I absolutely love my slow cooker. You can't beat coming home after a long, stressful day at work to a house filled with delicious cooking smells and a hearty, homecooked meal ready and waiting for you to serve. I have to admit, I always tend to cook the same things in my slow cooker though - chicken casserole, beef stew, beef bourguignon, chilli con carne ... My slow cooking repertoire is in desperate need of an overhaul !
A little while ago, I reviewed the range of Stewed! pots (here) and was blown away by the convenience, the fact that the shop-bought pots tasted as good as homemade and, above all, the innovative range of flavours available. Well, this book is written by the creator of the Stewed! pots, Alan Rosenthal, and brings the same spark of exoticism into your home cooking.
The book seems quite small for a recipe book but certainly packs a lot in. It contains eighty recipes for, as they say, "irresistble stews and one-pot wonders" but what really appeals to me is that the fact that it also takes you on a gastromic world tour, with chapters covering the Americas, the British Isles, Europe, Asia and the Middle East & Africa.
Some of the recipes are well-known classics that I already make - Irish Stew, Hungarian Goulash, Boeuf Bourguignon, Beef Stroganoff - but it's great to read through the recipes for little tweaks or extra ingredients that can change a good dish into an outstanding one.
Some of the recipes are much more unexpected and exotic though, taking me into culinary areas I'd never ventured into before - Armenian Lamb Stew, Ghanaian Chicken and Peanut Stew, Kashmiri Lamb with Yogurt and Ginger, Brazilian Black Bean Stew. I'll need to buy a few ingredients that I don't usually have in the cupboards - in particular spices - but the recipes sound so delicious that I'm willing to give them a go. The ones that I've tried so far have all been delicious and really simple to make.
All of the recipes are not illustrated but those that are, with full page colour photos, show that this is hearty, warming, nourishing food. Forget prettily arranged, pretentious nouvelle cuisine - this is rustic, no nonsense food that will be served in a big bubbling cooking pot to put a smile on everyone's face. It certainly is food to nourish your body but also your soul !
If you want to check out some of Alan's recipes before buying the book, I posted a couple here. The first one isn't in the book but the Boston Baked Beans one is in there.
star rating : 5/5
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Ebury Press (7 Oct 2010)
RRP : £14.99 (but only £9 on amazon - see below)
for more information : http://www.steweduk.co.uk/
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