Monday, 23 May 2016

Home Cooked - Anya Fernald with Jessica Battilana

A beautifully written cookbook where, detailed in the opening pages, the author Anya Fernald shares her background and her passion for cooking.

Fernald cooks with gusto and heart. She's worked with farmers, home cooks and understands the frugalness that is often required in cooking in rural parts of Italy. And with all this knowledge, she's crafted a book filled with easy to follow, simple, rustic recipes.

As an avid cook, I devoured (pun intentional) with enthusiasm. Whilst some may find the book a little 'wordy', I liked the opening gambit before each recipe because it gave a sense of familiarity as well useful hints and tips. Divided in to inviting chapters - 'Building Blocks', 'Welcome', 'Take a Seat', and 'Stay a While', Fernald takes you on a culinary journey to creating balanced, nutritious, home cooked meals for both every day and special dinners.

There were so many recipes that I wanted to try but figured I wouldn't be able to review the book in a timely manner, so pared it down to three. The first one that I tried was Sofritto - a combination of onions, carrots and celery - but never thought to caramelize it. It added a lovely depth of flavor to the Bolognese that I cooked.
Sofritto - page 17
Blistered Green Beans - page 143
I then tried the Blistered Green Beans and again another straight forward recipe but one I didn't think to do - roasting beans? The beans were so tasty and made such a difference from the usual blanching.

Finally, I did the buttermilk biscuits. But I did cheat somewhat and not make my own buttermilk. (Fernald explains how to do this). Whilst there are many favored buttermilk biscuits out there, the difference here or rather key to being different, is to make your own buttermilk.

Buttermilk Biscuits - page 65
Overall, I found the methods easy to follow and ingredients easy to find. There may be some more exclusive things like hazelnut flour or obtaining beef bones to make your own broth but I think the point of this cookery book is to be aware of the basics, learn them and your food will become more flavorful. What I look for in a cookbook is its adaptability and I think there are many recipes in which I can tweak to my liking and not affect its essence.
A highly recommended read that will lead to cooking.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books to review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.

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