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The Great British Village Show Cookbook

James Every Day

James Martin Desserts

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Cookbook Collection:
James Martin

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The Great British Village Show Cookbook

James Every Day

James Martin Desserts

The Great British Village Show Cookbook

The Great British Village Show Cookbook Well, the title is a mouthful but James Martin has written a book that is mostly about the food at the village show. The book was inspired by the BBC series The Great British Village Show and gives tips from the expert Village Show judges on growing prize-winning veg, making gold-medal baked goods as well as presenting over 100 recipes.

It’s about using fresh produce from farmers’ markets and local suppliers, has cracking recipes and it’s a bit of fun. James sounds just like the rest of us: “This year, my runner beans didn’t grow as well in the garden as the French ones.” “My gran used to make castle puddings when I was a kid.” But he has new versions of old favourites as well. Pear and Rosemary Crumble with Cinnamon Sauce, Lemon and Treacle Tart. James has a recipe for delicious Hand Pies. No, he doesn’t use real hands, free-range or otherwise. These are raised beef pies with just a little Stilton to make the filling tangy.

There are fine recipes from Village Show competitors that are every bit as good as chef-generated ones. Fran Wright’s Whisky Mac is a cake with a hint of alcohol, as the name would suggest; Anne Ashley’s Parkin is scumptious, and Betty Gilbert normally makes between 21 and 24 Lemon Cakes (no, not fairy cakes, these are the big ones) to sell at the Village Show. I think it’s safe to say that’s a good one!

This is a lovely, chunky book full of charm, comforting food and ordinary people. The pages are not over-glossy and that helps with the old-fashioned warm feel to the volume. James is an outspoken supporter of British food, and The Great British Village Show Cookbook is a credit to that sentiment.

The Great British Village Show Cookbook is bound to be best seller because it has James Martin’s name on the outside. However it deserves to be popular because it presents a lot of what is fine about British food and a lot of what is often forgotten. We have great ingredients and people who know what to do with them. The Village Show represents a gentle competitiveness and a pride in natural and wholesome produce.

The Great British Village Show Cookbook
Author: James Martin
Published by: Dorling Kindersley
Price: £ 12.99
ISBN 978-1-4053-3317-7

food and travel reviews James Martin

James Every Day

James Every Day The “James” in question is none other than the charismatic James Martin, who must be one of the most instantly recognisable TV chefs in the UK. He first graced our TVs in 1996 with such shows as Ready Steady Cook. He now hosts Saturday Kitchen and has a clutch of series of his own under his belt.

The full title of this latest Martin offering is James Every Day – The Essential Collection. It is, in fact, a selection of recipes from two of James’s previous books - his first ever cookbook, Eating In with James Martin and his second book Delicious which was the companion book to his popular TV series.

James Every Day is a colourful and stylish volume. There are a host of step-by-step pictures to hold the hand of any less than confident home cooks. The recipes are a spread of new takes on traditional favourites, and totally new combinations. His ideas are inspiring and never so over-the-top as to be off-putting.

Anchovy and Garlic-studded Roast Lamb has become something of a standard. For very little extra effort you can elevate the usual Sunday Roast into a continental stunner. James still uses the typical rosemary along with the garlic and the anchovy but the lamb works just as well with if you leave out the herb.

I am a lover of pies and tarts. They are always enjoyed by guests who will appreciate the extra effort you have taken to present a striking focus. Good to note that James Martin is a realist and therefore suggests using ready-made tart cases for his Tartlets of Salmon Rillettes with Coriander. Warm Banana Tarte Tartin uses shop-bought puff pastry so there is no excuse for not making this one. Bananas are cheap and you can use the ones that are going a bit spotty. This is bound to become a family favourite with its rich caramel glaze.

Red Onion and Crème Fraiche Pizza is a winner. OK, so it involves bread-making but only the first step towards making a loaf. It’s a simple process and the finished pizzas are classy, light and ideal as nibbles while waiting for the BBQ to be ready, or served with salad as a summer lunch.

James Every Day is full of recipes that are a bit different. They are sophisticated without being cheffy. The dishes are attractive but don’t rely on time-consuming fiddle. This is the best of James Martin.

James Every Day
Author: James Martin
Published by: Mitchell Beazley
Price: £20.00
ISBN 978-1-84533-488-8

food and travel reviews James Martin

James Martin Desserts

James Martin Desserts Anyone who loved the series Sweet Baby James will be equally impressed by the companion book “Desserts”. In fact anyone who is a fan of this popular chef will want a copy.

Sweet Baby James is considered by some to be the best of James Martin on TV. He has a talent for desserts and puds, which are made even more comforting and homey by the addition of anecdotes. James tells of his Gran who would make pastry while watching Coronation Street. More accurately, his Gran would listen to Coronation Street while watching the pastry.

There are some spectacular dishes here but you don’t need to be an expert patissier to try your hand at these delights. James has a wealth of advice in the Basics section and that will give you the confidence to tackle all the recipes, not only from this book but the skills will serve you well when using any other cookbook.

The chapter headings prepare you for the treats in store. There is everything here from Hot Puddings to Ice Creams and Sorbets and everything in between. The dishes are classic and traditional but with the occasional contemporary twist. That isn’t to say that they are all British. There are some European favourites that will be familiar to most readers.

James starts the Hot Puddings section with Bread and Butter Pudding but he uses croissants instead of the more usual white sliced. It has a less regular crust than the original and has a lighter texture. The use of white chocolate and whiskey are more of James’ departures but you could always substitute another spirit and use dark chocolate. An orange liqueur would work well.

The Tarts and Flans chapter offers Baked Pear and Honey Tart. This is a dinner party version of the old favourite custard tart. Lemon Meringue Pie is another standard that has been forgotten but it can be delicious when made as illustrated in Desserts. Apple and Thyme Tarte Tatin is a contemporary take on the famous original.

You will expect me to have my favourites and I do. Sorbet is such a popular dessert because it’s a light and refreshing end to a meal and makes a lovely afternoon snack on a hot summer day. The advantage is that sorbet is made in advance so is ideal for meals with friends. James offers Apple Sorbet and Fresh Mango Sorbet. Lemon Granita which is like a very smart flavoured ice made in a freezer box rather than an ice cream maker is a simple alternative to sorbet.

James Martin Desserts is a book full of puds to remind you of Sunday dinner when you were a kid, but it will equally encourage you to make the effort to tempt your own family. Make some sweet memories for them. Great value for money.

James Martin Desserts
Author: James Martin
Published by: Quadrille
Price: £12.99
ISBN 978-1-84400-559-8

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