Cook as you are Recipes for real life, hungry cooks, and messy kitchens

Ruby Tandoh

Book - 2022

"An illustrated cookbook for all types of home cooks, with 100+ approachable, accessible recipes"--

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2nd Floor 641.59/Tandoh Checked In
New York : Alfred A. Knopf [2022]
Main Author
Ruby Tandoh (author)
First American edition
Item Description
Includes index.
"This is a Borzoi Book" -- title page verso.
"Originally published in Great Britain, in slightly different form, by Serpent's Tail, an imprint of Profile Books Ltd, London, in 2021"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
344 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Introduction
  • Feed me now
  • Dinner, plain and simple
  • More food, less work
  • Simple recipes for when you're low on time or energy
  • Hidden in plain sight
  • Making great use of kitchen staples
  • Wild appetites
  • Food for every mood, craving and occasion
  • Normal perfect moments
  • How to snack in style
  • For the love of it
  • Recipes to linger over
  • Make-ahead/freeze/storage instructions
  • Reference charts
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

Tandoh wants to bring inclusivity to our kitchens and dinner tables. "No two people cook alike," she writes, scoffing at the limited, one-size-fits-all world of aspirational cooking and the ways it can render home cooks insecure. Great British Bake Off finalist Tandoh eschews a traditional index of dishes in favor of grouping recipes by mood, seen in chapters with names like "Feed Me Now," "More Food, Less Work," "For the Love Of It," and "Wild Appetites." If devotees of traditional cookbooks at first feel lost, they'll likely gain by challenging themselves to turn the page: dishes like carrot, lemon and tahini soup; whatever-you've-got fried rice; and gnocchi with harissa butter and broccoli accommodate many diets, brim with flavor and the excitement of taking risks, and encourage playfulness in the kitchen. Sinae Park's playful illustrations depict people (across a spectrum of genders, body shapes, and skin tones) cooking and eating. While readers who like to see photographs of finished dishes may be frustrated, the bright, colorful images underscore Tandoh's message of trusting--and being--ourselves in the kitchen.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

What is good cooking? Sometimes it's "just whatever fills you up," according to this accessible, photo-free collection from Tandoh (Eat Up!: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want), a 2013 Great British Baking Show finalist. More than 100 recipes will help cooks who are short on time to get food on the table, including lightning-quick asparagus and chili linguine that is ready in less than 30 minutes. The chapter "Feed Me Now" focuses on self-contained dinners for those who don't have the energy or kitchen space to whip up elaborate meals and includes nourishing offerings such as pearl couscous with anchovies, tomatoes, and olives. In "More Food, Less Work," low-effort selections include bok choy with ginger and clementine, and pea green soup. Home cooks with a well-stocked pantry will appreciate dishes that rely on pantry staples, among them baked semolina with mushroom and mozzarella, and whatever-you've-got fried rice. On the sweet end, there are brownies, lemon mochi squares, and a decadent midnight chocolate tart with coconut and sea salt. For those seeking a no-fuss guide to feeding loved ones and themselves, this is a winner. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Readers met Tandoh (Crumb: A Baking Book) as a finalist on The Great British Bake Off but have since gotten to know her as a food writer and cookbook author. Her latest is designed for people who are looking to get in the kitchen but lack the skill, time, or purpose to do so. Recipes are mainly veggie and measure success based on taste and smell, rather than plating. Supporting that, illustrations are warm and inviting and stand in lieu of photography to relieve the pressure of what food should look like. Each chapter includes a reading list to let cooks further explore cookery techniques and gain inspiration. Tandoh concludes with recipe-by-recipe instructions for make-ahead meals and offers storage tips as well. There is also a handy recipe grouping that highlights various attributes from cheap to speedy dishes. Fans of Tandoh's responsive approach to food and cooking will rejoice, as will new, and burned out, home cooks. VERDICT Perfect for those looking to rekindle their relationship with cooking via simple, low-pressure, and taste-focused recipes.--Sarah Tansley

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Pearl couscous with anchovies, tomatoes and olives This is just like a traditional puttanesca but with bouncy pearl couscous in place of the usual pasta. I love the chewiness of pearl couscous and how it releases starch into the sauce, creating something between pasta and risotto in its carby creaminess. Pearl couscous is also sold as giant or Israeli couscous. You can get it from lots of Middle Eastern stores and most larger supermarkets. Don't be tempted to swap it for regular couscous, or the dish will end up thick and oatmeal-like. There are better alternatives listed below. The toppings here--crunchy breadcrumbs and bright parsley--are optional, but I think they provide a welcome textural and flavor contrast to the salty, silky pearl couscous underneath. Serves: 4 Ready in: less than 30 minutes 2-2⅔ cups (300-400g) pearl couscous 4 cups (1 liter) water, freshly boiled 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated 6-8 anchovy fillets (from 1 small can) 1 tablespoon tomato paste 14 ounces (400g) cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup (60g) black olives, pitted (Kalamata olives are particularly good) 3 tablespoons (25g) capers ½-1 teaspoon chili flakes, to taste To finish: 1 tablespoon olive oil ¼ cup (20g) dried breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs from 1 slice of white bread Handful of parsley leaves (roughly ½ ounce/10-15g), roughly chopped If you're planning on topping the dish with breadcrumbs, it's best to get these out of the way first. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium-low heat and add the breadcrumbs. Toast them for a few minutes, stirring very often, until they're golden brown and crispy, then tip them into a small bowl and leave to cool. Pour the pearl couscous into a large mixing bowl and cover with the freshly boiled water. Give it a good stir, then cover with a large plate and leave to sit for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, set a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat, and add the olive oil, garlic and anchovy fillets. Sauté gently for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time, until the garlic is cooked and the anchovies have dissolved into the fragrant oil. Add the tomato paste and sauté for 30 seconds more, then add the cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and chili flakes. Cook the mixture over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until the tomatoes are collapsed and pulpy. By now, the couscous should be ready: the grains should have the slightest bite in the middle, but be almost cooked through. Drain it and stir to break up any lumps, then add to the tomato sauce. Mix to combine, then simmer for 2-3 minutes more so that the grains finish cooking and absorb some of the flavor. Once the couscous is springy--neither chewy nor mushily soft--it's done. The sauce should generously engulf the couscous, creating a risotto-like consistency. Serve straightaway, sprinkled with the toasted breadcrumbs and chopped parsley, if using. Variations and substitutions: As I mentioned above, the traditional accompaniment for this sauce is pasta. Just cook your pasta--roughly 4 ounces (100g) per person--according to the instructions on the package and mix with the sauce before serving. Orzo--a pasta shape that looks like little grains of rice (although confusingly it means "barley" in Italian)--is also an option: soak 1⅓ -1¾ cups (300-400g) orzo in plenty of freshly boiled water for 8-10 minutes, until it's cooked but al dente, then proceed with the recipe. If you don't like olives or capers, you can leave these out, though I really love the tangy pop of caper in the midst of what is quite a rich, flavorful sauce. You can make this dish vegan by leaving out the anchovies, but it'll have a completely different energy. Make sure you add a pinch of salt if you do so. A can of chopped tomatoes is a good swap for the fresh cherry tomatoes if you struggle with chopping things; just leave out the tomato paste if you make this change. You could also swap the cherry tomatoes for diced larger tomatoes if that's what you have. Coconut, plantain and spinach curry with toasted cashews This is the first of a few plantain recipes in this book, testament to the versatility of this wonderful fruit. You'll find it in the eden rice with black beans and plantain (page 58), spiced and fried as kelewele (page 238), sugared and wrapped in spring roll pastry (turon, page 312) and shaped into crunchy, savory fritters (green plantain, coconut and chili rösti, page 169). Writer and photographer Yvonne Maxwell discussed the magic of plantain in the online food magazine Vittles. "Its skin is perfectly blemished and, at its finest, darkened with black lines," she wrote. "Even bruised, its beauty shines through and sweetness prevails." It has a place in the hearts--and bellies--of people from so many different culinary cultures. In this recipe, medium-ripe plantain provides bulk to a creamy coconut curry, loosely similar to South Indian kache kele ki sabzi. You should use yellow plantain, which are sweet enough to complement the creamy coconut sauce, but firm enough to hold their shape as they simmer. This won't be the last time I say this in this book, but I need to be very clear: banana isn't a good substitute for plantain here. Its flavor is stronger, and it will collapse into mush when cooked. Serves: 4 Ready in: less than 1 hour 1 cup (100g) unsalted cashews 1⅔ cups (400ml) water, freshly boiled 2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil 1 medium onion, finely diced 5 tablespoons (75g) tomato paste 1½-inch (4cm) piece of ginger, peeled and grated 4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated 1½ teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds 1 teaspoon garam masala 1 teaspoon cumin ½-1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste ½ teaspoon turmeric 1 x 14 ounce (400ml) can coconut milk, full-fat or "light" 2 yellow plantain 7 ounces (200g) fresh or frozen whole leaf spinach 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice (from roughly ½ lemon or 1 lime) Salt, to taste Serve with: steamed rice Special equipment: stick blender, food processor or blender (check the variations and substitutions below if you don't have one) Start by soaking ¾ cup (75g) cashews in 1⅔ cups (400ml) freshly boiled water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or so, then blitz the cashews and water together using a blender or food processor. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to lightly brown in parts. Add the tomato paste, ginger and garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes, stirring, then add the mustard seeds, garam masala, cumin, chili powder and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and blitzed cashew mixture, making sure you scrape the brown bits (known as the fond) off the bottom of the pan from when you fried the onions--this sticky stuff adds a lot of flavor. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then turn down the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes. While it simmers, peel the plantain (cut off each end, slit the skin lengthways and peel it all around--not down--the fruit) and cut into ½-¾ inch (1.5-2cm) slices. Add the sliced plantain and spinach to the curry. Simmer for a further 15 minutes, stirring often and adding a little extra water if the sauce catches or browns on the bottom of the pan. It's ready when the spinach has collapsed and the plantain is tender. Roughly chop the remaining ¼ cup (25g) cashews and toast for a few minutes in a dry frying pan, until just beginning to brown. When the curry is ready, add the lemon or lime juice, then check the seasoning and salt generously to taste--I start with about ½ teaspoon table salt and work from there. Serve with lots of steamed rice, with the toasted cashews sprinkled on top. Variations and substitutions: In place of the spinach, you could use Tuscan kale, chard or spring greens (slice across the leaf into ⅜ inch [1cm] ribbons). Frozen peas also work really well! Brown or black mustard seeds can be found in any large supermarket or in a South Asian grocery, but if you can't get hold of them you can use 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard instead--add it at the same time as the coconut milk. Butternut squash--peeled and cut into 1¼ inch (3cm) chunks--is a good alternative to plantain. It takes longer to cook, though, so add it to the curry at the same time as the coconut milk. If you don't have a blender or food processor (and so can't blitz the cashews), use ¼ cup (60g) cashew or peanut butter instead. Add the nut butter to the pan just after you've fried the spices, stir to combine, then slowly mix in the coconut milk and the 1⅔ cups (400ml) boiling water. Earthy, smoky lentil and beet stew I'm pretty confident that, even if you think you're not a beet fan, you'll enjoy it in this smoky, comforting stew. In the absence of meat, the root vegetable contributes an earthy depth and also has the benefit of dyeing this dish an amazingly vibrant fuchsia color. Serves: 4 Ready in: less than 1 hour 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 2 medium onions, finely diced Salt, to taste 9 ounces (250g) cooked or fresh beets 4 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika 1½ teaspoons cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano ½-1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste ⅔ cup (125g) dried French green lentils (you might see them sold as Puy lentils or lentilles vertes) 1 x 14 ounce (400g) can chopped tomatoes 1 x 14 ounce (400g) can red kidney beans, drained 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or tamari 2 teaspoons cocoa powder 2½ cups (600ml) water Serve with: steamed rice, tortillas or baked potatoes, along with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over a medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the onion doesn't stick and burn. The onion should soften and become translucent. Meanwhile, prepare the beets. If you're using cooked beets--the ones that come in a vacuum-sealed pack--just drain them and coarsely grate them. If you're using fresh beets, wash and trim off the roots and stems before grating. (If the fresh beets have their leaves still attached, you can use these! Wash them well, then roughly chop and add to the stew 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.) Add the grated beets to the onions, stir to combine, then put a lid on the pan. Let the veg sweat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and chili powder. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the garlic loses its raw pungency and the smell of the spices begins to waft up from the pan. Into the pot, add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, red kidney beans, soy sauce and cocoa powder, and stir to combine. Add the water (2½ cups/600ml is is the same as filling the empty chopped tomato can 1½ times), then bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes partially covered by a lid. Stir regularly to make sure the lentils don't stick to the bottom of the pan--if it starts to dry out (it will sputter and puff rather than quietly bubbling), add a splash more water. When it's ready, the lentils and beets should be tender. Add plenty of salt to taste, and check whether you want to add more chili powder. Serve straightaway. Variations and substitutions: Swap the ground cumin for cumin seeds (toasted for a minute or so in a hot dry frying pan) if that's what you've got, or leave it out if you must. Chili, in some form or other, is vital: swap in chili flakes, hot sauce or chopped fresh red chilies if that's all you have. Marjoram or dried mixed herbs can take the place of the oregano. You can use green or brown lentils in place of the French green lentils if that's what you have available. I wouldn't recommend using red lentils as they tend to break down and lose their shape during cooking. If you want to use canned green lentils, or the cooked French lentils that come in pouches, go ahead. You'll need roughly 9 ounces (250g) of cooked lentils, and should use much less water to start off with, adding more only if needed. Because these lentils are pre‑cooked, they don't technically need a long cook. However, I think the stew tastes better with extra simmering time--the flavors get a chance to mingle and soften--so I'd cook it for at least 20 minutes regardless of the type of lentil you use. Excerpted from Cook As You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks, and Messy Kitchens: a Cookbook by Ruby Tandoh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.