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Gabriel Gates Indulgences
Gabriel Gaté's Indulgences
photography by John Hay

182 Pages, large format hardcover, Published by Allen & Unwin, Australia; $34.95
ISBN 1-86508-079-9
Reviewed by Paul Clark

From the pages of Epicurean

Gabriel Gaté was born in the Loire Valley, France, and after moving to Australia, he became one of the country's leading communicators on food and cookery. He is a food writer for several magazines, has a regular spot on radio, and has presented many cooking shows on television. He is the author of 14 cookbooks.

Gabriel Gaté's Indulgences is a mish-mash, but a pretty mish-mash, printed on high quality paper, with elegantly simple page layouts and 48 appealing photographs. It presents 150 recipes divided into: Breakfasts and brunches; lunches and barbecues; dinner parties; treats for two; family favourites; sweet endings; and some basics (stocks, sauces and dough).

What do I mean by a mish-mash? - the recipes come from many influences. There is Coq au Vin; Osso Bucco with lemon grass and saffron; Braised Leg of Lamb with celery; Rigatoni with ratatouille; Spaghetti with prawns and pernod; Crayfish Tartlets with coriander; Porcini Polenta with tomato and gruyère; Tempura of Green Sugar Pea, Asparagus and Eggplant; and Chicken Satay. The only thing they have in common is that they taste good and are relatively easy to prepare, and since that's a noble goal in itself, the book can't be knocked for its round-the-world scope. If this is representative of cutting-edge cooking in Australia, the Aussies are in good hands.

A few of the terms may confuse Americans, who might not know, for example, that witlof is Belgian endive, but on the whole the book does try to bridge the divide between America and the rest of the world -recipes are given in both grams and ounces, and if there is any confusion there is a metric conversion table at the back of the book.

It's not the kind of book you would turn to if you're in the mood for Italian food or French food, or Pacific Rim food, though all of these cuisines are represented in the book. Instead, it's a book you might turn to if you didn't quite know what you wanted to cook this morning, afternoon, or evening, and you need a little inspiration.

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