Celebrity chef cookbooks

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Time Out reviews the best celebrity recipe books to give you culinary inspiration

Tom Aikens Easy

Tom Aikens, Ebury Press, £25

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This attractive hardback promises unfussy food that can be on the dinner table quickly. Aikens is a meticulous chef better known for his work in Michelin-starred restaurants, so we needed a bit of convincing that he could do ‘easy’.

For the most part, he can – although sometimes he can’t resist passing stocks and sauces through a fine sieve just for the fun of it, or over-complicating simple dishes such as salade Niçoise. But if you stick to the ‘Fast fixes’ and ‘Light bites’ chapters you should be able to get yourself nicely fed sometime before midnight.

Oddly, there are no timescales given in Aiken’s book, so you’ll have to make an educated guess about how long they’ll take – and do read the recipe carefully well in advance, as many of them require primary ingredients to be marinated hours beforehand.

Aikens has some creative ideas, such as simple sea bass enlivened with a spiky red pepper relish or a livid potato and beetroot gratin. The chapter on leftovers has some excellent tips too, such as pepping up roast chicken with tapenade-flavoured mayonnaise, olives and lemon; or giving leftover fish a new lease on life as an escabeche.

If you’re not so concerned with the quick thing, recipes in the ‘Something for the weekend’ chapter are the place to look for cheffiest, most impressive dishes for friends.  

Susan Low, Time Out London Issue 2122: April 21-27 2011

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