When I received Tamasin Day-Lewis's new recipe book, Food You Can't Say No To, to review, I was keen to discover the indulgent, moreish, irresistible dishes that the title promises, but I was also slightly concerned that it would be full of "Recipes You Have To Say No To" because they involve complicated techniques, hi-tech kitchen equipment and elusive ingredients.
Well, I was actually pleasantly surprised. As she points out in the introduction, many of the recipes that we find hard to turn down are things that we remember from our childhood - good, old-fashioned home-cooking which is as simple as it is evocative of sunny, carefree days running around outside. But Tamasin has a special flair for adding innovative twists to old classics that take them to a new level. She puts the emphasis on high-quality ingredients but when these ingredients are hard to come by, she does also offer alternatives, making the recipes accessible to everyone wherever they do their shopping.
The book is split into various sections - Simple Special Things (I love the exotic recipes for little appetisers that you'd find in Oriental mezzes), Beginnings (starters and soups), The Big Dish (main courses), Sweet Things (totally decadent desserts and cakes) and Feasts (whole menus for special occasions, including Mother's Day and New Year - I love the Indian banquet she suggests for this).
It's not one of those recipe books that I look through thinking that I want to try out every single recipe in there and it's not one that I will use for day-to-day inspiration for family-friendly quick meals but it is certainly one that I will dip into when I want something a bit different and exotic or when I fancy a new twist on an old favourite. I quite fancy trying the Pear and Blueberry Tatin in place of my usual apple Tarte Tatin and the Passion Fruit Drizzle Cake, Chocolate & Morello Cherry Fridge Cake and Killer Black & White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake are certainly recipes that I'd like to try with and for the kids (well, and the grown-ups !) but some of the other recipes, even in the "Sweet Things" chapter, are certainly more geared towards adults. I can't imagine dishing up White Peaches in Moscata with Zabaglione Ice Cream or Chocolate, Fig & Walnut Log as dessert for the kids, for example.
It has a nice mix of recipes though, and some of them are great ways of getting adventurous in the kitchen, combining old classic staples with more innovative ingredients - Pasta with Aubergine, Squash, Spinach & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Summer Skirt with Chimichurri & Corn-Utopia Salsa and Roquefort & Walnut Pie with a Pepper & Parmesan Crust are fine examples of this. They such much more adveturous than my usual versions of pasta bake, beef stew and cheese pie !
The stunning photography and little personal anecdotes from Tamasin make this a lovely coffee-table recipe book, to browse through even when you're not looking for inspiration for the day's menu.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £20 (but only £9.80 at amazon at the moment !)
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (15 Mar 2012)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 1844009734
- ISBN-13: 978-1844009732
- Product Dimensions: 25 x 19.6 x 2.6 cm
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