Sunday 1 November 2009

Britain's Best Dish

Categorised into starters, mains and desserts, this book offers over a hundred "family favourites, dinner-party classics and innovative experiments" that were featured on the ITV show. It's a compilation of the tastiest and most-exciting recipes from the first three series, broadcast in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

All of the recipes are designed to feed four people and many include the plating-up suggestions offered by the contestants. Difficulty ratings and a guide to preparation and cooking times will help you work out which recipes to try out first. There are some gorgeous photos but unfortunately not all of the dishes are illustrated (I always like to see the end result that I'm aiming for).

Despite the title of the book, there are some very exotic dishes from all corners of the globe : Austrian-style spaetzle, Caribbean spicy vegetable soup, Sri Lankan chicken curry, to name but a few.

There are some of the British classics you would expect : roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the porkie pig pie, fish and chips with minty mushy peas, bangers and mash, toad in the hole, spotted dick with fruit and custrad, Bakewell tarts, traditional English trifle. You couldn't get any more quintessentially British and they are reminiscent of childhood school dinners (long before Jamie Oliver needed to step in !)

There are also some British classics with a surprising twist : Full English risotto, the surprising vegetarian haggis pakoras (East meets West !), blade steak with tandoori tatties, bread and butter meringue flan, ...

I love the widely-unknown regional specialities that would remain undiscovered unless you travelled to their neck of the woods : West Country pork risotto (including scrumpy in the list of ingredients), trio of Norfolk seafood pots, Somerset tiddy oggy, cullen skink, the wonderfully-named stargazy pie with Cornish Yarg, Yorkshire ginger parkin, cloutie dumpling. You'll need to scour the recipes to see what lies behind these weird and wonderful names !

There are some surprising ingredients too - Christmas tree and lime granita (yes, it really uses pine needles !), goat meat, even squirrel meat - your butcher will give you a funny look when you ask him for that !

The most surprising recipe of all - even more so than the squirrel pie with vegetables or the lamb cooked in hay - which would have surprised me more, had I not just discovered it in Stéphane Reynaud's Rôtis recipe book minutes before ! - has to be the chilli and chocolate deep-fried ice cream. The mind boggles !

The great thing about this book is that they are all recipes invented or reinvented by amateur chefs, so they are all simple enough for you to make in your own home. The title may sound reductive but there are some very innovative and exotic dishes within its pages that you are guaranteed to have never tried before. The question is, will you be brave enough to try them now ?!

RRP : £20

star rating : 4.5/5

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley (1 Sep 2009)
ISBN-10: 1405350016
ISBN-13: 978-1405350013


  1. Sounds brilliant! Might have to get a copy!

  2. looks a nice cookbook! i used to really enjoy this programme!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...