Nutmeg & Custard – Marcus Wareing
Transworld – 2009
Photography: Noel Murphy
This is a beautiful book. In all of the cookery books I have read this year, ‘Nutmeg & Custard’ is in the top three. Wonderfully put together and fantastic recipes. The font is very clear, writing well-spaced and a good separation between the ingredients and the main recipe. Most of the recipes also fit well onto the page so it’s not hard to find your place as you are cooking. It is a bit hard to keep the book open but not so bad that it’s a problem.
The sections are rather difficult to navigate, for example the breads are in the middle of other sections rather than being in a baking part. It is hard to tell what is going to be where in the book and you really need to use the index because the contents page gives nothing away.
The photographs are nice and clear but there is too much restaurant styling which makes it intimidating rather than reassuring. It also takes away from the quality of the food produced in some cases. The meat especially was brilliantly photographed.
The recipes themselves are fantastic. I have rarely seen such a good all round collection. There is a whole section on popcorn which I completely ignored (cannot eat *any* corn product at all) and another on ice-cream which wasn’t personally interesting to me but even with the final part of the book being very, very specific the book was packed with classic recipes. And recipes that will probably become classics in my house.
The recipes are largely very sensible, not at all chefy – which I thought they might be coming from a chef of Wareing’s magnitude. A few of them are a bit fussy for a weekday supper but I was very impressed by how many I could make straight away. Almost all of the ingredients were easy to source – even if they were not strictly things that you might have in stock they would be easy to find. The puddings were especially outstanding although that section really did need more pictures to make me happy.
There are also some very inventive twists on more traditional recipes such as the Chorizo Stuffed French Toast with Manchego. Nutella stuffed French Toast I know a lot about but Wareing’s idea really appeals.
My favourite recipes were the Sticky Sesame Pork Ribs, the Cheese and Pickle Muffins and the Honeycomb Biscuits.
Highly recommend giving this one a read – a very good mixture between classic staple recipes and things to play around and have fun with.