Hawksmoor at Home by Huw Gott – review

Hawksmoor at Home by Huw Gott – review

I am, and it’s evident to you, dear regular reader, not only a restaurant reviewer but a cookbook reviewer. I love my work and almost every book that passes across my desk (IKEA computer stand) has a recipe or two to which I will return, time after time. I can’t say the same for Hawksmoor at Home.

Hawksmoor at Home Now that’s got your attention. I can’t say that there are only one or two recipes that I might cook from time to time: I would cook the vast majority of these over and over again. This is in my top 5 cookbooks reviewed for the whole year. It’s the book that, had I not already reviewed, I should have enjoyed receiving as a gift on Christmas morning, a book to leaf through and actually read. OK, so I won’t be doing a lot of that during Yuletide, but this is truly a food almanac not only of beef-based recipes but of all manner of British fare.

Many “foodies” wax lyrical about French culinary flair, vibrant Italian dishes, and Spanish tapas have never been more popular; but, in typical British fashion, we ignore our own heritage of quality ingredients cooked with care. We were the inventors of the steakhouse but we imagine that it’s the sole preserve of our cousins from across the pond. Hawksmoor continues to carry the British carnivore torch with great style, in their steakhouses and now with this eponymous book.

Steak is a treat for most of us these days so we need to know how to make the best of it. Plenty of advice here for cooking various steaks, everything from Sirloin to Chateaubriand. You will want a sauce to complement your meat, and there are several classics like béarnaise sauce and peppercorn sauce, but also some others that are worthy of garnishing your perfectly-prepared protein. Gentleman’s Relish is popular chez nous, and Hawksmoor have a recipe for those who want to try their hands at this celebrated spread. Anchovies are the key ingredient: no, it won’t make your steak taste like a kipper but it will add a particularly salty savouriness that is truly unique.

Hawksmoor seafood recipes are just as enticing. The Battered Oyster Roll has my vote for delicious succulence and it’s a take on the New Orleans po’ boy, although oysters have also been popular in Britain for hundreds of years. A little different, as this version has the oysters dipped in batter rather than being crumbed. Hawksmoor do offer a hot dog but I am bound to promote the truly British oyster over an iffy sausagey thing that seems to be a staple in the US and in DIY store car parks in the UK. Granted, Hawksmoor have elevated theirs, but hot dogs are like marmite: you love them or hate them. If you are a sausage aficionado then try instead the Hawksmoor sausage mix, and (assuming you are British) swell with pride that we do bangers better than anyone.

Puds are here in profusion and they are a collection of traditional stunners. My favourite is Queen of Puddings. Sounds rather grand but it is in fact a rather humble dessert crowned with meringue. The monarch in question is Queen Victoria and the pud was first presented to her in Manchester. There is also, just to add to the confusion, a version called Manchester Pudding: the same thing sans breadcrumbs and minus the meringue topping.

Hawksmoor at Home is one of the must-haves of 2011. It’s an absorbing read with many an informative historic anecdote as well as rather good recipes. A book that will be well received by the blokey food lovers, but there is plenty here for everyone – family meals as well as dinner-party dishes.

Hawksmoor at Home
Author: Huw Gott, Will Beckett and Richard Turner
Published by: Preface
Price: £25.00
ISBN 978-18480-9335-5


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018