I get inspired loads by looking through books, if I am ever working a split shift and take a trip into a book shop on my break it's always a dangerous move because I always leave with at least 2 new cook books!!!
Here are some I recommend you buy and get in the kitchen quick-time.
Click on an image to take you straight to Amazon checkout. Good cooking!
NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully
I have taken a lot inspiration from this book. The fusion between Ottolenghi's Middle Eastern style and Scully's Asian flavours gets me excited. The Burnt Miso Butterscotch is a favourite of mine.
I was lucky enough to get the chance to work alongside the co author of this book, Ramael Scully, at the launch party. It was a great event where Ramael cooked up a 5 course meal at Hertford College, Oxford, for 120 punters lucky enough to buy a ticket before they all sold out.
- The first thing to leave the kitchen was a crazy beautiful pile of spiced cheesy corn bread along with small plates of lines of different spices to be sprinkled or dabbed up all over each slice, how ever you fancied!
- The second thing to fly off the pass was the 'Roasted Aubergine with Black Garlic, Pine Nuts & Basil'. The deep intense almost liquorice flavour of the black garlic smothered all over the juicy roast aubergine which was sat on top of a beautifully fresh splatter of Greek Yoghurt and finished with some deep fried broad beans for added texture.
- The third dish to shoot up the dumbwaiter lift was a slick plate of 'Celeriac Puree with Spiced Cauliflower and Quails Egg'. Fun to eat but not so fun to make for 120 diners, my friend who had the job of perfectly frying 120 Quails Eggs will be the first to tell you that! Ramael taught me a new style of plating up puree with this dish, swiping the puree alongside the inner rim of the soup bowl it was served in telling me to 'ride the wave brother' which seemed fitting coming from the Australians mouth.
- Dish numero four was the 'Venison fillet with Date Labneh, Blackberries & Peanut Crumble'. This dish was a favourite of the night for me. Juicy loins of venison rolled around in a huge amount of peppercorns and juniper berries then sealed off and roasted to perfection (nice and pink). These were then sliced and laid across the most amazing fruity Labneh I have ever tasted and sprinkled with lovely crunchy chopped Peanuts, big plump juice filled Blackberries and a cheeky sprigs of fragrant Basil. BOOM....perfect!
- Finally plate number five! The naughty and very sexy 'Baked Chocolate Ganache with Spicey Hazelnuts & Orange Oil'. Intense rich velvety chocolate ganache sprinkled with aromatic spiced crushed hazelnuts and drizzled with a delicate orange oil. So sexy it's probably best to eat it in the bedroom......
All five of these dishes are in the book! Buy it and have some fun making them yourself!
Below a photo of the man himself Ramael Scully and myself after a long shift ready for the beers!
Morito by Sam & Sam Clark
After seeing this book on one of my many visits to a book shop on my afternoon break I had to buy it there and then. It's an explosion of colours and big bold flavours served up in a simple effortless way. Serving Tapas and Meze, there's a huge variety of plates from around the Mediterranean to share with friends with a few cold beers.
As soon as I bought the book, I also knew that I had to visit Morito myself to try out the grub. The style and culture of eating behind Tapas and Meze is my favourite of all. It has got to be the most social way of eating, sharing small plates of food, and because they are so small you need to order a good few, which means loads of things to get you talking to each other.
I went with my girlfriend for my birthday in 2014 and it was outstanding, one of those meals you remember eating for a long time to come. I can still remember how it all smelled, tasted and looked and certain exciting textures and flavours smashing about in my mouth. I have recommended it to a few friends too who have all loved it as much as me, I am definitely due another visit sometime soon.
- Here are a few dishes we ordered and still get excited thinking about. 'Fried Chickpeas and Chopped Salad', this one is a firm favourite of us and all of my friends who have visited. Chickpeas that have been rolled around in a blend of aromatic spices and then deep fried leaving them with an addictive crisp coating and moorish fluffy centre served up with some crunchy fresh chopped up vegetables such as Lebanese Cucumbers and sun ripened juicy Tomatoes.
- 'Spiced Lamb, Aubergine & Mint'. This dish was a slap in the face from an east Mediterranean coastal town. Naughty pieces of spiced lamb shank that had been pulled and fried in a smoking hot pan until crispy sat on top of a beautiful smoky aubergine puree and scattered with plenty of fresh pomegranate and torn mint.
- 'Pescaito Frito (Fried Fish)' took me straight to a coastal town in Andalusia. A firm Spanish favourite, so simple but so amazing. Small pieces of the freshest fish rolled in flour, semolina and with the Morito twist, a touch of sumac. The fish is deep fried with the crispiest of crisp coatings, thanks to the semolina, and served up with a big old lemon wedge and a healthy dollop of Alioli.
- 'Chocolate Mousse with Extra Virgin Olive Oil', another big hitter between me and my friends who have eaten at Morito. A cheeky little glass of aerated chocolate mousse with a generous drizzle of the best extra virgin olive oil you can get hold of and a light dusting of sea salt. They have done themselves proud with this one, absolute winner!
Movida Rustica by Frank Camorra & Richard Cornish
This is one of my latest and one of my favourite book purchases, a book concentrating solely on traditional Spanish recipes and traditions.
The blurb reads on the back of the book;
'From the nations bustling capital Madrid, and Basque seaside towns, to rustic Andalusia with its sherry triangle. Movida Rustica highlights some of the pillars of Spanish cuisine and the culture in which the food is grown, served and eaten.'
This blurb hits the nail on the head for me. Looking through the book you will come across so many recipes that when you see them you automatically get carried off into a rural Spanish family home sat on a shady terrace on a hot sunny day, or into the peaceful streets of a traditional old town. Having visited and eaten in Spain numerous times with my Spanish girlfriend and been welcomed into her large Spanish family, many of these recipes now feel very homely, even the recipes I've not been lucky enough to try yet.
I'd like to think that the recipes in this book would rub that feel off on any of you too. As soon as you buy the ingredients, get the knife out and fire up the stove and smell the cooking you'll drift of to which ever region you pick.
There are Movida restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney and Bali. Unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to be able to visit any of these yet but if you are near by get down there ASAP and let me know what you thought!