Saturday, 22 July 2017

Review of Sharing Plates by Luke Mangan

As many of you know, I love cookbooks. When I'm thinking of purchasing or reviewing a new cookbook, I always consider books that specialise in a specific subject, or new chefs which challenge me with creating more adventurous dishes. What really appealed to me about one of the latest addition to my ever expanding cookbook collection is Sharing Plates: For Brunch, Lunch and Dinner with Friends by Luke Mangan. Currently on sale for £15.90 on Amazon, but can be brought slightly cheaper on other online book stores. I really enjoy cooking feasts and tapas/mezze style dishes to feast on, so the idea of a cookbook dedicated to recipes to share really appealed to me. The author is an Australian chef who owns a number of restaurants. The authors professional chef background is evident throughout this cookery book. I would say that this cookery book is more for the accomplished cook. Because of the theme of Sharing Plates, a lot of the recipes take some time to make, but the flavour combinations and innovative recipes make up for the fact that the recipes take a little longer than the average. 

There are a number of chapters in this book and there is a recipe for any time of the day. Any cookbook which features a chapter on breakfast is a winner for me.
  • Breakfast and Brunch, recipes to try include : Quail Eggs Benedict with Chilli Kale on Mini Muffins, Pancetta & Onion tarts with Asparagus, Buffalo Mozzarella & Honey Thyme Dressing, Smoked Ham, Tomato, Creamed Chard & Gruyere Toasties and the recipe featured Shakshuka with Spinach Parathas. 
  • Bread - lovely looking recipes include: Potato, Caramelised Onion, Fig, Gorgonzola and Grilled Raddicchio Pizzas, Truffled Mushroom & Pecorina Flatbreads and Fruit and Nut bread. 
  • Snacks and Salads - recipe to try include Samosas of Curried Pumpkin & Feta with Mint & Lime yogurt, Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Chorizo, Chickpeas, Quinoa & Blue Cheese and Honey & Oregano Haloumi with Fig with Golden Beets, Dandelion & Walnuts. 
  • Oyster & Sashimi, recipes to try include - Oysters in Chickpea Batter with Smoky Eggplant & Tzatski and Kingfish Sashimi with nam jim, lime leaf, Coconut Yoghurt & Toasted Jasmine Rice. 
  • Fish and Shellfish - standout recipes include: Salt Cod Croquettes with Piccalilli, Milk Buns with Lobster & Vietnamese Slaw, Seared Scallops with Padron Peppers, fresh Cheese, Romesco & Chorizo Jam and Grilled Chorizo & Octopus with Piquillo Peppers & Apple & Ginger Puree. 
  • Meat - lovely looking recipes include: Moroccan Lamb Cutlets with Raisin & Caper Puree, Broccolini & Hazelnuts,  Beef Short Ribs with Pedra Ximenez roasted red onion and carrot & Cumin Puree and Thai Beef Koftas in Lettuce Cups with Coconut Sauce.
  • Poultry - recipes to try include: Duck Prosciutto with Sliced Peach, Toasted Walnuts & Elderflower Dressing, Chicken Garam Masala with Raita & Tomato & Onion Salad and Salt and Sugar-Cured Duck Breast with Sichuan Pepper, Turnip & Tamarillo Glaze. 
  • Sweet - Stand out recipes include: Salted Chocolate Honeycomb, Pistachio & Chocolate Cake with Red Wine & Coffee-Braised Quince, Mini Pistachio Creme Brûlée Tarts and Bounty Bars.

Recipe for Shakshuka and Spinach Parathas
One of my favourite brunch dishes, the Middle Eastern favourite is served with Moerish spinach Parathas. 
For the Shakshua
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 onion, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
400g tin crushed tomatoes
6 large free-range eggs
1/4 bunch flat leaf (Italian) parsley, leaves only, chopped
1/4 bunch dil, leaves only chopped. 

For the spinach parathas
325g plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoom extra virgin olive oil
250g spinach, blanched
3 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 large garlic cloves peeled 
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
vegetable oil, for greasing

Method for Shakshuka
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic, capsicum, chilli, cumin and paprika and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Place the mixture in an ovenproof dish and onto a baking tray. Using a serving spoon to make six small wells, then crack an egg into each well. 
Cover the dish with a plate or foil. Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are just set. 

Method for Spinach Parathas 
Combine the flour, egg ad olive oil in a bowl, mixing well. Place the spinach, yoghurt, garlic, salt and spiced in a blender. Whiz to a smooth paste, adding a little water if necessary, then add to the flour mixture and mix to form a medium-firm dough. You may need to add some water.
Shape the dough into a ball, then rub a few drops of vegetable oil on the top to stop the dough drying out. Cover and rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place. 
Heat a tava pan, cast-iron pan or skillet over medium heat. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Divide into golf ball sized portions roughly 80g each. Roll one portion at a time into a smooth ball and flatten it out with your palms on a clean bench. Smear each piece of dough with a little vegetable oil.
Stretch one piece of dough out from the sides until it is four times its original size. Fold back into the centre from all the corners, to make a round 13-15 cm (5-6 inch diameter) paratha. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
One at a time, place a paratha onto the pan and cook over low heat until bubbles appear. Flip it over and cook 1-2 minutes. Lightly brush more oil on top, then flip it over again and cook for another minute. Transfer to a plate and cover with a clean towel to keep warm, while cooking the remaining parathas. 
The parathas are best served warm. They can be reheated by wrapping in foil and warming in a 180C oven for 5 minutes. 

Many thanks to Murdoch books for this cookery book. 
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