All Day Café: Café- Style Food to Make At Home
by Stuart McKenzie
Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4.5 stars
When you’re a bit of a homebody, it can be hard to brave the crowds and the chaos in hopes of a decent meal. With the surge of popularity for cafés, the formerly quiet spaces for a coffee and a chat are often noisy, dynamic venues filled with screaming kids or lycra clad cyclists.
They’re great for a quick coffee, but not always a perfect space to catch up with your friends or loved ones. There are times, certainly, that it would be easier to stay home and cook, but there’s only so many times that you can throw together some bacon and eggs before it gets a little dull. And though you’d hardly want to spend your time cooking rather than socialising, sometimes you just want something decadent that comes with minimal fuss. Cafés have mastered the art of fuss free decadence, after all.
For Stuart McKenzie, simple ingredients don’t mean simple meals, and they certainly don’t mean bland food. He’s made his living selling café goers simple ingredients prepared to perfection, and for the first time, the owner of Melbourne’s iconic ‘South of Johnston’ café is throwing open the doors to show home cooks how to make magic in their kitchens.
For the most part, these are the sorts of meals that look expensive and decadent, without the accompanying price tag. And though they look as though they should require hours toiling in the kitchen, on the whole they’re relatively quick and easy to prepare. Though there are some meal ideas here that are a little more complicated, on the whole, it’s the sort of food that even kitchen novices can try their hands at without too much drama.
These aren’t always the healthiest dishes, but they’re healthy enough to keep you from feeling too guilty about giving them a try. McKenzie has tried to include healthier substitutions where possible, but these are certainly the kind of recipes that can be tweaked to suit personal tastes or dietary requirements as needed.
‘All Day Café’ isn’t just a collection of recipes- McKenzie is an interior design fan with a love of creating warm, enticing spaces that change with the seasons, and he’s brought that love of style and personality into his cookbook. Peppered throughout ‘All Day Café’ are helpful tips and ideas to help you create not just a meal, but a mood. Whether you’re styling your space, or looking for some quick tips to add something special to a dinner party, there’s plenty of advice here to help make even the most boring space look amazing.
‘All Day Café’ is published by Murdoch Books/ Allen & Unwin, and is available nationwide through select retailers.