Giffords Circus Cookbook

We love the stories as much as the recipes in this wonderful cookbook from the late Nell Gifford and chef Ols Halas. In true Giffords style, it’s utterly transportive and will have you heading to the woods to forage for wild garlic and looking at seasonal ingredients with renewed interest as you see what you can conjure up. The book tells the story of Circus Sauce, the travelling restaurant that pitches up along with the circus and where plates are a whirly mixture of very English ingredients with flavours and recipes influenced by the diverse nationalities that make up the troupe. The menu could span from a classic BBQ with freshly-picked asparagus to Hungarian goulash or Ethiopian curry, and the recipes in the book are as wide-ranging as this sounds. It was hugely sad to lose Nell Gifford last year to cancer: she was busy working on a spectacular 20th anniversary show, The Hooley (due to open this April – now postponed) when she died. We’ll leave with an extract from the opening of the book by Nell Gifford:

‘One of the first chefs to work at Circus Sauce was a rapscallion chap called Lance Edwards. Lance used to bomb about in an open-topped MG. He drank copious amounts of Champagne and was always organising outlandish adventures for the circus company…Lance used to make allotment salads – I loved those: big bowls of sharp and hot leaves from local allotments, once memorably dressed with jelly babies. The anarchic tone was set for Circus Sauce.’

Giffords Circus Cookbook: Recipes & Stories from a Magical Circus Restaurant by Nell Gifford and Ols Halas published by Quadrille and with photography by David Loftus, £27 at giffordscircus.com

What:
Giffords Circus Cookbook: Recipes & Stories from a Magical Circus Restaurant by Nell Gifford and Ols Halas
Price:
£27
— Daisy Allsup
15th April 2020