Chef Richard Guest has written Jam with Lamb – Seasonal West Country Cooking with delectable and evocative photographs by Nick Smith.
Richard Guest? He might not be a household name and he hasn’t got a series…yet. He has worked at the Savoy Hotel’s River Restaurant under the great Anton Adleman, worked with Jean Christoph Novelli, and has had his own Michelin Star and numerous other awards. Perhaps I should mention that you can find Richard working as chef at Taunton’s famous Castle Hotel. You can assume this young man knows about food.
Jam with Lamb isn’t just a lovely list of recipes. It’s a very personal and chatty book with lots of information about suppliers – not just web sites, although there is a comprehensive directory, but human stories. It gives a lovely insight into Richard’s professional life and the passion he has for food, the West Country, and the world of a chef.
This is British cooking at its finest. Fresh and seasonal ingredients treated with respect and presented in the most inviting fashion. It’s good to see again some dishes that have gone out of favour like Stew and Dumplings, Roast Pork with Crackling.
The recipes are divided by season and those recipes are a delight. There aren’t lots of exotic imported ingredients, apart from a few exceptions like spices and chocolate. The dishes are both traditional and new. There is Slow-cooked Brisket but it is served with a Confit of Winter Roots and Creamed Potato. Richard has a tempting custard tart but it’s Dark Chocolate Custard Tart with a Cherry Compote.
The recipes are a chef’s creation but you could make all of these at home. They are written with meticulous attention to detail so even quite a novice could attempt these dishes with confidence. There is a good sprinkling of Cook’s Tips to give a bit more background to the little things you wondered about. “To make a cherry vinegar if you are stoning any cherries for compote or jam, just put all the stones in red wine vinegar to infuse…”
Jam with Lamb should be in the collection of all West Country cooks, anyone with any interest in British produce, and any lover of fine food. I look forward to seeing more from Richard Guest in the future.
Jam with Lamb
Author: Richard Guest
Published by: Birlinn Ltd.
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018