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The Guardian's 'How to Make' food columnist Felicity Cloake is on a mission to find the perfect recipes for staple dishes, from spag bol to apple pie and from brownies to fish pie, in her first cookbook Perfect - 68 essential reciepes for every cook's repertoire. How can I make deliciously squidgy chocolate brownies? Is there a foolproof way to poach an egg? Does washing mushrooms really spoil them? What's the secret of perfect pastry? Could a glass of milk turn a good Bolognese into a great one? Perfect will answer all these questions and many, many more. Having rigorously tried and tested recipes from all the greats - from Elizabeth David and Delia Smith to Nigel Slater and Simon Hopkinson - Felicity Cloake has pulled together the best points from each to create the perfect version of 68 classic dishes. Never again will you have to rifle through countless different books to find the your perfect roast chicken recipe, mayonnaise method or that incredible tomato sauce - it's all here in this book, based on Felicity's popular Guardian column, along with dozens of invaluable prepping and cooking tips that no discerning cook should live without. Whether you're a competent cook or have just caught the bug, Perfect has a place on every kitchen shelf. 'Brilliant. . . finely honed culinary instincts, an open mind and a capacious cookbook collection...Miss Cloake has them all' Evening Standard Guardian and New Statesman food columnist Felicity Cloake is the winner of the 2011 Guild of Food Writers awards for Food Journalist of the Year and New Media of the Year; follow Felicity on Twitter @FelicityCloake.
substitute risotto rice instead. Wild rice: The joker in the pack, wild rice is actually a grass, rather than a rice. It has a pleasant nutty flavour, and combines well with basmati. Perfect Risotto Risotto recipes are always advertised as perfect for an ‘easy, quick midweek supper’ – a spurious claim that will only end in tears in the vast majority of cases. If you find yourself still miserably pushing around crunchy rice when you expected to be sitting down to eat, then it’s easy to
about with ratatouille, which is fortunate, given the variety of recipes out there. A ragoût, of course, suggests something cooked long and slow on the hob – but there is some debate about whether the constituent parts should be cooked together, or separately. Raymond Blanc simmers everything together until tender, which gives a sort of vegetable stew – nice enough, but no more than the sum of its parts. Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine’s Cooking School Provence (which promises to teach me to
it, so I stick with the cheaper plain stuff. 225g plain flour A pinch of salt 225g very cold butter 150ml iced water Sift the flour and a generous pinch of salt on to a cold surface. Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and stir it in using a table knife, then gently squidge the two together, so the flour combines with the lumps of butter – the aim is not to mix it completely, so it turns into crumbs, but to have small lumps of butter coated with flour. Like the name, it should look quite rough,
need to add butter, like Julia Child, or double cream, like Gordon Ramsay – they’ll just weigh down the mixture and dilute its flavour, and fiddling around with an Italian meringue, like Franco-American chef Daniel Boulud, is just a waste of time. The reluctantly health-conscious might be interested to hear that Raymond Blanc’s egg-white-only version is surprisingly good, although it does inevitably lack the richness of the whole-egg recipes. David’s mousse, brought up to date for modern tastes
mixture to infuse for 10 minutes before cooking. If you like a light and fluffy omelette then separate your eggs, and whisk the whites into a foam before folding them into the mixture just before cooking – personally, I think this variation gives height at the expense of flavour. Ferran Adrià, the so-called ‘dean of molecular gastronomy’, whose ground-breaking Catalonian restaurant, El Bulli, was five times named the best in the world, finishes his omelette under the grill (he also uses crisps;