Review: Eat London² and Hazan Family Favorites

Eggs On The Roof Reviews

Eat Lon­don² By Peter Prescott & Ter­ence Conran 

Pub­lished by Con­ran Octopus

April 2012 — Price £20.00 

The dif­fi­culty all res­taur­ant guide­books wrestle with is how to stay cur­rent and author­it­at­ive when the food industry is so mer­cur­ial. Eat Lon­don² hits that prob­lem with its very first entry. Peter­sham Nurs­er­ies Cafe and Tea­house may have been run by the chef Sky Gyn­gell, ‘one of the top food per­son­al­it­ies in Lon­don’, but, much to the dis­ap­point­ment of her fans and, pre­sum­ably, the authors of this book, she’s now left. But this is where Eat Lon­don² plays such a clever, smart game. Pub­lished to coin­cide with the Lon­don Olympics and the Dia­mond Jubilee, Eat Lon­don² shrewdly offers so much more than a guide to the capital’s great res­taur­ants. Ter­ence Con­ran and Peter Prescott recom­mend cafes, baker­ies, fish­mon­gers, butchers, food mar­kets and — new to the guide­book game — pop-ups.

Atmo­spheric pho­to­graphs by Lisa Linder and invent­ive recipes from the chefs of the res­taur­ants fea­tured, make this a good buy as a cook­ery book as well as a beau­ti­fully pro­duced guide­book. As far as I’m con­cerned, it’s worth get­ting for Row­ley Leigh’s recipe for Parmesan Cus­tard and Anchovy Toast alone. Hav­ing eaten his exquis­ite sig­na­ture con­coc­tion at Le Cafe Anglais I’ve puzzled ever since exactly how to rep­lic­ate it.

Ter­ence Con­ran and Peter Prescott proudly admit this isn’t an ‘object­ive’ book. It’s their idio­syn­cratic view of what makes a great res­taur­ant — ‘quirk­i­ness, won­der­ful per­son­al­it­ies, ser­vice, ambi­ence, design, loc­a­tion…’ With recom­mend­a­tions from Twick­en­ham to Brick Lane and Stoke New­ing­ton to South­wark, as well as fold-out maps for new vis­it­ors to Lon­don, it’s a per­fect example of what a guide­book should be: beau­ti­ful in its own right and full of insights, per­son­al­ity and insider knowledge.

 

Hazan Fam­ily Favor­ites By Giuli­ano Hazan, Fore­word by Mar­cella Hazan

Pub­lished by Stew­art Tabori & Chang

May 2012 Price £19.99

Last night my teen­age daugh­ter embarked on a com­plic­ated dough recipe without check­ing how long the vari­ous stages would take to com­plete. With school the next morn­ing, she was in bed and fast asleep hours before the dough was finally ready. I prom­ised to fin­ish the bak­ing for her, but at 1 am, still apply­ing the glaze to the admit­tedly beau­ti­ful buns, I was won­der­ing why she couldn’t have opted for a plain old Vic­toria sponge instead.

Get­ting your tim­ings wrong isn’t a mis­take Giuli­ano Hazan would let you make. Each of his recipes starts with a brisk ‘time from start to fin­ish’ guide and the instruc­tions are both simple and con­cise. It’s a book that is char­ac­ter­ised by the calm, cap­able charm that must make him such a reas­sur­ing tutor at the cook­ing school in Ver­ona that he runs with his wife, Lael.

Hazan Fam­ily Favor­ites is as much a trib­ute to fam­ily as it is to food, filled as it is with pho­to­graphs of Giuli­ano as a boy, his mother Mar­cella, his daugh­ters and his wife. Each recipe is accom­pan­ied by Giuliano’s memor­ies of eat­ing it as a child, or watch­ing one of his grand­moth­ers cook it. He has a her­it­age that’s rich in food influ­ences. His paternal grand­par­ents were Seph­ardic Jews who settled in Italy and then fled to the United States. His mater­nal grand­par­ents brought the cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna to the table, along with Arab-influenced dishes from his grandmother’s time liv­ing in Egypt. The res­ult is a style of cook­ing that is tra­di­tional and yet with a light, mod­ern touch.

A test of any cook­ery book is do you want to head for the kit­chen? I have an over­whelm­ing desire to make Swiss Chard Tor­telloni with Tomato sauce imme­di­ately. This is a book that I would give to someone who loves to cook, but who wants to become more con­fid­ent and know­ledge­able. At break­fast this morn­ing, I presen­ted my daugh­ter with a plate of her time-consuming buns that I finally com­pleted at 1.30 this morn­ing, along with a copy of Hazan Fam­ily Favor­ites on the side. ‘Can you try cook­ing from this one next time?’ I asked.

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10 thoughts on “Review: Eat London² and Hazan Family Favorites

  1. I bought the first Eat Lon­don and enjoyed explor­ing with it. I’ve been con­tem­plat­ing buy­ing this for a while and almost per ordered it. Now I’ll def­in­itely buy it. Thanks for the review. GG

  2. I really like Lisa Linder’s pho­to­graphy and how nice to have a guide that has per­son­al­ity. The Hazan book looks really appealling — and yes I’ve been that Mum in the kit­chen at 1am too!

    • Thanks Sally. I didn’t begrudge my teen­age daugh­ter the 1.30am fin­ish. I love to see chil­dren cook­ing, even when the mess is frightening.

  3. I already owned — and have cooked from — two of Giuli­ano Hazan’s cook­books and even the most com­plic­ated Italian dishes were sur­pris­ingly simple and quick to make thanks to his instruc­tions. And the res­ults were extraordin­ar­ily fab­ulously good every single time. I now have Hazan Fam­ily Favor­ites and have been read­ing it cover to cover like a mem­oir before decid­ing what to cook and bake — although sev­eral dishes have been book­marked. I know every one will turn out per­fectly and deli­cious. And his family’s his­tory is fas­cin­at­ing. A per­fect book as you say, for every level cook who wants to serve deli­cious Italian.

    • This is my first Giuli­ano Hazan book. I haven’t made the swiss chard recipe yet — I’m plan­ning to grow chard for the first time this year, but I’m far too impa­tient to wait for my own har­vest before try­ing Giuliano’s recipe

  4. I like the sound of both of these books. The first I want to keep in my car for when my hubby and I get an impromptu babysit­ter and the mind goes blank about where to go! And the second because the food sounds just like what I want to cook after a hor­rid com­mute home. some­thing warm and com­fort­ing and “homely”.

    • That’s exactly the kind of food the Hazan book provides, Urvashi — deli­cious. And I think you’ll enjoy Eat London2

  5. I haven’t read any of Giuliano’s books yet, but have three of Marcella’s, which are my Italian cook­ing bibles and well encrus­ted with parmesan and extra vir­gin olive oil.

    My 12 year old daugh­ter hasn’t yet embarked on bread mak­ing, but makes a fine chocol­ate cake and has even star­ted clear­ing up after her­self when she bakes! I’m impressed with your 1.30 am stam­ina, don’t know if I’d be able to stay awake long enough, even for the sake of moth­erly love!

    • Look­ing back on this, I do rather won­der why on earth I did it. Mind you, that goes for a lot of things in life!

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