Since I’m a fan of Abel & Cole and their policy I eagerly received their cookbook for review.
The book didn’t disappoint. The photography is professional and simply beautiful. It portrays Keith Abel, the author, as just a “regular guy” like you and me, who likes to cook. What makes his recipes a bit different is the fact that he isn’t a fan of precise measurements, except in the case of actual baking where it is simply pivotal that you do. Instead his measurements are glugs, splashes and dollops; just the way experienced chefs cook.
It must be said that not every recipe is accompanied by a photo but nevertheless the book is still very colourful and well illustrated. What I like about the book is that some off-beat ingredients are used in the recipes like fennel, chard, kohlrabi, swede, kale, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and chicory, which I rarely see used in mainstream cookbooks.
Therefore it was a must that I tried some new vegetables: swede and celeriac.
Celeriac and Mascarpone Purée
Definitely an interesting dish but for those who have never tried Celeriac before, it is an acquired taste. If you like celery you have a head start. If you’re tired of plain old potato mash I would recommend you try this sometime.
Swede is one of the less popular vegetables in the UK and I don’t think it will ever be in high demand. However, Abel went through great lengths to make something enjoyably different and succeeded. We had no trouble finishing off the whole tutti in one sitting!
The third and last recipe I tested. Since I rarely make any pastry I was quite pleased with the dough which came out flaky and pleasant. However, the bland filling (beef skirt steak, potatoes, swede, onion and nothing else) was a complete disaster. The pale meat came out as tough as old boots and overall it was a huge disappointment. If anyone is keen to make some Cornish Pasties I would recommend following the recipe for the pastry but use another recipe (or be creative) for your filling.
Don’t be put off from buying this book; rarely are all the recipes in a cookbook foolproof. Just because I prepared more offbeat dishes for my own interest doesn’t mean there are more conventional ones like Duck with Orange Sauce, risottos, salads and puddings. Kudos to the author for cooking with just about every vegetable available in the UK.
P.S. Vegetarians, take note, this book contains meat recipes too.