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Made in Great Britain, Aiden Byrne – book giveaway

29 September 2008 by

Made in Great Britain
Aiden Byrne
New Holland Publishers, £25
ISBN 978-1-84773-160-9

Caterersearch.com has three copies of the book to giveaway. All you need to do is e-mail catererfeatures@rbi.co.uk with "Aiden Byrne" in the subject line with your name, e-mail and contact details. Closing date is Friday 10 October.

The current revival of interest in British produce and cuisine is fantastic - and long may it last.

But one side-effect of the trend is that you can't go into a bookshop without seeing a new title on the subject, and it's easy to become blasé about another fount of knowledge and to walk straight past. But that would be wrong, because each chef or writer brings something different to the table.

Aiden Byrne, the head chef at the Dorchester's Grill restaurant in London, certainly brings something new. The first thing to be said about his book Made in Great Britain, however, is that there is a lot of classical French technique and produce among its recipes - a reflection on his training and career.

Foie gras is pretty visible, for instance. And he uses ingredients which clearly don't originate in the British Isles - figs, avocado, limes, ginger. His is not a book that does rustic British tradition, it's modern and cheffy.

But there's nothing wrong with that, when it brings beautifully photographed recipes such as chilled beetroot gazpacho with vodka jelly and avocado sorbet to your attention.

The "British" tag comes in the sourcing of the main produce. And what's really good to see is Byrne using space to introduce to a broader readership such producers as micro-leaf grower/supplier Richard Vine and beef and pork farmer Richard Vaughan of Huntsham Farm Pedigree Meats.

The book is divided into veg, meat, fish and desserts, with a strong "fundamentals" section at the back containing stocks, purées, etc, and some great sorbet recipes.

The odd contemporary "basic" is slipped in, too - watch for red pepper crumbs.

All Byrne's recipes would happily grace a Michelin-star-standard menu. Among those that catch the eye are crayfish with rabbit and peas (much more complicated than its billing suggests). Interesting cutting-edge flavour pairings abound, too - watch for warm pistachio cake, cherry sorbet and goats' cheese mousse.

There's lots to get your cooking brain going, then. But "Made in Britain" refers as much to the making of Byrne as a top-class chef as to the intrinsically British dishes.

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