Global ingredients elevate the everyday in this fascinating cookbook
Written for an American audience, who I dare suggest might not be as familiar with some of the featured ingredients as us diverse eating Brits, this book still has plenty of recipes to make you bookmark the pages.
Of course you do still have to get to grips with the dreaded American cup measuring system and its ‘sticks’ of butter, as well as go old school with pounds, ounces and Fahrenheit. This can be an occasional head scratcher, but a bit of simple conversion, or scales that can be either metric or imperial, soon solves it.
Most of us foodies today have a global pantry – fish sauce quietly festering at the back, a box of gochujang at the back of the fridge, some tahini taking up space in the door. And where would we be without miso?
Many of these things will have been bought for one particular recipe though and then abandoned. This book will help you use them up properly, before they march out of the cupboard under their own steam.
More than 120 recipes are upgraded by using 65 common pantry items from around the world.
Scott got his education backpacking around Asia, Ann is an American with a Korean mother so she adores peanut butter and fried catfish just as much as gochujang spliced ribs. Both became food editors and championed more adventurous eating.
Every one of their global ingredients is covered in detail at the start of the book, and I am pleased to see Marmite in there, even if it is rather unfairly described as ‘Britain’s umami cult goop’. Worcestershire Sauce gets a mention too, although it is childishly labelled as ‘yummy’. The authors are really far too old to be talking like influencers, but I guess that’s the way now.
Divided into chapters – snacks, salads, soups and stews, red meat, pork, poultry, fish, meat-free, sandwiches, pasta pizza and breads, and desserts, there’s plenty to digest. There’s also a section on shopping smarter, not just on price but on sustainability, animal welfare and carbon footprint. So a lot of woke boxes ticked there.
Right on for sure, but what about the writing? Well the recipes are clear, apart from the measuring side, and no words are wasted. Ideas are always interesting, such as slow roasted tomato soup spiced up with harissa and za’atar and Naan ‘soldiers’. All eaten with quick pickled raisins, which sounds rather interesting.
So does Coca Cola chicken, with crispy togarashi chicken skins. The sauce is equal parts coca-cola and tomato ketchup with paprika. Yes I know, Americans eh? but it still sounds worth a try.
Quick pan-fried fish curry is something we Brits can get behind, Harrisa tofu bowls are as vegan as it gets, and I am definitely trying ravioli with very slow tomatoes, crispy capers and caper oil. Crispy capers? Get in.
I like this book, it has plenty to get your teeth and I shall be trying the recipes for a week.
It’s on Amazon, of course