Monday 31 December 2012

The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

This is a really interesting cook book, in the way that it isn’t really a cook book at all. A colleague introduced it to me and I thought it sounded intriguing so I got myself a copy. Incidentally, when I went into Foyle’s to buy the book it was half price, and I even found a copy signed by the author!

The premise of the book is food pairings. There are 99 ingredients split into 16 different categories, such as ‘earthy’, ‘mustardy’ and ‘marine’. Each ingredient is a mini-chapter with a few pages worth of pairings with other ingredients, accompanied with ideas (but not recipes) on how you might make these pairings work. Some of these are as you might expect (horseradish + fish) and there are many contemporary favourites (chocolate + chilli); there are also as many that don’t seem especially obvious (onion + orange).

This isn’t really a cook book as I said; it’s more a sort of start point for some ideas and the writer has deliberately set out to encourage experimentation and go no further. I suppose therefore that it isn’t for everybody, but I really like it and look forward to trying out some of the suggested pairings. It’s beautifully bound and beautifully presented, worth checking out.

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