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MasterChef AT HOME (DK hardback 366pp, £20 / €25)
BBC’s MasterChef is a phenomenally popular show, with over 7.8 million viewers and now in its seventh series - so the chances are you’re a fan, so this could be just the book for you.
Featuring over 200 of the best recipes from the amateur, professional and celebrity competitions of 2010 (including nine complete menus from previous winners), this practical, educational and gimmick-free book begins with Forewords by the four judges – John Torrode, Greg Wallace, Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti – and is then divided in the best tried and tested manner into Starters, Vegetables & Fish, Poultry, Meat, Game and Desserts, with just a light sprinkling of judges’ comments.
Especially useful features include Monica Galetti’s Master Classes (Making Mayonnaise, Filleting Flatfish, Making Soufflés etc), MasterTips (giving ingredient information, or for mastering smaller tasks like peeling tomatoes or making pasta dough) and suggested Flavour Combinations (eg pork, apple & black pudding, beef and olives, lamb and beetroot, pheasant and sloes, star anise and rhubarb...).
While some of the dishes may be on the cheffy side, they are explained very clearly (some, but not all, with photographs) and a surprising number are appealingly simple (relatively speaking).
For this reason I would be drawn to dishes like Alex Rushner’s Sea Trout with Beetroot Puree, Claire Lara’s Roasted Pigeon with Pommes Mousseline and Pancetta Peas (see below) and Dhruv Baker’s Masala Tea Ice Cream and Spiced Sauternes-Poached Pear with a Chocolate Truffle, all of which have a simple elegance and depend on luscious ingredients for their success rather than a huge amount of fancy footwork.
Pigeon with Pommes Mousseline and Pancetta Peas
Fresh peas are listed for this dish from Claire Lara (lecturer and 2010 Professionals champion) but, as peas freeze exceptionally well, frozen peas make a perfectly reasonable alternative – particularly as pigeon is in season longer than peas.
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