In this week's cookbook review, we are back with another extraordinary restaurant cookbook this time with The Hand & Flowers Cookbook.
The long-awaited Hand and Flowers cookbook is finally here. First opened in Marlow, Buckinghamshire in 2005, The Hand and Flowers is the first (and only) pub in the world to acquire two Michelin stars. At this relaxed and accessible dining space, Tom Kerridge serves up innovative, sophisticated dishes that masterfully reinvent and elevate British classics for the twenty-first century.
Containing 70 of the best dishes that have ever appeared on the menu, including Great British Menu-winners roast hog and slow-cooked duck breast, this book celebrates the 15 years of one of the world's best and most authentic restaurants.
As we already mentioned The Hand & Flowers Cookbook celebrates the 15th anniversary of the world’s only two Michelin starred pub.
The book starts with a fascinating introduction that traces Tom and wife Beth's journey setting up the pub and building the business they have today, followed by an account of 24-hours in the life of “The Hand”. Following the usual sections of starters, mains and desserts, each dish is fully deconstructed and explained from prepping ingredients to service. Having all this information will allow anyone to understand the why behind each dish, which in our opinion, makes this book a great bedtime reading.
If you are one of the fortunate ones who know the restaurant, you’ll be glad to see all the classic dishes have been included and that the book’s claim to be a definitive collection of the pub’s recipe is an accurate one. Roast hog with salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce; Slow-cooked duck breast, peas, duck-fat chips and gravy; Smoked haddock omelet; and Chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream, are just some of the mouth-watering recipes you'll find in this book.
The Hand & Flowers is an excellent restaurant cookbook, not only because it gives you a glimpse of what goes on in one of the best restaurants in the world, but also because it will tempt you to try to recreate some of its recipes. Thanks to the stunning photographs, taken by Christian Barnett, it'll be impossible to resist the temptation of trying to recreate some of the recipes in this book.
The fun part of this book is that you can actually recreate some of its recipes and its various elements. For this, you'll need to be prepared to put in some serious kitchen time and be prepared to put your cooking skills to the test.
For the majority of home cooks, probably the best way to approach the book is to pick and choose between the constituent parts and either make a simplified version of the dish with just the key elements or take the recipe for a garnish and use it to accompany something simple like a roast, grill or stew. The good news is that many of the recipes for the individual parts are relatively straightforward and it’s the number of constituent elements that make cooking a complete Hand and Flowers dish daunting for non-professionals.
That said, regardless of whether you are a professional cook, a food geek, or just someone who has a taste for cooking, this book will always have something for you.
The Hand and Flowers is an extraordinary cookbook, one of the best we have ever reviewed. For us, it has everything we considered to be crucial for an excellent restaurant cookbook. Here you'll find a lot of stories for a good bedtime reading, photographs that will make your mouth water, and last but not least, you'll have recipes that will make you dream about what it is possible to do with food.
If you are a fan of restaurant cookbooks and want to challenge yourself in the kitchen, whether in a restaurant or at home, this is the book for you.
The Hand and Flowers cookbook is a stunningly beautiful and detailed book that celebrates the 15th anniversary of one of the world's best pubs.