Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Eagle Cookbook - A Review.

Regular readers of my Blog may remember me mentioning The Eagle cookbook perhaps errr.....once or twice. It's been out of print for ages and it's probably one of the best recipe books I own. I've cooked from it a hell of a lot.
Well, it's recently been re-issued and updated. And, joy - I've been sent a copy to review.

Before I start- in case your not aware, The Eagle located in Farringdon Road, London is considered to be the pub that started the Gastro Pub revolution, I've eaten there quite a few times and the food is no-nonsense, Italian/Portugese/Spanish Peasant influenced type grub, very well cooked. The whole concept, including the interior, Victorian, battered, thrown together with mismatched furniture has been copied by countless gastro pubs all over the country. If your in the Farringdon area, it's well worth a visit - Their popular signature dish, the Bife Ana Steak Sandwich is incredibly good, it's the one item that's been on the menu every single day since the Pub opened, and I can highly recommend it. (Incidentally, the recipe for this is thankfully in the book, so you can have a go at re-creating it at home).

Which leads me nicely onto the recipe book...
It's all looking a bit slicker than my battered older edition.


The main difference between the New edition and the old, (apart from the original title 'Big Flavours and Rough Edges' being dropped), is a general slickness and tidying up, it looks beautiful and there's some fantastic food photography now (My old edition has lovely pencil drawings, and some photography, but strangely none of the actual food.... nice but a bit hard to interpret what the dishes are supposed to look like ). An equally important addition is some new recipes which, I've painstakingly tried to pick out....an easy task - Not!. The recipes aren't listed in the same order, and the Index in the old book is incredibly hard to cross-reference against. Here's a list, of what I believe are new recipes...

Pork and Bean Soup
Spicy Mussel Soup
Pasta & Pesto alla Genovese
Risotto Nero
Charmoula Mackerel (Provided by Sam & Sam Clark of Moro fame)
Esqueixada
Grilled Fennel Sausages, Lentils and Green Sauce.
Mutton Chop and Potato Hotpot
Braised Provencal vegetables
Sicilian Augergine Relish
Braised Puy Lentils
Celeriac Remoulade

So, I make that 12 new recipes in this edition - a couple of the dishes I actually cook regularly already (Pasta & Pesto Alla Genovese - my recipe
here and the Grilled Fennel Sausages, which you can actually buy in G. Gazzano & Sons, just a couple of doors up from The Eagle - I posted about these before here).
I've also noticed at least one recipe I think has been dropped between editions - unless I'm going blind and missed it.
'Patatas Rettenos -Braised Wild Boar with Potatoes'.

I was also slightly disappointed to see that there's still no Portuguese custard tart recipe - the only dessert that The Eagle actually sells, gorgeous at around a £1 a go - although, perhaps a dessert section in the book with only one dish was considered a bit strange!

The recipes, especially the pasta dishes are really good indeed, I've tried so many of them with excellent results, in fact it'd probably be easier to list dishes I hadn't cooked out of this book, than the dishes I have, here's a few examples...

Spaghetti with roasted Fennel, Lemon and Chilli
Egg Fettucine with Ricotta, Peas and Smoked Pancetta.
Tagliata - Cut Seared Beef Salad.

If you own a previous edition, I'm not entirely convinced that it's worth shelling out more money for the re-issue, even with the 12 new recipes. Although, saying that, the new layout is nicer being much easier to read and there's the addition of excellent food photography (In fact, I was convinced that the Peas with Chorizo and Poached Egg recipe was a new addition - until I found it in my old copy, simply overlooked due to no picture of the actual dish).

So, in conclusion. It's fairly simple, I have no problem whatsoever endorsing this book, (I've been doing it for ages!) I absolutely love it. If you don't already own a copy, it's a must have.

The Eagle
159 Farringdon Road,
Farringdon
London.
EC1R 3AL

Telephone: 0872 148 4071

Big Thanks to Absolute Press for the review copy.

15 comments:

gastrogeek said...

Awesome stuff Dan, I love the fact that you're already so familiar with many of these dishes and know the place really well - a proper review. I really want to eat there!

mark taylor said...

Nice review, Dan. A classic book and the new version is just as exciting to thumb through as my battered, oil-stained original. If you know any other Eagle fans, we have a competition to win a copy of the book in our latest issue of Fork magazine!
Mark, editor,
www.forkmagazine.com

Matt Inwood said...

Lovely to see so many people bigging up such a great book. Thanks Dan.
Matt, Absolute Press

Julia said...

Great review Dan.

tehbus said...

I think may just buy this...

Niamh said...

Oh, I also love The Eagle, especially the bife ana, and can't wait to tuck into my review copy! :) Lovely review, great to hear about how it compares with the old one. Photography is really important, isn't it?

Kavey said...

Hmmm, I'm an Eagle virgin as it were. Your post is making me salivate and I'm not even hungry!

Lizzie said...

I've seen quite a few tweets about this book; the recipes sound great! I'm not a fan of desserts anyway so it would suit me quite well.

Dan said...

Gastrogeek -Thanks. Didn't you go to the book re-launch at the Eagle other night? no food on offer? Def worth popping in for lunch and grabbing a Bife Ana Steak Sarnie.

Mark - thanks for the comment.

Matt - Thanks again for the review copy, much appreciated.

Julia - Thanks :)

Tehbus - Definitely worth buying.

Niahm - Yep agreed, the photography makes so much difference as you can easily overlook cracking dishes (as I did), also so nice to have an idea of what it looks like - especially when the grey, turgid, gruel you've just turned out is supposed to be green, luscious and smooth (or is that just me?).

Kavey - Thanks :)

Lizzie, it's a great book, well worth owning. Only one dessert recipe in it - for Macarons.....just kidding.

The Ample Cook said...

Your food looks absolutely delicious Dan. Very good review of the book too. I'm looking forward to going there next week (and meeting you of course!)

Dan said...

Thanks Jan. Yep, will be nice to meet up with yourself, Dan and Linda for lunch there. Looking forward to it too.

Gourmet Chick said...

Dan you are the person who alerted me to the Eagle cookbook and made me desperate to try it - after cooking a few recipes from the new book I am very glad that they have re-released it. I would have liked even more photos of the food but in comparison to the old copy which just has drawings I suppose that it is a big improvement!

Graphic Foodie said...

With you on all the above! Such a great book. The fettucini with peas, ricotta and pancetta looks the business there...mmmmm.

theundergroundrestaurant said...

Eagle is round the corner from my parents gaff!
Must check out the book!

Dan said...

Gourmet Chick, agreed - even more photos would have been nice, but in comparison to the old one with drawings it's a marked improvement.

Fran - Thanks.

MsMarmiteLover - If its round the corner from your parents, then well worth popping in for lunch or dinner. The recipe book is a must have in my opinion if you like rustic no nonsense tasty food