Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales
Kyle Books, £19.99
For anyone who has met chef Glynn Purnell or watched him on TV, it would come as no surprise that his debut book would have a quirky title. Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales not only features 110 innovative recipes, but also provides a fascinating insight into Purnell's rise to success as the owner of three Birmingham restaurants and bars.
Much of Purnell's cooking is inspired by childhood memories of exotic spices at the curry house and eating whelks and pig's trotters bought by his mum for a treat. Keen to have a go at cooking himself, he loved to try out new combinations on his unsuspecting siblings, such as beans on toast with curry powder and
topped with cheese.
Accounts of how each recipe was conceived are colourful and illuminating. Purnell's signature dish of smoked haddock, eggs and cornflakes - endearingly called From Mum to Michelin and concocted from a combination he put together as a hungry kid - is here, as well as more homely dishes such as chicken curry pie, his salute to the Balti pie.
Great British Menu fans will be delighted to see his two winning dishes: monkfish masala with red lentils, pickled carrots and coconut garnish, alongside burnt English custard egg surprise with marinated strawberries, tarragon and black pepper honeycomb.
No book from the self-styled yummy Brummie would be complete without a nod to his home city. He includes a reinvention of Birmingham Soup 1793, a dish centred around ox cheek, originally made by captain of industry Matthew Boultons in the 1700s, and his version of faggots with mushy peas, onion gravy, malt
vinegar and black pepper glaze.
For a tome that Purnell wrote with paper and pencil (he does not do computers), the editors have ensured his personality and witty cooking style shines through. Cracking Yolks & Pig Tales will fill your belly equally with great laughs and great food.
By Katherine Alano
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