Cookbook of the Week: ‘Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes’ by Brendan Collins
“Cooking, Blokes + Artichokes” by Brendan Collins (Kyle Books, $29.95).
As the catchy title of Collins’ debut cookbook should make abundantly clear, this is a guy’s cookbook, written by a Brit chef (Birch, Butcher’s Dog) with farmers market tendencies. If you didn’t get that, the subtitle (“A Modern Man’s Kitchen Handbook”) is another clue, as is the foreword by Curtis Stone, the Aussie chef who also has the Beverly Hills restaurant Maude. The unifying principles of these two chefs are not only seasonal produce and expat cooking, but Marco Pierre White, the British chef with whom both Stone and Collins worked. Thus we have Dude Food with serious technique to back it up. We also have Bar Food, which may or may not be the same thing, as Collins is channeling not so much his time at fine-dining restaurants, but more the gastropubs of his childhood (his parents helped run pubs in northern England). It’s a fun read, as it should be, with 100 recipes and bits about things such as “all parts of the pig,” bad chips andfootball cookery. Laced with happy photography by Jean Cazals and cheery anecdotes, Collins’ book provides recipes for the meat-oriented dishes he’s known for as much or more as his “veg” — roasted pig’s head, “dead easy” pork ribs and chicken liver pâté — as well as chapters for the rest of the menu, including Man Food in a Pinch and “pudding.” In other words, this is very accessible food, with chef-y foundations, meant to make you reach for a pint while you turn the pages, get hungry and, inevitably, decide that you should make milk-poached smoked salmon while you figure out how to find that rugby match on television.
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