The title evokes pictures of colonial plantations with a menu of Anglo-Indian dishes and probably jam roly-poly in sweltering heat. That vision could not be further from the truth. This is all about classy and contemporary Indian cooking which manages to give a nod to that other fine cuisine… French.
The authors, Iqbal Wahhab and Vivek Singh, present us with a book filled with recipes from their celebrated Cinnamon Club restaurant in Westminster, London. This is a cut above (in fact many cuts above) your high-street curry house. This magnificent building is home to elegant dining, and it just happens to be Indian dining.
There is a move away from the long-familiar, standard fare on offer at the local take-away. We have travelled to the subcontinent and eaten in Asian friends’ homes in the UK, so we know that there is something better to be had. The Cinnamon Club Cookbook introduces a new concept which combines the best of Indian food with the presentation that we would normally expect from an up-market eatery in Paris. The authors have added wine recommendations which will be a relief to those of us who yearn for something other than a pint of Cobra with our spicy meals.
The recipes are surprising and tempting. Rabbit Tikka is ideal cooked on the barbeque with a nice chilled glass of Syrah from the Languedoc in France alongside. Spice-crusted Rib Eye of Beef with Masala Sautéed Potatoes would make an exotic change for Sunday lunch, served with wine from the Douro Valley in Portugal.
My favourite dishes are the accompaniments. Rajasthani Chickpea Dumplings with Yoghurt is a dish not often found on restaurant menus. Punjabi Black Lentils with Tomatoes and Cream would make a meal alone with just some fresh roti. But the chapter with the most comfort food has got to be Breakfast with such delights as Potato-stuffed Parathas, and Haleem which is a lamb stew with lentils and wheat. OK, so it’s a substantial meal but lovely on a cold winter morning.
Cinnamon Club Cookbook is a book packed with innovation. It will elevate home cooking to something for those special occasions when you want to get out the real napkins and buy a good bottle of wine.
Some say that there are three outstanding cuisines in the world: French, Chinese and Indian. For me Indian food is at the top of the list for flavour, colour and variety. It’s a cuisine I long to learn more about and the more I learn the more I realise I don’t know. The Cinnamon Club Cookbook is a delightful tool to continue my education.
Cinnamon Club Cookbook
Authors: Iqbal Wahhab and Vivek Singh
Published by: Absolute Press
ISBN 13: 978904573012
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018