From The Urban Cook, Mark Jensen, Murdoch Books, 2011.
Does urban mean dark?
This must be the most unappealing cookery book in my collection. The photographs are dark; some of them so poor that you would not even consider cooking the dish. The print is never on a white background but always on olive-brown backgrounds making it difficult to read on some pages. I am surprised that the design team would think that people busy trying to follow a recipe would want to compete with small print on dark pages with overprinted images.
The author obviously has a message about the environment. I could tell this from the section headings but didn’t bother to attempt to read the text on pages that were uninviting and at times not very legible.
Why they bothered with contents pages for each section I can’t understand when they are designed so that they are almost illegible. I am surprised that a book like this would come from Murdoch Books which are generally so well designed.
It took me some time before I decided to try cooking something from the book but since I had it (it came cheap when I bought another item) I thought I’d better try and see whether the food was better than the wrapping.
The first thing I did was to soak the currants in hot water so they could plump up a little while I prepared the remainder of the vegetables: radishes, celery and yellow baby squash. When cut into small pieces they were put in a bowl together with the drained currants.
The dressing was now prepared: Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil with seasonings. Sliced chives and mint leaves were added to the dressing and it was folded through the vegetable mix. It was then left for about 30 minutes before serving when some thinly sliced chillies were added to the top.
This was a crunchy salad with a bit of bite though not a dish I would go back to. It did, however, reintroduce me to radishes which I don’t seem to have had for several years now. I must use them a little more often
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔