"The Flavour Thesaurus" by Niki Segnit
Book review first - its a goodie!
The other day I went really crazy and bought myself a copy of "The Flavour Thesaurus" by Niki Segnit which I have wanted to read for a while now. It’s a brilliant book and rather on the unusual side. It has no pictures and what recipes it has (200 or so really unusual ones) are hidden in the body of the text making it even more fascinating to read.
Ms Segnit has taken 99 different foods and sorted them into 16 groups according to similarity of flavours. The groupings themselves are interesting, not as one would expect salty, sweet, bitter etc. but rather Marine which runs into Brine & Salt, or Woodland leading on to Fresh Fruity. The groups themselves are arranged in a wheel and therefore go full circle. Tricky to explain actually so here’s the wheel- work it out for yourself!
The book itself is a thick hardback more suited to reading in bed than using in the kitchen but this is not a criticism, rather the contrary; it is difficult to put down in fact. Niki Sengit’s writing is easy going and conversational peppered (no pun intended but I’m pleased to see it here) with fascinating facts and yummy sounding recipes. The recipe for Coffee Orange Liqueur* is really tempting although as it is supposed to rest for 44 days before drinking I cannot report on it now. In fact there are so many ideas I want to try I’ve started a list …
~ Peanut and Carrot Slaw ~ An inauthentic (her word, not mine) Pork and Peanut noodly recipe ~ Chicken and Bell Peppers which sounds Very Interesting Indeed, not to mention simple
~ Scotch eggs made with black pudding
… and so on and on, the above are just from the first few pages!
“The Flavour Thesaurus” by Niki Segnit which I thoroughly recommend was published in hardcover by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC in June 2010 and here are the relevant numbers … ISBN-10: 0747599777, ISBN-13: 978-0747599777
So this has been my bedtime reading for a few days now; it is fascinating and so full of interest and humour it will probably merit a second read. When I do get round to taking the book into the kitchen (who am I kidding – it’s all of 2 feet from the bed!) and cooking from it I’ll let you know how it goes. Speaking of which …
My darling brought home a bag of half price cherries yesterday and they were perfect. So perfect that we ate almost all of them after dinner - just like that!
As we were scoffing them I remembered that when I reviewed Stevie Parle’s book "Real Food from Near & Far" a couple of weeks ago I promised to try his Cherry Clafouti recipe so managed to hold back on 11 cherries. These, of course, were hardly enough for any self respecting clafouti so I added a couple of plums to the dish. As you probably know Clafouti is a kind of sweet fruity Yorkshire pudding with a French name. I have never made one but have always been a dab hand at a Yorkshire.
My Basic Yorkshire Pudding – makes 5-6 individual puds so serves 2
Three important things about making Yorkshires …
- You MUST use plain flour and no raising agent or it won’t work! Strange but true.
- Make the batter at lease an hour before you need it
- The oil in the pan must be seriously hot before you add the batter.
1 heapedtbsp plain flour
a little salt
1 large-ish egg
a little milk
~ Beat together the flour, salt and the egg till smooth.
~ Whisk in enough milk to make a runny batter, as runny as runny double cream.
~ When ready to cook preheat the oven to (400˚F/200˚C/180˚C Fan/Gas 6)
~ Put a tsp of oil into each little muffin hole in a muffin pan for individual yorkies or a little more oil in one dish and put in the oven for a few minutes till hot.
~ Pour the batter into the pan and immediately put in the oven.
~ Do NOT open the door for about 10 minutes and even then do it with caution.
~ They are ready when seriously puffed up and golden but sadly they do tend to go down a bit once out the oven.
For the clafouti I added a tablespoon of sugar to the batter. Stevie Parle said to add 1 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp of sugar to 500g fruit and to roast in the oven for 10 minutes and then pour the batter over. So that is what I did. See here for Roasted Windfall Clafouti plus some other ideas for sweetened batter.
It was so much nicer than either of us expected! My real man felt that
*Which reminds me that I have both Rumptopf and Cherry Bounce maturing somewhere in the cellar of this very caravan.