I think it’s pretty clear that I am a huge cookbook fan. My ever-expanding collection nowadays covers three bookcases, although I am fairly strict in only keeping the ones I like. It’s therefore pretty seldom that I am really impressed by a cookbook these days. Luckily, now and then I encounter books that do exactly that. Titles that make me incredibly enthusiastic, books I want to read in no time, fanatically cover with post-its (need to make this! need to try that!) and that deliver a huge amount of inspiration. My latest favourite discovery? Eat from Nigel Slater.
I am a fan of Nigel’s books and programs to start with. His writing is always honest, practical and convincing and can make me crave something immediately. On top of that I was lucky enough to have lunch with Nigel last year and got to interview him afterwards. I now know that he is just as genuinely kind and approachable in real life. It was during that interview that Nigel told me he was about to publish a new book: Eat.
In this book the focus lies on fast recipes. No extensive stews or complicated baking recipes, but over 600 dishes that can be made within an hour. Simple food that’s well prepared. Sometimes the term “recipe” really is too much, because some of the dishes are more of a suggestion or idea. Nigel already spread some of these mini recipes through Twitter and also mentions they’re “the style of an extensive tweet”.
The great thing about those little recipes is that there’s much space for your own ideas. While reading this book you definitely will be inspired. If Nigel writes about “ripe Brie with a crisp crusted baguette”, “sticky, spicy finger-licking ribs” or “soft sweet toast with strawberries and cream”, I am already hurrying to the kitchen.
(Picture credit: Jonathan Lovekin)
Other recipes are more extensive, like the pho with roasted chicken thighs and noodles I made. The chicken thighs – brushed with honey, fish sauce and mirin – were pleasantly sweet and made a delicious Asian meal with the noodles and vegetables. The eggplant curry (intensely fragrant, soft and spicy at the same time) and the creamy trout spread with sharp wasabi were also a huge success.
Some of the dishes are pictured on simple, but tasteful photos. But you buy this book mainly for the stories and recipes. I find ‘Eat’ perfect for foodies who are pretty confident in the kitchen. Those who can improvise with few instructions and prefer to use a cookbook as source of inspiration instead of a precise guide. But ‘Eat’ also has enough to offer for more inexperienced cooks. So it will be clear that I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It’s a definitive must-have!