Book review – On the menu

10 February 2012 by
Book review – On the menu

On the Menu
James Mackenzie
Face Publications, £30
ISBN 978-0955893032

Reviewing On the Menu has been an enjoyable experience. Not only has it introduced me to the talented chef, James Mackenzie, but it has also inspired me to cook a host of down-to-earth, fabulous-looking dishes.

Mackenzie is the chef-proprietor of the Pipe and Glass, a pub-restaurant on the outskirts of Beverly, East Yorkshire, which achieved a Michelin star in 2010 and was named the UK's Michelin Pub of the Year for 2012.

It is not that being awarded a Michelin star appeals to me, but it is the fact that he achieved one without aiming to do so. His foremost priority has always been to serve great food with true personality, offer the best Yorkshire hospitality and provide the customer with what they want. That's my kind of restaurant.

In devising dishes, Mackenzie, who cut his culinary teeth working alongside Andrew Pern at the Star Inn in Harome, North Yorkshire, uses his suppliers for inspiration, only sourcing from those who really care about their ingredients - many are given a name check here.

Then he likes to take a traditional dish and revitalise it for today's tastes. Hence, the book is packed with recipes that have a traditional ring about them, but are interpreted in a contemporary guise. Potted pork, for instance, has become a firm favourite of customers at the pub, who now stamp their feet if Mackenzie removes it from the menu. Gloucester Old Spot pork is the central ingredient and a sticky apple and crackling salad is the accompaniment.

There is so much here that chefs working in either pubs or restaurants will want to cook. Take for instance, crispy pig cheek with celeriac and apple coleslaw, grain mustard and salad burnet, or what about roast rump of hogget with braised mutton and kidney faggot with roast butternut squash purée and rosemary potatoes?

There are some great fish recipes too, including pollock fishcakes, homemade tartare sauce and pickled samphire salad, and sardines wrapped in smoked bacon and wild garlic with a wild garlic persillade.

The dessert section doesn't disappoint either, with a recipe for ginger burnt cream with stewed rhubarb and East Yorkshire sugar cakes, highlighting Mackenzie's talent for cleverly reinterpreting the original.

If you like this, you'll love these:
Black Pudding & Foie Gras Andrew Pern
Loose Birds & Game Andrew Pern
The Eagle Cookbook: Recipes from the Original Gastropub
David Eyre

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

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