Cookook Review: The Flexible Pescatarian, by Jo Pratt • Glam Adelaide

Cookook Review: The Flexible Pescatarian, by Jo Pratt

Delicious, but not too demanding, recipes and inspiration focused on fish.

Jo Pratt is a London-based food stylist, chef and author who has worked with well-known chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Her new book continues her emphasis on simple but flavourful recipes and will be especially welcome for those of us looking to cut down on meat and eat more fish and vegetarian dishes.

The flexibility in the title refers to switching out one type of fish for another or making the entire recipe vegetarian. For instance, when I made the Smoked haddock mac ‘n’ cheese on page 89, I switched out the haddock for tinned tuna as I don’t eat salt and I find smoked fish too salty for my taste.

The book is well laid out, with a single recipe facing a picture of the finished dish. It is printed on matte paper which I much prefer to a gloss finish and remains open at the required page. With more than 70 recipes ranging from snacks and small plates, through mains and sharing plates to salads and side dishes, there are lots of ideas to choose from.

I would have preferred the font to be a little larger, especially for the text in italics used to describe the dish and at the bottom of the page in the Flexible section but this is probably due to the fact that I wear different glasses for everyday use and for reading. It certainly isn’t a major issue.

Smoked haddock mac ‘n’ cheese (page 89)

I made the Smoked haddock mac ‘n’ cheese as Tinned Tuna mac ‘n’ cheese to suit my personal taste. I also substituted crumbly Lancashire cheese for the Emmental in the recipe – mostly because Emmental was more expensive than the Lancashire cheese which was on special when I went shopping. The remaining ingredients are all pantry staples at my place.

The recipe is easy to follow but as I tend to get lumps in my cheese sauce, I added the milk in small amounts and used the whisk to make sure it was incorporated before adding more. For me, pouring the milk in all at once is a recipe for disaster. I also added a cup of frozen peas to the mix before putting it in the oven. With a salad on the side, it was a delicious and filling meal.

Roast squash, beetroot and chickpea salad (page 143)

In the recipe description, Pratt suggests you can substitute pumpkin, carrot or sweet potato for the squash or use a mix of whatever veggies you have. I used fresh sweet potato and leftover roast potatoes from the chicken shop. As my husband doesn’t care for Middle Eastern flavours, I switched za’atar for Cajun seasoning which has more of a kick. The Flexible section suggests adding some thick fish fillets to the roasting veggies for the last 20 minutes. Instead, to boost the protein I used hard boiled eggs as we have a plethora of eggs thanks to our three productive chooks!

The salad is simple to make and the dressing is delicious. If, like me, you prefer a little more sharpness in the dressing then either cut down the honey or add more lemon juice as I did. Either way, it’s easy to taste test until you get it just right. I had never tried adding tahini to Greek yoghurt for a salad dressing but the robust flavour works very well with this hearty salad. The combination of roasted veggies and chick peas, as well as the added egg, made for a substantial main meal salad which required little preparation time.

Reviewed by: Jan Kershaw

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: March 2019
RRP: $39.99

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