Andy Bates is the author of Modern Twists on Classic Dishes and a Food Network UK chef and is known for his love of street food. He has followed the best carts and stalls in the UK and in the US, so some might be surprised by his latest book, which has its focus on foods traditionally cooked in a static home kitchen.
This book offers vibrant contemporary recipes reflecting how we want to eat in Britain today, but there is just as much that will be familiar to those lovers of old-fashioned fare – comforting dishes that we crave in this cold climate of financial woe.
The first chapter showcases Pies, and I believe we do these better than any other nation. There are recipes here for the pastry for raised pies, and sweet and savoury shortcrust pies. You can obviously use these doughs with your own fillings but Andy’s suggestions are inspired. Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Pie is a striking pie that takes advantage of ripe summer peppers, courgettes and aubergines. The layered vegetables make colourful strata when slices are cut.
Scotch Eggs are another British staple and they can be a marvel of good-quality and well-seasoned egg-stuffed sausagemeat, or the more common pale, bland and bready articles. Black pudding is enjoying something of a revival and here it’s used, mixed with pork mince meat, as a replacement for the original sausage. This combination results in a richer taste and, I think, a lighter texture.
Perhaps the simplest recipe is for Fromage Fort. This is like a cold fondue made with garlic, leftover strong cheese, white wine and butter. The garlic is processed until fine and then all the other ingredients are added and blended till smooth. This makes a creamy dip that would be a delicious addition to any spread of tapas or a cold meat platter.
A must-try from this book (it’s one of many) is Blueberry Bakewell Tart with Raspberry Chantilly Cream. I am not usually keen on chefs tinkering with much-loved favourites but the addition of these dark berries to the almond filling adds a fruity edge and moisture to the sponge, and elevates the regular Bakewell Tart from an afternoon treat to dinner-party fare.
Modern Twists on Classic Dishes is a delightful melange of old and new, and a culinary snapshot of some of the best British food. The recipes are simple and practical, familiar and surprising.
Modern Twists on Classic Dishes
Author: Andy Bates
Published by: Accent Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018