Monday, 28 September 2015

Vegetable pakoras with Premier Inn Purple Sauce

Premier Inn is a well known chain of hotels promising good quality accommodation at a reasonable price. If you are able to time your booking well, this is absolutely the case. I have stayed at their establishments and been an utterly happy camper. One particular occasion when I was teaching in Leeds springs to mind, where the level of comfort and service I received was over and above the “budget” tag often applied to Premier Inn, in my view unfairly.

Premier Inn wants to provide good food on top of its agenda of good value and good service. As a result, it is seeking to revolutionise breakfast dining. It has therefore launched its own bespoke condiment: Premier Inn Purple Sauce. It has been available since this Summer, with a view to reviewing its success and perhaps launching nationally through sales in supermarkets. 

So what on earth is “Purple Sauce”? Well, if you know your rock and roll, you would know that purple is as regal and cool today as it has been in Roman times. Purple Rain and Purple Haze resonate and rock hard, proving that the aubergine hue will always live long in people’s imagination. I confess it is my favourite colour and I wear it often. I do hope they will make this sauce generally available as it is a brilliant alternative to ketchup or HP sauce. 

Premier Inn Purple Sauce has been invented by Ed Baines. Ed Baines is a chef who trained with the much esteemed Anton Mosimann at The Dorchester, going on to work with Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum and at The River CafĂ© with Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray. He now runs Randall & Aubin, his flagship restaurant. He has written two cook books; Best Of British and Entertain.  

The Premier Inn Purple Sauce contains blackberry, cracked black pepper, crushed chillies, cider vinegar, toasted cumin and smoked salt. It is made of natural ingredients with no artificial colours or flavourings. It is also suitable for vegetarians. You can read more about it here:

The Purple Sauce naturally goes well with a cooked breakfast; bacon and sausages benefit from its sweet, sour and spicy tang. But I wanted to try something more tea-time. In India, tea time doesn’t involve cake or cucumber sandwiches. It involves steamed lentil cake (khaman/dhokla), samosas or pakoras. The Purple sauce flavourings of chilli, cumin and black pepper lends itself to Indian food and in particular, Indian snacks.

Since I have no talent for baking cakes and you all know how to make cucumber sandwiches already, I have decided to share my recipe for vegetable pakoras with you. Perfect with Premier Inn Purple Sauce. 

Vegetable Pakoras

Serves 2-3 as a snack


2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1 small onion, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
½ courgette, peeled and cut into julienne
¼ small cauliflower (2 handfuls) cut into small dice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
Freshly ground black pepper
2 finely chopped chillis
1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
6 tablespoons chick pea (gram) flour
3 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil or groundnut (peanut) oil
Premier Inn Purple Sauce, to serve


1. Prepare all the vegetables as described above. Place in a non-metallic container. Add the salt, turmeric, garam masala, garlic, ginger paste, black pepper and chilli and mix well. Leave for half an hour for the flavours to combine and for the salt to draw moisture out of the vegetables. 

2. Add the coriander leaf and mix well.

3. Sieve the chick pea flour. 

4. Add half the chick pea flour, mix well. Then add half of what remains and mix well. You may not need to add all 6 tablespoons of the flour. Keep adding, mixing as you go. When it starts to get sticky and gluey, and holds together well, then you know you have made the mixture for the pakoras.

5. Heat the oil in a frying pan.

6. Add the pakora mix in dollops. You will be able to make 5-6 good sized pakoras using the amount of mix. 

7. Fry for 5 minutes or until brown on one side. Then turn over. Do not turn over until the base is solid or the pakoras may fall apart.

8. Fry for another 4-5 minutes until brown on the opposite side. 

9. Put onto kitchen roll to absorb any excess cooking oil.

10. Serve at once with Premier Inn Purple Sauce. 

Alternative sauce ideas:

If you like your Indian food mild, use Sweet Mango chutney, just like you find in your local curry house. 

If you want to try something tangy, sour and authentic, try Tamarind chutney, Nizami make a very nice Tamarind chutney.

Mr Todiwala’s also make great chutneys and pickles.

Snigdha would like to thank Premier Inn for sending a sample of their Purple Sauce for testing purposes. Snigdha has received no incentive, financial or otherwise for this blog post. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

September 2015 Favourites List

Summer is struggling to have a last shout here in the UK. We haven’t quite had the Indian Summer we had hoped for after a pretty wet August. So I am using this opportunity to share some of my last Summer flower pictures in this Favourites list.

Of course, September is a big month in the educational calendar, marking the commencement of a new academic year. Schools reconvened a couple of weeks ago, with new uniforms, pencil cases and timetables. Universities are now following suit.

My new students arrive on 21st September, their registration day. I am looking forward to meeting them and getting to know them over the coming weeks. Wish us luck as we embark on a journey to take them from being academic lawyers to practical, problem solving ones.

To anyone in education, whichever side of the classroom you are on, I wish you a happy and successful academic year.

Now to my favourite things for the month of September.


From Diana Henry's Bird In The Hand book, a chicken thigh salad with avocado, spinach, spring onions and fresh coriander:

Very simple and quick prawn rice noodle salad for when you need dinner fast:

A foolproof way of making caramelised onions, using a slow cooker:

Cherry tomatoes, herbs, white beans and chorizo in a sunshine-on-a-plate salad for what might be our last Summer day:

Pasta with bottarga (compressed fish roe) from Ms Marmite Lover, Kirsten Rodgers:

I love Paella but find the proper way of making it time consuming and a massive faff. I'm very tempted by this cheat's version:

This walnut, and anchovy and herby pasta dish has a name suggesting it is from the Amalfi coast. A wonderful part of the world, with fabulous food:

Sweet corn prepared with Thai flavours and aromatics and a fennel gratin from Thomasina Miers. Inventive veg dishes:

Articles/Know How:

Want to understand the sometimes bewildering topic of Japanese Sake? This is a clear, easy to follow guide by Kavita of Kavey Eats:

Helpful guide to pasta - A Pasta Primer from the Pasadena Chef blog:

The latest list of UK Michelin starred restaurants:

If you keen to "de-bug" and clean your salads and veggies, you might like to try this:

High time we had a Gothic/Fantasy round to the Bake Off! Who wouldn't want to see a baked Alien (from the famed Alien "Quadrilogy")?

"The soup of stupid peasants? Excellent choice, Sir." Hilarious, rude and frankly mystifying menu translation fails.

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

Very pleased to have had Snig's Kitchen named as one of the 50 best food blogs in the UK!

And over at Snig’s Classroom:

Essential Summer preparations for Wannabe Barristers:

How to survive the first two weeks of the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), by the students in the know:

Part Two of how to survive the BPTC by my brilliant former students:

Registering for the BPTC is only the beginning, having coping mechanisms are vital:

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Roka, London, Restaurant Review

Roka Restaurant is one I've been hearing great things about. It specialises in Japanese robatayaki cooking. Robatayaki translates as "fireside cooking", meaning that the food is cooked on a barbeque in the sight of diners. I visited the Aldwych restaurant, where the dining space is a large room, with a central open kitchen where the preparation and barbeque cooking takes place. I have mentioned before my love of open kitchens, where the ebb and flow of activity provides a mesmerising display. This was no different. 

The design of the restaurant has been achieved with ingenuity, you can see all the heat and flames, but none of the smells from the kitchen seem to seep out, despite being in the same open space. Here are the masters at work....

I visited with two companions for what we intended to be a big treat lunch; no rushing, indulgent and full on. But what were we going to have? The menu seemed unfamiliar, none of us have had the good fortune to visit Japan and sample this authentic cuisine before. Everything sounded great, but where to start? 

We settled on the tasting menu with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne. We were advised it had most of the best/signature dishes available and from our perusal of the menu, seemed to offer good value for money. Not cheap, I hasten to add, but a good value way of sampling many of the dishes on the main menu. 

Kampachi sashimi no salada
Yellowtail sashimi with yuzu truffle dressing

The wafer thin sliced yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack fish), was fresh and mildly flavoured with the citrus toned truffle dressing. The truffles did not overpower the fish, and when eaten with the shiso leaves and carrot topping, made a refreshing start to our lunch.

Iceberg salada no wafu
Iceberg lettuce with caramelised onion dressing

If I am honest, this was never a dish I would have ordered from the menu by choice. It just doesn't sound too special, does it? Expecting something a little bit bland, I was surprised to find this very strikingly presented dish come to the table. Lined up like dominoes, the lettuce was cut into perfect little squares with caramelised onion dressing, sesame seeds and shredded seaweed sprinkled on top. But it isn't just a beautiful plate of food, it tastes great too. Somehow the caramelised onion dressing lifts the lettuce so far above the mundane, I am still scratching my head how they managed it at all. There is sweetness, depth, umami along with the fresh tasting crispness of the lettuce. It's mind bogglingly good. 

Wagyu no tartar
Pure breed Japanese Wagyu tartar, ponzu pearls, nori cracker

Made from the legendary Wagyu beef, this tartar was served on a slightly crumby cracker flavoured with Japanese seaweed. This was a beautiful morsel of food, and the beef was tender and delicate. However, being a very small portion, there wasn't enough opportunity to discern other subtleties... in a heartbeat, it was gone. Seconds, please!

Sashimi moriawase ni nin mae (Sashimi platter)
Selection of premium sashimi, yellowtail tartare with rice cracker, daikon chirashi roll with avocado

The tall glass contains the long rice crackers (baked with black and white sesame seeds) with the yellowtail tartare in the base of the glass. The small wooden spoon is to place the tartare on the cracker. The tartare was fresh, herby and lightly flavoured with clean citrus flavours. The super crunchy home made crackers a lovely conduit for eating the tartare. The whole platter was jaw droppingly gorgeously presented (the pictures do not do any of it justice) and super tasting. 

One of the highlights of the dish was the fact it was served with genuine grated Wasabi. The Wasabi root was brought out to us and grated before our eyes. The sad shame is that so rare and in demand the Wasabi root is, us folk in the UK vary rarely get to eat the real stuff. I hate to say it, but much of our "wasabi" is actually... dare I say it.... horseradish dyed green!

There was only one thing which could accompany this pretty array of sashimi; some sake! We ordered the simple chilled Junmai, as we are chilled sake novices, still finding our way around the types and terminology of this most traditional of Japanese tipples. 

Asparagus to tamago maki
White asparagus and truffle, with Japanese omelette and shiso mayonnaise

Light and gently flavoured, this course was designed to be a change of pace from the previous. 

Gindara to kani no gyoza
Black cod, crab and crayfish dumplings

We were fighting over these delectable little dumplings, with chopped black cod, crab meat and crayfish tail as their filling. Premier league seafood has been used here, where much cheaper and simpler seafood could have been used. Very luxurious! The steam-grilled skins were made at the perfect skin-to-filling ratio; not too heavy, not too thick, not too cloying.

Hinadori no miso yaki
Baby chicken, lemon, miso and garlic soy

Marinaded and chargrilled, the baby chicken was still soft and moist on the inside, whilst browned and caramelised on the outside. The lemon, miso and garlic soy sauce marinade had imparted their flavours on the chicken, leaving barbeque food to die for. If you are having a barbeque this Summer, you seriously need to bribe the chef for the recipe of this little number!

Eggplant in mirin, ginger and soy

This is the best aubergine dish I have ever eaten. The aubergine "meat" was cooked to a just-soft texture, but not so that it was oozy and mushy. The caramelisation of the aubergine gave a sweetness, which was enhanced by the mirin. The soy lent umami and salt, the hints of ginger flavour added complexity. 

Kani no kamameshi
Rice hot pot with king crab with wasabi tobiko

The big, beautiful pot pictured above was brought to our table, instantly creating a sense of drama and anticipation. We were not sure what to expect beneath the wooden lid....


The hot pot is thoroughly stirred and mixed up by the waiting staff at your table and served up on gloriously chunky hand made little dishes. Time to tuck in!

The rice is like a subtle, creamy risotto, deeply satisfying and comforting. Little ribbons of crab meat and tobiko eggs cling to the rice, meaning each small amount you eat (as I did with chopsticks) has all of the different flavours and textures intended in the dish. The tobiko explodes as you chew, releasing its salty flavours of the sea, the hints of wasabi are gentle and do not overpower. Wasabi can be sinus-blastingly hot, here it was tempered and mild, allowing the rest of the dish to work in harmony.

One of the chefs prepares asparagus in the open kitchen

Roka mini dessert platter

As if all of the food above wasn't enough, take a butcher's at this showstopper! Fresh fruit, prepared and presented with style, homemade ice cream, cake, a delicate biscuit roll, a little sesame decked stick biscuit (which you might be able to see sticking out of the terracotta bowl). 

By this point of the meal, I was full up. So I tried a little of everything, but couldn't manage to eat anything more. It was all lovely, but when I am full, I have to say I don't appreciate food as well as I normally do. I had hoped my second stomach, the "pudding belly" would have appeared by magic, but it wasn't to be. My dining companions were delighted; to the victors, the spoils. They scoffed the dessert platter with gusto, and licked the plates clean. 

This was a very memorable meal in a restaurant where attention to detail is observed in all areas. Presentation, service, serving implements, dishes, bowls, the chilling of cold items. Everything is well observed in a way which is positively artistic.

My only criticism is because the decor of the restaurant is trying to achieve clean lines and lack of clutter, there are no soft furnishings in the restaurant space at all. As a result, sound bounces off every surface. With the dining area being large with a good number of tables for customers, the many conversations taking place can turn into a general hum of noise. It's a small complaint, but it does have a small effect on the overall restaurant experience. I would be more inclined to return here for lunch rather than a romantic evening meal.

Roka Aldwych
71 Aldwych
020 7294 7636

Snigdha and her companions paid in full for their meal at Roka. Snigdha has received no 
reward, financial or otherwise for writing this review. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Snig's Kitchen - named a top UK food blog

Blogging is fun, and I thoroughly it. It's a great way to express my love for food and drink, to share my passion, and connect with people. But sometimes it can be lonely. When I am sitting at my computer by myself, blank screen before me, waiting for ideas to come, I can feel totally alone. Sometimes you wonder if people are reading you, because your reader statistics show that you've had a slow day. And these are the times you wonder why you bother.

Today is not one of those days. I am very pleased and proud that RebateZone (who provide consumers with valid promotion and coupon codes) have named me as one of the 50 best food blogs in the UK.

Here is their full list:

I am grateful to RebateZone for including me in their list. I have not given them any payment or incentive to be included. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

August 2015 Favourites List

I hope you are all enjoying the Summer. It has not been wall-to-wall sunshine here in the UK, but I was shocked to hear a woman in town complain “We haven’t had our Summer yet, have we?” to her friend in the street. I didn’t think we had done too badly! Perhaps it is just one of those very British reactions to the weather. We seem to store stronger memories of the rain and chilly days than the long, beautiful, balmy ones!

Results and resit season are upon everyone who is either in education or working in education. GCSE results were out this week, A level results the week before. My students have had resit assessments and exams the last couple of weeks. There is so much pressure on children and students these days, I wonder how I would cope if I had to live those days over again. I hope that either you, or those close to you have received the results hoped for, or that if you have had a resit to take,  I wish you the very best of luck.

This month's pictures are from my Summer flower pictures on Instagram. The bright and vibrant colours always cheer me up and put a smile on my face, come rain or shine.

Now here is my collection of lovely stuff I have been enjoying this month. Dig in and enjoy!


If you're getting a little bored with Mojitos, why not go back to an old classic, the Moscow Mule?

Tony Singh's Strawberry Sunday with "Monkey Blood" (don't worry, it's only made out of raspberries!):

Cyrus Todiwala's Parsee Kolmi Ni Bharaei, Stuffed sea bass with tomato Patia.

Love mussels, love pasta? Here's an Italian/French fusion which combines the two!

Great avocado recipes from chefs and foodies:

Quick and easy Indian: poha, "variety" rice, upma, bhurji, aloo chaat, masala French toast.

Articles/Know How:

Food myths, the truth about sell by dates and how to avoid throwing precious food in the bin:

Very disappointed to see leading chain restaurants take money intended for waiting staff as tips into their own pockets. Please complain if you can to stop this unnecessary practice:

Sadly, the great service charge rip off continues. I like Cote Brasserie, but I don't like its policy of taking all of the service charge for itself.

So, this new chilli being stocked by Tesco is meant to be 400 times hotter than a Jalapeno. Yep, 400. My only question is why? Aren't regular chillis hot enough?

What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:

My brilliant friend Linda returns to Snig's Kitchen with another authentic Neapolitan recipe, so you can cook like Mamma!

My review of Amy Riolo's Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, a well thought out, thoroughly researched book with some great recipes. Read my full review!

Inside Out

The Returned
Singer Songwriters At The BBC 2

The Who Sell Out – The Who
Harvest – Neil Young
Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake
Alt-J – This Is All Yours

Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Pasta with Broccoli (Guest post by Linda Poulnott)

At the beginning of the year, I was fortunate enough to host a "residency" of guest blog posts by my friend Linda Poulnott. Linda has lived in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy for over 20 years. Through her total immersion into the language, life and culture of this exciting and vibrant part of the world, she has learned how to cook the food of this region authentically. It is with great pleasure that I am happy to say Linda has returned to Snig's Kitchen with a new recipe for us all. 

Linda Poulnott, your brilliant post author

You may have missed Linda's residency, but fear not, here are the links to her three brilliant and helpful posts:

How to cook like a Neapolitan Mamma (food and cooking advice):

Risotto con Funghi Misti (Risotto with mixed mushrooms):

Parmigiana di Melanzane (Neapolitan Baked Aubergines):

The key thing which you will realise from Linda's writing and recipes is how unfussy good Italian food can be. I have found this to be a revelation. I have, like Linda, tried to cook cheffy and complicated Italian recipes from cook books. Linda has previously described how on her arrival in Italy, she tried to replicate these overly technical and fussy dishes, only to find that the real food of the Neapolitan region could be appealing, flavourful and satisfying without the hassle. 

Linda's approach is refreshing, simple and delightful. This recipe, her fresh trofie pasta with broccoli, is entirely in keeping with her philosophy on cooking. Who would have thought you could rustle up something tasty, healthy and authentic so rapidly? Perfect for a weeknight or a speedy weekend lunch. 

So I hope you will read and try to make this recipe and if you didn't have the chance to catch her previous posts, that you will travel back in time to the start of 2015 to read them!

My thanks to Linda for her lovely recipe, another wonderful guest post that I am proud and happy to include here. 

If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to post in the comments below. Alternatively, I am sure you can ask Linda on twitter. Or perhaps you just want to say hello and thanks to Linda, as she is a friendly and fun person in the twitterati. Just look for @nnamorata. 

Buon appetito, my readers. Over to Linda!

The finished dish: fresh trofie pasta with broccoli


This dish is very simple and ideal to make when you get home after a busy day. It should take you about 15mins to prepare. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

People in the Gulf of Naples eat it in winter when broccoli is in season. It’s a Neapolitan “comfort food” dish. If you can get it, try to buy fresh pasta for this dish. In the photo you’ll see I use Trofie shaped pasta.

Fresh trofie pasta

If it’s hard to find, orrechiette or cavatelli shapes work well too.


A large frying pan
2 Medium saucepans
A wooden spoon
A sieve to drain the pasta


About 300g of Broccoli
150g of Pasta
1 clove of chopped garlic
Couple of glugs of olive oil
A handful of grated pecorino cheese (parmesan is fine to use too)
A few dried chilli flakes or some fresh chopped chilli to taste.(Try not to go too hot if you want the original dish)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Wash and cut up the florets of broccoli and boil in a saucepan until softened. (Don’t bother adding salt to the water.)

2. Put a couple of glugs of olive oil into the frying pan and put on a medium heat. Add the chilli and chopped garlic,taking care not to burn them.

3. Drain the broccoli, keeping some of the water to add if needed. Add the broccoli to the frying pan and a little of the water. I like the dish creamy so I mash most of the florets with a fork. At this point I add the salt and pepper to taste.

Cooking the broccoli

4. At this point you can start cooking the pasta in a saucepan.

5. Once the broccoli mix is creamy in texture (remember if it gets too dry, you can add the “broccoli water” that you kept earlier!), you add it to the cooked and drained pasta. Mix well and throw in a handful of the grated pecorino cheese.

6. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Amy Riolo - Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook - Review

Amy Riolo will be better known to readers in the USA than in the UK, because of her many appearances on Fox TV, CBS TV and The Travel Channel. The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is her fifth published title. Educated at Cornell University, Riolo is a restaurant consultant with a passion for food and cooking. She speaks many languages and has immersed herself in the food and culture around the Med by living and working in Italy and the Med’s other surrounding countries. In fact, one of her books centres on the cooking of Egypt and the Nile. Food stylist, food writer, tutor, guest speaker for noted organisations like Les Dames d’Escoffier and The Smithsonian Institution, she is much more than your average “celebrity chef”.

I was eager to see how her Mediterranean Diet Cookbook would measure up. Some diet cook books are preachy, overly keen to convert you to a “philosophy”. Others feature bland recipes which lead you to call out for a cheeky take away. Then there are the diet cookbooks so extreme in their bid to feature healthy recipes, you head for the fridge, still hungry, ready to eat anything that may be left there…..

Riolo does have a philosophy, but she describes it with a lightness of touch. Her main point is that what you eat can have an enormous effect on your mood and your health. As a result, one’s overall sense of well being (physically, mentally, spiritually) can begin with food. She is realistic about most people’s relationship with food; that we tend to love what isn’t good for us. So she does not chide us for our preferences. She simply suggests a balance where we strive to eat healthily as often as possible, saving the “bad stuff” for an occasional treat.

Riolo notes three key factors which differentiate the societies of the Mediterranean. Firstly, she says “food is treated like medicine”. Secondly, “moderation is key”. Finally, “an active physical and social lifestyle is mandatory”. In relation to that third factor, Amy suggests meals are eaten as a family, at the dinner table with no distractions.

Although Riolo suggests that seafood and poultry should be eaten more frequently than meat, the three recipes I tried from the book were all meat based. My husband, Him Indoors, is a confirmed meat lover, and if the meals were intended to be eaten at the table, then his tastes needed to be catered for! However, I will be exploring the other recipes in the book in due course.

The Libyan lamb couscous from page 34 of the book was the first dish I tested from the book. The lamb was stewed  in tomatoes with chick peas, and chunky carrots and courgettes. 

The turmeric and cayenne brought spice and colour to the dish. Because the carrots and courgettes were left in large cubes, they did not soften too much in the cooking time, retaining much of their nutrients. 

The chick peas provided texture to the dish and much needed fibre as most of us do not get enough in our diet. The tomato base was rich in vitamins and nutrients, such as lycopene. The recipe was uncomplicated, involving simple cooking techniques, although is rather time consuming. A dish for weekends rather than weeknight cooking. 

The indulgent couscous gives a luxurious touch. This dish was a definite hit; the lamb came out tender and aromatic, and the overall flavours melded together well. I will be making this one again, for sure.

Next I tried the Greek cinnamon scented lamb meatballs from page 170 of the book.  The accents of cumin and cinnamon gave them delicate flavour, lifting them from being bland workaday meatballs. These tapered Greek style meatballs are called “keftedes” and were cooked by grilling, rather than frying, keeping the fat content down. 

They were browned all over before being cooked in tomato sauce. I found the sauce, flavoured with cinnamon and garlic, was very easy to make. 

The Keftedes of minced lamb was a simple and achieveable recipe, well within the capabilities of the novice cook. We enjoyed this recipe, and believe that if you made extra for a second meal, it would taste even better the next day.

Corsican garlic laced beef (as found on page 169 of the book) is a one plate wonder of pasta and beef, although lamb or goat meat could be substituted (which would lower the fat content of the dish overall). 

This dish does not look as good in my photos as it tasted. Although garlic is used generously as an ingredient, it does not overpower. The dish has influences of both France and Italy, as you would expect from a Corsican dish. The use of fresh tomatoes rather than passata or tinned keeps the flavour light and summery. 

Served with a spelt Maccheroni, this dish was healthy, simple to cook but big on flavour. I loved this dish.

I get the feeling from this cookbook that a lot of time and care has been taken over the recipes and its creation overall. I say this because of the small details. The ingredients list is set out clearly and cleanly. I particularly like that amounts are precisely defined. Where they need to be divided and used twice, that is stated. There are indications on preparation of the ingredients, especially the sizes the vegetables should be cut to. These simple details mean that the cooking times work. There is nothing worse than not knowing how large to cube your potato pieces and then having to greatly increase the cooking time as they are still rock hard! 

I also approve of the indications on seasoning. Recipes too often suggest adding seasoning, with no assistance on the amount. Similarly, the instructions are precise and well expressed. 

Riolo’s exceptional attention to detail is something all cook book authors should aspire to achieve. There once was a cookery title I found where an ingredient was mentioned in the title of the recipe, but after that, never again; not in the ingredients or the method. The name has been withheld to protect the truly guilty party who did not proof read their recipes properly! Although an extreme example, such errors can creep into cookbooks which are rushed through the publication process.

What strikes me about this book is that if you exclusively cooked from it, you would not feel like you are on a diet at all. The word “diet” could be omitted from the title, and you’d have a perfectly wonderful and varied collection of recipes from the Med. It doesn’t feel like denial, grumbling hunger gnawing away at you in the background. Him Indoors can’t abide by “low fat” cookery and loves big flavours, and enjoyed all of the recipes we tried. There are a hundred recipes in all in the book, and I will enjoy trying out other recipes in the weeks and months to come.

Snigdha was sent a copy of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook to review. She has received no payment or incentive for posting this review.