Monday, 11 October 2010

Bill's Basics Cook Book Review

I would have written this entry earlier but I was having laptop woes. Luckily it seems to be fixed now without losing my precious photos, mp3s and saved recipes folder. Phew! So now I can write about the joys of the new Bill Granger cookbook Bill's Basics.

I'm always very happy to see a new Bill book, it's especially exciting this time around as he's living in England and looking for a cafe site in London! Woo! Looking forward to visiting when it's open.

As for the book, it's full of classic recipes, most 'with a twist'. There are no pretensions when it comes to his dishes and nothing looks too daunting. The chapters have changed from Bill's usual breakfast, lunch and dinners, now sorted into baking, soups, salads, desserts etc. The photography is great and there is an image for each recipe which I always appreciate.

The first recipe I tried out was the Lemon Chicken. It was simple to make and really healthy without feeling worthy! There was no cornflour in the sauce but it still compared nicely to a take-away lemon chicken but so much better to know exactly what went in. The addition of ginger really made the sauce zing and the five-spice cooked into the chicken skin really came through too. Delicious.

Next up was the My Spaghetti Carbonara.

Oh my, I never make carbonara which is stupid as it's my favourite pasta dish. Horribly unhealthy but too delicious to pass up. We've made it twice in 2 weeks! Pretty successful then! Spring onion and dried chili flakes are the Bill additions which add a bit of spice and a soft onion flavour without being imposing. I also added some exotic mushrooms though I can't for the life of me work out which variety they were from the description on the packet! I'm going with 'shiro shimeji' but not sure! I just know I'll make this again and again. It's also easy to rustle up when you're in a hurry or just ruddy hungry!

There were so many recipes I wanted to try and I had all the ingredients to make the Fish Cakes so I made a third dish! Shock horror! A blog first! The dish is served with a raita but I served mine with some watercress instead, I don't think it needed a sauce as the fish cakes themselves were so flavourful and moist.

I made 2 attempts as there was so much mixture. First time like an idiot I left out the egg so they weren't the easiest to flip over in the pan but they were nice and chunky and the lemon and ginger really lifted the flavour.

The second time I remember the egg, which was probably a little large for the amount of mixture left but it completely changed the texture. This time they were really light and almost like a souffle. Granted they don't look very different and the garnish didn't change but there honestly was a big change! The taste was still there though and I added a little bit more lemon which was nice. The spring onion seemed to cook out a little more as well so there was less crunch. The mixture kept very well overnight and the recipe was a great way to use up the tin of salmon we've had for an age - I much prefer tuna in a salad though it's hard to get a whole tin to ourselves when we have 4 greedy cats who seem to consider tuna their drug of choice!

If you want to try this recipe you can watch the man himself make the dish:

So it's a mahoosive thumbs up for this book, not just because I love Bill so much but because his recipes are so good and things always turn out so well. I want to make every dessert in the book (bar the tiramisu - bleurgh - coffee and soggy biscuits!) and every soup too as well as a whole other recipes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pleased that you have reviewed this book. I think I will have to wait for Xmas for this one.
    Hope he opens a restaurant in the UK, I can't wait to go.