Best Kitchen Basics by Mark Best.
Turning simple ingredients into beautiful elements of a larger whole is Mark Best, as demonstrated in his latest cookbook, Best Kitchen Basics. In a selection of more than 90 recipes, Mark showcases his expertise and techniques as practised over a career spanning more than 25 years.
For those with sufficient kitchen skills but in need of a refresh for basic ingredients, peruse the pages of this fantastic cookbook that is best kept handy nearby. If lucky enough to grow your own produce, Best Kitchen Basics also makes an ideal guide to minimising waste for all of your excess seasonal produce.
Best Kitchen Basics is ready to help you take your current kitchen skills to the next level, unlocking the beauty of raw elements in an accessible and engaging way. Mark grew up eating fruits from the garden, preserved by age old methods to make them available to eat all year round, and with his family making the most of what was accessible in the immediate surrounds. With a few simple tricks, you too can make better use of seasonal pickings and benefit from less wastage.
Inside the covers, chapters are set out in a consecutive alphabetical fashion, with a single ingredient becoming the main focus. A is for Apple, the first chapter that teaches how to make the most of when apples come into season or to take advantage of discounted bulk buying. Mark encourages all to take his recipes, use them and make it their own from one ingredient to the next. Sharing a little of the history, technical detail and casual observations, the reader gets to know both Mark and his style of cooking and creating.
Fast forward to the letter R and one finds the likes of Rabbit Terrine. Adapted from the recipe of a famous French patissier and chef-entrepreneur, these instructions draw on the humble style of French provincial cooking. While the method is hands on, the result is an earthy texture and a taste that is sure to delight. Likewise for his Roast Lamb Leg in Chamomile, an earthy combination of flavours delights the palate, credited to a companioning of delicate aromas. Balancing these hearty savoury dishes is an assortment of hidden desserts tucked between the pages of alphabetical gastronomy. Mark’s Parsnip Cake, is equally unexpected and ingenious for truly creating something from what’s available around you.
Find the love in creating again, working from scratch with real, wholesome ingredients. While seasonality is a big advantage, preserving these ingredients in unusual ways can see you enjoying them all year round. Take a few easy tips from one of the best in the industry and find perfection in kitchen basics.
By Julie Johnson.
This is an edited extract from Best Kitchen Basics by Mark Best published by Hardie Grant Books RRP 59.95 and is available in stores nationally. Photography by Petrina Tinslay.