A few weeks ago, my husband and brother prepared a dish from cookbook writer, former journalist, food blogger and friend, Jane-Anne Hobbs’ new cookery book, Scrumptious. Chicken a la Bourride is a dish based on a French fish stew, but the tangy tomato base is made more complex, and far more interesting with the addition of a creamy home-made aioli- garlic mayonnaise.
Both my brother and husband are novice cooks; I myself am just a few rungs ahead of them on the ladder. But they are patient, logical and with just a little help from me produced an elegant meal for dinner. The ailoi was added carefully, just as per Jane-Anne’s instructions and the sauce was a triumph! Not a curdle in sight.
Spending time in the kitchen to make a dish that isn’t at beginner-level asks for focus and patience (anyone who’s made mayonnaise from scratch can attest to that), a respect for ingredients and what both chaps exclaimed – a deep respect for the time it took their own mothers to prepare the family meal every night.
A dreary Sunday afternoon was turned into a family project and the results were nothing short of scrumptious.
I won’t share Jane-Anne’s recipe for Chicken a la Bourride here – I encourage you to buy her book, and I will tell you why, but in the mean while some pics I snapped of the dish.
Scrumptious is a hard cover cookbook – and deserves to wear its pages bound fancifully, not just because it is sure to become a go-to and frequently used reference for your family and dinner guests’ meals, but because it is honest, local cooking at the highest level. I don’t mean poncy restaurant food. I mean the type of cooking that everyone wants seconds of – flavourful without being fussy, impressive to serve and fool proof. Jane-Anne’s instructions are clear and while the book isn’t aimed at novices, a bit of practice and careful planning will get you there.
Scrumptious is well indexed, the photography by Michael le Grange, all shot at Jane-Anne’s house is superb lick-the-page stuff and forget gifts for others – I’m pretty sure you want this book in your collection. But it would make a really thoughtful gift for a friend who loves cooking.
Congratulations Jane-Anne, you’ve done us, your community of food bloggers extremely proud!
*Available for sale at Exclusive Books and other book stores as well as online as an e-book on Amazon*
6 July 2012