John Torode's "Beef" & "Chicken" (book review)...

The presenter and the judge of BBC’s MasterChef, John Torode, is now an author of 2 cookbooks. The first one "Beef" and the second "Chicken and Other Birds". John's name alone (and my few years glued to the TV watching MC) was good enough recommendation for me to buy those books - and I'm not disappointed!

"Chicken and other birds"
by John Torode

Hardcover (256 pages)

Chapters: Introduction, Sopus & stocks, Snacks & starters, Legs & breasts, Salads, Curries, Barbecue, Roasts, One pot wonders, Tarts, pies & pastries, Pasta, noodles & grains, Confit, terrines, pates & pastrami.

Don’t judge this wondrous book by its cover. John Torode’s Chicken and Other Birds is hugely entertaining (mainly because of the language used in the book - simple, with a bit of humour yet professional and for everyone) at the same time, immensely practical. He calls it ‘beak to tail’ eating. “Although,” he says, “(chicken) is the world’s most popular meat, so many people lack confidence when it comes to buying and cooking it…”
You have chicken (and other birds for all occasions - lunch, quick dinner, lots of curries and festive recipes - ex. for Christmas dinner). There are also ideas for stuffing or different side dishes to serve your chicken with (veges, gravy, sauces...) and last but not least - how to cut your whole chicken and make perfect chicken stock. I've already made few recipes and have big hopes for that book! If you think that chicken is plain and boring - buy this book! You will change your mind quickly :)

by John Torode

Hardcover (256 pages)

Chapters: Introduction, Stocks, sopus & gravy, Carpaccio, Salads & snacks, Pasta & rice, Pies, stews & braises, steaks & big hunks, Salt beef, bresaola & pastrami, Veal, Offal, Sweet.

John not only gives us lots of ways to cook with beef, but also gives the history and importance of great and rare breeds, butcher's recommended cuts and true head-to-tail eating. You'll find lots of recipes which use steak, tail and even offal! His recipes are straight from the heart - down-to-earth, tasty, easy to make and gathered from around the world. They include classics such as pies, roasts, steaks and hamburgers as well as contemporary Italian, French and Thai specialities. As with his "Chicken" book you'll find ideas for different ways of serving steak and recipes for side dishes (like gnocchi or prefect chips). You can feel straight away his passion for beef. This book is now officially my Hubby's favourite!

Surprise! Surprise! The inside of the cover of the 'Beef' book is actually a poster of beef cuts. What a handy thing to have :)

I could write a lot about both books, but I think you should have your own chance to see them and cook along with them. My only advice - get them if you can! In both books recipes are easy to make and simple to follow, all of them are home cooking on the highest level. Recipes aren't complicated, as John thinks that restaurant cooking should stay in the restaurants - couldn't agree more! But this doesn't mean that you can't enjoy good, quality food, well prepared at home!

P.S. Now I'm waiting for another book, which I think would create an amazing 'trilogy' of 'meat books' -> PIG! I just hope that John has one in his future plans... ;)

Some of the recipes I've already tried:

Chicken biryani - now one of my family's favourites! :) Even lil Baby J can't have enough - no better recommendation that this!

Chicken with olives and lemons

Portuguese chicken croquettes

Spaghetti with curried chicken balls - love this one!