“The Brits can cook – it’s official”, says John Burton Race. We always knew we could, but it’s nice to see it in print from time to time.
This is a chunky, large-format volume that encourages you to curl up with a nice cup of tea and have a good read. All the recipes, and there are over 150 of them, are from BBC Two’s Great British Menu. This series followed the chefs who were competing to be part of the team to create, initially, a special lunch to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday. It’s a compilation of the best recipes from Great British Menu (the book) and Great British Menu Cookbook.
There are twenty-one chefs represented and all of them have made the best of fine British produce. It’s a book that show-cases not only great recipes, both new and more traditional, but also the top-quality ingredients that we are fortunate enough to find in the UK.
The book is divided by course, with each chef contributing one or several recipes. Perhaps that is what makes this book so interesting. The recipes are as diverse as the chefs. The Fish chapter has 54 delicious recipes from twenty or so chefs and covers sea fish, shellfish and fresh water fish. Every cooking method is included: pan-frying, poaching, sousing, braising, searing and grilling.
The dessert chapter illustrates very well the different approach each chef has taken. Atul Kochar has Passion Fruit Bhapa Doi with Chocolate Mousse and Pistachio Kulfi. Yum! Marcus Waring presents Custard Tart but with Garibaldi Biscuits. (Was Garibaldi British? Was he Garry Baldy?) Although the dishes are smart and cheffy, they would all be easily made by a home cook.
There is a useful section at the end of the book: British produce – what’s in season when. People tell us to eat fruit and veg when it’s in season but unless you have an allotment or a vegetable patch in your garden you might not know when leeks are in season. There is also a chef directory so you can find out more about the authors of these scrumptious dishes.
Great British Food will be welcomed by anyone who loves British food but equally by anyone who just enjoys good food. The recipes are superb and not an over-boiled sprout in sight!
Cookbook review: Great British Food
Published by: Dorling Kindersley
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018