A Truly Failsafe Recipe Book: Cooking and Eating from The Roasting Tin

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As this collection of blogs, From the bookshelf, is an opportunity for me to share all the cookbooks I love to cook from and read, I couldn’t not share this book. I cook from Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin nearly every week. Why? It absolutely complements the life of a hungry person with a busy schedule. With an absurdly simple concept at its heart: ‘Fresh, easy ingredients, a few minutes prep, and then let the oven do the work’, it’s indispensible. It’s a modern classic, really. 

But let me back up a little – I need to tell you why I adore this cookbook so.

The cover is bright, clean and energising. I can’t get enough of yellow cookbooks, they’re so inescapably… sunny. I’m sure it’s only fellow cookbook nerds who read into covers this much, but the clean uncomplicated cover really does reflect the content of the book: refreshingly achievable and unapologetically straightforward.

The accompanying photography is equally clean and drool-worthy (unsurprising, as it’s shot by the inimitably talented David Loftus) and all shot on bright, bare backgrounds. Another reminder that all of these recipes are achievable – you need nothing more than your humble tin.

And then the recipes! I’ve cooked extensively from this book and none of the recipes have failed me. I’ve listed a few below that I’ve cooked 3+ times, but I even had to whittle this list down.

Steam-roasted Salmon & Broccoli with Lime, Ginger, Garlic & Chilli - SO. GOOD. The flavours a seriously big in this one, but perfectly balanced. The punchy dressing cuts through the rich salmon whilst the earthy broccoli keeps everything in check. It's a winner for the midweek or weekend.

Orzo with Chilli & Garlic Roasted Broccoli, Lemon, Parmesan & Walnuts – this feels like such a treat but really is cheap, healthy and a complete doddle. I marginally up the amount of orzo and broccoli so we’ve got plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Wedges, Coriander and Lime Yoghurt – we made this 3 weekends in a row when we were moving into our house. I was armed with limited kitchen supplies but still wanted to make something special. This was the answer.

Sesame & Ginger Meatballs with Pak Choi, Chilli & Red Rice – oof this one packs a punch of flavour and makes really superior leftovers (as most of Rukmini’s recipe do). Note: I substitute red for brown rice.

Crispy Baked Gnocchi with Tomatoes, Basil, Mozzarella & Pine Nuts – we’re a gnocchi loving family and are a-ok with the discovery of baked gnocchi. Crispy, gooey, a little stodgy. I’m here for it.

Spelt with Chorizo, Sweet Potato, Red Onion & Spinach – Good flavours, excellent textures. Hearty pearl barley, smoky chorizo and earthy spinach sing together in this one. Plus a lovely example of making a piece of meat stretch with 225g chorizo feeding 4. 

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And once you’ve cooked your way through The Roasting Tin, Rukmini gently encourages you to invent your own one-tin creations with her inspiring infographics, beautifully illustrated by Grace Helmer. These clever infographics encourage cooks to go off-piste, mixing and matching proteins, grains, vegetables and spices. They’re such helpful bonuses that not only encourage you to cook more independently, but to use ingredients that are in season and cut down on waste.

I recommend this book to pretty much everyone I know (and please take these 600 words as a personal recommendation to you too!) as it caters to situations we all experience: too little time/inclination/confidence to be able to cook. The Roasting Tin is an excellent guide to utterly delicious convenience cooking that will suit the tastes of novice and experienced cooks alike.

I can’t wait to see what Rukmini does next. Her understanding of flavour, texture and how people want (and need!) to cook and eat good food everyday makes me very excited to see her future projects. In the meantime her instagram is a lovely follow, if that’s your kind of thing.

Do you have a copy of The Roasting Tin? What’s your favourite recipe? I’d love a new one to obsess over.

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