The concept behind this cookbook is introducing flavors and spices from all over the world to fast cooking. The recipes are not from any particular region, but represent a kind of pan-world cuisine based on the British author's travels.
I was skeptical about the travels of a British guy leading to anything good because I would normally rather learn from a native about their native foods. But there are quite a few yummy-looking recipes in the book, so I decided to give it a try.
The book is organized by sections that are sort of based on meal type but sort of not, from "Mighty Bites" to "Nice and Easy" to "Not Quite Lunch," which is a sort of odd name for a chapter of a cookbook. I find this organization to be kind of confusing. I chose the recipe "Phipp Street Stir-Fry" from the "Midweek Lifesavers" section to try out and review.
I was concerned about the portion size for this recipe. It says it is for two people, but it calls for 5 oz. of pasta and 7 oz of chicken. Maybe that's a dietician's "correct" serving size of food, but I hope no one at the table is very hungry because it didn't sound like enough to me. I scaled up the recipe and basically doubled it so we would have enough food. We did have leftovers, so I might not have needed to do that.
|Double the stuff|
I'm not a Thai cooking expert, but I have never heard of doing that before; usually I just hear of people bruising the lemongrass and tossing it in for flavor, removing it before serving. So I thought "well, that's weird, but I am going to try it out." But I must not have stripped enough of the outer layers off of the lemongrass because the texture of the "paste" was more like eating a bunch of tiny stems. Hubby said it felt like he was eating something "dangerous." I think he meant that it felt a tiny bit sharp.
Nothing dangerous actually happened- we both finished our dinner without injury. :) But I wish the cookbook had more information about this unusual technique so that I could have a better chance of success. It seems a cookbook like this would be aimed at people like me who are not necessarily experts in any particular type of ethnic food, so I can't be the only person who will have this issue.
The flavors of this dish were yummy enough and the recipe in general simple enough to follow that I am not going to totally give up on it, but if I make another recipe from this book, I will definitely proceed with caution and research any cooking techniques I haven't heard of. I just wish more care had been taken in the writing and putting together of the book, because between the confusing chapter titles and the unclear instructions, it makes the yummy end result a little harder to get to.