Well now, a few weeks spent away from blogging and it seems like I’ve been gone forever. Still, my town came off reasonably well by local standards in the floods. Water water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink..
Hands up if you live in the UK but didn’t catch at least one episode of the recent series of “Great British Menu”. You know the formula; chefs from around the UK represent their county by cooking something symbolically local and British, and are voted out by a panel of 3 judges at the end of each show. This book collects up those recipes and dishes them up to us in a shiny patriotic package.
Firstly, I’m happy to admit that I’m becoming a little sick of cookbooks existing only as an “accompaniment to the TV series”. If a cookbook is good within it’s own right, it doesn’t need the TV series to justify its existence, does it? That said, my consistent exception to the rule is the great Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, who has yet to put a foot wrong with his books (bring on the Fish and Mushroom books later this year, I say!).
So, the book needs to give something from its own merits to be highly regarded in my eyes, and this one manages to bring the ever important subject of local and regional food to the forefront – despite never really going into any detail why. This one lets the recipes do the talking.
Now on to those recipes. How does the interesting combination of Rabbit and Crayfish Stargazy Pie tickle you? Or perhaps a smoked eel mousse? The recipes here truly combine the most contemporary of British cuisine with underlying tones of nostalgic “Britishness”. What else would you expect from some of the UK’s most popular chefs, such as the two Michelin starred Marcus Wareing?
Despite the fact that this book contains such flawless recipes, it is unfortunately destined to cut just short of being a classic (which seems to be a theme amongst recent cook books anyway), in this case purely because of the fact it doesn’t bring a truly original theme and instead serves just to back up a (great) television series.
Still, this great little collection of recipes is a corker, coming complete with a Resource Directory and short guide to seasonal produce; it is well deserving of a place on the shelve of anyone that wants to take their talents and knowledge of British cuisine to the next level.