By Stas Anastasiades, Laura James and the chefs from the Milsom restaurants
Jon Croft Editions, £25
Recreate is a celebration cookbook by Milsom Hotels & Restaurants, as it marks six decades in business. The family-run group started in 1952 when Gerard Milsom bought Le Talbooth, a tea room in Dedham, near Colchester, and turned it into a fine-dining destination restaurant.
Compiled by operations director Stas Anastasiades in collaboration with author and journalist Laura James, the book is a collection of recipes by head chefs past – including Terry Barber, Chris Oakley, Ray Farthing, Mark Dodson and Chris Oakes – and present from all of the group’s restaurants and aims to show diners how they can recreate (hence the title) their favourite Milsom dishes at home.
With that in mind, the recipes have been written so that the adventurous home cook stands a chance of making them with success. But don’t let that put you off because they are by no means simple and keen young chefs could no doubt learn a thing or two.
Recreate kicks off with the basics – all manner of stocks, jus and dressings, things that every chef should have in their repertoire – before dividing itself up by courses.
Among the recipes for soups and starters are hearty winter warmers such as cullen skink, the thick Scottish fish soup, and more delicate dishes like seared scallops with pineapple carpaccio and chilli dressing.
While there are dishes featuring classic flavour combinations, there are also those that would suit the well-travelled palate, as demonstrated by the fish chapter which has both line-caught sea bass, cavolo nero and broad beans with lobster sauce, and Goan fish pasties with sambal and raita.
What is particularly endearing about Recreate is the love and care that has gone into sharing these recipes. Each dish is introduced with the kind of affection that only those who have served it up regularly can muster.
Recreate is a beautiful book of inspiring recipes, with stunning photography by Lara Holmes. But more than that, it is a wonderful way to mark a milestone in the Milsom business, one that the chefs who were involved were no doubt proud to be a part of.
By Janie Stamford
If you like this, you might like these:
● Hawksmoor at Home: Meat – Seafood – Sides – Breakfasts – Puddings – Cocktails Huw Gott, Will Beckett and Richard Turner
● Cook: A year in the kitchen with Britain’s favourite chefs Rebecca Seal
● Essence: Recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage David Everitt-Matthias