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Book review: Nadia's Kitchen

By's Darren Bevan

Published: 2:06PM Tuesday May 08, 2012

It's a hell of a ride, winning MasterChef New Zealand.

Not only have you had to endure months of pressure in the kitchen, you've been subject to the three judges' scrutiny over your every choice of dish and you've had to keep the secret of whether you've won from your closest friends and family.

On top of that when you do finally take home the title, you've still got one more thing to do afterwards - write and release your own cookbook.

To be fair, that's possibly the one thing most contestants dream of doing - and like MasterChef NZ winner Brett McGregor  when he won, that was now the challenge facing Auckland dietician Nadia Lim after she took the MasterChef New Zealand season two title.

But like anyone who gets to realise a childhood dream, Nadia relished the challenge.

And finally, the fruits of months of deliberation and frantic cooking and testing have now been unleashed with Nadia's Kitchen, a sumptuously put together collection of recipes as well as lifestyle recommendations.

That's the thing with this Asian/ Kiwi tinged cookbook - it's more about an attitude than just a collection of food.

With Nadia being a dietician, it's particularly about her food philosophy more than anything else. The book itself begins with a six page collection of thoughts about colours on plates (drawing from her Nan's beliefs when she was younger) and social dining, where Nadia extols the virtues of sitting around a table and dining with family and friends rather than snatching a meal in front of the TV.

The rest of the book sees recipes divided up into seasons - with everything from breakfast, nibbles, entrees, mains and desserts for each season included with gorgeously crisp and clear photography.

Recipes range from the relatively simple looking, like a mouth watering salmon sashimi with pickled cucumber and sushi rice, to the quite complex (but I'm sure reasonably easy to achieve) like a sugar web cheese board.

But here's the minor point of difference with the book - if you're worried about the calories or concerned about piling on the pies, then you'll be pleased to see each recipe has been given a break down of energy, carbohydrates, protein and saturated fat list. It's a quintessentially Nadia touch which reflects her care and eye for detail over a balanced meal; it's also in line with concerns over what we're eating and how we're eating.

It goes without saying that the photography from Keiran Scott is elegant and sets your tastebuds dribbling the moment you clap eyes on an image - as any good cookbook should do.

Nadia's Kitchen will help brighten up those dark and dull upcoming autumn and winter months with food that'll nourish and fulfil your culinary dreams - and for spring and summer, it'll give you a bit of a healthy bounce in the kitchen, too.

Nadia's Kitchen by Nadia Lim

Random House NZ
RRP $55
Out now - in all good bookshops.