It was a pleasant surprise to receive Sophie Zalokar’s beautiful new cookbook Food of the Southern Forests in the post.
I had met Sophie earlier this year as part of Taste Great Southern and was inspired by her passion for the Western Australia’s Southern Forests Region. Over a coffee, I learnt how Sophie started out as an apprentice under the wings of Maggie Beer and more recently, her journey to establishing her own Forager’s Field Kitchen & Cooking School (read more about Sophie’s journey here).
I would have loved to have gone on Sophie’s Foraging the Southern Forest day class. A culinary journey by bus, visiting local growers/producers before going back to Sophie’s field kitchen to cook up 4 delicious recipes for lunch. Unfortunately Sophie was holidaying with her family in Albany whilst we were down south, talk about bad timing :(.
Sophie’s cookbook Food of the Southern Forests tells stories of each local producer with photos to match. It really felt like I experienced her cooking class just by reading her book.
For the last few months as I’ve been getting into my new routine with junior burger, I have been only cooking recipes I knew off by heart because little time and thinking was required. Now that junior burger is almost four months old, I’ve had a bit more energy to try new recipes and spend a bit more time in the kitchen, hence writing about The Food of the Southern Forests cookbook now despite receiving it in October!
I have been craving kale of late, so I decided to try out Sophie’s Roast Rib Eye Beef & Kale Pesto the other week. I don’t usually roast meats or ever make pesto so besides enjoying an amazing lunch on a Thursday, Food of the Southern Forests introduced me to a few new cooking skills.
I used beef eye round roast and had my first go at tying rosemary sprigs on with cotton string…
Good thing the Acrefresh rosemary I purchased from Aussie Farmers Direct was nice and green as I don’t think I did a great job at making it look pretty 🙂 On a side note – I love that the rosemary packaging featured the story of Pasquale Scarfo, the local farmer behind Acrefresh who turns out to be burger boy’s aunt’s friend’s late brother (what a small Perth!).
It was a first of many things, I toasted my first pine nuts for my first ever pesto which tasted amazing with my roast beef… which I also covered in gravy when served.
Sophie’s recipe was easy to follow and I was pretty happy with my roast beef….
Sophie’s Food of the Southern Forests cookbook is really beautiful and the recipes are uniquely Western Australian with a focus on the Southern Forests. The stories behind the producers and background on the origin of each key ingredient used is what makes this cookbook stands out. It looks great on my coffee table too. Food of the Southern Forests is available online from UWA Publishing for $59.99, delivery is included.