Cookbook Reviews: Hawksmoor: Restaurants and Recipes, The Food and Cooking of Scandinavia, Gourmet Food for a Fiver

Hawksmoor: Restaurants and Recipes by Huw Gott and Will Beckett: I love this book. It looks beautiful. It’s full of interesting little stories of setting out in the hospitality trade. More than that, it’s genuinely useful. It’s my new bible for cooking steak, although I rarely cook steak thick enough to do it just like they say. My favourite recipe here is the Singapore lobster roll, which I like to do with crayfish tails. My wife doesn’t love these so I’m not sure I’ll do them all the time, but for me they are bursting with flavour. It’s a bit pricy so I’m not sure I’d say buy it, but definitely have a look inside.

The Food and Cooking of Scandinavia by Anna Mosesson, Janet Laurence, Judith H. Dern: These big overview cookbooks can be disappointing, but this has tons of pictures and plenty of pages to give context to the food cultures of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. It’s also got lots of interesting recipes. The soup selection is very strong, with the lobster tomato one I’m particularly interested in trying. If there’s one point I would make it’s that a lot of Scandinavian cooking relies on having a Scandinavian larder; it’s very ingredient based. Not great for everyone. I did try the bacon and apple open sandwich though, and I’m addicted to that.

Gourmet Food for a Fiver by Jason Atherton: I’ve yet to cook from this book as it always feel like I’d need to sit down and really think about a recipe or two from this to do it. The ingredients aren’t that rare as a rule, but it feels like there’s a fair few techniques I don’t use every day. But that’s kind of the point and I’d like to do some of the things here. Alas, it’s my parents’ book, so I’d have to get a move on, but there’s a lot of intriguing ideas here, particularly when it comes to fish and chocolate desserts.

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