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BOOK REVIEW: La Dolce Vita by Silvia Colloca

| 18 November 2016 | Reply

Book Review: La Dolce Vita by Silvia Colloca

Penguin
October 2016
Paperback, $49.99
Reviewed by Amy Briggs

Cooking

3/10

dolcevita

As this is my first Cookbook review, I was severely disappointed. This is a cookbook by Silvia Colloca, based on Italian cookery, but a lot of the recipes are also vegan, vegetarian, or diary- or gluten-free. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against vegan, vegetarian, diary free etc. I think its good to rest your body from some things from time to time. But Italian may not be the best form of cooking from which to cut out these ingredients.

I tried two recipes from this cookbook: The first was Piacentina Pasta and Bean Soup. This one took ages to make. The beans had to be soaked overnight, then cooked for 70-90 minutes, before their inclusion in the rest of the recipe. It also felt like there were too many pots and pans to use. After cooking the beans and then leaving them to cool, you had to heat them again for another 30 minutes with additional ingredients. The piacentina pasta was made from scratch, which took time and then also had to rest for 30 minutes. It is understandable why making the pasta itself takes practice, as mine turned out to be too big and rather doughy. After all the time and effort put into creating this dish, the bean soup was rather tasteless and required more water than suggested as it was simmering for so long, the water would boil down to nothing and it was meant to be a soup.

The second recipe I tried was the Baked Pasta Shells Stuffed with Mushroom & Silverbeet, with Olive Oil & Almond Milk Béchamel Sauce. This recipe wasn’t nearly as fiddly as the bean soup nor did it take as long, but it also resulted in a rather tasteless dish, and I was tempted to add extra herbs, salt and cheese to the recipe to give it some flavour.

The plan was to try other recipes, but as these two didn’t turn out the way they had been advertised, I wasn’t that enthusiastic to try more dishes.

I am fond of cooking but I enjoy making a meal that is quick, easy and delicious, especially after a long day at work and with limited time to get something ready for dinnertime. I will also allow for the fact that I am not a truly experienced cook, so may be be unable to manage some of the techniques required to assemble these recipes, but I feel that cookbooks should be somewhat accessible to the common Jo who wants a delicious meal at dinnertime.

Amy Briggs

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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