Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Stevie Parle's Dock Kitchen Cookbook

This is a gorgeously sumptuous looking book. It has a padded cover which begs to be held and have time spent with it.  The cover wrap has quotes from both Yotam Ottolenghi & Jay Rayner, both of who I respect greatly for their food wisdom, which gets the book off to a great start.

The book highly promotes seasonal cookery. Recipes are featured in the season when the ingredients are at their best. The treat of having one recipe per page with a colour photograph of the finished product on the opposite page is a real luxury. The result of the presentation of the recipes means that the book easy to read, and refer to.

The book is for those who are passionate about cooking and eating.  I think they are perfect for a special occasion meal.

Many of the recipes sound  really decadent:

Chicken roasted in mastic and pomegranate molasses with braised broad beans,

Cuttlefish Tagine  and

Mexican Octopus and pork crackling with tomato salsa

I love the idea of cooking all these at home, and this book has given me the opportunity to recreate restaurant dining at home in my country kitchen.

This is a unique book, with unusual recipes and flavours which is great if you're looking for something a little different from the norm.

Full of inspirational recipes the book would be perfect for the kitchen, or the coffee table. Either way it's a must read for all foodies.

This book was kindly sent to me to review by Quadrille Publishing.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Eat Your Veg - Arthur Potts Dawson

I love growing my own vegetables. There's nothing quite like the thrill of wandering down to the veg plot with a garden fork and digging up half a dozen potatoes for tea. In the winter and early spring the veg patch pickings are a little meagre, and at the moment I am enjoying the contents of a weekly veg box delivery.  This means that each week I have no excuse for getting my 5 a day BUT have to find yummy recipes to make the most of the box.

I was lucky enough to be sent Arthur Potts Dawson's book Eat Your Veg by Octopus Publishing to review and I was immediately struck with how bright and colourful the cover looks.

The book is split into five sections:  Roots & Tubers, Bulbs & Stems, Leaves & Flowers, Fruits and Fungi & Beans & Pods.  Each of these sections includes various skills and feasts such as Mash, Gratin & Pickle - all of which are very useful core skills to have. At the rear of the book is the obligatory index which is equally useful if you know exactly what vegetable you wish to use and just want a relevant recipe.

The introduction also has a handy section detailing What's Best When.  I try to eat as seasonally as I can, and try to grow as much as I can. It's so useful to have a quick reference guide for the vegetables that I either don't or can't grow, or for a special recipe

In this weeks veg box we received some celeriac and had no idea what to do with it.  The index gave me six options, and we decided to try celeriac remoulade.

The book says:
Remoulade is a classic salad that's absolutely lovely. Serve it with a ploughman's lunch or a piece of fish, or as a light snack with toast and cornichons. It's also great  in a sandwich with a slice of ham.

The recipe serves 4-6. We scaled the recipe down by half and ended up with a large portion each:

50g of salted capers
25g of horseradish root
3tbsp of homemade mayonnaise
500g celeriac
2tbsp of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper

We found the recipe easy to make:

1:  Drain and chop the capers. Peel and grate the horseradish. Mix with the mayonnaise and capers in a  bowl.

Then cut the celeriac in half and and slice as thin as possible

3:  Add the celeriac matchsticks to the mayonnaise and chopped parsley mixture, season lightly

Towards the back of the book there is a brilliant Basics section which contains recipes for pastry, stocks, sauces and dressings. To test these out we decided to use the Homemade mayonnaise recipe which makes about 1 pint. Again we halved it to make 1/2 pint, but here is the recipe in full:

3 free range egg yolks
1tbsp Dijon mustard
2tbsp white wine vinegar
1tsp caster sugar
2tsp salt
pinch of pepper
500ml vegetable oil
2tbsp lemon juice

We found the mayonnaise recipe slightly harder to follow - but it was well worth it in the end.

We teamed our Remoulade with some cheese, boiled eggs and salad

There are so many recipes in the book which I am looking forward to trying- some more unusual than others. My book keeps falling open at the recipe for Iced pea and mint lollipops which sound very interesting.

This book is a very useable resource and one which will be my first port of call for vegetable main courses or sides. It is easy to read, has bright clear pictures and gives inspiration for even the most unusual vegetable.

Definately a book for everyone who enjoys a good meal.