If there is anyone most suitable to write about British cooking, it is Ed Baines. He has years of experience under his belt at the top eateries in London, owns a string of posh restaurants and is even a judge on Britain’s Best Dish. In other words, he knows his stuff. In the introduction he says that once you taste proper home-cooked food it will be hard to go back to shops’ ready-made meals; I can’t agree more.
Most of today’s new cookbooks have enticing, drool-worthy pictures of a dish on their covers. Rightfully, trying to be a bit different the cover depicts Baines leaning against a “street”/”food” sign. Kudos to the publishers for their creativity, but unfortunately, next to other books the photo isn’t very appealing and already looks dated. It just doesn’t work for me. Let’s not judge a book by its cover now, shall we?
It was a blast to page through this book. What I particularly loved was that the book had Pies, Curries and Teatime treats in separate chapters. You can’t get any more British than that! However, I felt a few dishes/ingredients didn’t belong in the book, e.g. Butternut, Pear & Hazelnut salad. It looks delicious though and if offered I would devour the salad in a heartbeat.
When I saw the timeless Sticky Toffee Pudding I knew I just had to make it as soon as possible. Having tried numerous recipes, this one by far has been the most successful and scrumptious.
I made this Beef, Mushroom & Ale Pie for Neil’s birthday dinner. It would have been a dog’s dinner if my common sense/intuition didn’t kick in. Hopefully this is the only duff recipe in the book because the other two recipes gave no problems. I’m no health freak but 150ml (¼ pint) of oil seems a bit excessive to use in a stew. Half of it was used to fry some mushrooms and the other half was never mentioned again. Not enough liquid was added to the beef for stewing. Flour was needed for dusting but it never specified whether it was for the meat or pastry – I assumed both. Beef stock was the last ingredient mentioned in the list but never used in the recipe. In the end I completely rewrote the recipe, which you’ll find here.
A new cooking technique was learnt when I prepared the BLT sandwich and it was incredibly tasty too!
The food photography is amazing. It left me a tad disappointed that not every recipe came with a photo but this book is jam-packed with 180 recipes and all-in-all good value for money.
I would classify this book as Modern British but it does contain a few classics. Whether you live in the UK or abroad and would like to learn more about the British cuisine, you will enjoy this book immensely.