Ducksoup is a restaurant in Soho, London, that you could easily stumble upon, into and, an hour or so later, out of smiling and sated.
The recipe book’s a bit like that too. There are a host of gorgeous recipes, most of which are little more than an assembly of good ingredients. But the combinations they suggest are vibrant and tempting, often crossing Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours with British ingredients, and perhaps some Japanese sensibility and simplicity.
Rustle up a plate of salt cod, tomatoes and olive oil and another of prosciutto, walnuts and honey when your friends come round, and everyone will be happy. Chargrill seasonal greens, toss among boiled freekeh and dress with tahini and burnt lemon, and your kitchen will be buzzing.
There’s slower cooking, too, from squid ink risotto with lemon and chilli, to pork belly with pickled rhubarb and pot roast game birds in red wine.
I can see this being a favourite in houses where mid week supper is more than filled pasta or the same stir fry each night; where you want a bit of inspiration, but not necessarily much work. Also good for people who like to cook for others – a short list of desserts echo the simple-assembly-of-flavourful-things theme.
I really like this book. It’s full of ideas, benefits from thoughtful, beautiful (and enviable) design and photography, and good writing. The recipes work too. Just make sure you’ve got a griddle pan and a labneh supplier nearby.
Format and design
Crown quarto. Neat design and beautiful photography – this is a really pleasing book. Photos make you want to cook (or assemble) and eat everything.
Recipes that tempt
Chargrilled lamb leg, labneh and poached apricots; charred fennel, mussels, cockles and fregola; chopped raw hanger steak, pickled radish and salted ricotta.
Who is it for?
Food lovers. People who like to cook good things for themselves and others. Fans of Ducksoup and Rawduck restaurants (also places like Towpath, River Café, Chez Panisse).