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At the brink of her new adventure and on the advice of a friend, Katie started a blog, What Katie Ate, both to document her learning process and to serve as a kind of portfolio of her work. Although she posts in bursts with long breaks, her photographs (and recipes) caught the attention of some of the major players in the food and publishing world, and the idea for her cookbook, What Katie Ate, was born.
There is no doubt that Davies is a talented food stylist and photographer. Her book is an absolute joy to look through, with its typewriter font and earthy colors. The stunning photos project a rustic, vintage, casual style and are incredibly inviting.
The recipes range from breakfast through to evening dessert, with a stopover at drinks and appetizers. Davies notes that her style is casual and she loves developing dishes from whatever fresh ingredients are at hand and generally can't resist tweaking the recipes that she gets from family and friends.
Even though she was born and raised in Ireland and lives in Sydney, her ingredients are universal. I doubt anyone would have trouble finding the necessary components of any of her dishes. Davies is aware that she has an international audience, so when, for example, a particular type of Pacific fish is called for, she tells us any firm white variety will do.
The directions are straightforward and use basic techniques, making the cookbook accessible to anyone who is at home in the kitchen. On the other hand, I found her idea of everyday casual to be my idea of weekend cooking for friends. Her recipes can be a little fussy--not in terms of difficulty but in the number of steps. In addition, she likes her cheese, eggs, bacon, and other ingredients that I'm happy to eat, but not necessarily every day.
On the other hand, many of her recipes seem perfect for a casual evening with friends or family. I have several flagged for fall entertaining, such as crab cakes with a spicy sauce, roasted chicken with a lemony gravy, red wine pork lasagna, and mushroom-chicken cannelloni. Each would be a welcome excuse for a no-particular-reason get-together.
If you're looking for a cookbook to help you with light entertaining, you won't go wrong with Katie Quinn Davies's What Katie Ate. Don't miss the beautiful photographs and be sure to check out Davies's helpful tips and tricks. This book is a great treat for the eye and stomach.
Here's a easy dish that will make it to one of our deck parties this summer; perhaps this coming week. Manchego is a hard sheep's milk cheese from Spain, which I can get, even in my small town. If you can't, try Asiago or Pecorino Romano.
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Manchego
- 6 large, ripe tomatoes, halved lengthways
- 4 tablespoon light olive oil
- Handful of large basil leaves
- 1 cup shredded manchego, plus extra to serve
- Toasted bread slices, for serving
Divide the tomato halves among four individual heatproof tapas bowls, placing them cut-side up.
Drizzle the olive oil over the tomato halves and season very well with salt and pepper. Arrange the basil leaves around the tomato halves, pushing them into the oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 1½ hours, or until the tomatoes are soft.
Sprinkle with the shredded manchego, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Serve piping hot with extra shredded manchego sprinkled on top. Accompany with slices of toasted bread. (Photo credits: the photos are copyright by Katie Quinn Davies and appear in the book.)
Penguin USA / Viking, 2012
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright 2013 cbl for www.BethFishReads.com