ADVENTURES IN COOKING by James Ramsden
order a copy of Small Adventures in Cooking <click
cooking books gone full circle with ordinary everyday
people writing them?
To qualify that, by ordinary I mean as opposed to the
famous celebrity chefs. Of course, you are not ordinary
if you are capable of writing your own cooking book
to such a standard that a publisher wants to take the
risk of publishing it. Quite the contrary, you need
to have a gift and that gift is to be able to communicate
on a level where we all feel we are sharing something
with the writer, the writer is not talking down to us
and most importantly the writer gets us wanting to cook.
And who is James Ramsden? No big TV show to make him
famous overnight. In his Blog he describes himself as
a London-based Yorkshireman. He runs the Secret
Larder supper club and has written about food and cookery
for The Times, The Guardian, Sainsbury's Magazine, and
lovefood.com, among others . That about sums it
I am not sure what came first but in May 2010 James
was selected by The Times as one of the 40 bloggers
everyone is talking about. He was also hailed as one
of the best new food writers by Rose Prince in the Daily
There have been so many awesome books, with awesome
recipes, published by celebrity chefs that the very
word awesome applied to cooking or food makes us cringe!
This is just a very nice book, with very nice recipes
written in a very different style which makes you want
to read the book.
The Secret Larder: www.jamesramsden.com/the-secret-larder
Photography: Steven Joyce - www.stevenjoyce.com
A beautifully written and
exciting cookbook. ~ Rachel Allen
If you haven't heard of
him yet, you soon will. I've tasted James' food and
it's bloody good. ~ Stefan Gates
James Ramsden is one of
the best young food writers around. ~ Giles
wife loves this book
- Ian (Amazon review)
It is the most entertaining read she has had for some
time from a cookbook. Partly because there are some
great new recipes in there that are out of the ordinary
and that she had not comes across before, but also
because he shares tips and thoughts in a most anmusing
style. This is not your dry-as-dust recipe book from
addition to my cook book collection - K Cross
This cook book is excellently laid out - printed on
white paper using clear, readable print, with, except
in a few cases, a recipe per page. It's quite informally
written, but not in an irritating Jamie Oliver kind
of way (sorry Jamie, I do like you really, but find
you a little irksome at times!). His instructions
are easy to follow and the methods very simple. I
love his Tarts and Tweaks, little ideas for making
the dish different or more special, or substituting
one hard-to-get ingredient for a more easily accessible
one. There are beautiful full colour photographs of
the finished dishes, or an ingredient, or a particular
method. James has written a few introductory paragraphs
at the start of each section, and a brief paragraph
under each recipe heading giving an amusing introduction
to every dish.
and Inspiring - Scheherazade (Amazon review)
James Ramsden's Small Adventures in Cooking is one
of those cook books which is instantly inspiring -
the kind that makes you want to try out some of the
Different Flavour For The Kitchen - P Stokes (Amazon
I have to admit to reading cookery books as some might
read the latest thriller, sometimes I don't try the
recipes instead savouring the descriptions instead.
With this book I just had to try some out.
If you are looking for some new ideas, easily done
so it doesn't frighten the horses, then this is a
good way to branch out without making huge expensive
purchases. Consider this stress free adventure cooking!
I do like the introductions, very personable, I tried
the 5-minute sponge after reading about where he found
the recipe. Adding little nuggets of information like
that encourages the home cook to try things out. There
is nothing here that will concern the reader, no lengthy
list of odd ingredients, no weird ingredients as such
- you will find everything in your local food shop/supermarket.
The author writes with an interest and a passion about
food that is very contagious. The outlay of the book
is retro, very now but I would imagine will be a welcome
accompaniment to any cookery book collection. However
handsome books do not necessarily translate within
the pages - here it does. Anyone who wants to adapt
their basic cooking skills, impress friends over for
dinner, find new favourites with unfamiliar ingredients
will enjoy trying out these recipes.
ADVENTURES IN COOKING SAMPLE RECIPES
is basically a rough pâté. The meat is
cooked in a low oven, basting itself in its own fat,
before being pulled apart, seasoned and set.
salt and pepper
4 x 200g duck
a bay leaf,
torn to pieces
2 sprigs of
thyme, leaves picked
200g duck or
How to make
Sprinkle a good handful of salt over a roasting
tray and lay the duck legs on top. Put another handful
of salt on top, cover with cling film and refrigerate
Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Scrape off
and discard any excess salt from the duck. Place
the legs in an ovenproof dish with the bay leaf
and thyme leaves. Melt the duck or goose fat with
the brandy and pour over the duck. Cover with foil
and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the fat.
When cool enough to handle, tug the meat from the
bones with your hands, discarding the skin, bones
and any gristle. With a pair of forks, pull the
meat apart until it resembles a coarse pâté.
Season with pepper and add enough of the fat to
coat the meat well. Pat, but dont press, into
individual ramekins and cover with a little of the
remaining fat. Serve at room temperature with toast
and cornichons, or pickled radishes.
Tart You can play around with
the seasonings here, adding a teaspoon of allspice
at the end, or some crushed juniper berries to the
Tweak Follow the above recipe
using chunks of pork belly instead of duck to make
Tomorrow Any leftover rendered
duck fat will keep for months covered in the fridge,
and is perfect for roasting potatoes in.
Serves 4 as a starter
BEEF CARPACCIO WITH HORSERADISH
story goes that in 1950 an Italian countess, who I
imagine must have been fat as a barrel, waddled into
Harrys Bar in Venice and declared that her doctor
had told her that she could only eat raw meat. The
chef produced very thin slices of raw beef with a
little dressing, and the dish was named after the
Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. Serving such an
Italian dish with a very French salad like remoulade
might therefore seem perverse, but food is about flavour,
not diplomacy, and beef, celeriac and horseradish
are natural bedfellows.
300g beef fillet
1 small celeriac
8 tbsp mayonnaise
(home-made p.164 or decent bought mayo)
juice of 1
2 tbsp grated
a small bunch
of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
2 tbsp capers
How to make
Thinly slice the fillet. Taking a slice at a time,
lay the meat under a sheet of cling film, bash with
a rolling pin until paper-thin and lay on a plate.
Repeat with the remaining slices, cover with cling
film and refrigerate until needed, removing an hour
Peel the celeriac and discard the peelings. Grate
into a bowl and mix with the mayonnaise, lemon juice,
horseradish and parsley. Season with salt and pepper
When ready to serve, arrange the carpaccio on one
large or six separate plates. Pile the remoulade
over the centre of the beef slices, scatter over
the capers and drizzle with olive oil. Serve.
Tart Finely chop some hazelnuts
and scatter with the capers.
Tweak Swap the horseradish for
grainy mustard in the celeriac remoulade.
Tomorrow Any leftover remoulade
is delicious on toast.
CHOCOLATE CHILLI AND CARDAMOM
Drop any preconceptions
that I have completely lost the plot here and please
have a go at this tart. It will knock your socks off,
and your guests will think youre a total wizard.
1 x basic shortcrust
pastry or 300g ready-made shortcrust pastry
3 eggs, 1 beaten
2 tbsp caster
200g dark chocolate
(minimum 70% cocoa solids)
100g milk chocolate
1/2 tsp hot
How to make
Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out
the pastry. Line a 25cm tart tin with the pastry
and prick all over with a fork. Chill in the fridge
for 30 minutes (or the freezer for 10). Preheat
the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill
with baking beans or rice. Bake in the oven for
20 minutes. Discard the baking paper and beans and
brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg. Put
back in the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Remove
from the oven and turn down to 160°C/Gas 2.
Meanwhile, put the cream, milk and sugar in a medium
saucepan and whisk over a medium heat until the
sugar has dissolved. Bring to just below boiling
point and remove from the heat. Break the chocolate
into pieces and stir it into the hot cream, leaving
to melt completely. Lightly crush the cardamom pods
and remove the little black seeds. Crush these in
a pestle and mortar and add to the mix along with
the chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Finally,
beat the remaining eggs and stir into the mix until
glossy. Tip this into the tart shell and bake in
the oven for 20 minutes, until set.
Remove and leave to cool completely before serving
with the single cream.
order a copy of Small Adventures in Cooking
3 August 2011
is a new format of book review from Hub-UK. The idea
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the chance to judge for yourself what the book is like
by allowing you to glimpse some of the content. Obviously
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