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Book review – Ducksoup Cookbook: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking

03 June 2016 by
Book review – Ducksoup Cookbook: The Wisdom of Simple Cooking

By Clare Lattin and Tom Hill

Square Peg, £25

It is no surprise that at the same time as the culinary world has experienced the expansion of molecular cuisine there has been an increase in the demand for and supply of restaurants serving the simplest food. Eating out in some of the most challenging restaurants can create a yearning for something more straightforward and, as a result, the likes of Ducksoup, a tiny restaurant that opened to much acclaim in London's Soho in 2011, have flourished.

The business is the creation of chef Tom Hill and Clare Lattin, a book publisher turned restaurateur, and it is their attempt to provide somewhere to eat that offers no fuss or drama, but focuses on food that tastes of itself without any tricky or inappropriate embellishments.

Take, for instance, the first chapter - the Ducksoup larder - which features the essential ingredients that provide the foundations for the recipes. This chapter is packed full of tips on how to add a flavour punch to dishes, whether that's the burnt lemons that result in a sweet but slightly tart juice, or fried curry leaves that inject an aromatic fenugreek sweetness to spring vegetable fritters and cucumber yogurt.

The presentation of the book, like its content, is clear and straightforward and entices the reader to dive in and cook - and not just read about - many of the featured recipes. Those that I am particularly eager to try include turmeric chickpeas, kale, garlic yogurt and burnt lemon; roast hake, fennel, orange and almond aÁ¯oli; and Brillat-Savarin cheesecake with blood orange curd.

This is an intelligent book that is interspersed with fascinating essays on the essential elements of Ducksoup the restaurant and one which, I've no doubt, will become a well-thumbed tome in my kitchen.

By Janet Harmer

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Ducksoup recipe: Crispy lamb, labneh, mint, red onion and pomegranate >>

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