This far-ranging and personal collection of recipes emphasizes the importance of sustainable food production in its ingredients, the excitement of cooking with love to nurture the body, and the joy of accepting all of nature's bounty. Davis came to her wide culinary knowledge through growing up in England and eating a diet of "meat and veg," then switching to macrobiotics as a teen. After traveling the world, she landed in Australia, where she has been both a chef and founder of a natural-foods business.
No surprise, then, when Davis cooks pungent Garlic Pickled Mushrooms flavored with Japanese tamari and toasted sesame oil, enlivens a stir-fry of rice noodles and sea scallops with cilantro and incendiary Indian lime pickle, then bakes a savory pie filled with roasted pumpkin, creamy sweet potatoes, eggplant, and pecans. Davis's frequent use of ethnic ingredients (particularly Asian) and the seasonal emphasis in her recipes will stimulate some cooks and intimidate others. If you're hesitant, the glorious color photos in this handsome book should tempt you to try the Flourless Orange and Almond Cake or the eggs baked in a nest of farm-fresh spinach.
Nourish was originally published in Australia, so recipes are written with a combination of metric and U.S. measurements. Only liquids are measured in cups, making a kitchen scale useful. You will also find some British culinary terms, like bench for countertop, prawn for shrimp, and corn flour for cornstarch. Language aside, less familiar ingredients are described in detail, along with directions for using them. --Dana Jacobi
Contemporary macrobiotic cooking has come to rely more on fresh, seasonally available produce rather than constructing flavors from processed ingredients. Australian restaurant chef Davis specializes in macrobiotic cooking and eagerly promotes the benefits of such a diet. Her recipes echo that belief. For baking, Davis has her charges produce their own leavening agents from airborne microbes. This mixture then goes to leaven whole-meal breads or fragrant spiced rolls. Soups abound, and other broths flavor a variety of noodles or whole grains. Her seafood recipes reveal heavy Japanese influence, and she provides a long narrative recipe in the guise of a letter for preparing baby octopus. Desserts eschew refined sugar in favor of maple syrup. An introductory glossary takes the mystery out of many unusual ingredients and helps novices choose proper macrobiotic staples. Mark Knoblauch