After the success of Meze Publishing’s first ode to the region, The Cambridgeshire Cook Book: Second Helpings is here to satisfy those still hungry for more fantastic local foodie businesses.
The new volume was launched over the summer, and from Peterborough to Ely to Cambridge itself, its pages are bursting with over 50 beloved recipes put together by some of the finest independent restaurants, cafés, delicatessens, pubs, farm shops, producers and suppliers of the region. From contemporary boutique businesses to estates with histories spanning decades, Cambridgeshire is a breathtaking backdrop to enjoy the finest of traditional English cooking to bold and innovative recipes inspired by cuisine from all around the world.
It’s fronted by Cambridge’s premier restaurant, Midsummer House, with a foreword from head chef and Great British Menu winner, Mark Abbott.
Also featured are Tristan Welch, who trained under Gary Rhodes and Michel Roux Jr, and is head chef at Parker’s Tavern (part of the newly opened University Arms hotel), atmospheric North African eaterie Bedouin and newly-opened Restaurant Twenty Two, run by ex-Gordon Ramsay protégé, Sam Carter.
Through close collaboration with contributors, Second Helpings includes gorgeous photography of the food, locations and people involved, as well as profiles that allow each business to tell their unique story. The result is a visually beautiful book with a warmth that reflects Cambridgeshire’s welcoming community.
Lee Clarke, whose fine dining restaurant Prevost in Priestgate, Peterborough city centre is featured, shared the view that the county’s food scene was something to shout about.
He said: “ Absolutely it is something to shout about and the book is a good reflection of what is available in Cambridgeshire.
“This is a very busy area not just with restaurants and cafes, but food and drink festivals.”
Lee’s entry in the book includes a recipe for Norfolk Quail with Quail Scotch Egg.
“It was a snapshot of what was bang in season when we submitted the entry,” said the head chef and patron.
“We wanted to show the importance of locality too and it can go great with some fabulous Cambridgeshire broccoli we have been getting recently.”
In the book he adds: “I love quail and it goes well with just about any garnish, from haricot blank and carrots in the winter to Jersey potatoes, asparagus and wild garlic in springtime.”
Also featured is John McGinn’s pub and restaurant The Dog in a Doublet, near Whittlesey.
John’s “farm to fork” ethos is touched upon but his recipe reproduced in the book reflects his love of food from far and wide - Butternut Squash Curry.
The recipe is often on John’s menu as the vegan pub curry.
Its South East Asian sauce can be accompanied by prawns in a Keralan style but, he says, this is not science so don’t be afraid to swap and adapt ingredients to suit.
The Cambridgeshire Cook Book: Second Helpings retails at £14.95 and is available in all of the businesses featured in the book, as well as selected local gift shops, book shops including Waterstones and online at www.amazon.co.uk.