I love bottling, jam-making, marmalade-making and the like and I have quite a few books on the subject but Preserved is a little different. It considers all preserved foods and doesn’t have a focus just on making tasty sweet things, although there are still plenty of those to be found within these covers.
Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton have written a witty and visually stunning book (thanks to photography by Peter Cassidy) with a foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. There are recipes aplenty but also advice on making your own smoker and, truth to tell, I am rather tempted. There are also sections on salting, fermenting, infusing and preserving in alcohol.
The recipes are inspiring. Fruit Leather is a favourite with kids and a good way of getting them to eat something that’s good for them. The recipe for Fruits of the Forest Leather contains no added sugar nor E numbers but just a little honey to sweeten. This is pricey stuff to buy in health food stores but costs very little if you make fruit leather from, say, blackberries you have gathered yourself.
Flavoured oils have always been a stunning price. Yes, a lot has to do with packaging but it should be the goods inside the classy bottle that holds your interest. It’s simple to make at home and how cool would it be to enjoy your own Chilli Oil, Horseradish Oil, Lemon or Garlic Oil.
Black Bean Sauce is high on my list of must trys. If you don’t use the ready-fermented black beans then you are in for a wait of several years, so I would counsel a trip to your nearest Asian supermarket to buy them ready-prepared. Sweet Chilli Sauce is another that will soon fill my larder shelves, and Oriental Plum Sauce stays with the theme of exotic condiments.
Oranges in Brandy couldn’t be easier. They look stunning, make marvellous gifts and are the quickest, classiest dessert known to woman. These would rank as Christmas essentials, as would Pickled Roasted Peppers. Whilst it’s true that the job of peeling roasted peppers is best left to someone (anyone) else, it’s worth the effort.
Preserved is a book that I’ll use often but also one that I’ll give as a Christmas gift along with a basket of sweet and savoury eatables made with recipes from its pages. I am very impressed. It’s a thoroughly amusing read and great value for money.
Cookbook review: Preserved
Authors: Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton
Published by: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018