Made in London is hardly the first cookbook inspired by the capital to cross my desk. From books focused on iconic dishes from the capital’s world-famous restaurants to the creations that have resulted from its mix of cultures, the city’s surge to the forefront of the global gastronomic scene has not gone unnoticed. Despite the number of new volumes abounding, it’s still worth making space on the shelf for this London cookbook.
Made in London, written by Sainsbury’s Magazine food director Leah Hyslop, reads like a fusion of cooking, guide and history book. Amid the recipes are old tales and titbits, such as the culinary connections to the Great Fire of London and the emergence of curry and Chinese food in the capital. It also includes ‘top 10’ guides to the city’s best bakeries, gin spots, coffee shops and historic restaurants that make you want to jump straight in a taxi and head to Rules for a golden syrup pudding.
The book is separated into breakfast; starters and small plates; afternoon tea; ‘Lon-dinner’; pudding; late-night London; and ‘capital drinks’. There are the predictable classics: the Ivy’s shepherd’s pie, Dan Doherty’s duck and waffle, Chelsea buns, East End bagels and smoked eel toasties (an update on the jellied classic).
Historical recipes like Coronation chicken and Maids of Honour tarts (so good the recipe was kept under lock and key by King Henry VIII) are sprinkled among modern recipes, such as a smoked salt brownie with butterscotch sauce from legendary London chocolatier Paul A Young, and a bread and butter pudding with marmalade inspired by Paddington Bear.
What’s more, Made in London embraces with open arms London’s ability to “absorb and adopt external influences”; Dishoom’s bacon naan may not be a Full English, but it’s spoken about with similarly revered tones.
The recipes wouldn’t necessarily challenge a professional, but for a chef looking to explore the history of London with a food focus or looking for inspiration for where to eat out in the city, this book is a good source of inspiration.
Made in London by Leah Hyslop, Absolute Press, £26