An unusual cookbook and great gift - geographically inspired recipes,
This review is from: Britain: The Cookbook (Hardcover)
Rather than using the traditional allocation of recipes by course, this book first divides into geographical area of Britain and then some specially selected local ingredients. I think that this book would make a welcome addition to any cook's cookbook shelf as it includes some unusual ingredients. This is not a cookbook to buy for an all-round basic knowledge of British cookery like how to make the perfect Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings or Apple Pie, but rather some very British foods have inspired Phil Vickery to create (or occasionally recreate) some unusual, but delicious new recipes.
The book is split into 10 chapters relating to different parts of the country,
1.The West Country,
7.Cumbria and the North-West,
8.Yorkshire and the North-East,
Then within each of these geographical areas, Phil Vickery takes his inspirations from some local ingredients. For example, from "The West Country" there are 4 diverse recipes drawn from Cornish sardines, 3 inspired by Sheppy's cider farm (but the ingredients in the recipe are not specifically Sheppys!), 3 are based on smoked eel thanks to Brown & Forrest a family firm who smoke silver eels in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset, 3 more fishy recipes based on his own personal experience of fishing for sea bass, there are 4 Clotted cream recipes ,as this is a very Cornish product, but with specific reference to A.E. Rodda's creamery (although a couple are using it to serve, rather than in the recipe, which is perhaps a bit of a cheat, although the recipes are delicious!) and the final inspiration in the area is blueberries grown by the Trehane family in Dorset give the chapter its final 5 delicious recipes. Each ingredient is treated to a full page with anecdotes and information and then each recipe in itself has a few more lines particular to that recipe, often with tips as to how to get the perfect result, some of which are supremely helpful.
The whole book is filled with beautifully shot photos of the ingredients, taken by Steve Lee, the recipes and the places they have come from, which makes this as much of a joy to the eye as the resulting recipes will be joy to the tum and certainly wouldn't look out of place as a coffee table book for browsing.
A lot of the recipes are a little too much for me to manage during the week - although there are some great ones like, Simple Smoked Salmon Kedgeree (in the Scotland section for Smoked Salmon - no surprise) and Beef Simmered in Beer with Flat Mushrooms (South-East - Beer) and the Caerphilly and Smoked Paprika dip, which are quite simple even for someone who is learning or has limited time for fiddly preparation.
Some of the more intriguing recipes in my eyes are Pheasant Curry (The Midlands - Game), Pigs' Trotters with five-spice and honey glaze (Cumbria and the North-West - Pork), Sweet and Sour Rhubarb with Slow Roast Duck legs (Yorkshire and the North-East - Rhubarb) and Watercress and Nettle Bread (The South - Watercress) and the simple sounding Boiled Crab with Mayonnaise (East Anglia - Crabs) (which calls for 2 live crabs!) I'd happily give them all a go (may not be brave enough for the live crab recipe, but I'll try another like Cromer Crab and Sweetcorn Ramekins with Melba Toasts!)
One little disappointment for me was the way the book seem to stop short. The final chapter on Ireland is only given one ingredient - Honey, with just 3 recipes, which as you can see compared to the first chapter seems rather sparse and I had been looking forward to finding out a bit more....