Cookbook review – The Eagle cookbook – David Eyre & The Eagle chefs

I’m going to start this review being totally honest with you:

  • I’ve never eaten at The Eagle,
  • Up until hearing about this book on Twitter I wasn’t even aware of this gastropub,
  • I haven’t seen the original recipe book (which this new book is an update and redesign of) – Big flavours and rough edges,
  • I received this book free in order to review it from Absolute Press.

So for those of you like me that aren’t aware of The Eagle, it is a gastropub in Farringdon London which was taken over by chefs David Eyre and Michael Belben in 1991. This was the first gastropub, revolutionising the way we British eat out. Since then gastropubs have sprung up all over the country, offering great quality food in a relaxed environment.

Anyway on to the cookbook. There are chapters on:

  • soups (including Andalucian garlic soup with soft boiled egg and spicy mussel soup),
  • salads (roasted pumpkin and red onion salad and Spanish roast vegetable salad),
  • meals on toast (bruschetta),
  • eggs for dinner,
  • pasta (penne with sausage, tomato and sage and egg fettuccine with ricotta, peas and smoked pancetta),
  • rice (risottos and paellas),
  • fish (Baked sea bass with tomatoes),
  • meat (grilled leg of venison and braised garlic chicken)
  • and side dishes (Sicillian aubergine relish and celeriac mash)

Each chapter includes an introduction to the chapter including such topics as what to pair fish with, grilling and roasting meat and a particularly good page on risotto law and rules. I especially like the way each recipe has a short introductory paragraph or two including a description of the flavours or the look of the dish, its origin and helpful hints and tips. Beautiful photographs are used throughout the book, not only to illustrate the mouthwatering, delicious looking food but also of The Eagle pub. I loved the writing style and the layout of the book as well. I may have only cooked one recipe from the book so far but I have read much more of the book and learnt alot.

On my first flick through of the book I thought the recipes were going to be complex, the types of recipes that are great to cook when you want to impress but not much good for everyday cooking. Although these recipes look and sound like they would certainly impress, on closer inspection many of them are not as complicated as I imagined. There is a good mixture of relatively simple dishes (some quick, some not so quick) and some that are a bit more complicated but the emphasis of the book is very much on using good quality ingredients, maximising the flavours and cooking great food in a relatively simple manner. I tried out one recipe from the book which with the permission of the publishers I have included below. It was simple, quick and tasty. I will definitely cooking this recipe again and I am already looking forward to trying out more recipes from the book. In particular I can see myself trying out some of the pasta dishes, the soups and stews in the autumn/winter and the next time I do want to cook something a bit special this will be the first book off the shelf.Grilled chicken breasts with oregano, lemon and black pepper
David Eyre

Serves 4
4 large free range chicken breasts
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano (or marjoram) – you could use dried for a different result, but use less than half the quantity
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small dried chilli, crushed
More freshly ground black pepper than you would expect – about 1 level tablespoon
2 lemons
Sea salt

  • Wash and dry the chicken breasts. Mix with the oreagano, oil, chilli, black pepper and grated zest of one of the lemons and leave to marinate whilst the grill heats up or the charcoal dies down to an even medium heat.
  • when ready to cook, salt the chicken and squeeze one of the lemons all over them.
  • Cook the breasts, turning them 90 degrees once on each side, then remove from the heat.
  • Squeeze the juice of the other lemon over them, sprinkle with a little more olive oil and leave to rest for a moment. If you happen to have some truffle oil, now is the time to make good use of it.
  • Serve with a mixed leaf salad containing chives, parsley and spring onions.

My version:
I used dried oregano and didn’t use any truffle oil. I cooked mine on a griddle pan after leaving the chicken to marinade for about one hour (there was no length of time specified in the recipe so I don’t know if this was too long or too short). I served mine with new potatoes, griddled courgettes and oyster mushrooms.

Thank you to Absolute Press for sending me a review copy of this fantastic book.

Further information:
The Eagle cookbook – David Eyre & The Eagle chefs.
Published by Absolute Press in 2009.
Hardback, full colour illustrations, 192 pages.
ISBN 9781906650056
Price £20
Available to buy now.

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