Geetie’s Cookbook is subtitled “Recipes from the kitchen of The Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub”. It’s a bit of a mouthful but a delicious one. It’s a book full of recipes and inspiration. It’s not only the food that grabs one’s attention but the whole philosophy behind the project.
The Duke of Cambridge is indeed an organic pub. That expression does rather conjure visions of hippies striding up to the bar and ordering a manly elderflower cordial and some yoghurt-flavoured crisps. No, nothing as cartoon-worthy as that. It’s all about quality of produce, sustainability and food ethics.
Geetie Singh MBE is the managing director and founder of Sloeberry Trading, which operates The Duke of Cambridge. She is the sort of woman who is too busy doing to listen to those who say it can’t be done. Both she and her company have received gongs and plaudits aplenty from the likes of Good Pub Guide and The Soil Association, and she has been Entrepreneur of the Year – Asian Woman of Achievement 2002. She is a hard-working lady with vision and drive.
This is a book which presents the best of the pub’s food. Even the pages look organic, in earth tones and natural hues. The photography is striking and the overall impression is of comfort, cosiness, warmth and proper food. Gastropub grub at its best.
The recipes are divided by season and that’s the way Geetie and her chef Sara Berg would like you to use it: by season and by buying what’s fresh. That produce will also be at the best price, so it makes financial sense as well. Each season has its menu just like in a restaurant. The recipes are easy to follow and it’s simple to mix and match the side dishes.
Yes, The Duke of Cambridge is organic but it’s your choice to follow that path or not. All the recipes work with regular produce and I for one would rather my dear reader bought standard greens than no greens at all. The important issue is that we cook, and enjoy the finished results.
There are a few cheffy recipes here but don’t be put off. If your local butcher is a stranger to a wild boar chop then just purchase some of his finest pork chops. Pig cheeks seem to be trendy at the moment so a reputable butcher should be able to supply you with some. Yes, it’s a part of the animal that until recently didn’t make it to the tables of polite company, but it’s a marvellous cut of meat. Full of flavour with an almost gelatinous texture, it makes for rich and unctuous dishes. If we eat animals then we should surely treat the meat with respect and eat everything from head to tail (although some of the inside frilly bits have been known to defeat even this hearty eater).
Geetie’s Cookbook isn’t just for card-carrying carnivores. There is plenty here for vegetarians and my favourite recipe from the whole book is that for Savoury Cheesecake. It’s not a dish for those who want to attain or remain a size 8, but for normal mortals it’s a dish to die for. Three kinds of cheese are sweetened by the addition of leeks. An ideal summer lunch or a starter for a more substantial meal.
Natascha is the sous-chef at The Duke of Cambridge and she has a couple of her own recipes in the book. Her Lemon and Raspberry Tart is quick and easy and tangy. It has a classic biscuit base but with the addition of cinnamon and ginger. The filling is just cream, sugar and lemons with a garnish of berries. This would be perfect with a glass of fizz on a hot summer afternoon.
Geetie’s Cookbook offers something for everyone. There is meat, fish and vegetables which are cooked to showcase their freshness. The Seasonal Fruit and Vegetable chart at the back of the book will help us city folk to appreciate the right time to buy those blackberries, and there is a similar one for fish and seafood. This isn’t over-fussy food and it does indeed make you want to grab your wicker shopping basket and head to the farmers’ market.
Cookbook review: Geetie’s Cookbook
Author: Geetie Singh
Published by: Grub Street
Price: £ 18.99
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018