Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

October 15, 2009

Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

I don’t really do cookbook reviews on my blog. I am bad at writing them, and they just seem to come across as a little bit cheesy and at worst like I was paid to write them. That certainly isn’t this lanky Englishman’s cup of tea. Not one bit.

This is different though. “How so?” you might ask..

I took some of the photo’s for Jaden’s book for one.

This isn’t really a review of the book.. goto amazon for that…

Jaden has also done it all – recipe creation, write, cook, style and photograph it all. All with other projects on the go, and a family. Being the Dad of a young son, and having a demanding job – I just cannot figure out how. That demands attention if you ask me.

If I didn’t know Jaden better, I would figure that she must have had an army of workers locked in her basement, that she throws scraps of raw meat to every now and again – but only when they do good work.


Jaden and I got talking, over a year ago now I think, about food photography. She was in the midst of her book, and we got talking about editing software for images, and a bit of camera stuff. I remember being rather startled back then at her photography. Simply creative stuff, that just plain made food look bloody good. I knew then that this could shape up to be one pretty special cookbook.


Imagine my surprise when I got a call from her back in February asking if I had time to shoot a few ingredient images for her cookbook. My answer of “YES!!!!!!” couldn’t have come faster. Shots of ingredients are always fun to do, and pretty different to the finished, composed plate shots I normally find myself shooting. Asian ingredients even more so. Well, apart from green curry paste. That stuff just looks like baby poop no matter what you do with it. (see it out deliberately out of focus in the top left of that double page shot at the start of this post..)

I ended up shooting four shots for the book – a shot of spices, one of herbs, one of sauce bottles, and one of raw rice and noodles. Each had their own challenges, and ultimately were a lot of fun to do.

You can imagine my excitement when a couple of weeks ago Jaden emailed me to let me know she had sent me a copy. This is the first cookbook I have shot some images for, and nearly had heart palpitations just waiting for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jaden got rather annoyed with my continuous emails saying “so when is the book out again??”.

I nearly fell over backwards when I got the book, and opened the front cover. There, right as you open it, was a double page spread of the spice shot that I took. I couldn’t be happier. There is even a shot of me hugging on Jaden. Bless.


The book really is flawless. Jaden has done a fantastic job of putting this together, and I still have no idea how one person, even Jaden, could do all this work. I was expecting a book of just recipes, but it goes much deeper than that. Discussions on ingredients, technique and even a piece about her awesome food photography. Jaden’s character simply oozes out of every page – it is down to earth, family focused, and right on cue for how people cook today.

She has got me cooking more Asian food.

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  • The Leftoverist October 15, 2009 at 5:15 am

    I agree–lots of cookbook reviews are cheesy and as a reader, I feel like I’m in a used car lot. BUT you should definitely be plugging something you helped bring into being. The photos are perfect, and I’ll have to check this cookbook out.

  • nina October 15, 2009 at 5:51 am

    You did a great job and so did Jaden…..People like you and the likes of Jaden are our inspiration.

  • Family Fresh Cooking October 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    What a great review of Jaden’s book!! You have such positive energy. Your photo’s are fabulous. Crisp, clean and tempting! Rounds of applause for a job well done. It must have been so exciting to work on such a great project 🙂 I have two small kids as well and I know how hard it is to find the balance of being a good parent and finding time for creative work. Doing my “stuff” definitely helps me be a better mom 🙂

  • noelle {simmer down!} October 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Congratulations, that must be so gratifying to see your work in print!! Gorgeous shots.

  • Hélène October 17, 2009 at 1:59 am

    I’m impressed, you did an amazing job. Congratulations!

  • Mike Nonella October 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I saw your bresaola pictures on the sausage making website…. very nice mold! Would you mind letting me in on your mold-growing technique/secret?

  • Lang October 26, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Congrats on a job well done, Matt! I remember seeing some of these photos months ago and wondering what you were up to. I’m looking forward to watching your camera work in action if we can finally find a day without rain, lurgies, or the wrong tides…

  • Brooke @ Food Woolf October 27, 2009 at 2:20 am

    Your photographs are amazing–I’m so glad they made it into Jaden’s wonderful book! I can’t wait to buy the book myself, if not for her delicious recipes but maybe just for the incredible photos. Cheers!

  • Big Boys Oven November 10, 2009 at 6:56 am

    WOW! it must be fun working along with Jaden, my inspiring and talented chef!

  • tasteofbeirut November 24, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I have enjoyed reading your posts and your photography; I like your eye and your style of writing.