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Cooking the books: autumn 2013


Cooking the books autumn 2013_carrot orange salad - CarrotOrangeSalad-PHOTO-CREDIT-ANDY-SEWELL_resized.jpgLoved the restaurant? Now you can give the recipes a whirl. The Square Meal team road-test the best new cookery books from Britain’s top chefs.

For The Love of Veg (£25, Kyle Books)

Bryn Williams wears a lot of hats – from sweating it out in the hot kitchen as chef patron at Odette’s in Primrose Hill to television appearances on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and writing hit cookbooks, this Welsh superchef has made quite a name for himself. His recent project is For the Love of Veg, a vibrant cookbook in which protein plays second fiddle to veg and fruit – a healthy stance, and one that’s gathering momentum given our current love affair with ‘trashy’ food. This is a great book for kitchen novices – I made the carrot and blood-orange salad, which couldn’t go wrong even if you had your eyes closed (but don’t try it). The salad tasted fresh and tangy and looked a glowing picture of red and orange, flecked with goats’ cheese.
Ami Kang, assistant online editor

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)

When it comes to his restaurants, Big G is best known for intricate Michelin-starred fare; however, the world’s most talked-about chef knows exactly how to pare things back on the page. This gorgeous book is full of appetising shots of easy-peasy dishes – from lazy-morning Bircher muesli and snacks such as sexed-up avocado on toast, to hearty family lunches and elegant dinner-party desserts such as Aperol spritz jellies. This chocolate-and-mint caramel cake was one of the book’s more complex recipes, involving homemade caramel and three washes of the whisk, but it was still done and dusted in nine steps. The result – light, fresh but decadent – went down a treat in the office.
Nicky Evans, news and online editor

Cooking the books autumn 2013 - turnip-and-horseradish_0024_resized.jpgTom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food (£20, Absolute Press)

Dieters, watch out – even the salads in Tom Kerridge’s new book are made with beef dripping. This book is perfect for this time of year, full of warming suppers, and is based on the two-Michelin-starred pub grub he serves at The Hand and Flowers. Dishes are categorised into breakfasts, soups and salads, starters and snacks, and so on, with a heavy emphasis on straightforward recipes and honest flavours, making the book accessible to the home cook. I tried the turnip and horseradish soup with crispy beef and found it wholesome, indulgent and fuss-free.
Lauren Broude, art editor

Cooking the books autumn 2013_gilbert scott - The-Gilbert-Scott-Book-of-British-Food_resized.jpgThe Gilbert Scott Book of British Food (£25, Bantam Press)

From its proudly patriotic Union Jack cover to its line-up of traditional regional dishes, Marcus Wareing’s latest book is a celebration of British cooking. Full of cheffy tips that give a simple ham hock and champ recipe the wow factor, brunch and afternoon tea get as much coverage as starters, mains and desserts. The book is as lovely to look at as it is to use, and the caramelised banana bread-and-butter pudding I made tasted even better than it looked.
Julie Sheppard, associate editor

cooking the books autumn 2013_comptoir libanais - Comptoir-Libanais_resized.jpgComptoir Libanais (£20, Preface)

‘I am not a chef’, pleads Tony Kitous, founder of the popular Comptoir Libanais chain, and while his recipes are straightforward, their vibrancy shines through. It’s handy to have so many Lebanese staples in one book, whether you’re making tabbouleh to accompany some spiced meat, or serving a full mezze. The pomegranate molasses-marinated salmon dish I cooked at home was a hit, the molasses adding a layer of complexity to an otherwise simple recipe.
Stuart Peskett, sub-editor/staff writer

Cooking the books autumn 2013_simon hopkinson - Simon-Hopkinson-Cooks_resized.jpgSimon Hopkinson Cooks (£25, Ebury Press)

Ex-Bibendum chef Hopkinson is in typically avuncular mood in this new book which proposes a dozen menus for a range of occasions from weekend breakfast to Easter lunch. Best taken as a springboard for inspiration rather than a menu to follow slavishly, each chapter is an intelligent collection of sound British ideas, though as each begins with a suggested aperitif, you may never actually make it to the cooking part...
Ben McCormack, editor

This feature was published in the autumn 2013 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

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