Book review: The Roasting Tin Around the World

04 June 2020 by
Book review: The Roasting Tin Around the World

If you're a cook who needs stove-top action and regularly sets off the smoke alarm (guilty), Rukmini Iyer's new book might not be for you. Rather, it's for those whose busy lives demand batch-cooked dinners with leftovers for lunch the next day. Building on the success of her Roasting Tin series, Iyer sets out to recreate the "amazement" of trying new dishes from abroad with recipes that require no more effort than "the average chop-and-chuck traybake".

Chapters span continents and vast regions: Central and South American; US and the Caribbean; Asia; Africa and the Middle East; South East Asia and Australasia; and Europe and North Asia. As with most whistle-stop tours, you might want to linger longer.

Chicken features throughout (jerk, pesto, tandoori, butter) and there are gratins, pasta bakes and a fair number of vegetarian dishes. Her lime and coconut dal is perfect for a British summer, the lime as refreshing as her admission she mistakenly used coriander instead of spinach for the photo shoot.

From the US, there's baked polenta and prawns (AKA "hipster favourite" shrimp and grits), baked avocado, blue cheese and honey, and family favourites such as smoky sausage casserole. Desserts include Persian love cake, peach and dulce de leche cake from Uruguay and a "hybrid version" of her parents' rice pudding.

Methods are straightforward – Filipino-style vegetable adobo requires just a simple marinade – but there's a more involved recipe for Russian tefteli meatballs that's worth the effort. At times details on the dish's origin is absent: the Europe and North Asia chapter leans towards the Med – including a croque monsieur gratin with Comté and Parma ham – with the token British entry, at a guess, being the Stilton, pear and walnut tart.

It may not set your world (or kitchen) on fire but if you need some fresh ideas, hate washing up and have enough drama in your life, the recipes in this book may be a calming antidote. And if they allow for an alert stroll in the sunshine while dinner cooks itself, I'm in.

The Roasting Tin Around the World – Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer (Square Peg, £16.99)

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