I love collecting cookbooks. I have so many they are trying to take over my house so at the moment, I am having a massive sort out of them, however I could not resist getting a copy of the new Jason Atherton book when Quadrille Publishing asked for food bloggers to review it. The title sounds tempting: ‘Gourmet Food For A Fiver’ but would it live up to name and large promises of Michelin style food for just £5 per head?
Jason Atherton is the head chef at Maze, a Michelin starred restaurant that is part of Gordon Ramsay‘s empire of restaurants. It is located in Grosvenor Square in London and is recognised as one of the most innovative restaurants in the world. Jason’s first cookbook was published in 2008 and was called ‘Maze: The Cookbook’. It sold over 50,000 copies. Jason regularly does TV appearances including Market Kitchen and Great British Menu.
My first impressions of the book were quite good. There are pictures of all the recipes in the book and the text is well laid in a good sized font making it easy to read and understand while cooking. The variety of the recipes is impressive and includes chocolate brownie with vanilla salt and chocolate sorbet, braised lamb with celeriac purée, and chicken and chorizo paella. The recipe titles make you want to cook them but then, looking at the (sometimes, quite long) ingredient list, you realise that you need a very well stocked store cupboard to make a majority of the dishes. For example, do you have crayfish tails in a tin in your cupboard? I do not and I am not sure many people will. This is the only major drawback of the book. On the other hand, the basics section at the back of the book is excellent as it tells you how to make things like stocks and basic sauces quite simply and without much effort.
As ever with my cookbook reviews, I always cook something from the book and this time I gave myself a real challenge by making my very first paella, a chicken, chorizo and squid one. Jason is quite an expert at Spanish cooking as he spent some time working at El Bulli, and the recipe in the book is virtually the same as what he learned over there. I adapted the recipe slightly by cooking de boned chicken thighs actually in the paella itself and I added in cooked salmon at the end, as I happened to have some in the fridge. As my Facebook and Twitter followers will know, I was very nervous about making the paella and I was really happy when it turned so well. Stuart, a great lover of anything with seafood in it, really liked it too. I am sure I will be making the dish again and again. Thanks Jason for giving me the confidence to make paella. Overall, I think the book is a great success and will sell many copies I am sure.
Thanks to Quadrille Publishing for sending me the cookbook to review
Gourmet Food For a Fiver
You can purchase it on Amazon UK here