Around the World in 80 Dishes: Classic Recipes from the World's Favourite Chefs Hardcover – 1 Apr 2012
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He's best friends with Jamie, has Heston and Gordon on speed dial... so is it any wonder acclaimed food photographer has just written his first cookbook? * Grazia * [A] lovely new book... Loftus has written a fascinating travelogue peppered with stories about his work and featuring 80 recipes - one for every day of Fogg's odyssey - many of them contributed by the stellar role call of chefs he has worked with... * Irish Times Weekend Magazine * The stories and images of some of the most inspiring and delicious recipes that the photographer encountered from Europe to the Middle East. * The Times *
David Loftus, one of the world's leading food photographers, brings together some of the world's greatest chefs - including Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Nigella Lawson - in 2012's most stylish cookbook.See all Product description
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David Loftus has a warm, friendly and informative writing style too, so much so that I would love to see him do more cooking or food-related writing in future. If it's possible to get away from behind the camera for long enough. I do want to thoroughly recommend it for other readers who love cooking and admire the wonderful images he makes that brings cookery books alive, but, unfortunately there are a few problems.
It is a compilation book, mostly. For some home cooks, myself included, this can be an ideal way to introduce new or old recipes that encourage further discovery. For others it will mean duplication of recipes as I spotted one I already have in another book. Understandably, Jamie Oliver features quite strongly with nine recipes included overall. As I'm not really into all of Jamie Oliver's recipes I don't know if these have been included in his other books.
There's something a bit odd going on with quantities. Recipes can range between 2-4 person servings, then from 6-10 people. It does make me wonder why the recipes contributed weren't edited or standardised for 2-6 people? Delightful as Nigella Lawson's Overnight Lamb Shanks with Honey and Figs looks; I'm unlikely to be cooking for ten people and would not try the recipe without knowing how the flavour is effected when halving quantities.
The text theme, based on Jules Verne's novel "Around the World in Eighty Days", is not intrusive and gives an insight into the imagination and experiences of Mr. Loftus too. However, this does lead to at least one choice that I find hard to understand why it wasn't pulled in proofing or editing. A recipe for Basque Chicken is given by Tony Milford Jr. who is a member of the Navajo Nation. The wince-inducing header passage is Phileas Fogg and Co. fighting off an attack from 'Native Indian warriors' and uses a quote that was entirely acceptable for 1873 but sounds an unpleasant stereotype for 2012. I don't think it looks the most sympathetic decision to use that particular imagery when it reflects on a real-life contributor.
The book is absolutely passionate about including food photos but this is where it can be disappointing in quality and presentation. It has the luxury of an image of the completed dish for every recipe which seems wonderful, or it did, until I realised that it's not a good idea to rely on them. Shallots are visible in the Spiced Duck Legs image which are definitely not in the ingredient list and the Malai Jhingri Poppadums show different prawns to the ingredients and a much lighter sauce than the recipe creates. I love good food photography but not when it edges into being misleading. These seem strange errors for such an experienced professional too.
What is also lacking for photos is gloss paper, it's all matte and has less sharpness and clarity. I'm guessing this was a sensible choice for pricing reasons, so that it didn't become an expensive coffee table book. The paper looks good quality but the best things about Mr. Loftus' style, his use of light, capturing the essence of food, is somewhat dulled. It might just be part of an error on the print run but the book smells really strongly of benzene (a print production cleaning chemical).
I do find the book good for interesting and diverse recipes along with the relaxed personality of a wonderful photographer. With some tighter, more thoughtful, editing and good quality gloss paper for the photos it would have been greatly improved.
Rather than breaking down chapters into starters, salads, mains, desserts, sides and so on, it is broken down by geographical regions (the chapter titles in chronological order are: London: The Journey Begins, Europe, Egypt & The Middle East, India, Asia & The Orient, America, The Atlantic Crossing and Great Britain: The End of the Journey). This non-standard layout can make the book seem a bit jumbled and random. For me there are too many conserves/chutney, cocktails, salads and soups with not enough main courses and desserts. The serving sizes vary too much. This I suppose is a consequence of using recipes from many different chefs, but it all adds to the confused feeling of the book. It it hard to be sure but with some of the recipes the photographs seem to include ingredients not in the recipe. The layout of the book just seems all wrong to me, and the look and feel of the book I don't like. It's hard work to look through all the clutter to read the recipes. It all seems like an attempt to be very artistic, which may appeal to some people but unfortunately not to me. The quality of the recipes is what I'm mainly looking for and sadly on that count this book is a bit of a let down. I can see by the handful of reviews already on Amazon that some people take the completely opposite view, but for me I couldn't recommend this book to anyone as there are far better recipe books with a worldwide flavour to them.
For the record, the recipes (and their creators) are as follows:
Sybil Kapoor: Grilled mackerel with gooseberry relish
Alexis Soyer: Mushroom ketchup for a blood-red steak
David Loftus: Rhubarb and gooseberry charlotte
Danyel Couet: Conserve de thon 'Tuna in a jar'
Danyel Couet: Danyel's filled camembert
Georgie Socratous: Strawberries and borage with flaked almonds
Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers: Focaccia with black grapes
David Loftus: Sweet treats for a summer's day (Una fragola surgelata con cioccolato; Apple timbale with pine nuts)
Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers: Three great pastas (Linguine with broad beans; Farfalle with prosciutto, mint and peas; Tagliatelle carbonara with prosciutto)
Gennaro Contaldo: Gennaro's pasta and bean soup
Andy Harris: Egyptian lentil soup
Andy Harris: Classic ful medames
Debbie Loftus: Fresh figs with hot espresso syrup
Debbie Loftus: Date and coffee loaf
Nigella Lawson: Overnight lamb shanks with figs and honey
David Loftus: Chicken tagine with lemon and olives
Jamie Oliver: Jamies seafood risotto
Dr Loftus and Danyel Couet: Indian chutney and pickle (Dr Loftus's sweet and spicy tomato chutney; Danyel Couet's pickles à la pêche)
Jamie Oliver: Jungle rabbit two ways (Jamie's Italian marinade for rabbit; Jamie's classic tikka marinade)
Dr Loftus: Masoor dhal
Rosie Scott: Boti kebabs
Dr Loftus: Spice cookies (Blind date cookies; Gunning gingerbread cookies; Cardamom fork cookies)
Bella Bellissima: Bella's cocktails (Aromatic spiced tea; Aouda's champagne cocktail)
Sarah Tildesley: Fragrant Bengal fishcakes
Anna Jones: Piyajkolir tarkari: Bengali pawns
Ravinder Bhogal: Malai jhingri poppadoms
Atul Kochhar: Nizami subj kathi: Spicy vegetable wraps
Sybil Kapoor: Sybil's sticky orange, kashmiri chilli and vodka cake
Andy Harris: Andaman island squid and pineapple
Jake Tilson: Nasi goreng
Anna Jones: Gado gado
Sarah Tildesley: Tiddly's chicken laksa
Rachel Khoo: Wontons in a smoky broth
Guy Botham: Singapore sling
Andy Harris: Chilli crab
Anna Jones: Coconut, nutmeg and pistachio ice cream crunch bombs
Jody Vassallo: Vietnamese spring rolls
Adam Perry Lang: Apl's beef back ribs
David Loftus: Poppy seed French toast
Jamie Oliver: Sweet duck legs cooked with star anise
Sarah Tildesley: Coconut, lime and mint granita
Jody Vassallo: Jody's green tea noodles with tofu
Sybil Kapoor: Sweet spiced beef with green beans
Pete Begg: Crispy tempura
Jamie Oliver and Gennaro Contaldo: Yokohama carpaccio (Jamie Oliver's fresh mackerel cooked in pomegranate, lime juice and tequila; Gennaro Contaldo's carpaccio di branzino con pompelmo rosa)
David Loftis: Chilled minted cucumber and honeydew soup
Alice Waters: Lovage burgers
Caesar Cardini: Caesar salad
Domenica Catelli: Lemony quinoa with shiitake, chicken and coriander
Daniel O'Connell: San Francisco Sides (Asparagus Vinaigrette; San Francisco Spicy Beets)
David Loftus: Marinated feta with watermelon, fennel and mint
Molly Wrigglesworth: Molly's apple pie
Sybil Kapoor: Papaya and lime salsa with lobster
Tony Mitford Jr: Wild rice and mushroom soup
Alice Waters: Pomegranate and persimmon salad
Tony Mitford Jr: Basque chicken
Deborah Madison: Cherry and almond cake
David Loftus: Meatloaf with relish
Georgie Sacratous: Georgie's big Greek tava
Jamie Oliver: Spring and summer minestrone
Jamie Oliver: Waldorf salad Jamie's way
April Bloomfield: Oysters Rockefeller
David Loftus: Classic eggs benedict
Jamie Oliver: Mac and cheese
Molly Wrigglesworth: Bourbon pecan pie
Andy Harris: Speedy salads for on-deck dining (Pomegranate and red onion salad; Grated cucumber salad; Cauliflower and olive salad; Radish and orange salad; Beetroot and purslane salad; Herb salad with preserved lemon dressing)
Rosie Scott and Sir Johnny Scott: Rum for tired travellers and jolly sailors (Hot buttered rum; Spiced rum cider)
Andy Harris: Seafood two ways (Octopus, potato and olive salad; A great starter: 'Mixed poke')
Jamie Oliver: Jewish penicillin
The Hart brothers: Seafood à la Hart (Clams with sherry and ham; Mussels vinaigrette)
Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers: Zuppa alla vongole à la river café
David Loftus: Omelette Arnold Bennett
David Loftus: Herrings with potato à la suédoise
Irish Kate McCullough: Mussels in Guinness
Heston Blumenthal: Welsh rarebit or rabbit à la Heston
Rosie Scott: Scouse hotpot
Daniel Couet: Pauper's toast with chocolate
Jamie Oliver: Jamie's kedgeree
Giuseppe Cipriani: Bellini cocktail
Georgie Socratous: Elderflower and gooseberry cake
You will not be disappointed...
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