Gourmet Food For A Fiver – Jason Atherton

Gourmet Food For A FiverSo, credit crunch, everyone’s skint, business has gone down the toilet. Eating out’s now a luxury, for some a long-gone memory. Eating gourmet food – forget it. But at least you can find the money to pay your tax bill by rummaging around for loose change in the back of the sofa. (We like to try and find positives where we can.)

But hang on, here’s a book that’ll teach you how to knock up your own gourmet grub at home, two course meals for around a fiver a head.

Jason Atherton, the Michelin-starred chef, has cooked at the three Michelin starred El Bulli in Catalonia, possibly the finest restaurant in the world. He ran Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. His own restaurant Pollen Street Social opens soon in Mayfair. Now he’s put together a great book called Gourmet Food for a Fiver which shows you how to create mouth-watering meals within a tight budget at home.

The book is well written and the recipes are easy to follow. But what could top having the chef there to explain how to do it as you’re cooking? I was lucky enough to be part of a group of people invited to cook a meal from recipes in this book – under Jason’s supervision. Jason had chosen the menu – chilled cucumber soup with salmon tartare, salted cod with winter cabbage, bacon and beer sauce, and a finale of vanilla cheesecake with rhubarb and ginger. (There was no rhubarb available so we improvised with berries instead – still extremely yummy.) Under Jason’s tutelage we all managed to put together a very appetising supper.

All the recipes in the book use seasonal ingredients. They’re interesting, fun to make and great to eat – hey, what more do you want for this sort of money? There are more than 80 recipes to choose from, with tips on what to have stocked in your larder and suggestions for menus. For around five quid a head you can cook two-course meals comprising your choice of starters, savoury main courses and delicious desserts, from coconut bread pudding for the lads to chocolate pots with star anise and biscotti for the girls. Jason also shows you how to plate up every dish to make it look just like it would in a restaurant. All that for about a fiver a head…what are you waiting for?

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