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Don Dunstan's Cookbook - vintage hardcover recipe book

Don Dunstan's Cookbook - vintage hardcover  recipe book

Don Dunstan's Cookbook - vintage hardcover recipe book

Don Dunstan's Cookbook

Hardcover book with dustjacket in very good condition. 1976 edition, 96 pages with delightful drawings by Robert Inkpen. Dustjacket laminate has started separating in places, mostly at edges and corners, first page has a name and a couple of notes on it. Clean book, tight binding, minor chipping to board edges, no other marks, tears, loose or missing pages.

Measurements are in both metric and imperial.

One of the few Australian politicians ever to write a cookbook!

A review of Don Dunstan's Cookbook by Genevieve Harris in 2006 in Adelaide Now

Thirty years after South Australian renaissance man and premier Don Dunstan published his cookbook, the recipes remain as modern as ever.

Courage, innovation and change were the hallmarks of one of South Australia's most remarkable premiers, Don Dunstan, who served in the post for a short time in 1967 and again from 1970 to 1979. He not only steered many forward-thinking changes to our state's laws and legislation but also challenged our perspective on food, cooking, restaurants, theatre, the arts and even fashion.

Who could forget his parade of short-sleeved safari suits, long socks and pink shorts?

In the middle of his most productive time, 30 years ago this year, Don Dunstan found the energy and inspiration to write a cookbook. Don Dunstan's Cookbook defined the '70s in terms of kitchen arts, he later described it as 'a period piece', yet its text and recipes remain relevant and sometimes innovative.

It was developed around his home and garden. He had a fowl pen as the foundation of his garden, and chicken features heavily. He describes chicken as 'the best basis of Australian cuisine' - more true today than ever. 

Culturally diverse even then, many of the recipes are drawn from and influenced by Mr Dunstan's travels. Indian and Malay cooking each take up a chapter, with healthy smatterings of French, Italian, Greek and Swedish and other flavours in between. Desserts were omitted from the original 1976 edition, but were introduced in a 1998 edition, focusing on fruits from the garden.

These four recipes, taken from his cookbook and reproduced faithfully, are not out of place in 2006.

The scrambled eggs are a delicious brunch idea and a strikingly similar version can be found today at Citrus restaurant in Hutt St.

The chicken with chickpeas is an easy, hearty winter stew. It matches wonderfully with the simple but flavoursome bean recipe.

Mr Dunstan was quite passionate about beans and begged us not to boil them out of existence.

Last, there's the rhubarb fool, and Mr Dunstan certainly was no fool to allow the aromatic, sweet, sour flavour of home-grown rhubarb dominate.

In the Joy Of Cooking chapter, Mr Dunstan explains: 'I find a continuous satisfaction in growing, preparing, serving and eating food, and want to share it with you.'

Chicken with chickpeas

1 large roasting chicken (2kg)
2 tbsp corn oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
250g chickpeas, soaked overnight
Juice 1 or more lemons
2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and black pepper or pinch of cayenne
Cut the chicken into joints. Heat the oil in a saucepan or deep, flame-proof casserole (large enough to hold chicken). Fry the onion in the oil until soft and golden. Sprinkle with turmeric and mix well. Add the chicken and saute gently, turning it until it is a dark, yellow colour all over. Add a pint (about 600ml) of water, the soaked and drained chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer gently covered for an hour or longer, until the chicken is very tender, the chickpeas soft, yellow and lemony, and the liquid very much reduced. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Green beans
1 onion, finely chopped
Young green beans, amount to suit, topped
and tailed
2 tbsp chicken stock

Chop an onion finely and soften in butter over a low flame.
Add your tender young beans just topped and tailed, and toss them in the covered pan until they are glistening. Cook over a low flame, giving an occasional toss for 3 minutes. Then add a small amount - almost two tablespoons - of chicken stock. Simmer, then cover, until the beans are tender.

Parsee eggs
Eggs (to suit number of serves)
Small knob of ginger, peeled
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
Red chilli, finely chopped (to taste)
Powdered cumin, to sprinkle
Fresh tomato wedges, to garnish
Extra coriander leaves, to garnish

Another flavoursome variant on scrambled eggs goes this way.
Beat your eggs and add cream and stir it in well. Chop some fresh ginger, and fry it in ghee. Add a chopped onion and fry until soft. Now add 2 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves chopped, and a tsp of turmeric. Stir them and add the eggs; continue stirring. As the eggs commence to set, add some finely chopped fresh red hot chilli, or if you haven't these, sprinkle in a scant half tsp of hot chilli powder. Continue stirring, and when the eggs have set, serve. Sprinkle the top with powdered cumin seed, and garnish with fresh tomato wedges and sprigs of coriander.

Rhubarb fool
1 bunch rhubarb
1 cup sugar
300ml cream
A slug of brandy

String and chop a bunch of rhubarb. Put in a saucepan with a cup of sugar and enough water not quite to cover, and simmer until soft.
Blend with 300ml cream and a noggin of brandy. Put in glasses and chill.

Don Dunstan's Cookbook was first published by Rigby in 1976, and a second edition by Calypso Press. It is now out of print. The recipes are published here with metric measurements.

About the Author

Donald Allan Dunstan was born in Suva, Fiji on 21 September 1926. After early schooling he transferred to South Australia and attended Murray Bridge High School, St Peter's College, and the University of Adelaide, graduating with a law degree in 1948. For some years he practised law in Fiji and later in Adelaide. He was appointed a QC in 1965.

Don Dunstan became involved in Australian Labor Party politics, and in 1953 successfully stood for the House of Assembly seat of Norwood. In Frank Walsh's government Dunstan held the position of Attorney-General and Minister of Community Welfare and Aboriginal Affairs. When Frank Walsh retired as premier in May 1967 Dunstan was elected leader of the Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch) and became Premier. The Labor Party was defeated in the 1968 election but in 1970 Dunstan was re-elected Premier, and thus began the so-called "Dunstan decade" of political reform. Dunstan resigned from politics due to ill health, in early 1979. Dunstan was awarded The Companion of the Order of Australia in June 1979.

During Dunstan's premiership South Australia was socially transformed. Among Dunstan's many reforms were those concerned with Aboriginal land rights, equal opportunities, consumer protection, town planning and the environment and the restructuring of electoral law. He also encouraged a flourishing of the arts, with support for the Adelaide Festival Centre, the State Theatre Company, and the establishment of the South Australian Film Corporation.

After leaving politics Dunstan published his political memoirs Felicia in 1981. He became the first director of Tourism Victoria in 1982, and then chairman of the Victorian Tourism Commission until 1986. He was national president of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign 1982-87, president of the Movement for Democracy in Fiji from 1987, and national chairman of Community Aid Abroad 1992-93. Always interested in food, and the author of Don Dunstan's Cookbook in 1976, he established, in 1994, the Don's Table restaurant, The Parade, Norwood, with partner Steven Cheng. He was an Adjunct Professor at Adelaide University from 1997-1999.

Dunstan was married twice: to Gretel in 1949, with whom he had a daughter and two sons; and to Adele Koh in 1976. Don Dunstan died in Adelaide on 6 February 1999.

Don Dunstan's Cookbook by former South Australian Premier Don Dunstan

Cookbooks Australia has a great range of new, used and out of print recipe books to suit all tastes and palates. Basic, how-to and general cookbooks, international cuisines, favourite chefs and cooks, cake decorating and cupcake recipe books, slow cooker, pressure cooker, quick and easy, comfort food, cookbooks especially for chldren, Australian Women's Weekly recipe books, vintage old favourites from the CWA, Green and Gold, Commonsense Cookery Books. If you are looking for a family favourite recipe or cookbook to give to your daughter, son or to replace your mother's or your own falling-apart copy, it might be here!

This item is currently out of stock - more coming soon.

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