Mojo can be purchased online via here »

Great British Cooking is published by Quarto UK (Mar 2015, HC, 160pp) and retails for A$29.99. - See more at:



  • Melbourne Surrounds (VIC)
  • Melbourne (VIC)

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August 31st, 2015
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