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Let's celebrate Salmagundi - an inspirational book
on 8 August 2014
In this examination of salads, Sally Butcher has spread her wings. She does not confine herself to Middle Eastern cooking but "has gone beyond" and looks at salads in many different forms from all over the world. They are "fresh * seasonal * hot * cold * simple * exotic"
As with all her books, we get recipes, history, information and stories and the most beautiful photographs. It is a pleasure to hold and to read, but I suspect that anyone who picks it up just for the joy of looking at it, will soon be tempted to start using the recipes.
The book starts with an introduction which looks at the theory and practice of salad making from earliest times. The chapters that follow are classified by main ingredients, which I always find most useful, as I tend to plan my cooking depending on what I've got handy, rather than deciding on a recipe and going out to buy ingredients. This doesn't always work out exactly, but if you don't have all the correct ingredients, Sally Butcher's recipes are a wonderful jumping off point for your own inspirations.
The book ends with two chapters - The Dressing Room and The Prop Cupboard - and an extensive index. The Dressing Room tells you everything you need to know about dressings - how they work - what goes with what - fatless dressings - how to add a hint of sourness - emulsions - as well as specific recipes. It is an invitation to experiment. The Prop Cupboard, to quote, suggests how you can add "edible bling" to tired or boring salads to make them special and enticing.
My favourite recipes: Biryani Salad with Raitha Dressing and Black Forest Ham Salad with Sour Cherries - delicious (but so are the rest!)