Sharing Plates Cookbook
This new cookbook by Luke Mangan showcases cuisines from all over the world. Recipes in the book draw their inspiration from countries such as Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Asia. These countries have rich traditions of serving mixed share plates of food for most occasions, and this is one of the defining concepts in the book.
With the developing trend in Australia of having friends over on the weekend to relax and have a few cold ones, no one wants to be stuck in a kitchen. People want to be enjoying the company of their friends or family. This is where Sharing plates really hits the mark. Food can be pre-prepared in advance and heated to serve.
The book is broken down to showcase different menu elements. Breakfast and brunch, breads, snacks and salads, oysters and sashimi, fish and shellfish, meat, poultry, and sweets. This makes it easy for finding dishes to use in your next gathering.
Breakfast and Brunch
The Crispy Bacon and Egg Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Kimchi Mayo, is a nice twist on the classic staple of bacon and eggs. Perfect for serving after a big night with friends, it is an easy way to impress. Get them up and moving with the addition of heat through the pico de gallo.
The Quail Eggs Benedict, another twist on a classic, adds kale to keep it on trend with healthy eating. And if you are feeling really adventurous the Toasted Apple and Walnut Bread with Ricotta, Smashed Banana and Fresh Honeycomb is a definite crowd pleaser.
This cookbook covers everything from simple crumpets to pizza, flatbreads, parathas, focaccia and a fruit and nut bread. You can try your hand at making your own breads and accompaniments. Luke has taken inspiration from various parts of the globe in developing these recipes. They are a good way to wow your guests and to try something new.
Snacks and salads
This section gives you everything from simple sugar and spice cashews, to dips such as the DIY Guacamole which the author suggests you assemble in front of your guests.
Once again the thought of sharing is behind many of these recipes. There are dishes that can be put out for you and your friends to enjoy whilst enjoying great conversation. These include such tempters such as the Crispy Salt and Pepper Popcorn Chicken. Or maybe next time you want to chill on the couch and watch a movie. You could try something a bit fancier with your popcorn and make the Truffle Oil, Parmesan and Chive Popcorn.
Oysters and Sashimi, Fish and Shellfish
For years it has been the standard oysters kilpatric, or natural oysters that you will find on many restaurant menus. Not in this book. Tempura Oysters with Wakame Salad, Nori and Wasabi; Natural Oysters with Apple Jelly, Pernod Tapioca, Salmon Caviar and Chives; and Herb Crusted Oysters with Leek and Tartare Sauce and just a few. You can impress your guests with something different at your table.
Then on to Sashimi of Kingfish with Miso Daikon, Apple and Coriander. Others that stood out were Raw Tuna Pizzettas with Cavolo Nero, Yellow Tomatoes, Jalapeno and Wasabi; and Spicy Salmon with Curry Dressing, Pear, Frozen Avocado and Horseradish. All the recipes showcasing some beautiful seafood in different ways.
There are a variety of clever ways to use seafood in this book. Some may seem a little left of field but may even convert a seafood hater to trying seafood. English Muffins with Swordfish, Spiced Cucumber and Watercress is a different take on a slider. The cookbook even shows how to make your own prawn toast, and who doesn’t love a good prawn toast. It is elevated above the norm however with a corn salsa and chipotle sauce. Whitebait Fritters with Beetroot Relish and Dill Crème Fraiche are a take on the classic New Zealand dish. There is even an Asian twist on a slider with Milk Buns with Lobster and Vietnamese Slaw. There is a abundance of ideas in this section.
Meat and Poultry
For those who are game enough, try the Spiced Grass-fed Beef Tartare with Almonds and Saltanas. Other recipes include Spiced Lamb Empanadas with Tomato Chutney and Basil Mayo; and Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Green Tomato Chutney and Blackened Lime. There is a lot here that you can do to impress. Luke even goes on to making your own chorizos and sausages, sliders and even taking on the classic hot dog. Its all in this section and more.
In the poultry section the Duck Prosciutto with Sliced Peach, Toasted Walnuts and Elderflower Dressing looks delicious. Others include Confit Duck and Mustard Fruit Cigars with Watercress and Olive Capsicum Jam; Tempura Quail with Carrot and Daikon Salad and Wasabi; or the more straightforward Duck Pate. For the brave at heart, southern style chicken, including wings and drumettes and drumsticks. You can find plenty of new ways to use chicken.
From tarts to beer battered bananas, brandy snaps to tarts, cheesecakes to honeycomb. This has lots to sooth those sweet tooth cravings you will have after many a savory dish.
All in all this cookbook is easy to use. It is laid out well and has pictures that effectively entice you to try something different. There are however a number of dishes that call for some niche ingredients. Many of these can’t really be substituted so while there is a diverse selection, some dishes would most definitely be for special occasions only.
In saying that I find Luke’s recipes easy to follow and make. I have used his previous book for ideas and never had a problems with them. I find the book is well thought out and some of the twists on classics are impressive. Overall not a bad book to have on hand to spark your creative flare or just to try something different.