After studying Japanese and English Language at university, Xanthe backpacked through China, Arabia and South America before settling into a more conventional life as a cookery bookseller in London. Already passionate to the point of obsession with food, she found herself in the city at a time when it was emerging as the world’s gastronomic mecca. She worked her way from book launch to book launch sampling the canapés from the best restaurants in the capital.When this came to an end Xanthe signed up to train at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, and discovered that there were other people who, like her, were happy to talk all day and all night about food.
Starting in a Wiltshire pub, she went on to become the only chef at a trendy wine bar in Bath where speed and fresh ingredients were paramount. Meanwhile, Xanthe also offered private catering for dinner parties and functions. Watching the British eat, from pub to party, restaurant to dining room, made Xanthe wonder how relevant contemporary food writing really was to the home cook. In 1999 Xanthe contacted the Daily Telegraph, proposing that readers send in recipes for a new column. The idea was a success and she was asked to test the recipes and write features.
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Supermarkets are full of slickly packaged prepared dishes and takeaways are on almost every corner, so is cooking at home worth the effort? With ready meals often taking half an hour or more to heat and their ingredients sounding as if they belong in a laboratory, “Ten Minutes to Table” proves that the answer to this question is an emphatic ‘yes’. Cooking at home is the cheaper, healthier, tastier and, as proved by Xanthe, faster option. Every week on the “Telegraph” website, Xanthe cooks against the clock, using fresh ingredients, in 10 minutes or fewer. Over 80 such recipes appear in this book. With insider tips and expert advice, Xanthe shows that it is easy to eat well at home when time is in short supply.
RECIPES TO KNOW BY HEART – Buy it here
The way we shop has changed. We shop seasonally. We buy fruit and veg boxes. So we end up with lots of produce and we want to use it to make our favourite recipes – say a tart, or savoury pancakes; a gratin or a casserole; an ice-cream or a cake. But most cookbooks are very specific, so you have to wade through book after book to find a recipe that uses what you have. Recipes to Know by Heart features classic dishes with seasonal variations. A recipe for a meat pie also has suggestions for using game and autumn veg or chicken and summer veg. And a recipe for creamy risotto also includes variations using spring’s asparagus and green beans through summer’s courgettes and leaves to autumn’s pumpkin and mushroom to winter’s leeks and nuts. An ice-cream can be made with everything from winter spice through autumn’s blackcurrants and blackberries to summer’s strawberries and peaches. Braises, soufflés, meat pies, vegetable pies, soups, creamy pasta sauces, fish pies, roast lamb, fruit tarts, meringues, sponge puddings – they are all here! And for those who wish to delve deeper, there are short pieces on technique, such as making pastry or understanding why different season’s veg require slightly different cooking methods.
PUBLISHER: Mitchell Beazley
PUBLICATION DATE: September 2008