By Lucy Waverman The Flavour Principle: Enticing Your Senses with Food and Drink [Hardcover]

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    Lucy Waverman
    By Lucy Waverman The Flavour Principle: Enticing Your Senses with Food and Drink [Hardcover]

Recent User Reviews

  1. cami
    "Inspirational Flavours for Menus and Recipes"
    Pros - Seasonal menus, wine and spirits pairings, recipes broken out by flavours, easy to search index
    Cons - I would like it if there were more photographs
    I found this book to be quite refreshing, because unlike most other cookbooks, this one came with menus.  The recipes are grouped in cohesive, planned menus.  There are several menus for spring, summer fall and winter. In addition, the layout of the book is in flavours.  Instead of the typical breakout in a cookbook of main courses, sides, desserts, etc., this one is broken out by flavor types such as smoky, bitter, herbal, etc.  The author starts out by outlining the bare minimum staples needed in your pantry in order to prepare the majority of dishes.  There is also a section on bar-ware, and what you need for a wine pantry.  What I feel the author has attempted to do, and has succeeded, is create a book in which you can create a complete dinner, including beverage selections and wine pairings.  The arrangement of themes is superb and lends itself to this.  Selection of a menu by desired flavor becomes easy.  At the beginning of each flavor section, an introductory listing of ingredients specific to that section is presented.  For example, the herbal section includes a listing of the herbs that will be used; at the end of the section, it lists more detailed descriptions of those key themed ingredients. 

    The book itself is a nice, hard-covered book with sturdy, splash-proofed pages.  The index is extremely helpful, as it not only lists the ingredients of the recipes, but also cross references the wines.  So, if you have a cabernet sauvignon that you want to use with dinner, you can look up the wine and the index will lead you to an appropriate menu selection.  Likewise, if you have fresh rosemary from your garden, look up rosemary and the corresponding recipe(s) and then pair the listed wine.  This layout is extremely useful and versatile.  The author is very experienced and is a food editor for Food and Drink magazine and has authored numerous cookbooks.  I rated the book a two on illustrations since less than a quarter of the recipes have photographs with them.  This makes it much more difficult to visualize a tasty dish that may appeal to you, much less have an idea how it should look when complete. 

    The recipes themselves are easy to follow, but often entail some extra time.  For example, in the recipes I listed below, the author has you prepare the potato dish ahead of the remainder of the dishes, setting it aside and reheating for serving upon completion of the main course and other dishes.  I believe that a more concise, time-managed approach would have been simpler, i.e. timing the potatoes to finish at the same time the fish is complete.  This would shorten your time in the kitchen, allowing more time with guests or family.   Most of these ingredients are easily found in your local grocery store.  For the menu I chose I was not able to find Arctic Char but was able to easily substitute salmon in its place.  I found this book to be very helpful for any home cook, because it helps detail menu planning.  This is a huge benefit, as many of us don’t have much experience in total menu planning and developing balanced, complimentary flavors in the various courses served.  This book, with its easy, tasty recipes and menu planning, may just inspire you to host a garden party or dinner party in order to showcase your skills among friends.  I decided to share the Casual Chic Menu with you from the herbal flavor selection. I hope you enjoy it.


    Menu 1, Casual Chic:

    Vegetarian Charcuterie

    Slow-Baked Arctic Char with Crisp Potatoes

    Green Beans with Red Onions

    Peach and Blackberry Compote

    Lemon Balm Shortbread

    This casual dinner has a main course of Arctic char, a beautiful fish with a gentle flavor. I slow bake it to keep all the he3rbal tastes and juices mingled together. Served with counterpoint of slightly crispy potatoes, it is one of the loveliest of summer fish dishes. One of my favourite first-course ideas is to invite guests to make their own salad. It works best in the summer or fall, when lettuce, tomatoes and other produce are at their peak. Herbs add an intriguing note to the fruit compote, and using a lemony herb in the shortbread cookies keeps them chic.

    Vegetarian Charcuterie

    Essentially, this is a make-your-own salad. My guests use dinner plates so the ingredients aren’t crowded, and they all help themselves. It encourages conversation, and everyone gets to choose what they like. I make a herbal tarragon dressing and toss it with a variety of summery lettuces. On the table I place a bowl of lightly salted chopped red onion, a plate of wonderful juicy tomatoes dressed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and sprinkled with basil leaves (no acid-tomatoes are acidic enough), a bowl of thinly slice cucumber lightly salted and sprinkled with chives, sand some sliced buffalo mozzarella, or burrata if it’s available. I put out a grater with excellent Parmigiano-Reggiano and, for the final touch, Maldon salt and pepper mill.

    Tarragon Dressing

    This is my favourite dressing, because I love tarragon. Creamy and herbal, it will improve any salad. It keeps for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  Makes 1 ½ cups.

    1/3 cup mayonnaise

    1/3 cup white wine vinegar

    1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

    2 tsp chopped garlic

    1 cup olive oil

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, tarragon and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Pairing: Sauvignon blanc

    This fun Bac-Os-free take on the family-restaurant salad bar might seem to warrant a selection of wines. If guests get to build custom plates, why not a smorgasbord of drink options? No need. Zesty, herbal sauvignon blanc is the potable analogue to a salad bar. Some guests will inquire about red (yes, even with fresh salad – the horror!), so be prepared with a high-acid variety, such as barbera from Italy or Beaujolais from France. Better – and almost as good as sauvignon blanc – would be an ice-cold pilsner.

    Slow-Baked Arctic Char with Crips Potatoes

    Slow baking fish is not time-consuming. I like slow baking fish because you get a very even colour and a slightly softer texture than when you use high temperatures. The vegetable accompaniment cooks on top of the stove. The herb butter, with its refreshingly lemony saltiness, makes the char even better. Leftover herb butter will keep refrigerated for a week or frozen indefinitely. Serves 4

    Crips Potatoes:

    1 tbsp olive oil

    2oz (55g) bacon or pancetta, diced

    4 cups diced unpeeled red potatoes

    4oz (115g) shitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    Herb Butter:

    ¼ cup chopped shallots

    3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    2 tbsp chopped chives

    2 tbsp capers

    2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme

    1 tsp grated lemon zest

    ¾ cup butter, softened

    4 skin-on Arctic char fillets (8oz/225g each)

    Preheat oven to 250°F.

    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté for 1 minute. Add potatoes and sauté, stirring occasionally, until a few potatoes start to brown, about 2 minutes more. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover skillet, add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and stir everything together. Cover again and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and potatoes are golden. Sprinkle with parsley. Reserve.  

    Combine shallots, parsley, chives, capers, lemon thyme and lemon zest while potatoes are cooking. Mix into butter.

    Place char fillets skin side down in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush each fillet with about 1 tsp herb butter.

    Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until white juices are just beginning to appear. Place fish on serving plates and dot with remaining herb butter.

    Reheat potato mixture and serve with the fish.

    Pairing: Pinot gris

    This is the alter ego of pinot grigio. With the popularity explosion of easy-sipping Italian pinot grigio, a naming convention arose. Crisp, simple quaffs tend to get slapped with the grigio moniker, while more substantial “serious” wines are called pinot gris (though there are exceptions). The “serious” version is a specialty of Alsace in France as well as Oregon and British Columbia. The medium weight and subtle fruitiness find their mark with this delicate fish and earthy potato-based side.

    Colloquially, herbs are leafy greens, in contrast to spices, which are the dried seeds, roots, bark or flesh of many plants. But the line is sometimes crossed. The herb cilantro (a.k.a. coriander), yields citrusy, nutty-tasting seeds generally classified as a spice. Ditto for dill.

    Green Beans with Red Onions

    I’ve been called the green bean queen because I love to eat green beans as a side dish with anything. Their crunch, colour and taste are so appealing. You could also serve these cold with a sprinkle of lemon juice. Serves 4

    8oz (225 g) green beans, topped and tailed

    3 tbsp butter

    1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    1 tsp grated lemon zest

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and boil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and run under cold water until cold. Reserve until needed.

    Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until very soft. Add green beans and continue to sauté until beans are hot. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon zest.

    Peach and Blackberry Compote

    The lemon balm adds a refreshing element to this simple dessert. Change the fruit here to whatever is in season. I use some late-harvest Riesling in the syrup and then serve the rest with the dessert. Serves 4

    Peach Syrup:

    1 ½ lb (675 g) ripe peaches (about 4)

    ¼ cup granulated sugar

    ¼ cup sweet wine

    ¼ cup water

    Whipped Cream Mixture:

    1 cup whipped cream

    ½ cup mascarpone

    1 tsp granulated sugar

    To finish:

    2 cups blackberries

    4 sprigs fresh lemon balm

    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop in peaches. Leave 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove. When cool enough to handle, slip off skins and reserve. Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Reserve peeled peaches.

    Place peels and pits in a small pot with sugar, sweet wine and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until syrup is flavourful and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Cool, then strain.

    Beat together cream, mascarpone and sugar until mixture holds soft peaks.

    Combine reserved peaches and blackberries with ¼ cup peach syrup. Taste and add more sugar if you like. Divide among 4 serving dishes. Top with shipped cream mixture and drizzle each serving with a little of the remaining peach syrup. Garnish with lemon balm and serve with Lemon Balm Shortbread.

    Pairing: Late-harvest Riesling

    Left on the vine until very late in autumn, later-harvested grapes become partially dried and intensify in sweetness. Think of them as precursors to ice wine – at half the price. There’s a delectable tinned-peach and apricot quality to most late-harvest Rieslings, one reason Lucy favours the style in this recipe. The rest of the bottle, as she suggests, would indeed be perfect as an accompaniment. Waste not, want not.

    Lemon Balm Shortbread

    These slightly crunchy herbal cookies make a delightful foil for the creamy compote. If lemon balm is not available, use rosemary, mint or lavender. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes 36 cookies.

    1 cup unsalted butter, softened

    ½ cup granulated sugar

    ½ tsp kosher salt

    1/8 tsp vanilla

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 tbsp minced fresh lemon balm

    Cream butter, sugar and salt together with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour and lemon balm and beat until just incorporated. Place dough on the counter and knead lightly to bring dough into a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm enough to work with, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4–inch thickness. Using a ruler and the point of a knife, cut dough into 1 ½-inch squares. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet; prick each cookie once with a fork. Chill again until cookies are firm.

    Preheat oven to 300°F.

    Bake cookies for 20 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges. Cool completely on racks.

    Lemon Herbs

    Lemon Balm: A lemony Middle Eastern Herb, fresh lemon balm leaves are an aromatic addition to salads and make a good stuffing for lamb and pork. Cover a roasting chicken with balm leaves and it will be moist and fragrant. Lemon balm is a refreshing addition to fruit drinks, ice creams and fruit salads. Dried leaves enliven any tea. Harvest from the beginning of May to the end of August. Cut often to prevent the plant from flowering and going to seed.


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