The smiling faces of John and Gregg adorn the durable hardboard cover which opens to 400 high quality shiny pages, spilt over main chapters:-
* Vegetables & Fish
sandwiched between individual forewords from the 4 judges:-
* John Torode
* Gregg Wallace
* Michael Roux Jr.
* Monica Galetti
and a 14-page index.
The last page lists the contributing chefs and the 'inspired by' recipes are attributed accordingly, a few to celebrities, based on the original dishes and written by Amy Carter.
Each chapter has a simple two page opening, a brightly coloured page on the left and the title with a simple snapshot photo of one of the recipes, then straight into the first recipe without further ado.
Each recipe is well laid out with the colourful title in capitals at the very top of the page then the accreditation, followed by the prep. & cooking times; the number of servings; the list(s) of ingredients and a clear numbered method.
Occasionally a recipe runs over more than one page.
For the majority of recipes, there is supplementary information on a range of applicable subjects, in the form of a 'MASTER TIP', e.g.:-
* Blanching Vegetables
* Truffles and Lardo
* Caramelizing Fruit
* Making Beurre Blanc
* Making the Ravioli
* Boning a Pork Loin
* Red Thai Curry Paste
* Chipotle Chillies
some of which also carry useful step-by-step photography, e.g.:-
* Making Fresh Chicken Stock
* Making Risotto
* Extracting the Meat from a Cooked Lobster
* Making Custard
* Preparing Kidneys
* Using a Pasta Machine
* Skinning Dover Sole
* Preparing a Flat Fish
* Cleaning Mussels
There is also a scattering of enthusiastic judge comments, such as:-
'The vinaigrette gives sharpness and sweetness to the wonderful deep richness of the venison. The peppery addition of watercress is inspirational.'
Gregg Wallace on 'Carpaccio of Venison with Watercress Salad and a Raspberry Vinaigrette'.
All of this almost surreptitiously adds up to confidence building for those who need it to attempt to replicate the recipes and embellishments for those more experienced.
A small taste of the other recipes contained within:-
* Dorset Apple Soup with Walnut Scones
* Gazpacho with Mediterranean Scones
* Indonesian Noodle Soup
* Baked Asparagus wrapped in Parma Ham
* Wild Mushroom Bruschetta
* Mushroom, Leek and Ale Pie
* Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan
* Steamed Sea Bass with Spiced Broth
* Roast Turbot with Lobster and Lobster Cream Sauce
* Seafood Tagine with Flat Bread
* Baked Ricotta Cake with Roasted Cardamom Vegetables
* Braised Wild Hare with Pearl Barley Risotto
* Chicken Sukka with Sweet Rice
* Chicken Breast filled with Liver served with Madeira Cream Sauce
* Duck with Cherry Sauce and Parsnip Purée
* Rack of Lamb with a Cabbage Parcel, Shallot Purée and a Red Wine Jus
* Fillet Steak with Beetroot Rosti and Red Wine Jus
* Steak and Kidney Pie with Mash and Broccoli
* Thai Beef Massaman Curry with Jasmine Rice
* Pork Tenderloin on a Bed of Fennel
* Roast Partridge with Game Jus
* Summer Pudding Kir Royale
* Strawberry Mousse with Shortbread
* Pears Belle Hélène
* Ras Malai
* Baked Ginger Pear Crumble
* Tangerine Soufflé
* Chocolate Cappuccino Cups
* St Emilion au Chocolat
* Baked Lime Cheesecake with Rum Cream
Tried and tasted, to date:-
'Ricotta and Lemon Ravioli' (with fresh pasta from the step-by-step recipe given)
'Fillet of Beef in a Red Wine Jus with Colcannon, Carrots & Broccoli'
'Sticky Toffee Pudding':-
The latter recipe from Wendi Peters, actress & 2009 finalist - commented by John Torode:-
'This is one seriously sexy pudding! The butterscotch sauce is sweet and rich and I love the taste of those dates! I've been cooking for 25 years and you taught me how to do a sticky toffee pudding properly. I thank you for that.'
Credit where credit is due, straight from an expert!
I haven't been cooking quite as long but that aforementioned sauce tops an exceedingly good pud, to coin a phrase!
Overall, this is a very well-produced chunky tome and my favourite 'kind of cookbook''.
Although on a casual flick through it seems well-balanced, I do feel that it is a little light on pictures of the finished dishes, which could well prove negative for those of us who like to see what we are aiming for on the plate.
For example, in the starter section there is a run of 6 recipes, albeit soups, without a picture at all.
Having said that, the dishes which are pictured are simply mouth-watering and seriously encouraging, so maximum credit to recipe photographer - William Reavell.
This afternoon, The MasterChef Cookbook
is on my kitchen countertop, open and ready to try:-
'Black and Redcurrant Fool with Ginger Biscuits', from pages 290/291,
pictured opposite the content's page in the 'look inside' facility, above.
Just the tonic for a seriously hot Friday in the UK, for a change!
The weekend starts here!