Terrine, Stephane Reynaud

20 March 2008

Stephane Reynaud
Phaidon, £16.95
ISBN 978-0-7148-4848

Terrines are one of the key dishes in a chef's repertoire, so it's a clever idea to write a book devoted entirely to the art of making them.

Full marks, then, to Ardenne-born Stephene Reynaud. He comes from a family of butchers and has a restaurant in Montreuil near Paris, so it's guaranteed that he'll know his way around traditional meat terrines. However, the book also includes ones made with vegetables, fish, cheese and desserts.

In many dishes he has also taken a contemporary presentation line, using mini preserve jars and glasses of all shapes and sizes, and pushing traditional layering techniques to the limit. Sometimes this works better than others, The very first recipe - a frothy vergetable cream terrine, layered in a little Kilneresque jar - looks clean, modern and appetising.

By contrast, a Camembert, apple and multigrain bread terrine has the air of a buger bun with a bit of stuff sprinkled on top and in the middle. And a chesnut and meringue dish appears to be in the same presentation vein.

Generally, he's on safer visual ground away from the vegetarian terrines: that said, there are plenty of interesting ideas on ingredient matches within the veggie chapter and, indeed, throughout the book.

Reynaud reflects today's culinary world at large by inventively using grains and putting together classic flavour matches in new ways.

Carrott, cumin and sesame, and quinoa, green olive and tomato confit feature among the cheese entries.

As you's expect, given his background, Reynaud shines in the meat section, particularly in a range of rabbit terrines - one using coriander seeds, a dash of pastis and tarragon sounds well worth a try - and classics like pork rillettes or chicken live parfait.

Mosre surprisingly, the dessert chapter has some clever ideas - tarte tartin terrine anybody? - though here, as in the other sections, it's sometimes the more classical visual presentations that win the day.

Plenty then, throughout the book to get the culinary brain working. And well worth adding to the bookshelf.

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