Thursday, February 25

Off Duty - Jane Middleton (ed)

When chef David Nicholls' son was paralysed during an accident on Bondi Beach, he decided to raise funds for spinal research by asking his chef friends to contribute to an unusual book about food - each writer has been asked to describe the food they cook for themselves and their families when they're at home.
Each of the forty-eight sections opens with a paragraph about the chef, their responses to ten questions (about their favourite flavours, utensils and ingredients, their inspiration, their guilty pleasure junk food, their attitude to children and others), followed by a three course meal.
In some cases the food choices are surprising (Heston Blumenthal's simple and delicious trio of pea and ham soup, oxtail and kidney pudding, and trifle for example), and on occasion they're ridiculously ornate for home cooking (I'd order Marcus Wareing's scrumptious sounding menu but never make crab and lobster tian with guacamole, cocktail sauce and Oscitra caviar, boiled pork belly with turned vegetables - pretty but turning's so fiddly - followed by an amazing peanut parfait with chocolate mousse and chocolate sauce that has several stages). In every case this is not a book to peruse when you're on a diet and haven't eaten for a while, but quite useful if you're into food porn and/or looking for dinner party inspiration - Alex

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