Book Reviews

CAMPORESI, Carla Geri Tempo di castagne [Chestnut time] - ricette [recipes]

[Maria Pacini Fazzi editore, 1993] 

A collection of 140 chestnut recipes in English with the opposing page in Italian ranging from basic preparation to Sicilian rice and chestnut pudding. First course recipes include pasta, rice, flour and soups featuring chestnuts. Second course recipes range over much of what we would term "country" cooking utilising hare, turkey, pork and rabbit. Over half the recipes are listed as Desserts but include jam, biscuits, cakes as well as the usual sweet desserts such as a Swiss roll, mousse, suoffle and trifle. If you can't find a recipe to suit here then sit back with a glass and toast the long tradition of the glorious chestnut [ first recipe in the book is Champagne with chestnuts! ] 

This book came to my attention through an email to our website from the Melbourne based Books for Cooks shop. Foodie bibliomaniacs will love the place!

Reviewed by Colleen Dibley, CAI Executive

DE BLASI, Marlena Dolce e salata: A Bittersweet Adventure in Tuscany

[Allen and Unwin, 2004] 

A fascination with the rural life of Tuscany finds Marlena and her husband Fernando living in San Casiano dei Bagni, a village of 2000 people. Tuscan born Barlozzo guides them through the seasons with stories and food lore. Of special interest is the chapter "Now these are chestnut trees" telling of the traditional chestnut harvest and the poignancy of the dependence of many during the Second World War on the chestnut to survive.

Reviewed by Colleen Dibley, CAI Executive

LOOHUIZEN, Ria: On Chestnuts - The Trees and their Seeds

the horse chestnut and sweet chestnut for healing and eating

[Prospect Books, 2006]

 Ria Loohuizen is a literary translator, so it's not suprising she embellishes this little paperback about chestnuts with poems and stories about Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson and Robert Louis Stevenson.  The book itself is a small literary work.  It tells grand stories of horsemen hiding inside ancient hollow trees or little tales of how to harvest and store nuts.  Included are instructions on how to make a chestnut sauce for pasta, duck breast with chestnuts, pancakes made with chestnut flour and the famous Italian chestnut cake castagnaccio.  Simple hand drawings depict the flowers, leaves and nuts of the trees and a cruel looking pair of spiked shoes designed for peeling chestnuts en masse.  It is the poetry and literature that dominates, including this simple old saying from Southern France:  One plants / a peach tree for oneself / an olive tree for one's son / a chestnut tree for one's grandson.

Courtesy - Richard Cornish - THE AGE EPICURE

O’DONNELL, Mietta: Mietta’s Italian Family Recipes

[Black Inc., 2000] 

While only containing four chestnut recipes [ chestnut mousse, chestnut tortino with zabaglione, chestnut ravioli and roast chestnut and chicken salad] the late Mietta O'Donnell describes a cosmopolitan Melbourne cultural and restaurant scene with connections to regional people such as Patrizia Simone in Bright. A great family cookbook.

Reviewed by Colleen Dibley, CAI Executive

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.