Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Magpie Cafe Cook Book Review

During my trip to Whitby in the summer we had lunch in the well-know Magpie Cafe which was absolutely lovely. While we were there we bought both of their cookery books, all containing gorgeous sounding fish dishes and equally yummy desserts. They were signed too so that added a nice little touch and a reason to buy them from the cafe itself.

I cooked from the 1st Magpie book which is a good size and contains plenty of recipes. The recipes are a good representative of the restaurant and I saw a lot of the dishes on offer when we were there. The seafood taster plate that I had is part of the starter recipes and the Magpie trio that my Grandmere had is included too. I like it when you can recreate something you've had somewhere and enjoyed.

The book also gives a nice introduction to Whitby, no need to buy a separate guidebook! It also offers a history of the restaurant. The ingredients are all available from a good fishmongers and there is nothing too out of the ordinary. Accompaniments and sauces are included too but the fish is the main star of all the recipes. There is a full-page photograph for each recipe which is brilliant. The only downside to the book is that the recipes don't say how many they serve which is quite annoying. You can work out some, for example the Squidgy Chocolate Puddings asks you to grease six pudding basins so I can only presume it's for 6! Not sure if that's the case for the starters and main dishes though. An oversight perhaps but it's pretty useful information to have.

The first dish I made was the Dover Sole with Brown Shrimp Butter, except instead of Dover Sole I used Pouting instead which I'd never had before but was a really tasty fish. It looks like it's quite a sustainable fish though no thorough studies have been done as it's not a very popular fish to eat. I think it should be though as it cooked really well, broke pretty easily but great to fry. I've only ever had potted shrimp so it was nice to use them as an accompaniment to another fish. The flavours were great together and the dish was simple to put together. I think that's a feature of the book, everything is simple and the flavours are always sympathetic to the fish.

I didn't get a chance to try a dessert at the cafe as I was so full after my platter so I had to try one of the desserts from the book, and how could I turn down the chance to make the Magpie Sticky Toffee Pudding?!

I couldn't find a skewer to I just stabbed the sponge with the end of a spoon - hence the rather fetching pattern! I'd never made a sticky toffee pudding before and assumed it would be much trickier than it was but it was really easy. It's just scary to see all the sugar and butter go into it!

The sponge was super light and the toffee sauce was really moreish. I halved the quantities and it still served 6 people of modest appetite. There was no mention of how big their ovenproof dish was so I thought it wiser to make less just in case I ended up with way too much mixture. There's a limit to my calories intake! But it was delicious and this is a recipe that will come out time and again now I know how simple it is to prepare.

So I'm glad I got the book as it's a nice souvenir of my trip and it also has some rather lovely recipes! The books can be found here on their website.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the Magpie Cook Book. Glad you liked the book, it was the first book I ever designed. Regards, @PaulDCocker.