The Savoy Kitchen front cover book artwork

We’re excited to unveil the cover for our next book, ‘The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food’, and it’s ace! Lovingly shot and designed by Joby Catto at Anti Limited, it sums up Sarah and the Savoy family in one still life photograph.

There’s loads of details to spot, and when you read the book you’ll pick up on even more of the references. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Savoy Kitchen promo postcard

We’ve been working hard on a great new project, due to hit the shops in October 2013. Check out The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food by Sarah Savoy, the self-proclaimed Queen of white Cajun trash and the latest in a long line of Savoys to fly the flag for Cajun food, music and culture. Daughter of legendary musicians Marc and Ann Savoy, she grew up in the heart of Cajun country and learned her culture around the kitchen table.

In The Savoy Kitchen she brings together recipes from three generations: from her own fresh take on Gumbo and many other Cajun classics to her father’s Courtbouillon cooked over an open fire and her grandma’s Fig Drop Cookies.

Part-cookbook, part memoir, The Savoy Kitchen is illustrated with photographs by her sister, Gabrielle Savoy, and illustration by Jen Collins, which capture perfectly contemporary Cajun life as lived by one of its foremost musical families.

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We’re really excited about our latest title, Cookie Cooks, which was launched at Glasgow’s Aye Write! Book Festival on April 12. There was an amazing lineup for the Cookie Cabaret; fantastic food and wine from Cookie, music from Admiral Fallow, Dicky Trisco and Belle & Sebastian’s Richard Colburn, and live graffiti from Conzo Throb. BBC Radio Scotland’s Pennie Latin interviewed authors Melanie & Domenic0, then we all drank far too much wine while they signed books.

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Cookie Cooks postcards

The postcards have been out in the wild for some time (see above, lurking behind a bottle of Cookie’s own wine in the restaurant) but now we’ve had out first copies of the actual book back from the printer, and they look great. We’re all geared up for the launch event next week… hope to see you there for what promises to be a great night!

Cookie Cooks invite launch

It’s official… the Cookie Cabaret is coming! We’re launching Cookie Cooks at Glasgow’s Aye Write book festival next month.

To celebrate the opening of Aye Write! we’re throwing a party.  The Cabaret is a taster of the literary talent appearing at the festival, with readings from Denise Mina, William Letford and others. We’ve also got a headline appearance from hotly tipped Glasgow band Admiral Fallow: hear music from their acclaimed second album Tree Bursts in Snow. Plus we have a live DJ set from Dicky Trisco and Richard Colburn (Belle and Sebastian), and live art from graffitti artist Conzo Throb. The Cabaret also launches Cookie Cooks, the first cookery book from popular Glasgow restaurant Cookie. Owners Domenico and Mel will discuss their fusion of Scottish and Italian food traditions, and there will be a chance to sample some of their food and wine.

So, put Friday 12 April in your diary and sign up here for tickets. It’s going to be a great night!

This is Italian cooking at its best. It’s basically pasta with cheese (ideally made from sheep’s milk) and black pepper. It’s a deceptively simple-sounding Roman dish, but the secret is all in the technique; you can search Youtube to see an expert doing it. 

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 160g Pecorino Romano, grated
  • freshly ground black pepper 

Serves 4

Add the spaghetti to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta over a bowl so you keep the cooking water.

Return the spaghetti to the pan and mix in the olive oil and some black pepper. Add two ladlefuls of cooking water and sprinkle on the Pecorino. Toss it into the spaghetti using two forks; if
it’s too dry, add a bit more pasta water, and if there is too much water, add more Pecorino. Give it a really good grind of pepper, and keep tossing. What you are trying to achieve is a creamy soft sauce: to start with there will be lumps of melted cheese and the water will separate out, but if you keep on tossing it will come together. Give it yet more black pepper, toss again, and serve immediately.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Crazy water, or ‘acqua pazza’, is a way of poaching fish. It has its origins on the west coast of Italy and has become well-known in holiday destinations such as Capri and Ponza. This is poached fish with flavour. It is an incredibly easy and healthy way to cook, and perfect for people on diets.

  • 1 whole bream or bass
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 1/2 garlic cloves, crushed on the back of your knife
  • olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 dried red chilli (optional)
  • 150ml white wine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Clean, gut and descale the fish (or get your fishmonger to do it for you). Put a little salt, a parsley stalk and half of a crushed garlic clove in the cavity. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Put the fish in, and scatter around the chopped tomatoes, the crushed garlic cloves (broken up into pieces), and some chopped parsley. Season it and crumble in a little chilli pepper if you like.

Now pour in the white wine, and add enough water to come up just below the middle line of the fish. Bake it for around 20 to 25 minutes. To check it is cooked, pull on a fin – if it comes away easily, it is ready.

Use a slotted spoon to move the fish on to a plate, and then peel off the skin and take the flesh from the bones. Put the flesh back into the sauce in the oven dish and serve it hot or cold.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Limoncello, the delicious after-dinner digestif, is really easy to make. In Italy we can buy 95% alcohol specifically to make liqueurs, but this isn’t an option in the UK so just use the strongest vodka you can find. We use our own, unwaxed lemons. As always, sterilise your clean jars and bottles by putting them in the dishwasher for a cycle or by giving them 10 minutes in the oven at 180°C. This makes a lovely Christmas present. 

  • 5 unwaxed lemons
  • 1l 50% ABV vodka
  • 1kg caster sugar (use white sugar, not unrefined)
  • 1l water
  • a large 1l airtight jar to store the steeping alcohol 

Makes 2 litres

Firstly, remove the zest from the lemons with a sharp knife, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. Drop the zest into the sterilised storage jar, then pour over the alcohol, seal and place in a cupboard. If you remember, you can shake it gently every few days. I never do. It will be ready in about three weeks, but longer is fine.

Once your lemon zest has steeped, make the syrup. Put the sugar and water in a pan over a medium heat and bring just to the boil, but don’t let it brown at all. It will thicken up to syrup with a few minutes of simmering. Once thickened, leave the syrup to cool.

Strain the alcohol using a sieve, and add it to the syrup. Decant the mixture into sterilised bottles and it’s ready. Once you have made your own, you’ll never buy it again.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

With their wonderful, almost meaty flavour, walnuts are my favourite nut. I truly think they go well with everything. We have some really productive trees in Italy, and if Domenico hasn’t stripped them to make his walnut liqueur, then I get the kids to collect them all. 

  • 180g walnuts
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 60ml good olive oil
  • 250g ricotta (only use if you’re eating the pesto immediately) 

Serves 6–8

In a food processor, grind the walnuts, Parmesan and garlic to a paste. Add the olive oil and put the mixture into a jar, with a thin layer of oil over the top if you’re keeping the pesto for later.

If you’re eating it there and then, mix the ricotta into the pesto until it’s evenly distributed. This is great with gnocchi, or stirred into a plain risotto.

Buy Cookie Cooks by Melanie McCallum & Domenico Del Priore here

Amazing with our meringues, also good added to granola and yoghurt, spread on a warm scone or simply eaten on its own with a spoon…

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (use unwaxed lemons)

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until completely combined and foamy, then add the butter, lemon juice and zest. Set the bowl over a pan with about an inch of simmering water in it and stir continuously until the mixture thickens. This takes a bit of time, but don’t try to rush it and turn the temperature up too high or your curd will end up scrambling – not a good look.

Once it’s good and thick, pour into a sterilised jar and keep in the fridge.

Buy The Parlour Cafe Cookbook by Gillian Veal here.