Britain is an island. So it goes without saying that we are surrounded by water and have had a close relationship with the sea. Surprising, therefore, that are still so many of us who are not fish eaters. Home cooks have not had a good reputation for preparing tasty fish, and we so often resort to the chippy for some battered haddock. Well, they tell us that fish is good for us, don’t they? So shall I make that two haddock and large chips, please? No, that’s not the idea! The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook offers alternatives.
We should be eating more fish, it’s true. We have an amazing choice of seafood of all kinds, both domestic and imported, but what to do with it? Chef Vivek Singh has penned this book with the home cook in mind. The recipes are accessible and will show you exactly what to do with the fishmonger’s wares, and to great effect.
Not only is The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook a practical recipe book but it’s a visual stunner. Photographer Jean Cazals has a reputation for some of the best food photography around. This is a good representation of his excellent work. Unfussy shots to encourage you into the kitchen.
The Cinnamon Club is celebrated for its fine Indian and fusion food. Vivek offers culinary marvels of both taste and presentation, but he has a kitchen full of well-trained and passionate staff, doesn’t he? His books, however, enable us civilians to cook food that is both impressive and well within the grasp of the enthusiastic home cook. A glance at the lists of ingredients might be off-putting to the faint-hearted but on closer inspection you’ll find that it’s mostly spices and you’ll doubtless have them lurking at the back of your larder anyway. Time to move them to the front and buy some fish.
Whitebait was once a common item on menus and even for Saturday teatime. These little fish are eaten whole so they are perhaps a good starting point for those who are unsure about piscatorial preparation. Vivek offers Whitebait in Garlic and Pepper Batter. That batter is a cut above that which houses your chip-shop haddock. This recipe is simple: Mix batter ingredients together. Add fish. Leave for ten minutes. Fry for two minutes. Eat. I defy you to make this just once. Use sprats if you can’t get whitebait. Another recipe for delicious little morsels is that for South Indian Shrimp Pickle. Another simple recipe that produces stylish nibbles for your next cocktail party. A must-try.
A recipe which I shall make often and pass off as my own is for Red Snapper with Ginger-Jaggery Chutney. Another easy dish in two parts. The chutney has Indian cane sugar as one of its main ingredients. It’s easy to find these days in any Asian supermarket but if you live in a lighthouse you could use a dark brown sugar.
The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook offers more than 130 recipes for fish and seafood in all its guises, as well as suitable accompaniments. It’s a book to inspire, encourage and tempt. Vivek Singh does not expect you to be a budding chef. His recipes are well-written and easy to follow. He steers you to dishes that will delight and impress and you won’t need a catering qualification to achieve good results. Jean’s pictures make this a gift-quality book and I look forward to more from Vivek Singh and the Cinnamon Club team.
The Cinnamon Club Seafood Cookbook
Author: Vivek Singh
Published by: Absolute Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018