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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

MARIE CLAIRE FOOD AND DRINK (article first published : 2001-12-16)

Marie Claire Food and Drink by Michele Cranston is the ultimate book for those who love entertaining a gathering of friends at any time of the day or night. It makes a stylish coffee table book and is ideal for the young upwardly mobile set with a love of cocktails and buffet style foods.

Currently the food editor of Marie Claire Australia, Michele Cranston has been cooking for 15 years. She has set up an acclaimed café, been a creative caterer for a food production company and writes about food. Her style reflects a love of fresh, clean flavours, crisp textures and strong colour.

Acclaimed food and lifestyle photographer Petrina Tinslay brings a sophisticated visual style to the Marie Claire cookbook series and has won many awards in the United Kingdom and United States of America. The accompanying photos are really superb and elevate this book to one that lends itself to being left out for perusal to tantalise those taste buds.

The fare ranges from breakfast fruit whips and tasty light snacks through to late night drinks and luscious desserts. Many stylish ideas will make that lunch for six or a cocktail party for 100 meals to remember. Brunch ideas are plentiful such as Salmon and Chive Fritters, Rosewater fruit salad or walnut cornbread with bacon washed down by Rockmelon and Ginger Whip or for the more adventurous a Bloody Mary.

“All Day Grazing” has a great section of unusual ideas many of which can be used for picnics. Rice paper wraps are very current or tiny pizzas, topped with favourites such as proscuitto, red capsicum, artichoke and goat's cheese. Again blended lassi's and coolers - alcoholic and non, compliment the foods.

“Afternoon Tea” gives a good hint if you have no time to make cakes or biscuits. Cut puff pastry into strips, bake in a hot oven and sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and fresh berries. Traditional chicken and herb sandwiches and cucumber sandwiches can be accompanied by lime madeleines or passionfruit melting moments.

The “Cocktail Hour” section is lavish, filled with great ideas for food and drinks enhanced by wonderful presentation. “Afterdark” becomes a bit more decadent featuring coffee shots, sweet treats and rich liqueurs both hot and cold.

Unusual food items included in some of the recipes are comprehensively covered in the glossary. This is a festive book ideal for the holiday season and would make a great gift, particularly if it accompanies a blender!

Featured in this year’s Exclusive Books Publishers Choice, Marie Claire Food and Drink is published by Murdoch Books. The recommended retail price is R148. – Cherry MacIldowie




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