Book Review

20 July 2006
Book Review

If you've got a pub with a garden, now's the time to think of pulling in extra customers with a bit of chargrilling outside. And if you're considering going down this route, you may want to get a few ideas from Charles Campion's new book.

It's clearly aimed at the consumer market, but Campion's record as a food writer and critic is sound. He has written for the London Evening Standard for a number of years and is a former Glenfiddich Restaurant Writer of the Year for his work on the paper, so the book's worth looking at.

It's set out in a tried and tested structure, with seven recipe-related chapters centring on poultry, beef, lamb, pork, fish, vegetables and bread/salads/sauces/puds. These are sandwiched by a useful intro on different types of barbecue and fuel (followed by another with tips on tools, the grilling procedure and grill maintenance) at the beginning, and a glossary of ingredients at the back. Jason Lowe's photography is colourful and enticing.

The recipes are drawn from a number of cuisine traditions - stretching from the Med to the Caribbean, Asia to the Pacific. It's good to see, among the predominantly chicken dishes of the poultry chapter, ones for duck, pigeon and quail. The last, from Turkey, sounds particularly tasty with a marinade centred on sumac.

Of course, there are the obligatory beefburger, fishcake and kebab - or if you opt for the South-east Asian versions, satay - dishes. But interspersed with these are others for offal (a teriyaki lamb's liver one, for example, using sake, mirin and cayenne as the marinade base; and another for faggots), and cheaper cuts of meat like lamb ribs.

Among the fish recipes a very straightforward one using smoked eel brushed with Chinese plum sauce sounds tasty, and it's good to see vegetables showcased, as these often take a back seat on the barbecue: artichokes, aubergines chicory and asparagus all get a recipe spot. And baking beetroots in the embers is such an easy idea it seems ridiculous that it's not part of the staple UK barbecue repertoire.

Food From Fire: The Real Barbecue Book Charles Campion

Mitchell Beazley, £16.99

ISBN 1 84533 2032

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