The diet starts in the New Year, so for now we wanted to share some flavours from our favourite cookbooks…
Ceviche, Martin Morales
Flavour: Fuss-free, fresh and full of flair.
Eat this first: Don ceviche, p19 – is the most popular dish at Morales’ soho restaurant, and a great place to start to get a taste for his Peruvian cuisine. Packed with crisp, sharp and intriguing flavours, this book overflows with an infectious and truly personal passion for the food of his homeland.
Eat – The Little Book of Fast Food, Nigel Slater
Flavour: Wholesome, hearty food in a hurry.
Eat this first: James’s potato tortilla, p139 – captures the essence of what this book is about. From fridge to plate in no time and made with just three ingredients, which you’ll probably have in your cupboard already. Like many of the other recipes, it’s also open ended enough to allow you to easily adapt it – adding your own flavour ideas to create new dishes.
Save With Jamie, Jamie Oliver
Flavour: Waste less by eating more – delicious frugal feasting designed to wean people off the temptations of the takeaway.
Eat this first: JFC – (Jamie’s Fried Chicken), p96 – sees Jamie creating a homemade version of a takeaway favourite. Is it any healthier? Well, probably not, but it does work out cheaper and you’re in control of the quality of your ingredients. Another winner from Mr Oliver.
Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food, Tom Kerridge
Flavour: Honest grub, with a fancy twist.
Eat this first: Venison, peppered sprouts, squash purée and a chocolate sauce, p186 – yes, a chocolate sauce. Just try it. Much like the food in his two Michelin starred pub, The Hand and Flowers, this dish is good old British cooking elevated to new heights by a dash of inspiration. But Kerridge always keeps things simple enough that you won’t notice how impressive your cooking is until the praise starts to roll in.
Rick Stein’s India, Rick Stein
Flavour: Stock up your spice-rack for a flavour odyssey.
Eat this first: Chettinad crab curry, p151 – Cornwall meets the Coromandel coast. Like many of the dishes in this book, the number of ingredients could pretty much be a weekly shopping list on their own – but that’s sort of the point. These are flavours which deserve the extra effort and expense that might be needed to create them.
Paul Hollywood’s Bread, Paul Hollywood
Flavour: Bold, buttery and baked to perfection.
Eat this first: Emmenthal, onion and mushroom pastries, p196 – are brunch beauties, which you can easily overindulge on… The silver fox’s latest offering teaches basic techniques before letting you loose on recipes like this one – so you don’t need to panic when you’re instructed to whip up some Danish pastry dough.
Jerusalem, Sami Tamimi, Yotam Ottolenghi
Flavour: The taste of a city – in a good way.
Eat this first: Mutabbaq, p262 – is representative of many of the book’s recipes, in that “It is unusual yet utterly delicious.” Throughout, Tamimi and Ottolenghi succeed in combining an historical and cultural narrative with simple but mouth-watering dishes. That’s not to say it’s boring – food is always the focus, and food that demands to be shared. So, it’s a book packed with inspiration for dinner parties – and a slice of sweet and crisp mutabbaq is the perfect way to end an evening’s indulgence.
The Complete Nose to Tail, Fergus Henderson
Flavour: The whole hog. All of it.
Eat this first: Pig’s cheek and tongue, p 86 – obviously not one for vegetarians, and perhaps not for a lot of meat eaters. Fergus Henderson’s recipes challenge us to eat more and waste less – like Jamie Oliver above – but he really follows the idea through. There’s plenty of more normal recipes in the book – but this simply prepared and thoroughly delectable dish is the philosophical essence of the book.
Great British Bake Off: Everyday, Linda Collister
Flavour: A book to encourage you to get off your (hopefully not soggy) bottom and get baking.
Eat this first: Pecan, caramel and rosemary apple pie, p229 – a celebration of humble ingredients, given a showstopper upgrade. With the Bake Off becoming more of a national institution with each passing year, any prospective contestant would be grateful of the tips and tricks this book has to offer.
The Incredible Spice Men, Cyrus Todiwala and Toni Singh
Flavour: Fun with fusion.
Eat this first: Todiwala and Singh’s Spiced Fish and Chips, p62 – delicately spiced fish in a light lemony batter served alongside some cumin and chilli seasoned chips… This is a perfect example of what this book does so well: adding “zing” to familiar dishes. Each recipe is like meeting an old friend – who you’re perhaps a little bored by – who then tells you some earth-shattering secret which makes you remember what it is you like so much about them.
Where Chefs Eat
Flavour: World cuisine, in every sense.
Eat this first: Doesn’t really work for this one… OK, so it’s not a cookbook, but for any food fan, this is an indispensable guidebook. Chefs, from all over the world, recommend their favourite places, from all over the world, to grab a bite. From high street to high-end, there’s something here for every taste and every budget.