The Roasting Tin
Simple One Dish Dinners, by Rukmini Iyer, £16.99 (RRP)
There’s a simple concept behind The Roasting Tin, essentially that you put it all in a roasting tin, bung it in the oven and get good food at the other end of it. The whole book is possibly best summed up by the words on the back cover: “Pop your ingredients in a tin and let the oven do the work”. Rukmini Iyer is a food stylist and writer by trade – which really shows, and I’m very jealous of – choosing food over her previous life as a lawyer (a switch I think we’re all lucky she made). A quick look at the list of people she’s worked with as a stylist is pretty much a who’s who of food brands and supermarkets in the UK, and her style of clear, simple food that delivers on flavour is never far away from her name.
The recipes in The Roasting Tin are clear, short and simple. Usually they are about putting things in a roasting tin and putting them in the oven. The recipes there mainly for the ingredients, minor prepping instructions, and how long it takes to cook.
I’ve tried a couple of the recipes so far, including the baked gnocchi and roasted tomato and pepper bulgar wheat. The recipes are clear, straightforward and easy to follow. The guidelines for roasting other foods though are also something you’ll come back to multiple times – it’s already given me baked nectarines and roasted avocado.
The photography in the book is one of my favourite things about it. Very clean, very simple, but yet bright, colourful and appetising. The cover alone is bright yellow but also has a dish on it that has the pale colour of the blue-rimmed white dish, greens from spinach and avocado, light tones from chicken and rice, and bright jewel-like pomegranate seeds. Throughout the photos make you want to go make the dish yourself. Simple backgrounds let the trays of food that might not be the most eye-catching on its own jump off the page – like sardines and tomatoes (page 35), spelt and chorizo (page 163) or the apricots (page 176).
It is the illustrations though that really stand out. Each chapter comes with infographics on different foods and how long they take to cook. The idea is that you don’t have to always have to follow a recipe. You can take the ingredients you want – or happen to have in the fridge – and apply a little know-how to make dinner appear from the oven.
One of the beauties of this book is it’s multi-ability. The recipes are clear and simple, so anyone with half a brain and a desire to eat something good can make very passible versions of the recipes. But at the other end of the spectrum, if your skills are a little more advanced, you will probably use it for ideas and as a planner. Perhaps you’ll start off with a few recipes for midweek dinners, or perhaps a dinner party you forgot you didn’t actually have time to cater for, then the infographics will be your friend as you use it to check just which herbs work with sea bass and how long mr fishy will take to bake.
Overall, this is one of my new favourite cookbooks. Everything I’ve tried in it so far has tasted great – even if my presentation skills are far from challenging the photographer’s – and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a cookbook that you will actually use in your life. To start off with, you might just gaze and the beautiful images, but you’ll come back to it for the food before long.
Order a copy of The Roasting Tin on Amazon.