Gok’s Wok

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Gok’s Wok
Fast, Fresh, healthy Asian Recipes
By Gok Wan
Ebury Press – £20.00

Absolutely fabulous. Did I say fabulous? Indeed I did. Gok’s Wok – Fast, Fresh Healthy Asian Recipes is a joy of a book to behold, embrace and partake in.

That it perfectly reflects Gok Wan’s personality – these 223 pages are unsurprisingly colourful, exciting and friendly – ought hardly be surprising. Reason being, it was always going to be a given that were the fashion expert and award-winning televison presenter to publish another cookery book (the first being his Gok Cooks Chinese), then this would probably be the outstanding result.

It’s ten chapters are, as already mentioned, colourful, exciting and friendly.

Colourful, because much of the exquisite photography lures you into wanting to try out nearly all the recipes immediately. Exciting, because the recipes are a little different from your lazy staple of meat and two veg/pasta dishes that find themselves on the average family table on a weekly basis. And friendly, because the cooking itself really is simple while the ingredients are more than readily accessible. There’s none of this poached partridge drizzled in truffle oil nonsense, which can so easily turn just the shopping aspect alone, into a grind of a nightmare.

So yeah, my partner and I tried the Filipino Pork and Mango Curry, which, apart being super sensational, was something of a simple and non-time consuming dish to make. It has to be said that once we’ve worked our way through the many other splendiferous offerings, it will most certainly be added to our menu on a regular basis.

Moreover, what makes Gok’s Wok so exciting, is that it looks so great. As such, photographer Romas Foord and food stylist Robert Allison warrant full credit for having undertaken and delivered a most meticulous and marvellous result. So much so, that I really would have liked a photo for every recipe, but then this is perhaps sheer indulgence.

I just adore the wonderful artwork too much I guess.

A brief synopsis of how this book needs to be approached and appreciated, is essentially shared by the author himself, when, in the Introduction he writes: ”Food is at the core of every Asian family and life begins and ends at the dinner table. Every occasion – whether it’s a wedding or a funeral – centres around a massive sharing table where you’re given your foundation of rice and then you choose your meat, fish and veggie dishes to go with it. You often share anywhere between 8 and 20 dishes around the table, with your chopsticks touching those next to you, almost as though you’re holding hands. But sharing a meal doesn’t need to be an elaborate feast of lobster, suckling pig an duck; it can be as simple as a bowl of broth. I think taking the time to sit down and eat a meal together is one of the most basic principles of living, and cooking for your loved ones lets them know how much you appreciate them. Learning to share a meal is the biggest gift I’ve ever been given and now I want to pass it on to you.”

Well I for one, am most pleased Gok Wan has decided to pass it on. For as mentioned at the outset, this really is a joy of a book to behold, embrace and partake in.

David Marx

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