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A Cut (Or Two) Above The Rest
on 16 June 2013
'The Complete Nose To Tail : A Kind Of British Cooking' stitches
together Fergus Henderson's two previous tomes ('Nose To Tail Eating :
A Kind Of British Cooking - 2004 and 'Beyond Nose To Tail : A Kind Of
British Cooking : Part II' - 2007, into one heavyweight compilation.
Mr Henderson's celebrated London restaurant St John has been a high
temple of gastronomy to well-heeled carnivores since it opened in 1994.
He works magic with the kind of cuts which would have been thrown away
or sold for next to nothing by butchers twenty years ago (except for
those parts which they secretly and lovingly kept for themselves).
This is buccaneer cuisine; not for the squeamish or weak spirited but
for those with a sense of adventure and a love of simplicity these
dishes may well find a way into your heart (or liver, or kidneys etc).
Together with baker and pastry chef Justin Piers Gellatly much fun has
clearly been had putting this collection together. As you might expect,
iconic dishes such as 'Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad' nudge elbows
with reductive classics like 'Ham In Hay' and 'Pheasant and Pig's Trotter
Pie With Suet Crust', plus nursery puddings to die for : Hurrah for 'Treacle
Tart', 'Queen Of Puddings' and 'Steamed Lemon and Vanilla Syrup Sponge'!
There's a recipe for 'Braised Squirrel' here too should you wish to have a go.
Jason Lowe's photographs capture the spirit of the enterprise wonderfully well.
The grub looks mouth-wateringly good and there are some terrifically macabre
shots of the kitchen crew playing with their food (literally!); perhaps most
striking among them a curiously touching image of a young woman in her blue
and white striped apron tenderly cradling the carcass of a young (I think)
goat in her arms like a latter day Renaissance pieta. Beautifully creepy stuff!
Sadly Mr Henderson is no longer able to turn in a long day at the stove due
to his long and brave struggle with the ravages of Parkinson's Disease but
this splendid volume will forever stand as a testimony to his unique vision.