28 September 2023
Who’s the author? Alexina Anatole started her career on a trading floor in the City of London but had always been obsessed with food. In her late 20s – after years of watching the show – she decided to enter MasterChef, reaching the final in 2021. The competition, in which she came runner-up, led her to realise that she had a talent for cooking but, more importantly, helped her to better understand what it is that gives food flavour and meaning, and how our individual palates mean that we experience flavour and taste in different ways. Bitter is her first cookbook, but with more to follow (the second, Sweet, will be published in 2025), she is building an impressive career around her true passion: food.
What’s it about? This dynamic collection of 80 recipes reveals how bitter flavours can add depth and complexity to our cooking, making food incredibly moreish. Often thought of as an acquired taste (Alexina herself admits that her love of bitter flavours didn’t start until her late teens), bitterness, one of the five basic tastes, can be hard to pin down: more than a ‘lack of sweetness’, yet not quite sourness or umami. Deftly bringing together the best flavours and culinary strategies from around the world, Alexina will help you befriend bitterness, one flavour-balancing technique at a time. Using 10 ingredients (grapefruit and bitter oranges, bitter greens, tahini, beer, walnuts, cranberries, tea, coffee, cocoa and liquorice), this collection of recipes will expand your repertoire. You will learn how to add bitterness to both savoury and sweet dishes, as well as how to tame bitterness – whether that’s soothing with dairy, balancing with sweetness, or distracting with acidity. With recipes to suit every taste and occasion, from weeknight meals to entertaining dishes, desserts, and drinks, plus a number of vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free dishes, this gem of a cookbook is packed with inspiring and innovative recipes and a pleasure to read.
Recipes we love: Seared Salmon Tacos with Grapefruit and Avocado, Lamb Chops with Pickled Walnut Ketchup, Chicory Gratin, Liquorice Miso-Glazed Aubergine, Negroni Pavlova, and Bitter Chocolate Torte.
Perfect for: Foodies and home cooks who love to experiment with new ingredients, flavours, techniques and culinary traditions, as well as readers of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, Ottolenghi Flavour, and Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage.