People who have given up on Bill Granger a while ago will be in for some surprise/shock if they were to open his new book. Gone are the days when everything was white, from the furniture to the clothes his family were pictured wearing (I actually wonder how that went with three small kids but that's another story). In Holiday, there is colour everywhere, and because the theme is rather autumnal/wintery, the photos have been shot in a house that is obviously not Bill's, where the furniture is antique-looking- dark woods, leather armchairs, dark floor tiling...
That's not to say his recipes have changed, there's still a summery section to the book with beach photos and picnic recipes, but there's more of a French twist here and there, red wine stews, mussels, lots of comforting puds with lashings of sauce...most of them quick, rather light and full of flavour-Bill's signature.
Holiday is pretty much the wintery companion to Every Day, both books being really similar in layout and design, leaving the format of his former ones behind (not that they're bad, they just feel a little bland by comparison).
Anyway, there are lots of recipes I want to try, and I have already given two of them a go.
Ginger and sesame rice with poached chicken. A simple affaire of cooking onions, then adding grated ginger and crushed garlic, then rice and stock before laying scalloped chicken breasts on top, covering and letting cook. Served with chopped soy sauce, spring onions and red chilli, it was really a quick and tasty midweek dinner. Healthy too.
The following soup is nothing short of wonderful. In the book, the recipe calls for parsnips, which might be everyday food to some shores but aren't widely available here. It didn't stop me from subbing carrots (another root veg, celeriac perhaps would also be great), even madras curry paste for korma. I'll be making it again very often (until I tire of it) this winter as it's warming, spicy, and makes carrots really sexy (which they often aren't).
Curried carrot soup (adapted from Holiday)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2-3 tbsp Indian curry paste (korma or madras)
1 kg carrots, peeles and chopped
1,3 l stock
150ml coconut milk
2 tbsp chooped coriander
Heat the oil in a pot and cook the onions until soft. Add the curry paste and stir for two minutes. Add the carrots and stock, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. When the carrots are tender, blitz the soup, then add the coconut milk and heat through, without letting it boil. Serve with the chopped coriander.
Bill suggests serving this soup with cream cheese toasts, but I made tartines of tomatoes, some cold cut called jud (it's a luxembourgish sort of cured pork fillet) and goat's cheese. A glorious supper.