Review: Rick Stein’s Spain

Rick Stein’s Spain was released in the UK to coincide with the release of his new 4 part BBC series on regional Spain, and for our money – its a worthy cookbook!

While we wait for the series down under (apparently early 2012 – and possibly earlier if you can find the DVD) there is plenty to cook from this book.

Normally we are cautious about TV/cookbook adaptations, but there’s something about Rick.  Maybe we fell in love with his dog Chalky?  Maybe its his uncomplicated honest outlook?  Maybe his love of sustainable and local produce that forms the basis for the local, simple cuisine he loves to cook?  Whatever it is, we can’t help but get excited about another Rick Stein cook book!

Most people associate Rick with seafood recipes, and there are a good few in this book.  But the heart of the book is traditional and comtemporary Spanish regional cuisine. Some dishes are Rick’s interpretation and others come from the people he meets during his travels.

Many of the recipes in Rick Stein’s Spain will surprise as he has made an effort to ‘get off the beaten track’.  Whilst the obvious recipes are included, there are many that are unusual. Our list of recipes to make is already long: Fresh Broad Beans with Black Sausage & Garlic Shoots; Pot-roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks & Cider; Pearl Barley Stew with Morcilla, Bacon & Wild Fennel; Pork in Almond Sauce; Veal Pork, Serrano Ham & Porcini Mushroom Cannelloni – to name just a few.

Rick Stein’s Spain is filled with large rich photographs.  But for us, after the recipes, its Rick’s text that is most rewarding, In an age where some publishers take the adage ‘a picture is worth a 1000 words’ as a reason to cut the text in a cookbook to an absurd minimum, Rick continues to provide thoughtful, enriching introductions to most of his recipes. Perhaps because the book is a companion to a TV series where he is talking to us on camera, the book feels personal, conversational, almost in camera.

There is a useful glossary of ingredients, cheeses, cooking implements and basic recipes as well as a directory of suppliers (including a number of Australian & New Zealand suppliers)

Who: If you like Rick Stein, you’ll love Rick Stein’s Spain. If you cook from Movida, Moro, or love bold Mediterranean flavours, you’ll find something to cook. Armchair travellers will also be rewarded

When: Due 1 August 2011

Price: $49.95

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