Book review – London: The Cookbook by Cara Frost-Sharratt

26 May 2017 by
Book review – London: The Cookbook by Cara Frost-Sharratt

Frances Lincoln, £20

Part recipe collection, part London food guide, London: The Cookbook is an exploration of the capital's food scene from producers to chefs, and food markets to Michelin-starred establishments, and an introduction to the capital's neighbourhoods, their history and cultural/culinary diversity.

A chapter is devoted to extolling 'the school of St John' and the restaurant's influence on chefs, before the important position of the street food markets - from Brockley to Spitalfields and Soho - is explored, emphasising how today's pop-ups could be tomorrow's permanent fixtures.

The one-page biographies of artisan producers particularly drew me in, from an urban cheesemaker who changed career following a recession redundancy to a City stockbroker-turned-beekeeper who set up on the roof of a Victorian sugar mill in Bermondsey.

I tried my hand at a few of the street food recipes: spicy tandoori prawns inspired by the Indian stalls at Southall Market, mushroom fajitas served at the Boiler House Food Hall at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, and the pecan brownies you can pick up at Southbank market. The recipes range from the simple and straightforward to complex dishes that have earned chefs accolades, stars and rosettes. There's something for everyone - and the pecan brownies are a real treat.

The book has a multitude of uses for the professional chef: an interesting read covering London's variety of cuisines, suggestions for the next inspiring meal, a guide to the city's rapidly expanding street food scene, a calendar of the capital's food events, an insight into the innovative produce both established and emerging… the list goes on. It also offers a map locating all the foodie hotspots mentioned within. After reading this, I'm tempted to make a tour of it.

By Katherine Price

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