I was expecting something special. It was coming from Face Publications and their books are superb! I wasn’t disappointed with Hook Line Sinker!
Hook Line Sinker – A Seafood Cookbook by Galton Blackiston impresses before one even opens the cover: the pages are edged in shining silver. The transparent dust jacket shimmers. A quality presentation which suggests attention to detail, and that is so often lacking in cookbooks these days. The foreword by Michel Roux OBE also suggests that this is likely to be a worthy culinary tome.
Chef Blackiston has evident passion for, and skill with, all things piscatorial, but he is also a realist. His recipes are not over-cheffy although some dishes might introduce the home cook to a new skill, and that’s no bad thing. Everything here is achievable without a professional kitchen and there are lots of recipes that won’t bust the housekeeping budget either.
I admire this chef. He admits he didn’t have any formal training but dived in at the metaphoric deep end, learned on the job and read books. He has gone from strength to strength and is now a voice in the industry, and a recognised face on many a TV cooking show.
Whitebait with a wasabi aioli
We have a great variety of fish available in the UK these days. Galton makes good use of them and the local catch is here in fishy abundance. Smoked haddock is included in a vibrant pea and lime soup. Roast cod is served with aubergines, feta and roasted tomatoes to waft one right back to sunnier climes. Whitebait, one of my favourites, is given a twist with a wasabi aioli.
Good to see some great-value and often under-rated oily fish included. Grilled sardines are a taste of the summer and Galton offers these with a seaweed gremolata with samphire. Mackerel tart doesn’t cost the earth but it’s a visual stunner and good enough for any dinner party. The cook even has permission to use shop-bought puff pastry. I will bake this with no shame. Presentation and a sharp knife are the keys with this one.
Small brown shrimps have long been a coastal favourite and here they are in a risotto. This is creamy and rich and a real winner. It would work well as a main course, a fish course or a starter. It’s not expensive but it does have impact. Well worth trying.
I have several recommendations from Hook Line Sinker: Galton’s luxurious fish pie, salt and pepper squid – much loved in Asian restaurants – and salmon and goat’s cheese rolls. Having said that, it’s probable that I’ll be cooking a different selection next week, as I munch my way through the book!
Hook Line Sinker is gift-quality and inspiring. It will encourage any fish and seafood lover into the kitchen. That’s what a good cookbook should do, isn’t it?
Hook Line Sinker
Author: Galton Blackiston
Published by: Face Publications
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018