All posts in Books For Cooks

The Ultimate Guide To Traditional Butchery

The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to MeatIn The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat master butcher Cole Ward aims to revive the traditional culinary art of butchery – an often overlooked but vitally important aspect of the farm-to-table movement. The most comprehensive guide available to the whole process of meat production, it will be invaluable to small-scale butchers, to chefs who want to broaden their skills, to the many who attend butchery courses, and to anyone who cares about how their meat is sourced.

The book features two master British butchers: Balson Bros, Bridport, Dorset – Britain’s oldest family butcher, and MacDonald Bros, Pitlochry, Scotland, owned and run by the MacDonald family since 1928.

“A good butcher is an ethical professional who knows the provenance of his or her meats,” Ward writes. “I want to give everyone an understanding and appreciation of my craft and its culinary artists, and I want to celebrate and support struggling small farmers and quality-meat producers. So my mission is nothing less than to bring back culinary butchery—a craft that we must never lose.”

The ultimate guide to traditional butchery, the book demystifies the complete process of getting meat from pasture to the table. It includes information on:
• The real definition, work, and role of a culinary butcher
• The roots of butchery from prehistory to modern times
• What goes on behind the scenes at meat markets large and small
• The truth behind meat-marketing claims of “organic,” “natural,” “free-range,” “grass-fed,” and “pasture-raised”; and,
• Processing your own meat, including what you’ll need in terms of tools, safety training, and preparation.

The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat also teaches readers how they can butcher an entire animal—a useful skill for many smallholders, farmers, and those who like to buy meat direct from the producer. His book includes an 800-slide CD that provides step-by-step images illustrating how to cut up a side of beef or pork, and a whole lamb or chicken.

The book will be welcome if you not only wish to learn the basic skills of butchery, but also want to understand how meat animals are raised, slaughtered, and marketed in a holistic system that respects both animals and consumers. After reading it you’ll be able to ask your local butcher key questions to determine the provenance of what’s going on your plate, know what to look for in a cut of meat, and learn how to start cutting up meat at home for your family.

Please note: National Butchers’ Week UK: Mon 24th-Sun 30th March 2014

The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat: How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly (with DVD) is published by Chelsea Green on 27th March 2014, RRP £35.99, including CD with 800 images.

Foodie Offerings

foodie offeringsA new digital magazine – Foodie Offerings – that focuses on helping readers discover UK food and drink providers that they’ve probably never heard of. The magazine is available on the Apple iTunes Newsstand with Android and Kindle version due out during the first quarter of 2014. And if that isn’t enough you can download a PDF version by subscribing to the mailing list on the website.

“From amazing meats and cheeses, to speciality drinks, spices, jams, sauces and hampers, our digital magazine is designed to help you discover new culinary delights that you’ve probably never heard of. Start discovering food with Foodie Offerings.”

“We’ve teamed up with a selection of foodie providers to offer our readers some unique and exclusive discounts. Through Foodie Offerings you can sample the foods you love whilst getting a juicy discount off your purchase.”

Roast: A Very British Cookbook

Roast: A Very British Cookbook Since it opened its doors back in 2005, Roast restaurant’s mantra has been a simple one: to use produce from the nation’s farmers and fishermen to bring a new level of energy to British cooking. Its customers have long reaped the benefits, but now Marcus Verberne, the prodigiously talented head cook at this acclaimed Borough Market based eatery, is sharing its secret with a wider audience with the publication of Roast: a very British cookbook.

Featuring dishes for all occasions, from breakfasts and brunches through to lunches and dinners, this stunning tome recreates for the home cook some of Roast’s most popular fare. Alongside all the classics can be found a host of new favourites in this best of British selection of fish, poultry, lamb, mutton, goat, pork, beef, game and vegetables, plus many ideas for puddings, cocktails and wines.

Over 100 recipes illustrate Verberne’s dual approach: to source the best local produce on offer and to let the flavours and textures speak for themselves. The result is delicious, fuss-free delights like toasted crumpets with poached eggs, Bath pig chorizo & sweetcorn; pan-fried gurnard fillet with clams in cider & wild boar pancetta; anchovy-rubbed, hay-baked leg of mutton with parsley & caper sauce and roast chicken with sage-roasted squash, smoked bacon & creamed sweetcorn.

Unlike many cookbooks, the recipes here are all accessible; some are for basic preparations such as roasting potatoes or poaching eggs for which Marcus has included vital tips and rules that will ensure perfect results time after time. Other recipes are a little more ‘cheffy’ and use techniques that may be suited to more special occasions.

For the more difficult, unfamiliar preparations such as opening a live scallop or oyster, butchering a duck or rabbit or carving large joints, the book offers both step-by-step photographic instructions plus quick-response QR codes that once scanned using an appropriate device, link to film clips of online tutorials with Marcus.

The focus here is not only on the preparation of the final dish, but also on the vitally important role of those who provide its ingredients. The ultimate celebration of quality indigenous produce, Roast: a very British cookbook is Marcus’ personal tribute to the farmers, fishermen, growers, winemakers and other producers who with hard work, knowledge, skill and passion, inspire us to do their produce justice.

Roast: A Very British Cookbook is available from Amazon for £16.25.

Cicchetti and Other Small Italian Dishes To Share

Cicchetti and Other Small Italian Dishes to ShareCicchetti are irresistible little morsels full of local flavour, the Venetian equivalent of Italian antipasti, Spanish tapas and French canapés, Thai street food or English finger food.

Venetians have turned these bit-sized delights into a culinary art, but every Italian region has its own special version. Made using traditional methods and produce, the meat, seafood and vegetable treats are the best of Italian cooking in miniature.

Compelte with lively anecdotes, colour photography and the authors’ intimate knowledge of Italian cooking, Cicchetti and Other Small Italian Dishes To Share is a comprehensive collection of authentic and innovative recipes that well send your taste buds reeling.

The book is divided into two. The first half is written by Lindy Wildsmith and celebrates the traditions of Venetian cicchetti. It contains a selection of recipes divided into sections including seafood, crudo (raw fish or meat), meat, fresh produce, cheese, charcuteries and the aperitifs – yes, drinks are included – to serve with them. Recipes in this section include Fresh Tuna Balls with Anchovy and Lemon, Ricotta and Pancetta Crostini, Risotto with Peas and Venetian Chopped Liver Crostini.

The second part of the book, written by Valentina Harris, has extended the culinary journey around the other Italian regions to share some of finest stuzzichini produced by friggitor (fired food stalls), bars and rosticcerie (shops selling roasted meat) from Milan to Palermo. Harris supplies us with such delights as Creamed Asparagus Tartine, Basilicata Salami and Caciocavallo Cheese, Neopolitan Scrambled Eggs and Pancetta and Rosemary Pancakes.

All the recipes mentioned I’ve made and sampled; all were delicious.

Just a shame you can’t get Caciocavallo cheese and authentic lardo that easily in the UK. (Oddly named Nife is Life list both Lardo £12.50 for 500g and Smoked Caciocavallo cheese £11.50 for 650g.)

Cicchetti: And Other Small Italian Dishes to Share is soon to be available from Amazon for £20.

Essential Equipment for the Kitchen

essential equipment for the kitchenFor anyone who cares about good design on a daily basis, this book is a bible. Essential Equipment for the Kitchen is about ‘ultimates’ – the ultimate tools designed for the kitchen, from potato peelers to cheese graters, to toasters and oven ranges – well designed and beautiful objects that have superior performance and durability. Regardless of prices they are all the best of their kind. Many are innovative products recently designed by today’s leading talents, while others are acknowledged design classics that have stood the test of time.

The all consuming search for the best deisgnes has spanned the world of domestic tools, from Japanese knives and Finnish cooking pots to French storage jars and English teapots.

Essential Equipment for the Kitchen is a comprehensive sourcebook showcasing over 300 beautiful products. Each selected design is in current production and can be purchased. Listed with detailed descriptions of their historic relevance and design excellence and full stockist details.

Essential Equipment for the Kitchen: A Sourcebook of the World’s Best Designs (A Sourcebook of the World’d Best Design) is currently listed at Amazon for £12.79.