We are blessed to have one of the UK’s leading independent booksellers here in Corbridge – Forum Books and Forum Kids (which sells Kid’s books – not Kids!). They host some really entertaining events with leading cookery book authors – Diana Henry, Sabrina Ghayour and Maunika Gowardhan have all been visitors to our humble little village recently. Nick is a bit of a cook book collector so we have decided to start an occasional series of cook book reviews. He’s promised to write the reviews and photograph what he cooks from the books and in return he gets to show off his cooking skills! Over to Nick…
My most recent purchase from Forum Books was Spuntino – Comfort Food New York Style. Being an out of touch Northerner I had no idea that the Spuntino diner is actually in London and not New York. I have been to New York and I can vouch that Spuntino is about authentic Big Apple comfort food. My family have probably been more impressed with what I have cooked from this book than any other. What’s not to like about Cornflake Chicken and Pizettes if you are a hungry teenager.
The production values of this book are high – stylish matt paper, evocative photography and a really neat spine that allows the pages to stay open easily on the kitchen surface. This book will get splattered and stained very quickly but isn’t that the mark of any great cook book?
The first section is devoted to brunch – mainly eggs which sadly I don’t really like. The Mac & Cheese recipe is to die for and is included is in this section. If New Yorkers have Mac & Cheese for breakfast I want to move there.
Next up is Spuntini – snacking New York Italian style. The Eggplant (Aubergine to most readers of this) Chips with Fennel Yoghurt were a big hit and I can’t wait to try the Croque Monsieur and Fried Stuffed Green Olives. I reckon it will be worth the effort to stuff an olive and deep fry it. Quite a few recipes call for Panko breadcrumbs which are available in Waitrose in Hexham but it did take me a while to find them and I had to insist that Paxo breadcrumbs were not what I was seeking.
There’s loads of inspiring Pizette recipes and their dough recipe is not only great for these mini pizzas but also make a fine flatbread too if cooked on a hot and heavy dry frying pan of on the hot plate of an Aga. I plan to try the potato, nettle and anchovy topping soon which will have the happy side effect of removing some of the nettles that sting me when I cycle through the woods to work in the morning.
The salad recipes are all mouthwatering and as you’d expect they are accompanied by pretty robust dressings. Their slaw is very good indeed. I haven’t tried any of the sliders or meat plates (except the cornflake chicken which is easy and very crunchy) yet but will comment below when I do. The fried pineapple with licorice ice cream looks intriguing – I’m going to try that this weekend.
Neri saw this book in the office the day I bought it and rushed out for her own copy ahead of her trip to New York – the sea bream, kohlrabi & pine nuts photo is hers.
I’d definitely recommend this book – it may not be too healthy but most of it is easy to cook and it’s all delicious.