The Flavour Thesaurus by Nicky Segnit isn’t a recipe book, not really, it’s so much more. The author has taken 99 common flavours and sorting them into flavour families, matching them, exploring traditional pairings – such a Lamb and Mint and less traditional – such as Avocado & Coffee or Ginger & Egg.
A 3-year labour of love for the author, it’s not exhaustive but really interesting for broadening your cooking horizons. It’s a mixture of information, science, experience and a few recipes accompanied by some lovely memories and restaurant recommendations. You could just read it cover to cover, forget the Foodie side!
The author goes into some interesting scientific detail as well – (your fact for the day:) Globe Artichokes “contain a phenolic compound called cynarin, which has the peculiar effect of making anything you eat directly afterwards taste sweet”.
I really like the idea of using bridging ingredients, and it may be that extra ‘something’ I sometimes find wanting in my cooking eg. I love Salmon Bagels with Cream Cheese, but tried them today with the addition of fresh Lemon Juice. Delicious!! A book like this is good for a noob like me – I doubt I’ll ever be a Michelin Chef, but I enjoy pairing flavours and playing with new interesting combinations of good quality ingredients. It’s also interesting how once you have played with a recipe, you can tweak it to improve it, and how you can begin to try dishes from restaurants, but cooking them in the comfort of your own home.
The book is based around the food ‘families and include a really funky circular diagram. The book itself is really handsome – perfect for a gift to a budding Foodie. My only grumble – it missed Honey & Kiwifruit (oh yeah, I had to go there!).
Reportedly, Heston Blumenthal buys all of his new staff a copy for reading. Did I mention this book begins with Chocolate? Winner!
I’ve also discovered a new English-ism – the tradition of going into a pub and burying a pickled egg in a packet of scrunched up crisps – apparently Salt & Vinegar is good, but Worcestershire is better. Challenge accepted.
(Disclaimer: the above links to an Amazon Associates UK account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links, but at no extra charge to you. So if you are interested in buying the book, please click through the link under the image. Help support a book addiction…)
What is your favourite pairing of flavours – traditional and non-traditional? Lately I’m obssessed with Ginger & Dark Chocolate, and Fries & Soft Serve.