Relish Scotland Second Helping
Relish Publications, £20
This is Relish Publications’ second Scotland-focused cookery book, celebrating the country’s finest chefs and restaurants as well as its rich larder and top food producers. It is the latest in a series of regional foodie books by the company, which also include Relish Wales, Cumbria, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
Relish Scotland Second Helping features 23 of Scotland’s best known restaurants from the Michelin-starred 21212 to Wedgwood the Restaurant and plenty of regional and urban eateries in between.
The book starts out with a foreword by Michelin-starred chef-restaurateur Tom Kitchin, who shares his thoughts on how far the Scottish culinary scene has come to establish itself internationally.
Where Chefs Eat
Edited by Joe Warwick
If there’s one thing chefs love as much as cooking, it’s eating out. Gone are the days when they were chained to their stoves and never left the confines of their kitchens. These days eating out is most chefs’ number one hobby; they travel the world in search of the best restaurants, and of course, always seem to know where to find the best breakfast, late night dinner and everything in between.
So it’s great to see the launch of a new restaurant guide that is based on the recommendations of the world’s top chefs. After all, who better to rate a restaurant than someone who runs their own successful one?
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.”
The Complete Nose to Tail: a kind of British cooking
By Fergus Henderson
Bloomsbury Publishing, £30
Anyone who has spent more than a few fleeting moments in the company of Fergus Henderson cannot fail to be moved by his gargantuan enthusiasm for life, particularly all things food, and upon reading this book I felt as if I’d been having a chat with the author – always a good sign, in my opinion!
The Complete Nose to Tail is a compendious volume, created from Henderson’s two earlier books, dating from 2004 and 2007, enhanced with additional recipes. It is a very well written and enjoyable read, as you would expect given its provenance, and has some wonderfully eccentric pictures by the talented Jason Lowe.
The Lebanese Kitchen
By Salma Hage
Phaidon Press, £29.95
This is a big book: 500 pages, 500 recipes and lots of nice pictures. It is similar in scope to The Silver Spoon, which covers just about everything in the Italian repertoire, much as this does with the Lebanon. The result is more reference book than short inspirational read.
A good working knowledge of Lebanese cooking terminology will also be a help. Za’atar, for example, is a reasonably frequent ingredient but not explained. I believe it is a sumac, sesame and oregano spice mix but, as Michael Caine might say, not many people know that.
The recipes are divided into sections and start with mezze, all the exquisite little dishes that make Lebanese, north African and Middle Eastern meals such a treat. A fine and straightforward hummus recipe moves on to some interesting variations with things like pumpkin and coriander or beetroot.