1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega: Spanish cookbook review

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1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega Heart

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane

1080 Recipes is an institution in Spanish kitchens originally written by Simone Ortega, one of the leading traditional authorities on Spanish cooking.
Given the popularity of this book it is as well to know a little about Simone Ortega. She was born in the food crazy city of Barcelona in 1919 but had French ancestry inheriting a love of cooking from her grandmother who hailed from the Burgundy region. She achieved national fame with the publication of 1080 recetas de cocina in 1972 which to this day has sold some 2.4 million copies.
Her other works have included Quesos espanoles, La cocina de Madrid (which she co-authored with Manuel Llopis and various publications with her daughter Ines, including El libro de los potaje, las cremas y los gazpachos and a six-volume encyclopaedia of cooking entitled Nuestra cocina.
This book is of the same genre as La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange by Evelyn Saint-Ange in France, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child in the United States, The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander in Australia and Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi in Italy.
Now she is joined by her daughter, food writer Ines to revisit, revise and update the recipes to work with modern ingredients, techniques and equipment.
They have also included many appealing illustrations by Javier Mariscal who shows great flair for food illustration.
The book is organised in the traditional way with chapters given over to soups, rice dishes, vegetables, fish and so on. There is also a chapter containing recipes by some of the better known Spanish chefs (at home and abroad) such as the Roca brothers from El Celler de Can Roca and Santa Santamaria from El Racode Can Fabes.
The directory of places to buy Spanish products covers the UK only, reflecting the country where the book was published.
Like Stephanie Alexander's seminal work this is a book of dishes for Spanish people to cook as opposed to a book of Spanish recipes. You will find recipes with influences from Italy, Belgium, France, Germany and more. There is even one for American baked potatoes. So while the recipes are predominantly Spanish they are not exclusively so.
On reading the Table of Contents, we immediately turned to the Offal chapter! This section is particularly strong, with great recipes for Madrid-style tripe, calves liver marinated in sherry and a recipe for tongue with onion, tomato and a white wine sauce.
All the recipes are great and the book naturally includes instructions for one of our favourite Spanish dishes namely Crema Catalana!
This is an essential addition to all food lovers cookbook collections.

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