GR returns with a selection of his favourite recipes from 'world cuisine' with a personal 'tweak', to help simplify and encourage the cooking of them in our own kitchens.
And with the 'sample recipe selection', provided by Amazon (please see above) it is easy to peruse a selection of the actual recipes and the general format to get an idea of the degree of difficulty and whether this is one's 'type of cookery book'.
In this latest GR offering we find recipes for the more well-known dishes such as 'Moussaka', 'Lemon Soufflé', and 'Seafood Risotto', mingling with less familiar and intriguing titles such as 'Spanakopita' and 'Cinnamon Kulfi'.
And, from the opening note for that aforementioned 'Lemon Soufflé':-
'It is really not that tricky to make a soufflé and I'm determined to prove it!
Those of you who shy away from them, please give this recipe a go. The secret lies.......'
One cannot help but admire the genuine enthusiasm GR wants to transfer to the reader, with a good level of success, if my experience is anything to go by!
GR decorates the dust-jacket of this publication, as usual......but if you'd rather he didn't......a bright red hardboard cover opens to 256 pages, split into main chapters:-
6. Middle Eastern
sandwiched between an introduction and a comprehensive index.
Each chapter opens with a double title page showing a simple, relevant ingredient on the left and a relevant paragraph on the right, then follow the recipes. The relevant 'cuisine' is also clearly shown in capital letters at the bottom of the pages.
Each recipe is clearly laid out with the title, an opening note, the number of servings, the list of ingredients and the method, finishing with serving ideas, if applicable.
Typical GR chatter throughout, e.g. from the opening recipe:-
'Brandade on Garlic Toasts
This is my take on the classic brandade. Instead of salted cod, which calls for lengthy soaking, I gently poach fresh cod in olive oil to achieve a tender and succulent result.
For a delicious starter, serve the brandade and garlic toasts with a lightly dressed mixed salad and chilled crisp, dry white wine.'
And....for starters....that will do me nicely, thank you!
A small taste of the other recipes contained within the covers:-
* Navarin of Lamb with Spring Vegetables
* Chocolate Crêpes with Chantilly Cream
* Griddled Courgettes with Prosciutto
* Spinach and Feta Filo Rolls
* Falafel with Tahini Sauce
* Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragù
* Marsala Roasted Figs with Zabaglione
* Red Braised Pork Belly
* White Bean and Vegetable Soup (an even simpler version of this recipe is shown in the video clip!)
* Taramasalata with Home-Made Pitta
* Tortilla (Madrid-style)
* Paella with Chicken and Chorizo
* Cod with Romesco Sauce (featured in the sample recipe selection)
* Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
* Fish Pie with Leeks and Prawns
* Pad Thai with Prawns
* Spicy Stir Fried Vegetables
* Onion Bhajis with Spicy Green Sauce
* Chicken Madras
* Chicken Pot Pie
* Barbecued Short Ribs with Coleslaw
With a brighter, maybe even fresher finish than of late, this book generally has a less 'rushed-to-publication' look about it -almost more 'up-market', if one is able to say that about the product of a several Michelin-star chef!
It is more than generously interspersed with super photographic work - one of all the finished dishes - and the usual smattering of GR himself, but in less 'ad hoc' situations with this book portraying a more culinary-based, albeit casual picture, such as GR showing sometimes harder to grasp techniques, e.g.:-
* Preparing and Pan-frying Scallops
* Shaping Ravioli
* Shaping Dolmades
It also has Gordon's popular 2-page '5 ways with' ('quick-glance' recipes), e.g.:-
* 5 ways with Steak
* 5 ways with Chinese Greens
My overall favourite recipe, to date, is - (the simplified but just as aromatic) 'Lamb Biryani', from pages 218/219
'Amaretto and Chocolate Torte', from pages 56/57, very accurately described as an 'irresistible chocolate torte'!
It can be made in advance and popped in the fridge to emerge at a later stage, with that 'one I made earlier' air!
And....with Christmas just around the corner (at the time of writing), I am really looking forward to using my inevitable leftovers and trying 'Celery and Stilton Soup with Stilton Toasts'!
Overall, an ambitious sounding book which aims to 'up the ante' in the home cooking and entertaining front:-
'....I hope that the recipes will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new every week.....'
(From the introduction:-
'Any ingredient that is not found at a major grocery chain may require a trip to an Oriental, Middle Eastern or Asian food store, but think of these sorties less as an inconvenience but more of a route to discovery......')