Robin Gill is all about farm-to-table produce. His two restaurants, The Dairy and Sorella in Clapham, showcase fresh produce and champion great British suppliers.
Larder shouts about the care these suppliers put into their sustainable, high-quality fresh produce, ranging from the Bean family in Cornwall, Mary Holbrook in Somerset and Gill’s own farm in Sussex.
The book explains techniques such as fermenting, pickling and smoking, with instructions to make stocks, sauces, powders, salts and crisps. As Gill explains, he is “obsessed with forgotten traditions and the way we used to cook”; he works with the best ingredients each season offers and preserves what is left. Highlights from the first section, ‘the Larder’, are goose ham (seasoned with star anise, salt, sugar, chilli, garlic and thyme) and smoked bone marrow. Also featured in this chapter are recipes for chicken and savory butter, nori butter, whiskey-cultured butter, crab oil and Sichuan oil.
Sweet preserves, such as sorrel syrup, rhubarb purée and blackberry shrub feature in ‘Chef’s Cocktails’. Bartenders and mixologists could be inspired by Gill’s weird and wonderful creations, such as a pea and mint sour and ‘bring the beet back’, with beetroot gin, blackberry syrup and chocolate bitters.
The land section features game heavily, from wood pigeon and rabbit served simply to faggots and terrine, which involve a lot more handiwork.
Gill is committed to eliminating waste, with pig’s head brawn, ‘cod feast’ with smoked cods’ roe, and lamb’s tongue hotpot just a few examples.
Desserts such as hibiscus doughnuts and salted lemon and sunflower seed nougat could be a great takeaway product, while caterers laying out a buffet could recreate the Ivy House milk tart, which can be made in a tray and cut to size.
Gill’s approach maximises flavour while interfering with the ingredients as little as possible to let the quality speak for itself. If chefs aren’t inspired by what can be found in the larder (which is very unlikely), they can take something from the presentation of these dishes – all ingredients shining proudly in their natural state.
Larder by Robin Gill (Absolute Press, £26)