Introduction

Introduction

By
Mark Hix
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849491242
Photographer
Jason Lowe

It may sound strange, but whenever the word baking is mentioned around most of the cooks I know, they run a mile. Even those with lots of culinary experience can be terrified at the thought of cooking with precisely weighed out ingredients and having to follow the rigid rules of the pastry kitchen.

The funny thing is, baking doesn’t have to be like this. Why? Well, firstly, baking is not just about cakes – it covers a wide range of savoury as well as sweet dishes too. Though most people associate it solely with cakes and pastry, piles of scones and sponges, afternoon tea and fancy patisserie, actually anything that has been cooked in the dry heat of an oven can be considered to be baked. Secondly, and most importantly, anyone can bake. Yes, a sophisticated soufflé does sound like a difficult undertaking (though it isn’t as hard as many people believe) but a basic, filled baked potato is a simple yet delicious luxury that absolutely anyone can make, no matter how much experience they have in the kitchen.

Baking has always been an essential cooking method all over the world. Indeed, before stove tops and hobs were around, baking food in a natural, wood-fired oven would once have been the only way to cook anything, with the exception of cooking in a hole in the ground, perhaps. Ironically today a wood-fired oven is seen as a trendy, sophisticated luxury – one which only real foodies can be bothered to build in their gardens. Well, I’m a real foodie, I have a wood-fired oven and all I can say is that it produces simple food with the most fantastic flavours! But then again any oven, whether wood-fired, steam-injected or fan-assisted, can give great results – concentrating flavours, transforming textures and delivering exceptional food.

This book contains a selection of my favourite baked dishes, those which I have been cooking for years or have eaten on my travels around the globe. Some are exceptionally simple and quick to make, others take a little more time and effort. None of them are difficult, yet all of them, I think, are delicious. I hope you enjoy baking and eating your way through them.

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