Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook
By Vivek Singh
Bloomsbury Publishing, £25
Devised as a more accessible alternative to the Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen is billed as the more edgy, younger sibling offering the same creativity associated with executive chef Vivek Singh’s flagship restaurant but with a universal appeal.
The associated book hits the same notes; high respect for the history of spice and creative interpretation of spicing, but blended with cost-effective ingredients. It offers dishes that are Indian at heart, though influenced by ingredients and techniques from around the world.
As most of the dishes require a heady combination of spicing, Singh makes sure the reader doesn’t launch in unprepared, opening with a breakdown of basic techniques and preparations, all of which can be reproduced in western kitchens. As he says: “Aside from the flavour, it’s important to consider the texture, the sequence in which the spices are added, and how long they are cooked for.”
To emphasise that detail, selected dishes are presented as Cinnamon Kitchen classics, with a visual set of step by step instructions for their correct preparation. So delicate dishes such as chargrilled broccoli florets with rose petals and almonds, spice braised shoulder of lamb and layered parathas are offered in an accessible, easy to follow format.
Though there are plenty of dishes that will delight through delicate spicing of affordable ingredients – such as sardines with chilli and apricot glaze and braised ox cheek in date and apricot sauce with fondant potatoes – there are also options that will add an air of exclusivity to a menu. These include such Anglo Asian combinations as roast rack of lamb with saffron sauce, and Scottish angus fillet with masala potato wedges.
With Cinnamon Kitchen being more about a light lunch or smaller plates, more casual food is also detailed, with highlights including the dish entered by the Cinnamon Kitchen team into the British Barbecue Championship in 2011 – Abdul Yaseen’s Rajasthan Royal barbecued lamb – and more straightforward dishes such as dry-spice-crusted guinea fowl.
Another competition winner is featured in the bar snacks section – tandoori-style masala pigeon with green pea and yogurt shot, which was crowned best canapé at the Square Meal Canape Cup competition.
And innovation isn’t confined to the food, as cocktail creations from Anise, Cinnamon Kitchen’s glamorous bar space, are also detailed, including favourites such as saffron martini, mango mojito and raspberry and thyme margarita.
As with the dishes, the drinks draw inspiration from Indian influences and combine them with contemporary ingredients to offer the reader an accessible reference point into the endorphin-releasing pleasure of skilful spicing.
By James Stagg
If you like this, you might like these:
● Food of the Grand Trunk Road, Anirudh Arora
● India: The Cookbook, Pushpesh Pant
● Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation, Madhur Jaffrey