The Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen

winter

The Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen
By Lizzie Kamenetzky
BBC Books – £20.00

It is often said that bakers are givers, but it’s not just bakers; anyone who
throws a meal together for someone else is doing something generous.

As it’s summer, I thought it might be thoroughly appropriate to review The Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen – a book that goes some way in inspiring one to generally shake, rattle and role in the kitchen.

Other than some of the mouth-watering photography that reigneth supreme amid these 297 pages, there really is something to be said for both seasonal cooking and generally being magnanimous thereof: ”Winter isn’t something to grumble about. Instead it should be something that is welcomed and celebrated. One of the wonderful things about Britain is our distinct seasons […]. We should revel in these changes, and more particularly in eating in sympathy with the seasons.”

The last sentence (”in eating in sympathy with the seasons”) ought to be especially pertinent when traversing betwixt supermarket and kitchen. Reason being, so many budding chefs – those with a penchant for gastronomic fecundity at least – appear to take such cuisine induced common sense for granted.

This is where the importance of this book comes in – as it’s one-hundred and thirty (relatively) new recipes entice one into venturing much further so far as the palette of ye never ending winter months are concerned.

From comforting and hearty soups (”You can make a soup out of almost anything, so try to be imaginative in your kitchen, using what you have to hand […]. Lentils and pulses make great soups, giving substance and texture […]. Leftovers are another good starting point for a soup. Don’t throw away those few roasties or scoops of cauliflower cheese from Sunday lunch”) such as Spiced Potato and Coconut or Lemony Chicken Broth with Orzo Pasta and Chard. Or literally, the very first recipe of this book, White Bean, Smoky Bacon and Savoy Cabbage, which is relentlessly fab.

To an abundance of weeknight comfort meals (”It is all too easy to let mid-week cooking become predictable, thinking that there isn’t enough time to be creative, especially in the cold winter months when the food we crave seems to require a lot of effort to make. We need to break out of that rut and realise that mid-week meals, even in the depths of winter, can be simple, easy and – very often – quick to make, while still being warming and sustaining”), such as Pork Chops cooked in Cider, Sage and Mustard; Spanish Cod Stew with Chickpeas or a particular favourite of mine, Beetroot Risotto with Thyme and Pecorino: ”Beetroot transforms this dish from a humble risotto into a work of art, colouring the rice a deep, vivid pink and giving it a nutty, earthy flavour. Pecorino has a lovely tang that offsets the sweetness of the beetroot, although if Parmesan is what you have in your fridge this would do nicely. Risotto may seem like a labour of love, with all the stirring, but you need to do this in order to release the starch from the rice.”

Along with sections on Slow Cooking and One Pots, Pies and Tarts, Puddings, Breads and Bakes and of course, Seasonal Occasions, I can honestly say that The Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen is an all round splendid book. The recipes are clearly laid out, most, if not all of the ingredients are easily attained, while many of the dishes are themselves, not overtly obvious – an aspect of the book I found most appealing.

So there you go, before the autumnal months are upon us, have a delve into this here book. You won’t in the least be disappointed.

David Marx

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