08 July 2020

Review: My Smoko Break by Hayley Maudsley

My Smoko Break by Hayley Maudsley book cover
* Copy Courtesy of Harper Collins *

I'm not a good cook and neither is my husband, so you won't often see me reviewing cookbooks. But there's something special about the down to earth approach of fellow Aussie Hayley Maudsley's approach to cooking that really appeals to me. I'm not the only one either.

A rural Mum living in Queensland, Hayley's no nonsense and no fuss approach to cooking and baking has made her an online sensation and her Facebook group My Smoko Break has 140,000 followers at last look. This success and popularity has lead to the compilation of more than 200 of Hayley's recipes into this handy book, also called My Smoko Break.

Hayley is instantly likeable and her easy going attitude to cooking and cleaning really comes through in her book. Living on a property, she doesn't have regular access to a supermarket and has to 'make do' often. Far from limiting her options, Hayley has come up with a whole host of work arounds, and readily shares them with the reader. From how to make sour cream, self raising flour and condensed milk, to which foods can easily be frozen and defrosted, I remain impressed by her ingenuity. I live in the city with easy access to an IGA, but I still enjoyed her tips and tricks.

I decided to attempt one sweet and one savoury recipe from My Smoko Break and I started by baking the Custard Slice from page 177 that was so delicious we were nearly fit to bursting before deciding to leave the rest until the next day. I then made the Creamy Sausages from page 134 and freaked out when I realised I was making a roux. Next on the list to try is the Yoghurt Slice and the Condensed Milk Biscuits. (Okay, now I'm hungry).

Given how rarely I read cookbooks and the fact I'm not a Mum, I did find the arrangement of recipes a little difficult to navigate. The recipes are broken up into the following chapters: breakfast, smoko, lunch, plate mates, dinner, dessert, school lunchbox, harvest, cooking with kids and occasion. I'm used to flipping to a cakes/slices/biscuits or breakfast/main/dessert section but Hayley has divided these recipes by purpose rather than by sweet/savoury. I've never seen this before and I'm sure it works well for the target audience, but I just found it disorienting.

When drooling over Hayley's recipes, I dearly wished there had been photos to accompany some of the recipes. I understand the limitations when it comes to printing and publication, but being a novice in the kitchen, I really would have benefited from some photos of what the dish is supposed to look like on completion.

Ultimately I finished My Smoko Break feeling inspired. Inspired to cook more and inspired to use some of her household tips and tricks. I enjoyed her stories and highly recommend My Smoko Break by Hayley Maudsley to rural and urban cooks, novices and accomplished home cooks. There is something for everyone here.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:
★ ★

Would you like to comment?

  1. You can't ask for anything more than that from a cookbook can you!


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!