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Review: National Trust’s Complete Traditional Recipe Book by Sarah Edington
In this book, Sarah Edington has collected, on behalf of the National Trust, the best of British cuisine. There is a delightful mix of national treasures and local specialities of sweet and savoury dishes alike. When you mention British cuisine to people outside the UK, the first thing they often think of is Spotted Dick, which coincidentally, does not make an appearance in this book. Instead, you have a rich collection of dishes from all over Great Britain, some dating back to 17th an 18th century.
I have to say, when I first picked up this book and flicked through its pages, I was barely past the soups and I was already in love with it.
The book is divided into chapters, each one covering a different food type, such as fish, meat, soups etc. There is a comprehensive collection, with chapters even covering drinks and sauces.
As you would expect from the National Trust, they never miss an opportunity to educate. Each section has a detailed history of that type of dish or main ingredient, as well as a little note on each individual dish.
As the recipes are British in origin, none of the ingredients are particularly hard to get hold of. There are a few ingredients that may have fallen out of favour such as quince that you may find a little difficult, but if you have a good local grocer they should be able to get them for you.
One of the features in the book I rather liked, although not much use to me, is that for each recipe there are instructions how to cook it on an Aga. If you know anyone with an Aga style cooker, then this could be a Godsend to them.
The recipes are a mixture of complexities, although even the most complicated should be achievable by anyone with a modicum of experience. The instructions are fairly straight forward; no fuss, no frills, just the facts.
The photos that accompany the majority of the recipes are delightful and really do work well to tempt you to try recipe after recipe. My favourite recipes were Lardy Cake, Sausage and Apple Plait, and Honey Oatcakes
I think that every kitchen should have a copy of this book. If you are like me, you have a large collection of cookery books but there is always one or two that you keep going back to, that you trust to deliver. This is that book.
This book is available now from The National Trust.