Written by (Jane Lawson)
If there’s one book that will inspire you to cook up a storm this winter, this is it.
Snowflakes and Schnapps is a luxurious recipes book that lures you into the culinary delights of the snow-cloaked regions of Europe. The author, Jane Lawson is in fact an Australian born chef turned publisher, who loathes the humidity of summer, favouring the winter with it’s bounty of hearty and rich foods. She has consequently travelled the frosty regions of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe ‘from the seaside towns of Scandinavia, to the alpine villages of Austria, from the ski fields of France to the fairytale castles of Germany and as far afield as the white-blanketed cities of Russia and beyond’. She has collected recipes along the way, and developed them here in Snowflakes and Schnapps, with an element of fusion and contemporary flair. Lawson herself is all too aware that purists may not appreciate her ‘hybrid versions’ of authentic dishes, but goes on to say that the recipes will ‘only help to raise the bar – after all, this is what has been happening, in a subtle way for centuries’.
The book is divided into four sections, ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ (small dishes, soups and drinks), ‘Warmed to the Core’ (breakfasts and slow-cooked dishes), ‘Diamond and Furs’ (decadent recipes for special occasions) and ‘Dreaming of a White Christmas’ (recipes for Christmas). Most of the recipes are quite lengthy and there are a number of ingredients that would require sourcing from a specialist shop, however where possible, Lawson informs you of substitute ingredients.
Recipes cover classic and comforting dishes such as ‘borscht’ and ‘goulash soup with caraway dumplings’ to more adventurous and surprising dishes of ‘liquorice custards with coconut-lime macaroons and plums’, ‘beer, orange and spice braised short ribs with walnut dumplings’ or ‘spiced duck breast with walnut-crusted potato and apple croquettes and cloudberry sauce’. The recipes alongside the gorgeous photography are not only all mouth-watering but also refreshing, in comparison to the Spanish, Italian and French cookery books that tend to dominate our kitchen shelves. My only disappointment is that the dishes lack context as Lawson never introduces them with their origin or story. So it’s difficult to really grasp the cuisine of any one particular country that she has travelled to. Nevertheless, the book remains a creative culinary hotpot of fusion recipes and inspiration, to warm you up during the winter months. With its no expense spared design and quality, Snowflakes and Schnapps is a perfect gift, coffee table book and winter foodie muse.
Priced at £25, published by Murdoch Books.
** Written by:** Leila Sarraf