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Duchy Originals Cookbook

Duchy Originals CookbookDuchy Originals Cookbook – Johnny Acton & Nick Sandler
Kyle Cathie Ltd. – 2006
Photography: Jonathan Gregson

The main thing that I have always liked about Duchy Originals is that although more expensive you are certain of the quality that goes into it and the positive attitude behind it. The foreword, introduction and Duchy Philosophy sections are interesting although a little long and if you are just looking for a recipe book then it might be better skipping them. There are also sections of information dotted throughout the book – I love reading this sort of thing and it gives another level to the recipes. However, after reading three pages on each type of meat (I never realised how cute turkey chicks were, by the by) even I was tiring and wanting to just get on with recipes.
I was surprised at the amount of ideas in the book that I wanted to try – the ingredients are all easy to find and a lot are not that hard to put together. They are also not as expensive to make as I had feared – organic, local and fresh often means a lot of money has to be spent but whilst not cheap as such, these are certainly possible on a variety of budgets as long as you pick and choose carefully.
The styling of the photographs is rather dull and there are a lot more of the livestock and farming methods etc. rather than the meals themselves but the recipes that have pictures certainly look lovely, nicely lit and appetising.
It is a good-looking cookbook although the font is rather too small, and I have excellent vision. I would imagine it could be tricky if you need reading glasses (which when cooking is awkward) and it’s no fun squinting at small print when you’re in the middle of cooking and trying to find the next step. The contents page is also rather hard to both find and follow although the index is better. It’s not the most inventive collection but there are some more original combinations among the classics. Not a huge number of recipes for veggies though – more a meat and fish set.
The basics section is a little bare, with only a few entries but it probably has everything you need for the recipes in the book. My favourite recipes were the Cannelloni Stuffed with Smoked Ham and Cheddar, Balmoral Honey Cake, and the Venison Saddle Eye Fillet with Port.
A nice mixture here of everyday sort of recipes that you could do over and over again and a few staggering ones that would be great to have when you splash out on really special ingredients.

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