By Sally Clarke
Frances Lincoln, £25
30 Ingredients is a mirror of the restaurant: straightforward and stylish, with no extraneous fuss or fripperies. It might not be the place to go for cutting-edge ideas, but it has a freshness and vitality which will keep it just as relevant 30 years from now.
The book celebrates Clarke's favourite ingredients - from apricots to tomatoes - all of which are vegetables, fruits, salads and herbs. You may think this is a book for vegetarians, but that is far from the case, with the likes of sea bass making an appearance alongside scallops, rare roast beef and squab pigeon as accompaniments to favoured produce.
Clarke believes that the success of a beautifully flavoured dish is in the careful selection and preparation of ingredients, with the actual cooking and assembling of a dish taking the lesser amount of time. Buying the ingredients at their peak of seasonality from the best available sources will ensure that even the simplest of dishes will pack a punch.
A plate of broad bean crostini, for instance, made by combining the beans - at their most tender - with ricotta, olive oil and lemon, would make a delicious start to a summer lunch.
For an autumn main course, roasted squab salad with orange, rosemary and cobnuts from Kent could be just the thing. Or how about baked chicory in cream with garlic breadcrumbs to accompany poached ham or baked brill?
To finish, lime and passion fruit meringue tartlets or quince and rosemary tarte tatin are just two of the desserts I plan to try.
Accompanied by beautiful photography, I can wholeheartedly recommend Clarke's book as one of top quality and true integrity - just like her enduring restaurant.
By Janet Harmer
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