04/06/2013 07:17 BST | Updated 03/08/2013 06:12 BST

Review of 'Manly Food' by Simon Cave

Manly Food - Simon Cave

Quadrille - 2013

Photography - Beth Evans


Obviously, as a woman it's possible that I could be a little put off my a cookbook called Manly Food but as Cave sets it up at the very beginning as "hearty, bold, adventurous and downright greedy" it's clear that gender has nothing to do with it (I'm certainly both hearty and greedy...) The cookbook is broken down into section by type of main ingredient or the occasion it was meant for. The food philosophy that Cave sets out is for full flavours, gutsy cooking and experimentation with new ideas.

There is a real lack of photographs in the book which makes it much harder to gauge the recipes and try and find which ones you want to eat, it's also a shame because the images that are included are gorgeous. The bold headlines are striking and suit the style of the book as a whole but can be tricky to read, also it can be hard to find where each section begins.

It is a very meat-heavy cookbook and mostly savoury dishes, but the sweets are divine where they are included. The majority of dishes are quite involved and not quick meals so it's something to plan ahead with. The methods can be a bit hard to follow in some recipes and with the text close together the steps can merge which is tricky when you're cooking.

Some of the dishes are well known, familiar dishes but with a new take on them and they were the most exciting. There is a lot of chilli used throughout and it seems to be the go-to spice which is slightly boring in some otherwise very interesting meals. My favourite sections were Slow Food and Comfort Food which had amazing flavours and lots of ideas to test out. Often there are lovely individual aspects of recipes, such as marinades and pickles that would make great ideas on their own.

My favourite dishes were the Flammkuchen, the Pan-fried Skate, Brown Butter and Capers, the Macaroni Carbonara and the Imam Bayildi. The bread, BBQ and butchery sections at the back of the book are a lovely addition and it's great having some extra notes to refer to in the glossary.

It's a very dense cookbook full of ideas and tips to get cooking big flavours and lovely meals which is wonderful to refer to when you want a great home-cooked meal.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of 'Manly Food' from Quadrille.