Great British Food By Cass Titcombe, Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone
Ebury Press, £16.99
The utilitarian cover of Great British Food may not be the most thrilling to grace a cookery book, but it does give some indication that the recipes inside are simple, straightforward and no-nonsense.
You might think the world does not need another tome telling you how to cook leek and potato soup, roast chicken and apple crumble with custard, but there is no doubting that this one has been put together with great honesty and a love of comforting, indigenous dishes that most people would choose to eat over and above any Michelin-starred creation.
The collection of 120 recipes has been put together by Cass Titcombe, Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone, the trio behind the highly successful group of Canteen restaurants, the first of which opened in Spitalfields, London, in 2005. There are now three more Canteens in the city - in Baker Street, at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank and at Canary Wharf - all of which offer affordable British dishes prepared without any pomp or fuss from carefully sourced ingredients.
And this is what the book offers too. For the uninitiated, it is probably one of the best and most user-friendly introductions to the best that British cooking has to offer.
Here, as well as finding definitive recipes for Scotch eggs, Lancashire hot pot and treacle tart, there are many enticing offerings such as crab, fennel and watercress salad; venison and ale stew; and apple brandy syllabub.
Of particular interest is the chapter on pies, which have become signature dishes at the four Canteen outlets.
While homely in style, the spicy mutton pie (see recipe, below); duck, chestnut and prune pie; and shallot, thyme and cheddar pie could be a useful addition to any pub or restaurant menu where flavoursome food is the priority
Great British Food might not introduce you to many new dishes, but it will provide the key to some unpretentious, tasty recipes which could be of value to experienced and not-so-experienced chefs and caterers alike.