A Plant-based Farmhouse by Cherie Hausler

Cherie Hausler has had a remarkable career pioneering plant-based foods from small-scale production in her Barossa kitchen to national, commercially available products in supermarkets today. Her extensive experience – from growing up on a farm, opening EAT ME, a Bangkok restaurant, to launching her vegan food products ALL THE THINGS in 2017 – is generously shared in this sumptuous new cookbook featuring over 80 recipes. 

Wholesome, dairy-free (plus some gluten-free) recipes in the book are based on traditional plant-based country foods but notably share Cherie’s lifetime of learning. The heart of the book is a philosophy that focuses on growing, harvesting, reinventing and sharing food. In A Few Extra Notes and Staple Provisions, Hausler recommends cooking tools and pantry basics and there is some interesting nutritional information on gut health.

We all know that fibre is essential but did you realise we should aim to eat 30 different plants a day? If, like me, you find that too daunting, Cherie illustrates how this can be easily achieved. 

A Plant-Based Farmhouse is a great kitchen companion. The step-by-step illustrations covering sourdough baking are terrific too, especially if you are new to it.

I loved the variety of recipes throughout the book and was inspired to try the Quince Hummingbird Cake with Tahini Caramel. 

Reviewed by Karen Williams



Cherie Hausler is a Barossa Valley-based cook, baker, podcaster, community builder and founder of the plant-based food business All The Things. She’s happiest drinking tea and feeding family and friends at her big, welcoming country table. She hosts a television show, also called All The Things, screening on SBS.

Make a recipe from the book

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Quince Hummingbird cake from A Plant-Based Farmhouse by Cherie Hausler

Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice by Natalie Paull

Following on from her success with Beatrix Bakes comes Natalie Paull’s newest creation, Beatrix Bakes: Another Slice. Her latest cookbook reflects having run one of Melbourne’s most popular cafés and bakeries for over 10 years, and her past tutelage under Australian cooking icons Maggie Beer and Stephanie Alexander. It gives you the assurance she knows a trick or two to navigating the science in baking and desserts.

Beatrix Bakes provides readers with advice on baking technique, method, and the equipment needed. This leaves you feeling prepared to tackle more complex baking methods like ‘Cannoli with buffalo ricotta filling’.

What is consistent throughout is the flexibility that is often neglected by baking cookbooks. Every recipe has ‘Adapatrix’, which is a section that steers you to different ingredient substitutions. For me, this is what cooking should be about: trying new flavours and testing different approaches that suit you.

You will find a good combination of tarts, cakes, jams, doughs, tray bakes, curds and creams that you can adapt to different recipes. A personal favourite of mine is the dough-bombes with sour cherry jam.

Paull has been known for her ability to take classics and make them into her own – this continues in this book and provides the home cook an opportunity to up their baking game.

Reviewed by Robert Bromhead



Natalie Paula - Beatrix BkaesI was born to bake. After my first butter cake at the age of seven (a tender age, definitely NOT tender cake), baking became my one true love. In my teens, Vogue Entertaining sat beside Smash Hits magazine on my bedside table.

At 18 I got my first commercial kitchen job as an apprentice chef and started absorbing knowledge like a tres leches sponge absorbs the milk. I started in the entree/salad section but just couldn’t deny the fact that my heart was all things sweet and kept moving towards the pastry section.

In 2011, after 20 years of baking in countless restaurants, cafes and my first wholesale cake business, I was 38 years old and thought my dreams of having that dreamy little cake shop were over. Then one day, I found a very small shop on a sunny corner in North Melbourne near my home. I named it Beatrix Bakes.

The name Beatrix has two meanings: in Latin it means ‘voyager’ but the Dutch meaning is ‘she who delivers joy’ and that was exactly what I wanted my cake to do!

One of my favourite ‘bakes’ was my first bakebook, Beatrix Bakes, released in March 2020 just before we were plunged into a pandemic. I adored being able to bake for you or seeing that YOU were baking for YOU! Cake joy multiplied!

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Monument by Bonny Cassidy 

It’s tempting to assign a binary split to fiction and non-fiction. If fiction is fabrication, then non-fiction must be true. When dealing with historiography, however, and despite using factual resources, the end product’s ‘truth’ should always be in question, because while the facts may be constant, their interpretation will depend on the writer and audience. Cassidy encapsulates this mutability perfectly in this mix of prose, poetry, history, memoir and travel writing. ‘Remembering is not about repetition. It is about re-rereading history / that is not yet ready to be forgotten’.

Cassidy probes her family’s history and its interaction with Indigenous Australia. Her starting point is an experimental monument to two Indigenous men, Tunnerminnerwait, a Parperloihener man, and Maulboyheener, a Panpekanner man, from the north-west region of lutruwita, Tasmania, where her family’s fortunes originated. Cassidy follows her family’s history from there to Victoria. She questions what it means to be White, and associates it with willful forgetting, ‘stealthy’ language and ‘gentle lies’.

Cassidy documents the career of George Augustus Robinson. His vocational appellation of Chief Protector of Aborigines was a title bestowed and accepted without irony yet oversaw the almost complete destruction of Indigenous peoples and culture on lutruwita. Cassidy uses a wide range of sources, from WEH Stanner, Bruce Pascoe, Lyndall Ryan and more. 

Monument is a candid insight into one family’s history, told in a way which makes the reading not only accessible, but erudite and convincing. Despite monuments being permanent fixtures, the thinking around them changes over time … just as the writing of history does.

Reviewed by Bob Moore



Bonny Cassidy, Australian authorBonny Cassidy is the author of three poetry collections – Certain Fathoms, Final Theory and Chatelaine (shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award) – and co-editor of the anthology Contemporary Australian Feminist Poetry.

Her essays and criticism on Australian literature and culture have been widely published, and her awards include an Asialink fellowship and a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. She teaches Creative Writing at RMIT University and lives in the bush on Dja Dja Wurrung Country, Central Victoria.

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Once a King: The Lost memoir of Edward VIII by Jean Marguerite Tippett

After Edward VIII abdicated, he spent the rest of his life trying to find another good sinecure. At one point he created a draft of his memoirs for potential publication in Life magazine. He began writing in 1947. Edward, while no rocket scientist, certainly got to meet a lot of people. 

Tippett has assembled extracts from Edward’s writings; commentaries by the Life journalist who was to be his ghost writer, and her own editorial.

Edward was not much of a writer, even less of an observer. The section that deals with his interactions with the Nazis is revealing. Famously, Edward and Wallis visited Nazi Germany in October 1937 spending an afternoon with Hitler at Berchtesgaden. His insights? ‘Hitler was taller than one imagines, very vigorous, very serious.’

He describes Goering as a ‘gent’ but was unimpressed by the more plebian Nazis. Evidently not because of what they believed, rather because they were coarse and lewd.

October 1937 was before Anschluss, Krystalnacht and the Sudeten Land. Europe was full of people who still thought the Nazis could be handled. But it was after the Night of the Long Knives and the Nuremberg Laws and any astute observer had reached the conclusions Churchill had.

The fact that the former King, who spoke and read German and had spent two years at Oxford took so little from the meeting says a lot about the effect of his upbringing. Edward died in 1972 and his memoirs were never published. 

Once a King is one for fans of the Crown.

Reviewed by Grant Hansen



JANE MARGUERITE TIPPETT, authorJane Tippett is a historian and archivist. She graduated from University of Delaware with a BA in French, History and English Literature. She received her MSt. in History of Art from Wadham College, Oxford, where she wrote her dissertation on the centrality of provenance in the contemporary fine art auction market. Since graduating she has worked as a consultant archivist and fine arts curator to high net worth families in New York City, Boston, London and Paris. She currently lives between New York and London.

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Death As Told by a Sapiens to a Neanderthal  by Juan José Millás & Juan Luis Arsuaga

As humans, we’re likely to live longer if we exercise daily, eliminate stress, eat well and don’t stuff ourselves throughout the day, get a good night’s sleep and don’t smoke. Be sure to avoid accidents or hungry lions looking for their next meal. Death As Told by a Sapiens to a Neanderthal is a follow up to a previous book (‘Life …’). The co-authors are a bestselling novelist and a palaeontologist. 

Death is an enjoyable dialogue between the two men as they travel around various Spanish locations – restaurants, wildlife parks, ancient forests, caves, and museums – chatting casually (and reflctively) about life, death, disease, chronic ailments, genetics, life expectancy, and ageing. Arsuaga’s engaging oral storytelling, as heard and captured by Millás, is insightful and enlightening.

It takes a light-hearted and human approach to a conventionally abstract and serious topic. One hilarious moment involves a vacationing Millás trying to catch his pet cat while talking on the phone with Arsuaga discussing metabolism, biological clocks, cell division, and the possibility of eternal life.

The description of an ancient Spanish forest and giant Yew – a tree straight from a fairy tale – is magical, delightful, informative, and profound. The style is personable with many of the scientific insights ironically and unexpectedly reassuring (‘… illnesses people suffer in old age, comes about at a time when we ought to be dead’). 

The authors merge academic rigour with popular voice to tell an engaging story about living longer. Now, back to the hamster wheel.

Reviewed by Mark Parry


Life As Told by a Sapiens to a Neanderthal book cover

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Life As Told by a Sapiens to a Neanderthal
by Juan José Millás Spain & Juan Luis Arsuaga.



Juan José Millás is a bestselling and multi award–winning Spanish novelist and short-story writer, and an award-winning regular contributor to major Spanish newspapers. His narrative works have been translated into more than 20 languages, and include the novels From the Shadows and None Shall Sleep.

Juan Luis Arsuaga is a professor of paleontology at the Complutense University of Madrid and the director of the Human Evolution and Behaviour Institute. He is a member of the American National Academy of Sciences and of the Musée de l’Homme of Paris, a visiting professor at University College London, and a co-director of excavations at the Sierra de Atapuerca World Heritage site.

He is a regular contributor to Nature, Science, and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the editor of the Journal of Human Evolution, and is a regular lecturer at the universities of London, Cambridge, Berkeley, New York, Tel Aviv, and Zurich, among others. The recipient of many national and international awards, he is the author of more than a dozen works.

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James Joyce: A life by Gabrielle Carey

In May 2023, Gabrielle Carey died suddenly, and Australia lost a wonderful writer. She had burst into view in the late 1970s, as co-author of the teenage memoir Puberty Blues. Gabrielle Carey helped to create the genre of creative non-fiction. 

In recent decades, Gabrielle Carey produced a series of author monographs, about Randolph Stow, Ivan Southall and Elizabeth Von Arnim. Her books blended observations about these writers, with reflection on her own experiences. This is always an intriguing mix. 

James Joyce: A life was published posthumously. It is different from her previous works of literary biography, because she gives a straightforward narrative about Joyce, without any reflections on herself. 

At one time, Gabrielle Carey had a work in progress entitled Breaking Up with James Joyce and an excerpt was published in the Sydney Review of Books, on 15 June 2018. The excerpt reflected on her own lifelong engagement with Joyce, and how reading
and reimagining his work influenced her career as a writer.

There are only a few threads that connect the unpublished Breaking Up with James Joyce, and James Joyce: A life, the book which we have before us. It may be that Gabrielle Carey had other draft material in reserve, and that if she had lived longer, it would have been woven into the final text.

In James Joyce: A life, Gabrielle Carey gives a sympathetic account of the Joyce family, and especially of the sad fate of Lucia Joyce, James’s daughter, who ended up submerged by mental illness. Gabrielle Carey’s tone, in this biography, is supportive of James Joyce in all his erratic glory, and she does not blame him for the series of wrecked people, lost fortunes and disappointed hopes that he left scattered around him.

Gabrielle Carey strongly affirms the value of Joyce’s last, most challenging work, Finnegans Wake, and explains the context of its creation.

A historian might object to this biography because none of the quotations are referenced. However, James Joyce is thoroughly studied in longer, more traditional works. It is not difficult to chase up the sources of the quotes she presents. She explains that: ‘It was written with a bower bird approach, the only one that felt natural to me. It is not a scholarly biography …’  

James Joyce: A life will always be important, as it is Gabrielle Carey’s last word to us. It is a reflective account of the life of the great Irish author and is a testament to the cultural ties which link Ireland to Australia. It is also a good explanation of the fanatical devotion that drove James Joyce to produce his unique oeuvre. It is beautifully written, light and brisk, and allows the voices of the past to speak to us. 

Reviewed by Therese Taylor



Gabrielle Carey, Australian authorGabrielle Carey (10 January 1959 – 2 May 2023) was an Australian writer who co-wrote the teen novel, Puberty Blues with Kathy Lette. This novel was the first teenage novel published in Australia that was written by teenagers.

Carey became a senior lecturer in the Creative Writing program at the University of Technology Sydney, studying James Joyce and Randolph Stow.

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