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Is This A Cookbook?: Adventures in the Kitchen

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Although it is already a 10-year-old book, Heston Blumenthal at Home, is still a modern book with a lot to teach. Within the food industry, Blumenthal has won multiple chef and restaurant awards, and is considered one of the founders of multi-sensory cooking. He is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and totally deserves this very prestigious position. The reason why we love this book so much is because it makes us question things we took for granted. I’m an experienced cook and I like to be adventurous with recipes, but I’m not a chef and I don’t aspire to be.

Heston's instructions are precise and easy to follow, with lots of helpful tips, and each chapter is introduced with an explanation of Heston's approach. There is an excellent chapter on preparing eggs any style, as well as some unique breakfast dishes, including a delicious version of Green Eggs and Ham. In our household, Historic Heston is the only food porn we have, in the sense that we just look at the pictures which are staged like still life paintings and are just beautiful as works of art. I remember on my first trip to France, seeing a tin of choc-coated crickets, and thinking the same thing. It’s about an emotional response – what memories, what associations are triggered – which is very personal.This is a quirky, fun cookbook with lots of great recipes, illustrations and interesting flavour combinations. I'm an experienced cook and I like to be adventurous with recipes, but I'm not a chef and I don't aspire to be. Blumenthal’s restless exploration of technique and ingredients are the basis for his fame, arising from his Michelin 3-star restaurant The Fat Duck in the UK, and further explored in other restaurants. To be honest it's a bit disappointing - yes, it's a cookbook in that there are recipes but each recipe is accompanied by thoughts, musings and a few tips with quirky drawings and a font which I really don't like.

He let go of that urge and instead chose to use all his knowledge and creativity to shape easier dishes. It certainly has recipes, from the traditional: steak with pan jus, fish cakes with tartare sauce or chilli con carne with spiced chocolate, to the more intriguing: green gazpacho, popcorn chicken and a kimchi potato cake ‘disco bonito'. Although everything in this book is explained to the maximum detail, it is far from being a book accessible to everyone.It's a book to sit with, read cover to cover and then revisit for whenever inspiration is needed—or a reminder to slow down and fully experience life. The mac and cheese would be a useful accompaniment to a roast or a dish to serve up at a large gathering, as it is something you can blend with other foods easily due to its subtlety.

The somewhat whimsical energy of Blumenthal’s approach is reinforced by illustrations by Dave McKean, who also illustrated the original The Fat Duck Cookbook with similarly madcap work. This is not the first book that talks about sous-vide or dry ice, but it is one of the first books that make these nerdy things suitable for home cooks. The recipes] evoke childlike playfulness … McKean's trippy sepia-toned ink drawings that appear throughout will put readers in mind of John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland images.

I used frozen banana and that makes a difference; it is too “warm” to be a smoothie using a room or fridge temperature banana.

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