I enjoyed reading Skye Gyngell’s “How I Cook” (Quadrille Publishing). It is a beautifully illustrated, well thought-out book, targeting towards making a simple family meal a memorable one. The refreshing thing about this book is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of being a yet another catalogue of recipes.
The book has a relaxed, laid back summer afternoon feel. This is the kind of book you would refer to when you are not in a rush and would really want to enjoy your food with family and friends. Many of the recipes are delightfully simple and yet remarkable in their outcome. I tried her recipe for the roasted Sea bass with lemon and thyme. It took me only a few minutes to put together and it turned out beautifully. This book is also very suitable if you are cooking for any occasion or for someone special.
The book is categorised according to different themes and occasions like ‘Sunday lunch’, ‘Late night supper’, ‘Time to spare’ etc. Each of these sections has recipes for all three courses so that you don’t have to look elsewhere to see what starter will go with the mains you are making. The book has a wide spectrum of recipes most of them are complimented with lovely photographs by Jason Lowe. It covers from very simple recipes like cucumber sandwich to as complicated as slow cooked lamb shoulder. Along with the traditional recipes you will also find some not so widely known like Pashka (I loved the suggestion she made for this particular recipe. Read the book to find out! ). If you like spicy food like I do, then you will love her recipe for Rouile. It is simple but with absolutely delicious end product.
The book makes me feel like it is already summer. There are so many recipes that you can make in advance and take with you for picnics. They will be delightful alternatives to dull sandwiches.
This book doesn’t confuse novices with complex techniques. It gives clear step by clear tips and instructions on cooking and also storing food. I found her tips on Strawberry sponge cake very useful. Skye also encourages you to use the fresh produce or simple things like having small pots of fresh herbs in your kitchen window, which I completely agree. It is so useful to have some fresh herbs handy when you are putting together a dish. It adds a new dimension to the food.
I must say after reading this beautifully crafted book, I do feel like going to her restaurant and trying out some of her wonderful creations.