This beautiful, gorgeously produced cookbook is by the proprietors of the much-loved, tiny Soho restaurant, Ducksoup. (Last time we were there, we saw three chefs eating there—always a good sign). More crucially it is brilliantly useful and will inspire you to shake up your cooking, especially as summer approaches and fresh ingredients become more plentiful.
The subtitle of the book is ‘The Wisdom of Simple Cooking’, and it is this wisdom, i.e. the various tips and touches that elevate otherwise simply cooked dishes, that is so invaluable. This might be as simple as a dollop of ricotta in Pappa al Pomodoro (tomato and bread soup), or infusing olive oil with Padron peppers and then pairing it with squid, or serving burnt lemon and tahini yoghurt with seasonal greens and freekeh.
The first chapter of the book is called The Duck Soup Larder, and it takes you through how having certain ingredients always to hand really spices up your everyday cooking. (Keeping curry leaves in your freezer and then frying them to add to all kinds of dishes, especially those that use yoghurt, is especially clever). And this book, for all its fabulous photography and refined sensibility, is great on every day cooking. So far, the meals we’ve cooked from it – squid, tomato soup, pastas – have taken less then half an hour to prepare, involved very few ingredients, and tasted utterly delicious. This is one of those books that seems to call out to you when you open it. It is exactly of the moment, but destined to be a keeper. Already, it is the book we keep reaching for when we want to cook.