JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nigel Slater's top-10 recipes

In the Observer Food Magazine yesterday, Nigel Slater printed his top-10 recipes ... I've got six of these books, and I've only done one of these recipes. I don't even remember reading the other five, although I've read all six books from cover to cover.

I know all the names on the list bar one; and I'm struck by how many of them appear on television. I don't think any of these people inspire me to cook in the way that other food bloggers do. Which would make it hard for me to come up with a list like this ... a lot of my top-10 recipes are either grubby bits of print-out, or clippings in my feed aggregator.

The only two dishes on this list that I'm really keen to cook are the salt cod croquetas, and the onions. The rest I either don't want to make (rice pudding with double cream? no thank you), or know how to do without looking at a book (roast grouse, devilled crab).

Here's the list in full (and a link to all the recipes):

1. Nigella Lawson's steak bearnaise, from How to Eat

2. Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray's wood-roasted porcini, from River Cafe Cookbook Two

3. Fergus Henderson's devilled crab, from Nose to Tail Eating

4. Jamie Oliver's wok-fried crispy bream, from The Return of the Naked Chef

5. David Thompson's kaffir-lime juice dressed prawns, from Thai Food

6. Rose Prince's poached chicken with leeks, from The New English Kitchen

7. Sam & Sam Clark's salt cod croquetas, from Moro: the Cookbook

8. Ruth Watson's Afghan Rice Pudding, from The Really Helpful Cookbook

9. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's roast grouse and bread sauce, from The River Cottage Meat Book

10. Skye Gyngell's panade of slow-cooked onions with gruyere, from A Year in My Kitchen


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Interesting list.

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Very interesting...I wish more of the books were published here in the US too! The conversions can get to be a bit of a pain.

Joanna said...

I know just what you mean, Amanda ... I struggle with American weights and measures, even though I've got a set of US cups which my (American) sister brought over - it's a mindset thing with me, I want to weigh ingredients. But we don't even use the same scale for our ovens ... so books are tricky. However, I think that the one author I hadn't heard of is actually Australian ...

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I too am inspired more and more from blogs. I have tons of cookery books yet I've never been one to pick up a book and follow a recipe. I do still like to buy them though. Spoilt!

The whole conversion thing is a pain. I always feel that I should convert everything for recipes I post on the blog but then I worry that they might not be correct.

Joanna said...

There's a very good conversion chart on Delia's website (at least, I think that's where it is), but it made me slightly cross, because it wouldn't let me print it out ... I wanted to stick it on the inside of a cupboard door, so that I could refer to it instantly. As you say, spoilt, because I could perfectly well put one together myself ... and keep it on the blog as well as in the cupboard ;)

Anonymous said...

I had hoped the list would actually be a little bit more interesting than it actually seemed to be - but then as ever with Nige, it takes a little time to fully appreciate his opinions.

In an almost immediate response I tried the poached chicken with leeks, and found it to be pretty good. A very good base for something that could be a little bit more interesting. I found it to be a little one dimensional, but then, that was pretty obvious from the ingredients list - I was just hoping for that little bit of magic that makes a truly great simple recipe, simply great!!!!!

The best example I can think of is a recipe for Pasta Fagioli by an american cook called Giada de Laurentiis - and it truly is a case of the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts - and I guarantee that you will be amazed at the depth and complexity of flavour from such a simple recipe.

It can be found easily online

Joanna said...

Yes, I rather agree with you, Josh, a pretty dull list - and all those tv cooks, when there are so many other better people writing. I've been trying to compose a similar list myself - surprisingly difficult, actually, but I think I'll make one in the next week or so ... I am beginning to wonder whether there were commercial forces at work with his list - but at least with mine, you know it was just what I thought at that moment, but probably not 20 minutes later!

I was interested in what you said about the Rose Prince recipe (well, I think it's a book for inexperienced cooks, although I'm not sure because I don't have a copy) ... and so I will look out the Giada de Laurentiis pasta fagioli - that's a new name on me, but we are all parochial in the matter of our best food writers (by and large, it's only the tv cooks that travel far)

Thanks for your comment

Ros said...

It certainly is an 'interesting' list. I've always loved Nigel's writing and recipes. Real Food provided me with loads of invaluable tips when I first started cooking and, while I'm not one to follow instructions closely, the simplicity of his recipes have been a great help for Andy.

I have noticed the recipes he lifts from other chefs for his books do seem to be a bit on the dull side and this is reflected in his top 10 list.

It would be interesting to know what his criteria for 'good recipes' were. Different people look for different things after all. Whereas we might be looking for inspiration, I can guarantee Andy looks for a failsafe set of instructions and maybe this influenced his choice?