I think it is right time for me to share with you my views on my new cook book. I showed you few recipes and to be honest I was planning to publish another two this week, but unfortunately it looks like I manage to cook them this weekend at the earliest, so I thought I publish the review first. Perhaps some of you who have seen some of the recipes from this book posted on my blog already decided to buy this book. For some of you this review could be helpful.
This is the most recent book by one of my favourite foodies Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Three good things on a plate – does this sound trivially? Don't take this as three ingredient cookbook, this is slightly different. Hugh simply used a formula of putting three things in one dish, things that have different flavours, consistency, texture and created over 175 easy to follow recipes. You don't need some fancy ingredients, make sure they are at their best, also no need of spending much time preparing the dishes or any special techniques. Recipes most of the time use quite humble ingredients. Hugh has experimented for years so he knows what works together and what not necessarily should not be mixed on one plate. Take advantage of his knowledge!
There is so much more in this book than some of the classic combinations that may sound very obvious, everybody knows fish, chips and mushy peas, sharp fruit, crumble and vanilla sauce, crusty bread with melted cheese and salty ham or chocolate cake with salted caramel. Sweet, salty, crunchy. Sharp, rich, crumbly. Number three seems to be mystical also in cooking.
Book is divided into several sections: salads, starters & soups, snacks & sides, vegetable trios, fish & two friends, meat & veg, pasta, rice & company, fruity threesomes, triple treats. Hugh gives you not only the exact easy to follow short recipes in which three ingredients are the key and work incredibly well together, but also he suggests swaps or extra ingredients to build up the recipe. For somebody who likes a bit of experimenting this is ideal!
Hugh also says that this is cooking and there is a room for experimenting, adding a light touch and a sense of fun. He suggest that readers if they wish so should experiment and swap i.e. one crunchy veg for other but this principles may not always work. Here is a room for reader's improvisation.
If you are unsure how to improvise there are still exact, great recipes for you and perhaps this book will be next big step for you and soon you will be challenging yourself to become more experimental?
Apart from the above this book is very pleasant to look at, as most of the Bloomsbury's books I remember. Food photos are quite simple, not over styled, rustic I would say, Simon Wheeler who worked with Hugh before (also with Heston Blumenthal) did fantastic job. Also there are stunning illustrations by Mariko Jesse, whose work you may remember from Hugh's "River Cottage Everyday".
If you haven't seen dishes from this book I had pleasure to cook and even more pleasure to eat, please have a look:
If you still need some more examples of recipes you can find in this book, perhaps you should come back here in few days and check out a recipe for dessert and the most bizarre pizza I have ever seen.
"Hugh's Three Good Things (on a plate)"
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (August 2012)
Harcover, 416 pages