Cooking and Eating from Ruby Tandoh's Flavour


I read Flavour first.

An interesting organisation of chapters – recipes grouped by ingredient (mushrooms, stone fruits and cherries, herbs etc.) coupled with generous chapter introductions meant this cookbook didn’t slip simply into my Sunday night meal planning.

I plan midweek meals with the help of an ever-changing collection of cookbooks and prioritise cheap, quick, vegetarian cooking in the midweek. On a Tuesday night, I don’t tend to think about star ingredients with any real intention. Flavour has challenged this way of thinking and cooking.

It’s hard to ignore the importance of Gruyere and Gouda in Ruby’s Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Quick Pickled Cucumber (p. 182) when it’s sits in the Cheese sub-chapter (part of the broader Eggs and Dairy), and when the importance of a mixture of cheeses is mentioned with such clear intention in the recipe introduction – ‘a milder, melting cheese and a second sharper one to cut through the gooey richness’. Ruby’s treatment of ingredients in Flavour has anchored my weeknight cooking in the conscious intention to make myself a delicious supper, thanks to a few simple ingredients, thoughtfully combined.

And in practise, the recipes have been superb, something which is not always a guarantee. Additionally, when pencilling recipes from Flavour into our schedule, I do so with real anticipation, excitement and a little salivating. Ruby’s simple Effortless Leek Linguine with Spiced Butter was nourishing and reviving on a chilly Thursday work-night just as the Crisp Fried Sea Bass with Coconut Rice and Mango was on a hot Saturday evening, followed by a gin and tonic chaser.

The treatment of food in this cookbook is generous and I imagine it will be at home on the bookshelves of those who love to feast and feed, as I do.

Recipes I’ve bookmarked to cook next:

  • Kale, Sweet Potato and Mozzarella Pie (p. 49)

  • Smoky Butternut Squash Stew with Chickpea Dumplings (p. 66)

  • Honeyed Plum and Pine Nut Cake (p. 150)

  • Orange Blossom Panna Cotta with Strawberries (p. 209)

  • Hot and Sour Red Lentil Soup (p. 289)

  • Pretzel Peanut Butte Pie (p. 302)

Am I missing one of your favourites? If you know of a recipe that should be on my list, tweet me!

If you like this cookbook, I think you’ll like these too:

  • Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden – sumptuous recipes ranging from humble to festive all of which encourage a present, enjoyable experience in the kitchen.

  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman – simple yet glorious recipes from a tiny New York kitchen. Beautifully written words accompany dishes I can imagine serving to my family.

  • Fresh India by Meera Sodha – Like Flavour this book offers a riot of, well, flavour. Plus Meera also writes similar simple and welcoming instructions.


Have you cooked from Flavour? I'd love to hear your experience.