This review was submitted by Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies.
Curtis Stone is an Australian chef who has more recently come to great acclaim in the United States on TLC’s The Take Home Chef. He trained in Melbourne, then abroad in Europe, before taking the US by storm. People Magazine has even voted him one of the sexiest men alive.
His latest book, Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, emphasises his love of entertaining with friends, family, and good healthy food. He stresses the importance of using the best quality ingredients and cooking seasonally, as well as getting to know the people who provide those ingredients. A good relationship with your fish monger or farmer’s market staff can go a long way.
The book is almost a coffee table book; it has full page glossy photos of just about every delicious looking dish. He has what I would imagine as a Californian style, using lots of fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables, and serving them in unfussy and colourful dishes. He doesn’t shy away from comfort food altogether though, in fact he devotes a whole chapter to it – Something to Eat on the Sofa.
The book is divided into eight chapters based largely on time of day, from First Thing in the Morning to Sweet Dreams.
I started with his homemade granola; I was intrigued by the generous use of spices that he lists. The house smelled amazing while it was baking, and my husband couldn’t stop eating it out of the pan. He requested a bag of it to take to work to snack on.
The next dish we tried was the Greek Salad with Char-Grilled Salmon, what a lovely dish for the warm weather! It was so flavourful and healthy too.
My favourite by far though was the Steamed Mussels with Chorizo and White Wine. Who knew Spanish chorizo would pair so well with mussels? I baked up some baguettes to go with it, we opened a bottle of Spanish cava and made a night out of it. Simple yet elegant, and truly delicious.
Other recipes I am looking forward to trying include the Tandoori Platter, Red Curry with Lobster and Pineapple (Curtis spent 10 years in London and became enamoured of curry dishes) and Sesame Chicken Salad with Mango and Cherry Tomatoes.
So this is the gist of the book. The recipes are not complicated. Curtis wants the people that buy this book to have fun with their guests and feel relaxed in the kitchen. And the fact that he was voted one of the sexiest men alive? Can’t hurt.