Many of you will recognise this young chef as one of the presenters of UKTV’s Market Kitchen where he introduces the audience to a raft of guests and culinary delights. This book, on the other hand, introduces us to Matt Tebbutt and his world of food. He is the proprietor of The Foxhunter Gastropub in Nantyderry in the heart of Wales. It won the 2007 Daily Telegraph “Food Pub of the Year” award. It also won the “Best Food” award from Perfect Pub Awards.
Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country is about fresh seasonal food. The Country in question is …not a country but rather Britain, and it gives a nod to the international culinary arena via some tasty dishes. It’s a sumptuous volume with delightful photographs by Chris Terry, showing food, Matt, and family. It’s a warm, rich-looking page-turner.
Being a fresh seasonal produce book the chapters are divided by month, or rather two months. It starts with January – February and, as you would expect, ends with November – December. Each chapter has a foreword describing the delights of that pair of months, and then it’s on to the recipes.
The food here is a combination of classic and contemporary, a broad base of ingredients and great use of lamb and seafood. Matt lives in Wales so he takes evident pride in his local meat and fish. Not always presenting the produce in the traditional manner, he isn’t afraid to ring some interesting changes.
Rustic Surf and Turf
Rump of Welsh Lamb, Spiced Aubergine, Mint Yoghurt and Flatbread is a good example of a fresh approach to a traditional roast. Matt suggests roasting the lamb till pink and serving it with the aromatic vegetables that owe their origin to the celebrated Imam Bayeldi so often enjoyed in Turkey.
Another innovation is Black Pudding, Smoked Eel, Caramelised Apples and Cider Mustard Sauce. I guess this is “rustic” Surf and Turf. A striking autumn dish and a truly different combination. This would make a delicious light lunch or cold-weather starter.
Roast Chicken with Bay Leaves and Preserved Lemon is exotic without being spicy. This would be enjoyed even by those who profess to only eating “good British food”. A clean, salty tang comes from the preserved lemon, which adds unique flavour to the chicken. If you still prefer an unadulterated bird then you could consider Spiced Lentils with Crème Fraiche as a side dish. Comforting.
Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country is a book full of inspiration and it’s a book you’ll use. The highest praise you can give a cookbook.
Matt Tebbutt Cooks Country
Author: Matt Tebbutt
Published by: Mitchell Beazley – Octopus
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018