Gizzi Erskine's latest book, Restore, focuses on practical steps and advice on cooking more sustainably in a holistic way that benefits our environment, health and agricultural industry.
The 100 recipes apply the ideas of eating seasonally, using less meat and more plants, or root-to-shoot and nose-to-tail – principles of which most chefs are no doubt aware. But even for someone as interested in sustainability as I am, I learned a few things, and it's always useful to have a run-down of what various food labels actually mean.
The book isn't a lecture on what is right or wrong, nor is it a deep-dive essay, but, recognising that sustainability is rarely a black and white issue, it touches on the main problems, sets out the pros and cons, such as the water usage of different plant milks, offers a basic guide to the huge issue of sustainability, and rarely if at all strays into preaching.
But Restore is not a run-of-the-mill plant-based cookbook – there are sections on poultry and game, meat and offal, and fish, with recipes including rabbit à la moutarde, roast pheasant, lamb neck stew and tonkotsu ramen. However, the famous tarka dhal recipe, credited to Indian restaurant Tayyabs in east London, will be first on my list to try, having not been able to visit that lauded establishment for far too long.
Erskine argues that meat and fish can be sustainable if they are sourced responsibly and eaten in moderation, while also offering plenty of recipes based on vegetables, beans, pulses and grains. Food waste is also considered, with recipes to use apple scraps for fermented fruit vinegar, or overripe pineapple skins and cores to make fermented drink tepache.
It's a timely publication as we enter 2021, more conscious than ever of the importance of our food supply, health and environment. As Erskine puts very well herself: "Eating in a ‘restorative' way takes consideration, forming new habits, and stepping away from conveniences, but it can also be creative, fun and delicious."
Restore: A Modern Guide to Sustainable Eating by Gizzi Erskine (HQ, £25)
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