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A nostalgic compilation of the dishes JM has grown up with.
on 14 September 2010
Given its title, the chosen recipes may raise an eyebrow or two, but it is neatly addressed in the introduction, including:-.
'...This may not all be 'traditional' British food, but it's what we ate as kids, and who could get more traditional than that?...'
which justifies the inclusion of the likes of:-
'Quick Chicken Tikka Masala', on page 71
'They say that this is Britain's favourite dish - which is exactly why it is here'!
James stresses that the selection is not aimed to be 'poncey', in fact, quite the opposite - this is cooking with simple aims from a young man reliving his own memories of food. As a result, a fair percentage of the recipes are inspired by family members.
Paperback covers open to 144 quality glossy pages, split over 8 chapters:-
* All Day Breakfasts (pg 8-25)
* Soups, Tarts & Terrines (pg 26-35)
* Roasts, Pies & Bakes (pg 36-57)
* Stews, Pots & Spicy Foods (pg 58-71)
* Fish & Seafood (pg 72-93)
* Vegetables & Extras (pg 94-105)
* Puddings (pg 106-127)
* Cakes (pg 128-142)
sandwiched between an introduction and a 2-page index.
Each chapter opens with a double page spread with the title on one side and a picture on the other. Each chapter has a different coloured theme which is carried through into the recipe titles, which is a nice extra touch.
Each recipe has the title at the top, an opening paragraph, the number of servings, the list/s of ingredients and a clear method. Some pages have more than one recipe. The pages are interspersed with appetising, full-colour photography from Jean Cazals, but it is on the light side, in my opinion, and could prove disappointing to some especially as a few pages look a little bare, (including that aforementioned 'CTM'!).
The notes which open the recipes include useful tips peppered with the typical JM banter, often laced with a bit of humour, e.g.:-
1. 'Shepherd's Pie - Why is it that people get confused about which meat goes in cottage pie and which goes in shepherd's pie? I will never know. Do you see many shepherds with a herd of cows in a field?'
2. 'Chocolate Cornflake Cakes - I don't care what all my cheffy mates think of me for putting this in a British book. Frosties, Cornflakes or Rice Krispies, whichever you choose, I bet these little cakes won't even be able to set in the fridge before they're eaten. I love them made either with a chocolate bar or a Mars Bar.'
Well, the latter would be a first for me - but I am happy to give it a go next time I need a batch of 12!
My favourite recipe, to date, is the 'Traditional Lancashire Hot Pot', from pages 60/61, but, tonight, I am going to have my very first attempt at a 'Pork Pie', from pages 48/49, (without the embellishment that JM had to have for 16 years!)
A taste of the other recipes included within:-
* Bacon Buttie
* My Dad's Cheese on Toast
* Chunky Strawberry Jam
* Quiche Lorraine
* Roast Sirloin of Beef
* Spiced Pot-Roasted Chicken
* Steak and Kidney Pie
* Corned Beef Hash
* Beef Stew and Dumplings
* Macaroni Cheese
* Spaghetti Bolognese
* Grandad's Poached Haddock with Mustard
* Prawn Cocktail
* Jacket Potatoes
* Garlic Mushrooms
* Mushy Peas
* Béarnaise Sauce
* Mum's Gravy
* Apple Charlotte
* Baked Rice Pudding
* Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble
* Sherry Trifle with Raspberries
* Black Forest Gâteau
* Granny's Victoria Sponge
* Auntie's Sponge
* Chocolate Roulade
* Yorkshire Pudding under the recipe for 'Toad in the Hole', on pages 56/57.
'.....Well if I can't make Yorkshire Puddings I shouldn't be writing this book.......'