Roasting Pan Suppers is a new cookbook written by food writer and chef Rosie Sykes. Published by the National Trust Books, it joins a collection of publications including recipe books covering a range of categories, from bread and puddings to roasts and slow cooking.
The cover image speaks comfort food. Wholesome, nourishing comfort food. A colourful picture of a hearty chicken broth with carrots, noodles and coriander which meant that I was hungry before even opening the book—yes, sometimes you should judge a book by its cover!
The humble roasting pan is an integral part of a working kitchen because oven cooking, in theory, is simpler than cooking on the hob. As long as the temperature is correct, you can very often leave recipes to cook away in the background—sure you may need to turn things over once in a while but nothing needs regular or vigorous stirring, or needs to be removed from and then returned to the hob.
The book provides tips and pointers on the varying sizes of roasting pans, e.g. when to go big or go small, and it’s not just down to the amount of food being cooked. Cuisine from all over the world is catered for so disregard any notion you might have that this is just about time-consuming British roasts. Roasting Pan Suppers caters for smaller, faster meals too.
This book is here to change perceptions that oven cooking is laborious. In fact, the book has a handy timing reference so you can see which dishes can be cooked in under 30 minutes, under an hour, around an hour, or over an hour. This is great if you want something wholesome but are limited for time. Recipes are also grouped by whether they are suitable for sharing, for big parties and celebrations, or even ‘quick and messy’. They also indicate whether they are vegetarian or vegan-friendly.
The two dishes I was inspired to make first were green couscous with prawns and cauliflower kuku.
The green couscous with prawns looks healthy and, following the book’s ethos, it’s also simple. Prawns cook quickly and there’s no need to buy in any fancy ingredients as you find in some ‘celebrity’ cookbooks. In fact, the book encourages you to use frozen peas and frozen spinach. In addition to that you need only couscous, spring onions, green olives and stock cubes and there you have your first roasting pan meal. There are 5 steps to this recipe, that’s how easy it is. It serves 4 and is ready in about 30 minutes. It can also be easily modified to be vegetarian, by substituting the prawns for cheese. I found the instructions were simple to follow and the dish turned out as expected, looking just like the image in the book.
Next, I attempted the cauliflower kuku, but first and foremost, what is kuku? Essentially, kuku is a Persian-style vegetarian omelette that can be enjoyed hot or cold. Again, it’s incredibly easy to follow the steps and despite being Persian there’s nothing required here that the typical spice rack should be missing nowadays. The end result is a mildly spiced, fruity (there are raisins) omelette. So simple to make with rewarding end results, this also serves 4 and can be rustled up in just over half an hour. The closest thing we’ve eaten to this in a restaurant would be at breakfast in the Dishoom chain of restaurants.
The index is grouped alphabetically by ingredient, which helps pick out a suitable recipe based on what you have available. My only gripe is that just under half of the recipes are missing photos; that’s not a massive problem but it would be good to see what the final product should look like for each dish. The photos which are included are clear and enticing, mostly taken while in the roasting pan, providing a clear visual guide to how your chosen roasting pan supper should look.
Too many people rely on ready meals for dinner these days, which often takes the goodness, and joy out of cooking. Making food at home shouldn’t be a drag and this book is here to inspire you, one easy recipe at a time.
Recipes from Roasting Pan Suppers
We have permission from National Trust Books to share some recipes with you from the book:
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Roasting Pan Suppers by Rosie Sykes from publishers National Trust Books. Book cover provided by National Trust Books; image credit Dan Jones. All other images by Emma Mykytyn.