Tasmanian Menu is the title of a new book written by Simone Bett in conjunction with her husband Alastair. Simone sent me a copy of the book so I could write a review for Think Tasmania. And as luck should have it, the copy arrived on my birthday! And for someone who loves books, food, photography and Tasmania, it made the most perfect present ever.
What’s on the Tasmanian Menu?
I admit I haven’t read every word of Tasmanian Menu yet, despite poring over the pages. But it’s the sort of book you can love instantly. With the kids away (one at a friend’s house following a late-night Hobart Hurricanes match, and the other at the Moorilla Hobart International) I toyed with the idea of a day off myself. But I was too excited about the book, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.
Books Lovers Please Note
As far as books go, I love all sorts. Novels, autobiographies, photography books and recipe books. I visit the State Library of Tasmania regularly, and I share books with friends. Having led the life of a gypsy, constantly on the move, my personal collection is minimal. But this is one book that will always stay with me.
It’s not just a cook book, although the recipes are divine. And it’s not just a book of photos, although they too are divine. Tasmanian Menu is a gorgeous collection of pages combining Simone Bett’s passion for food and photography with the essence of what makes Tasmania so great.
Food by Simone Bett
I’ve openly confessed that I’m not a great cook. But with the stunning produce available in Tasmania, I feel compelled to make more of my culinary opportunities. Maybe that’s why I love this book so much. Simone (who describes herself as an avid cook but not a chef) has shared her all-time favourite recipes. And naturally, those recipes incorporate ingredients available locally. But they’re not what you’d expect from an everyday Tasmanian menu. Simone has been influenced by the foods from several cultures, and her choices reflect a very unique style.
The book has been divided into four sections, covering recipes for entree, main, kids and dessert. I firmly believe in the motto “Life is Short, Eat Dessert First”, so of course I went straight to that section. Lemon tart, apple crumble, creme brulee… and profiteroles with chocolate, toffee and raspberry coulis. Y.U.M. And if the juniors in my house read the section titled “Kids Menu” they will be seriously disillusioned when they compare their own diet to that proffered by Simone Bett.
If dessert doesn’t excite you (hey what?) don’t be concerned. Tasmanian beef and Tasmanian seafood also star in the recipes, while the vegetarian has not been forgotten. Leek and goat’s cheese tart anyone? Perhaps Moroccan spiced lamb rack is more your fancy? Did I mention it was my birthday?
Photography by Alastair Bett
At Think Tasmania, we aim to provide photos on the website that reflect the actual scene a first-hand visitor could expect. Nothing too fancy or manipulated, just an honest, holiday snapshot. But that doesn’t stop me drooling over the images taken by professional photographers, and wishing I could be that clever. In fact, in my next life, I’d like to be blessed with creative genes. Just a few would be reasonable to expect the next time around.
The photos Simone has used in her book have been taken by Alastair Bett, and they are everything a novice photographer could dream of achieving. The food photography is superb; the images of scenery even more so. I can imagine Tasmanian Menu being an absolute winner for both the local tourism industry and the agricultural sector at the same time.
Tasmanian Menu: Recipe for Success
It’s no secret I’m biased about Tasmania. I love living here; I love writing about it and I can’t imagine ever leaving. It’s really nice to network with others who feel the same way. Validation, if you like. So even though I haven’t read every word yet, I’m sure I will… and not just once. This is one book I can definitely recommend without any hesitation.
Tasmanian Menu: the perfect souvenir for a foodie tourist to take home as a memento of their holiday. As I’ve already said, the book makes a perfect present for anyone with interests similar to my own. And it’s also the perfect inspiration, for those looking to forge their passion into a career. With years of hard work, dedication and determination, Simone Bett has delivered a real treasure. Probably the first of many, I would imagine.
Tasmanian Menu is sold online for $39.95, including postage. The website also lists current stockists of the book.