I have told myself time and time again that I don't need any more cookbooks. I have more than enough, more than I could possibly need or even realistically cook from, yet I constantly find myself at my local bookshop with a stack of new cookbooks to read and devour. Recently however, there have been a number of books published that I have wanted to jump straight into and cook from, books like Diana Henry's recent ode to chicken 'A Bird In The Hand' which has so many bookmarked recipes that I'll be cooking from it for a very long time. Rosie Birketts debut cookbook 'A Lot On Her Plate' is another of these books. There is no gimmick that this book hangs from, instead it's simply about Rosie's 'love of a good meal' as any cookbook should be. This is about food and the love of cooking, and importantly it has nothing to do with the current trend of books pushing a restrictive diet that seems thoroughly joyless and dull.
I say this because there seems to be a raft of recently published cookbooks that tell you __ (insert random food item) is the reason you're not skinny and gracing the cover of vogue. Look, I've been on many diets before, I used to weigh 20 stone and that wasn't due to one particular food, it was a litany of issues. I finally lost the weight by educating myself about what I was eating and then enjoying a balanced diet, seems like common sense to me. But no, some authors wont be happy unless you are avoiding sugar like the plague, eating like a caveman or following whatever fad is on trend at the time. To me these books seem to encourage people to have a bad relationship with food and they demonise one type of food without giving you the full picture. Im not saying we shouldn't consider reducing the amount of sugar we eat or maybe cutting back on meat, I just hate the way these issues are rammed down our throats like wonder cure-alls.
I know that seems like a huge tangent but what im trying to say, in an admittedly ham-fisted manner, is that Rosie's book avoids falling into any of those fashionable pitfalls and is almost the antithesis to those book as it is simply a book about the love of food and cooking and that is what I want from a cookbook. Sorry for the rant, the book is released April 23rd, go and buy a copy!
A Lot on Her Plate - Rosie Birkett
(Hardie Grant 2015)
25ml vegetable oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g lamb mince
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of plain flour
2 heaped tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
50g plain yoghurt
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
50g fresh or frozen garden peas, cooked
4 cumin brioche buns (see book for recipe)
butter, for spreading
lime wedges, to serve
Heat the oil in a frying pan set over medium heat and saute the onion until golden brown.
Add the coriander, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until starting to colour. Add the lamb and salt and fry over high heat until browned and the mixture has dried up a little. Add the flour and stir into the mince mixture.
In a small bowl mix together the coriander, spring onions, mint and the green chilli, stirring together. Add the yoghurt to the lamb and stir to combine. Add the coriander mixture and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the bay leaf and the peas and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the tomato has softened.
cut the brioche buns in half and toast, spreading with a little butter. Serve the mince with brioche, sprinkling with a little extra chopped coriander, serving with the lime wedges on the side.