Lindsey Bareham has always written useful cookbooks, many which need no more descriptor than the title. 'Just One Pot', 'A Celebration of Soup', 'In Praise of the Potato' and 'The Big Red Book of Tomatoes' are just a few of her books. Another, written with Simon Hopkinson, is the Delia Smith-beating 'Roast Chicken and Other Stories' which recently topped a poll of chefs, restaurant owners and food writers to find the most useful cookbook of all time.
While undoubtedly useful, 'The Fish Store' is not like her previous books. It is, instead, a very personal account of the times Bareham spent at her former husband's childhood home in a Cornish fishing village and the dishes much loved by her family while on holiday there. Starting off as a notebook for her sons of memories and recipes associated with the place, it soon became a record of the rapidly changing times in the small coastal community of Mousehole.
Although the background is terribly, terribly English, Bareham's recipes take in influences from all over the world, including Portugal (Portuguese Cabbage Soup with Rosemary Bruschetta), Italy (Red Mullet Wrapped in Parma Ham with Garlic and Rosemary) and Turkey (Spiced Aubergine Salad with Cumin). Nor, despite the location, are her recipes completely devoted to matters piscine. Chapters on eggs, chicken, lamb, vegetables and, of course, puddings, sit alongside a wonderful collection of recipes for fish of all kinds.
As with all Bareham's books, the recipes are written in a straightforward, helpful way, with lots of shortcuts and plenty of tips on how to prepare different varieties of fish and seafood. Although not the most beautifully designed book ever (for that, take a look at Tessa Kiros' Apples for Jam') 'The Fish Store' feels like a quality book from - and for - a real home cook.