The Kilner Cookbook – Ebury Press, £12.95 (Silver Mushroom)
If I asked you to name a company that makes jars, what would you say? For most of us the answer would probably instantly come out as Kilner. They’ve been doing it since 1842 when John Kilner created the company to sell jars and preserving bottles for home preserving. In their 175 years this simple premise doesn’t seem to have changed a whole lot – make high-quality jars that people can use to preserve food.
There’s another interesting nugget of information in the introduction to this cookbook – not the idea of sharing knowledge, but doing so in a way that “makes our iconic designs relevant for every generation”. Sure we may not all spend our late summer months preserving everything we can get our hands on to see us through the winter, but there are many ways we use these jars today and this great little book does a really good job of fulfilling its promising on relevancy.
I have quite a few Kilner jars kicking about my kitchen (often the source of gin making or for marmalade-making), so when Silver Mushroom asked if I would review The Kilner Cookbook I was certainly curious. Here’s how I got on with it:
In amongst the recipes for ‘traditional’ preserves, such as an apple chutney, pickled onions and marmalade, there are a whole heap of others that very much fit in to the way a lot of us eat today.
There are recipes for salads you can take to work, light lunches, snacks, overnight oats, a cookie mix you can give to a friend (or keep in the cupboard for a rainy day) and even a whole section dedicated to drinks, which I will be exploring in detail over the next few weeks.
You would be hard pressed to say that the bulk of the recipes are particularly tricky or ‘out there’, but they all the sorts of things you could make and eat every day. Take the peanut butter overnight oats I made. These are simple and straight forward, but if you are looking for a tasty and nutritious breakfast idea they are absolutely perfect. It took me less than five minutes to put together and the next morning I had breakfast waiting for me.
Do the recipes work? Well, the ones I’ve tried so far too. I made the delicious cayenne-spiced hummus that I spent an good part of the afternoon going back to attach with oatcakes (and would have done so for longer if I hadn’t already finished it). The overnight oats are definitely something I’ll be making again, and the spiced carrot and lemon soup I took to work on Monday was definitely a winner.
My next step will be in to the drinks section, then I may well go back to the beginning and start exploring the section that offers the advice you need to get you started with pickling and chutney making.
Is this book for you? If you are a food lover and want some good, honest food you can take about in a jar with you, then yes, it is for you. You won’t need a huge deal of skill or time to make the lunches, snacks and drinks, but the pickling and chutneys may take a little more knowhow (although the book will definitely get you started).
Thanks to Silver Mushroom and Kilner for sending me the book and a couple of funky new Kilner jars to try the recipes with.