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Books in February 2015: Handy cookbooks, tips on moving overseas and more

Bookworms! Looking to learn something new with fun yet informative reads? Check out our choice titles that are out in Singapore this February….



Sell Up, Pack Up & Take Off
Steven Wyatt and Colleen Ryan
Allen & Unwin | 233 pages

Written for Aussies, but of possible interest to a far wider readership, this horizon-expanding book is all about making a new life in Asia or Europe – somewhere other than expensive “nanny state” Australia. “Whether you’re 40-plus and feeling burnt out,” as the cover puts it, “or 50-plus and approaching retirement,” this is your guide to living an exciting, comfortable and far cheaper life overseas, either on a trial basis or for the long term.

From Bali, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia to Barcelona, the French Alps and Provence, the authors have interviewed a wide array of people who have made a new home in a foreign country. As varied as they are fascinating, these first-hand accounts are presented together with remarkable price indices that compare the costs of food, accommodation, utilities, entertainment and more in each of these locations with the generally far higher prices in Sydney.

You’ll also find plenty of practical information on visa and residential requirements for each country, plus thoughtful advice on the management of medical insurance, tax, pensions and more. 

Verne Maree



The Filipino Family Cookbook
Angelo Comsti
Marshall Cavendish | 156 pages

If you have been to the Philippines or experienced the open-armed hospitality of a Filipino home, you will no doubt have fond memories of the flavourful cuisine that is interwoven with the colourful history of the country.

Angelo Comsti, food stylist, food writer and bestselling author of From Our Table to Yours: A Collection of Filipino Heirlooms and Family Recipes, skilfully explores this colourful connection in his new book. It’s a collection of more than 50 previously unpublished family recipes gleaned from friends and other culinary enthusiasts from the various regions of the Philippines, including input from a food historian and restaurateurs.

From Spanish-inspired classics such as chicken afritada to adaptations of Chinese dishes that reflect that country’s influence, the recipes are as varied as the history of the Philippines. Each is accompanied by stories and pictures that tell the tale of the dish’s origin and why the contributor cherishes it.

From a sweet treat that’s synonymous with childhood to a dish that’s intricately linked to Catholic rituals, these mouth-watering recipes provide rare insight into Filipino cuisine and culture.

Leanda Rathmell



The Wholefood Kitchen
Mayura Mohta
Straits Times Press | 211 pages

In case your New Year resolution to eat more healthily is already flagging – and I’ll admit I was tucking into some devilishly yummy chilli salami as I leafed through it – this cookbook is a timely reminder of how we could and perhaps should be eating. It’s not for everyone, though, especially not for the mass of new low-carb converts; that said, a number of the lighter salads, soups and dips would be fine.

A wholefood, explains the author, is a food that is considered healthy because it has grown naturally, has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients. (Not salami, then.) And a wholefood kitchen, it must follow, is one that as far as possible uses only wholefood ingredients.

Once you get past the obligatory preface promoting Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, and the author’s wide-ranging introduction to diet, nutrition, staple foods, cooking methods and so on, you’re on to the recipes themselves: a good selection of thirst quenchers, salads, soups and stews, snacks, grain-based main courses, desserts and more, all illustrated with beautiful colour photographs.

I’d give the Moroccan quinoa salad and the chipotle salad a go, and the pumpkin barley and Asian buckwheat risottos look well worth a try. Tofu-based crème brûlée caught my fancy, too, and who’d say no to mini-espresso cupcakes? Not I.

Vanessa Harvey



The Potato Princess
Written by Wicked Gilly; illustrated by Paula Pang
$10 from Tango Mango, Tanglin Mall

If you’re sick and tired of pink and princesses – or even if you’d just like your little girl to look at alternative options for self-expression – here’s another children’s picture book with a message from the subversive Wicked Gilly.

The prince is holding a fancy dress ball, and all the girls are going as princesses and fairies. All except the independently minded Sally, who wants to be different:

“I’ll be a potato, Sally decided,

My dress will be lumpy, brown and lopsided.

I’ll be a potato! There’ll only be one,

I’d rather be different, I think it’s more fun.”

Wicked Gilly’s previous publications include: I Hate Peas (now in its second edition), Nelly Catches a Cold, Chocolate Bunny and Frank the Frog. All proceeds go to the Tabitha Foundation, a charity that helps to uplift the poorest of the poor in Cambodia out of poverty.

Verne Maree