AT LAST the weather is showing signs of improvement and, as spirits lift, thoughts start to turn to the possibility of entertaining outdoors once more. We are featuring three new recipe books this week, all very different, all offering inspiration and new ideas.
With so many lemon trees about, it can be difficult to know what to do with all the fruit. Look no further than Brian Glover’s Lemons & Limes. As he says, the sharp, fresh taste of lemon and lime is essential in any kitchen. A squeeze of lemon can bring a dull sauce or lacklustre soup to life – its tartness pierces through rich food to bring out the flavour in a subtler way than salt. The Mediterranean trinity of olive oil, garlic and lemon instantly conjures up the smell and taste of the region.
Smaller, sharper but more intensely fragrant than lemons, limes work with exotic, spicy flavours in recipes from Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
In Lemons & Limes, Brian Glover has collected culinary delights from around the world, featuring these two favourite flavours. Chapters include salads and soups, with recipes like Grilled Courgette and Feta Salad, while his rice and pasta dishes include Lemon, Fennel and Mushroom Risotto and Pasta with Mussels, Prawns, Lemon and Garlic. Why not try recipes such as Fish Baked with Lemon, Oregano and Potatoes, Roast Lemon Chicken with Garlic and Herbs, and Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Preserved Lemons?
Lemons and limes shine in desserts too – try a new twist on Key Lime Pie, or Lime, White Chocolate and Cardamom Tart. Basic recipes include Homemade Fresh Lemonade, Lemon Curd and Moroccan Preserved Lemons. The book is available in hardback at 14 euros.
Cook and enthusiast for all things Tuscan, Maxine Clark reveals the fascinating culture of Tuscan food and cooking in her new sumptuous book, Flavours of Tuscany. Good cooks always emphasise the importance of the best ingredients, and Maxine takes this one step further with wise and witty introductions to some of Tuscany’s key foods.
The book includes a comprehensive selection of delicious recipes with antipasti, soups (such as the classic Minestrone), breads and pizza, with ideas like Yellow Corn Bread and Tuscan Pizza, pasta, risotto and gnocchi, including Seafood Ravioli and Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi. Fish and seafood, from Sardines with Currants and Pine Nuts, to Tuna with Rosemary, are well to the fore, while the meat, poultry and game chapter introduces Meatballs with Pecorino and Mushrooms and Chicken with Chilli and Lemon. Maxine Clark has written many books on Italian cooking, but Flavours of Tuscany, new in hardback at 31 euros, will be a favourite addition to the bookshelf.
If, however, you feel like something much spicier, then The Hot Book of Chillies by David Floyd is the one for you. This is an essential companion to enjoying chillies, exploring the history and biology of the plants, how hotness is measured, chillies and health, nutritional and medicinal value and how to preserve and use chillies. A gallery of chillies presents approximately 100 of the most popular chilli varieties, which could be extremely useful when standing in a local market wondering which to choose. The book also includes recipes for salsas, hot sauces, jams and chutneys. Illustrated in colour, this is available in hardback at 20 euros.