Newest Review: ... example of this is a Cawl from Monmothshire. A Cawl is a Welsh Stew made from the neck of lamb and not something I've really got any e... more
Ok but not great
The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain - Hairy Bikers
Member Name: cerys82
The Hairy Bikers' Food Tour of Britain - Hairy Bikers
Advantages: Well presented, some really good ideas here
Disadvantages: A bit too upmarket compared to some of the other offerings by the Hairy Bakers
The Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain is the book to accompany the BBC series of the same name (also repeated on the Good Food channel).
The book is in hardback format with a removable loose-leaf cover. The pages themselves are nice and glossy with a superior quality spine so you can fold it back comfortably to cook from without risk of it closing or being damaged.
The concept of the book is that the duo are travelling around the UK visiting producers and chefs from a variety of different regions, writing about them and producing a recipe from local produce and traditions. Each area section details a selected county chef and their restaurant, followed by some sample dishes from the region. There are also a number of photographs of both the areas and the dishes.
The book is separated into 29 different areas covering the breadth of Britain for example; Aberdeenshire, Carmarthenshire, Essex, Cornwall, Lancshire, Shropshire, Sussex and Oxfordshire.
Example recipes from all of the regions are as follows; Aberdeen Butteries, The Ulster Fry, Cockles, Laverbread and Welsh Bacon, Welsh Black Beef Wellington with goats cheese, garlic and chervil mash and beer gravy, Cheshire Soup with fried Cheshire cheese sarnies, spiced hogget with swede and Cheshire cheese gateau, The People's Cornish pasty, raspberry bakewell pudding, oysters mornay, Gloucestershire squab pie, trio of Welsh lamb with three-root vegetable mash and buttered kale, roast belly of pork with wild boar and mushroom tortellini, Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Beef and Stilton Pie with celeriac mash and honey-raosted beetroot, Patridge with violet dumpings, roast chicken and sage and onion stuffing with chips, gooseberry sauce and sausage meatballs, scallops and black pudding with sparkling wine sauce and apple rings.
At the back of book are the contacts for the suppliers and restaurants indicated within the separate chapters.
This is the second book of the Hairy Bikers books which I have after 'Mums Knows Best' (and which I have reviewed previously.) That book featured variations on traditional and hand-me-down recipes from around Britain on a multi-cultural basis and was extremely accessible. This is a different kettle of fish entirely.
As you can see from the list of example recipes, this is not necessarily the most accessible book fro your standard home cook (and despite my vast array of cookbooks, I still only consider myself a standard home cook!). My favourite recipes from the book are those which are on the simpler, more traditional side. The restaurant inspired recipes in each section are to my mind really a bit too fancy for home cooking, even when it comes to the type of meals that you would cook expressly to impress others.
Therefore I do have somewhat mixed feelings about it. A lot of the ingredients are a little tricky to come by and are expensive and the recipes themselves require a certain element of time and skill.
Having previously associated the Hairy Bikers with more rustic food I have found this to be something of a disappointment. However, I think it would work quite well if you wanted inspiration for a dinner party where you wanted to do something a bit more fancy.
In all fairness however, the recipes are explained in a sparse-and easy to follow way . The photographs for the dishes are highly appetising, but if you are put off by fancy presentation then some of these dishes may not be for you.
I like the ethos of the book and the fact that it celebrates regional cooking, but I do not think that this is necessarily the best way to get people to experiment with local ingredients, in fact it might actually be quite prohibitive.
In conclusion, this book is a bit of a disappointment when compared to the far more accessible and down-to-earth 'Hairy Bikers' 'Mum Knows Best' which I still feel is their best book. However, if you are looking for a book which encourages you to experiment with regional ingredients and present them in a fancy and impressive way - you may find something in this for you.
Summary: Not one of their best
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