Dessert David Everitt-Matthias
I always enjoy reading anything about David Everitt-Matthias, his restaurant and his food because it's always worth reading! He has created a restaurant which is well in tune with his character and soul - both of which are individual. So too is his cooking. It is no surprise then to thumb through Dessert and find a multitude of recipes and ideas both original and inspiring.
Everitt-Matthias's obsession with all things wild has given his savoury cooking a particularly feral overtone and his desserts follow a similar idiom. His marrying of unusual combinations of flavours, or unusual ingredients, is not a display of novelty style fare but more a result of progressive cooking with a natural interest and appreciation of wild ingredients.
The book is simply laid out. There is guidance on how to get the best out of it and notes on key and particular ingredients. There is a very useful section on suppliers and given the nature of his cooking, an all-important glossary at the back.
The recipes are in six categories, chocolate and nuts; fruits; vegetables; roots, pods, seeds and bark; wild and petit fours. All recipes are broken down into constituent parts to enable the user to reduce the workload or leave out or add components with ease. Each recipe has an introduction stating the origin of the dish or the idea behind it, some useful guidance on its execution and possibilities for trying other ingredients or flavours.
Following the recipes will give rise to desserts such as "Salted chicory parfait with vanilla rice pudding and bitter chocolate sorbet", "Star anise and Muscovado parfait with bergamot cream and parkin purée" or "Swiss chard and confit melon tart". These are desserts with complex yet harmonious flavours that require careful hands to ensure successful results. Everitt-Matthias enjoys not only unusual flavours but strong flavours too and these recipes require a level of focus and understanding to produce pleasing and satisfying results.
These desserts are special occasion masterpieces that have quite rightly played a part in earning him a reputation as one of the finest cooks in this country.
Reviewed by Phil Howard