What has the spiky-haired one in store for us this time? Gary Rhodes at the Table
is, he says, "a compilation of courses and recipes, which will hopefully encourage more of us to be drawn back to this great, social eating place". Back, one assumes, from the TV dinner and the take-away eaten on the hoof. Admirable motive; and a very generous selection of recipes, over 140 divided between Appetizers, Soups, Fish, Mains (with Vegetable annex), Desserts and Savouries. Even the dust-jacket bodes well, showing Rhodes actually sitting at a table. Essentially the purpose of the book is encourage the re-introduction of a la carte
dining, where the individual courses--from one or two to as many as six--complement each other and form a harmonious whole. As this might suggest, this is restaurant food for the home, portioned, plated and self-consciously presented; and requiring on the whole a fair amount of work.
As complete courses in themselves, most of the dishes carry a garnish: the "Chicken Liver Pate" appetiser comes with "Bramley Apple Jelly"; "Steamed and Roasted Salt Cod" arrives with "Baby Fennel and Lemon-garlic Potatoes" (there is a lot of fennel in this book: fennel, someone said recently, is the new beetroot); "Roast Loin of Lamb" sits on "Leek Greens" and is accompanied by a "Lamb-kidney Sausage"; while the "Frozen White Chocolate Mousse" is sandwiched between "Honey Wafers", topped with "Port-wine Figs" and encircled by trails of "Spicy Red-wine Sauce". Formidable and attractive stuff, more challenging than the plainer British roots cooking of Rhodes' previous productions and perhaps more representative of his own restaurant style. The strange not-quite-English kitchen argot is as recognisable as ever, and the production and photography are of the highest standard, although the frothy sauces partially enveloping many dishes do rather look as though the Blob has arrived from outer space. --Robin Davidson
Want to impress your friends with a perfectly matched dinner? Want to just give your partner a fabulous meal a deux? Or do you really want to show off and prepare a large family dinner which leaves everyone feeling replete but not overly full. Gary Rhodes explains how to mix and match dishes to provide a balanced menu of delicious food for your guests. From simple starters such as crispy prawn cocktail to the more complex pressed rabbit terrine through to warm salmon quiche lorraine, steak and kidney sausages with caramalized onions, red-wine beef lasagne and roast loin of lamb, he clearly explains each recipe with an introduction to the main ingredients followed by the method of cooking. And as for desserts.. In true Rhodes style they embrace fresh produce with exotic accompaniments: toasted apricots on warm, sugared custard toasts, warm whole lemon and almond pudding with fresh raspberries and, not forgetting chocolate lovers, glasses of dark chocolate mousse with icy frothy coffee milkshakes and hot chocolate souffl with chocolate sauce. A must for all home entertainers and culinary gastronomes. - Lucy Watson
--This text refers to the