Book Reviews

The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens

The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens

Sriracha is that additive hot sauce that seems to be in every oriental supermarket, if you have not tried it, well here is your excuse, a new cookbook with 50 recipes that use Sriracha.

The book starts you off with a bit of history about the original sauce and it Thai history, then it covers what for most people is Sriracha Sauce, more commonly know as rooster sauce after the rooster prominently displayed on the plastic bottle, then things start getting more interesting with a recipe to make your own Sriracha Sauce.

Sriracha Sauces are not that hot as sauces go, but the combination of flavors just seems to work so well, think of it as a red Jalapeno sauce with Garlic, Sugar and Vinegar.

The book is split up into sections:-

  • Sauces and Seasonings – Starting with how to make you own, and then how to mix that to make other sauces and seasoning.
  • Starters and snacks -This is where the book starts to become interesting, the first recipe is for Sriracha Swirl Bread, the picture alone makes it look like one I have to try, also the Honey-Sriracha Glazed Buffalo wings also look mouth watering.
  • Salads and Sides – I have never made Kimchee, which is the Korean national dish, it takes a few days to make properley and can last upto 6 months..
  • Soups and stews – Srircha Gazpacho, sound like another winner, as well as the Fire-Roasted Corn Chowder and the Thai Chicken-Coconut soup will also make it to my must try list.
  • Breakfast of Champions – This is where is becomes very american, with Sausage Patties and Grits, but I did see a Bacon-Sriracha Cornbread (well at least its got Bacon in it).
  • Main Courses – Oddly there is a Chicken Tikka Masala recipe in here, but the one to try is the Piquant Pulled Pork, it takes 12 hours, but you cannot rush a good bit of pulled pork.
  • Drinks and Desserts – How about a Peach-Sriracha Sorbet to finish or Spiced Sriracha Truffles..

The book is very nicely layout with and it scattered with snippets of interesting information it is targeted at the US market so all the measurements are in cups, but conversion is simple, or just buy some cup measures, they seem to be in supermarkets these days.

You can also find out more about the author at his web site www.randyclemens.com and you can get a look at some of the recipes from the book online at www.scribd.com.

It is available now from Amazon for £14.24 plus delivery but if you have a kindle then you can download it for £7.55 , I have a big collection of Chilli based cookbooks, and most of them are the same things rehashed, this one it much better then most and well worth adding to your collection.

Recipes
(7/10)
Layout
(7.5/10)
Value
(7/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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Real Mexican Food by Fiona Dunlop

Real Mexican Food by Fiona Dunlop

We have not done a book review, so while we are doing our 30 reviews for November it has to time to look at “Real Mexican Food” by Fiona Dunlop.

This is not your normal Tex-Mex formulaic cook book, it is full of innovative and interesting recipes, the book takes you on a regional gourmet tour of the Mexico, the photography in the book combines some beautiful images providing local colour as well as the food being prepared (Which always helps me).

On this tour around Mexico, you are introduced to regional foods as well as some of the people/Chief’s who are creating and developing Mexican food as well as keeping traditional recipes alive. The recipes are well crafted and easy to follow, timings work out well for me and I did not find myself wondering what to do next.

This book is a very suitable for the UK reader and includes a short list of UK Mexican food suppliers, the recipes are in both metric and imperial measures, so I am sure there will be a US version available.

This book makes me want to go on a cooks tour of Mexico , I was going to list some of the recipes to help recommend this book, but as I tried to select some, I kept finding more and more to recommend, so best to say, go and buy a copy, your be glad you did.

You can order this book on Amazon for just £12.74 , click here to get your copy.

Recipes & Descriptions
(8/10)
Photography
(9/10)
Design & Layout
(8/10)
Value
(7/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)

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Thomasina will always be know as the winner of MasterChef, but before that she had and at the age of just 18 she went to Mexico, and had since then worked as a freelance food writer.

Thomasina Miers - Mexican Food Made Simple

Thomasina Miers - Mexican Food Made Simple

I loved this new book, it is easy to see that it is one of Thomasina’s food passions, she writes as if she is about to cook this just for you, each recipe I just wanted to make there and then, each was simple enough for most people to attempt, and with the UK growing number of specialist suppliers ingredients will not be a problem, most supermarkets will do for 90% of things

The book is divided in to 11 chapters of recipes:-

Salsas, sauce & relishes – There are some recipes I will be making over the summer, and I am pleased to say a lot of which use Chipotles, which must be one of my favourite flavours, including a what sounds like an fantastic Chipotle ketchup.

Nibbles & side dishes – How about making your own Mexican pork scratchings! Or Chipotle flavoured grilled corn on the cob.

Street Food – Tortillas are the base for almost all Mexican street foods and while tortillas can be purchased in many supermarkets, making you own is very satisfying , and Tomasina’s instructions and easy to follow and are then followed by lots of ways to make use of them.

There are also chapters on Soups, Salads, Cheesy things, Slow-cooked main courses, From the grill, Soul food, Pudding as well as Drinks, each packed with recipes and beautiful photo illustrations.

The book concludes with a short guide to suppliers, none of which will be a surprise to our readers, but if you are new to this she has included suppliers from around the country.

Interested in Mexican food, buy this book Mexican Food Made Simple from Amazon.
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The Complete Chilli Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking

The Complete Chilli Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking

This book as been written by two of the great names in the US chilli world Dave DeWitt and Paul W. Bosland.  It provides a complete introduction to the world of chillies, if a little US centric (well that was the target market for this book).

The main chapter headings of the book are as follows:-

About Chiles

This section provides a quick overview of the Botany, History of its domestication and dispersion of the chilli.

Top Hundred (or so) Chile Peppers for the Garden

Here they describe the different species of chillies, covering their identification and common features, before looking at some 100 individual varieties in more detail. This produces a shopping list for the grower with almost too many varieties to tempt the prospective gardener.

Capsicum Cultivation

The cultivation chapter contains a wealth of information on the whole process and some interesting diversions including bonsai chillies, but there are extensive sections on producing healthy seedlings and planting schemes.  Some of the photographs are a little on the industrial scale for the home gardener, but the commercial gardener will find lots to help here.  The section on diseases and pests could cause nightmares.

Processing and Preservation

This chapter is where the cook in me starts to get interested, as it covers some techniques for roasting and peeling pods, freezing and making sauces and pastes to preserve your crop.

Canning chillies is not a process I have tried before. It does not need a tin can but uses glass jars and a pressure cooker. If this sounds a bit OTT there is a number of interesting pickling recipes that I will use over and over again.

In the past I have dried my chillies in a domestic dehydrator, and the basics of Dehydrating and smoking chillies are covered here as well as showing how the professionals do it.

Then we get on to the unusual ideas such as Juicing Chillies or how about Candied Chillies?  The chapter ends with making chilli vinegar, oils and jellies etc

There are lots of ideas here that should keep you busy for the next few years.

Cooking with Chile Peppers

This tends to be the hardest section in a US based book for international markets as the ingredients names and measures are different, and while you may have to make some substitutions for some of the ingredients a quick search of the internet will provide a conversion from cups and ounces.

Just remember cilantro is Coriander, and we have a recipe for Chipotles in Adobe if you need them. Some of the harder to find ingredients can be found online at companies like The Cool Chilli Co, Hot-Headz etc

Conclusion

This is an excellent book that held my attention; it is clearly written with good descriptions of the many processes involved and makes a welcome addition to my chilli reference library.

You can order your own copy from Amazon for £15.75 ( last time i checked) or via your local book shop;   it would make an ideal Christmas present for any chilli-head.

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