Friday, September 12, 2014
Reinventing BritIsh Cuisine
It was only a mere quarter century ago that British food got sneered and ridiculed.Then something amazing happened.Homegrown chefs started to make the cuisine interesting.Gone was the green goop known as mushy peas and oil soaked logs known as fish and chips.Britain introduced the world to farm to table along with a return to artesanal foods made without preservatives and chemicals. This , along with two new British authored cookbooks, was the center of Melissa Clark's A Good Appetite on Wedmesday.She reviewed and recommended two chefs' books.Yottam Ottolenghi just released Plenty More(Ten Speed Publishers) is about English cooking as well as Caribbean ,Indian Japanese and Thai cooking.His recipe for scrambled eggs is an eye opener.It is zinged with cumin and Chiles, along with tomatoes.He also has an exotic and bracing salad of three ingredients not always thrown together.Broccoli shares a bowl with edamame and coconut spiced with curry leaves, mustard and lime.I can see this as a side to roast or barbecue pork or chicken.Another plus about Chef Ottolenghi's cookbooks is that it is vegan(although it's not marketed as such).He has a following, thanks to his other books on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.This book is bound to have another set of groupies. The other chef, Diana Henry, has a more traditional cookbook.Hers is A Change Of Appetite (Mitchell Press)which features more down to earth recipes.While Chef Ottolenghi's recipes are for impressing the dinner or brunch crowd. Chef Henry's is more for a cozy Sunday afternoon supper.Hers is more farm to table with fish ,seasonal vegetables along with whole grains.There is a touch of the exotic ,with some of the recipes having Harissa and borage along with dried limes and togarashi peppers.Her recipes celebrate her loves, fresh unprocessed seasonal foods.Ms. Clark enthusiastically tries and loves Chef's Henry's butterflied leg of lamb with Persian mint syrup along with garlic crab and fragrant lentos.Her eggs are spiced, semi hard with a warm runny center.Her cake recipes are made with the healthy spelt flour and juicy cherries.This is a great book for the holidays, the perfect gift for any home chef interested in the farm to table cuisine. British cooking is leading the world in culinary innovation.Thanks to these chefs, Chef Ottolenghi and Chef Henry, kitchens are producing not only exciting fare but healthy too.It's a brand new spin on a cuisine ,once maligned and now loved.