Suzi's Blog

Cookbook Review: Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose

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The term “profiling” is not politically correct. I realize that. I also know it is pretty silly because every time you visit the doctor, he does just that: he listens to you, learns your symptoms, and uses profiling techniques to make the most likely deduction about what is causing your headache. Without profiling, a doctor might start by looking at your toes. It’s far, in distance and time, from toenails to your sinuses.

So, let’s profile Amber Rose, author of Love Bake Nourish. Her father became New Zealand’s leading pioneer of sustainable organic agriculture and heritage seed saving. Her mother maintained an organic garden of largely rare 800 species of fruits and vegetables. What was Amber’s most likely destiny? To be a physicist doing quantum mechanics? Or to be a chef, teacher and author?

Her realized destiny is our gain. Love Bake Nourish is a baking book devoted to changing when and how you pursue you baking through the year. The season’s available fruit, flowers, and nuts are blended with honey and different flours [chestnut flour!] to take you on a culinary journey to a different time, if not a different planet.

There’s charm in just the titles of the desserts Amber invites you to try:

  • Apple and Rose Geranium Compote
  • Apricot and Pistachio Crumble
  • Blood Orange and Rosemary Tart
  • Citrus Honey and Pistachio Drizzle Cake
  • Lavender Lemon and Honey Cake
  • Maple Syrup Meringues with Caramelized Pears
  • Pear and Almond Tart with Orange-Scented Crust

With Amber, processed white sugar is out. Honey is in, which gives your flavor spectrum a new dimension. White sugar taste like white sugar, pound after pound. Honey comes in all those flower-based flavors which you can now match to the fruit and herb ingredients central to Amber’s recipes. I look at these recipes and wonder: is this how we all should and perhaps will cook in the future or is this how the Downton Abbey folks relished on country life desserts in that paneled tea room of theirs. There is something comfortingly old and yet forwardly challenging about these recipes.

Ah, challenging? Just in the context of being so different. The recipes themselves are within your reach, I assure you. One page long, maybe a dozen ingredients — and that includes the honey, herbs, and fruits. These are not complicated recipes. They are well written, easily followed.

If you happen to need gluten free dishes, you will find them here in abundance. The Simple Nut Flour Cake is just that, simple: eggs, nut flour, butter, honey and salt. Like many of her recipes, Amber here suggests extensions and options. The cake on its own is lovely but can be adorned with cocoa powder or partnered with fruit. The cake batter can be extended with rosemary or pine nuts or both.

You get the sense that each of these recipes is alive. There are always ways to extend and adorn. And certainly every one of these paths will lead you to enjoyment.

Love Bake Nourish is charming different and worth your deep consideration.

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