Archive | December, 2012

Book Review: The Flavour Thesaurus – Niki Segnit

28 Dec

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I have had this book on my wishlist for more than a year, but this year my husband bought it for me as a Christmas present. The book is loosely based around the notion of a foodie version of a colour wheel, with different foods fitting into different ‘flavour groups’. The Flavour Thesaurus was the winner of  the André Simon Prize and Guild of Food Writers Best First Book and has received rave reviews from the likes of John Torode and Atul Kochhar (who, and this is of no relevance whatsoever, was spotted by my parents in an airport..)

What I really liked about this book was the back-stories of the food pairings – the little cultural/historical tales of how these foods came to be paired together or where they originate. This isn’t designed to be a cookbook, or a book which teaches you to cook. Instead it aims to suggest effective food pairings to give you the confidence to go ahead and create! I  love how the book looks – the colours on the cover are beautiful and the pink page edges are a welcome change from the usual white or worse, beige! There are also recipes scattered throughout the book. I think I will be trying out the Fitzrovia baked chicken and Pear and cinnamon sweet couscous as soon as I can.

The book is available on Amazon here, currently at £11.01 delivered!

Christmas Dinner

28 Dec

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This year we decided on a duck from Abel and Cole (much to the disappointment of my son, a traditionalist who believes turkey is the only meat for Christmas..). We also ordered our Christmas veg from A&C. It was delivered on the Sunday before Christmas, all in perfect condition, along with a very useful booklet full of advice and recipes.

We decided to prepare as much as we could on Christmas Eve (and I’m very happy that we did – it was a very relaxed affair on Christmas Day) – the potatoes (Rudolph reds – very festive!) were parboiled, parsnips and carrots were chopped and left in water with a squeezing of lime juice (I couldn’t find a lemon, but it did the job), and the duck was de-gibbleted as soon as we could work out how to do it. I then browned the giblets and prepared a stock for the gravy by boiling them up with some water, onions, bay leaves, peppercorns and carrots.

On the big day, we basically just threw everything into the oven (honey and olive oil glaze was added to the carrots and parsnips along with a sprinkling of cranberries). Food was enjoyed by all (even the aforementioned traditionalist), and the leftovers have kept us going for the last few days. I did in fact cook a second dinner of roast beef on Boxing Day and lazily decided to just repeat all of the side dishes for simplicity and to use up leftovers.

The desserts were made by my children.