Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Milkbar Memories by Jane Lawson

 As well as reading fiction, I collect cookbooks. My oldest books are older than I am, and I add to my collection every chance I get. At last count I had somewhere over 70.

I'm going to review some of them on here from time to time. Here's the first.

Title: Milkbar Memories
Author: Jane Lawson
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Year of Publication: 2016
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Review:


I had a flick through this book in the book store and knew I had to buy it. It has recipes for musk sticks and marshmallow and fizzy sherbert, milkshake and drink recipes and hot food like burgers and even quiche.

Milkbars are different throughout Australia. Here in Victoria, certainly in my memory, they were corner stores that had a sweet counter, an ice cream freezer and a drinks fridge, with a few other essentials. You'd go to buy milk and the paper and come home with a bag full of lollies.

In other parts of Australia (and maybe here, before my time) they also served hot food and cold drinks.

Milkbar Memories evokes nostalgia for a time when one dollar could get you enough lollies and hot chips to feed all of your friends and make you the most popular kid in school, for the day, at least.

The photos in the book are beautiful, and the recipes are clear and easy to follow with lots of variations included.

If you grew up with milkshakes and one cent sweets and burgers from the chip shop, then you'll love this book.


Recipe trial:


I've been dying to try some of the sweet recipes in the book, but today my kids wanted potato cakes for lunch. This is something I make occasionally, but I'm always up for a new batter recipe, so I thought I'd give the one in this book a go. The recipe in the book was for the NSW style potato scallop, which requires a thicker slice of potato (like you'd find in the UK Midlands) that you precook before coating in batter. We prefer the thinner style, so I cut the potatoes to around 3mm thick on my mandolin slicer (my slicer of choice is the Tupperware Mandochef).

The batter came together really well, it was only flour, baking powder and iced soda water (we made it ourselves using a SodaStream) with a bit of salt. It provided a thin and pretty even coating that bubbled and crisped well.

I cooked them in a deep fryer with sunflower oil, for around 5 minutes per batch.

I was a bit enthusiastic with the potatoes and we ended up with far too many potato cakes, so I took them into my husband's work where they disappeared within minutes. They've requested more tomorrow, but since my kitchen now smells like a fish shop, I've said no.



Want to see more recipe book reviews? Let me know in the comments!