July saw the first copies of The Cambridgeshire Cook Book hit the shelves, packed with recipes from quintessential Cambridge cafés, chefs, restaurants and food and drinks suppliers of all ilks. And we have to say, we’re pretty impressed.
The idea for a local cook book was hatched when Meze Publishing got in touch with Gerla de Boer of Cambridge Food Tours. Together, they scoured the local foodie scene and pulled together a list of the places and foodstuffs that truly represent the diversity of our amazing culinary county.
The book aims to offer a cross-section of the local gastro scene with input from the likes of Tom’s Cakes, Adilia’s Norfolk Street Bakery, Shelford Deli, The Red Lion at Hinxton and The Medicinal Chef Dale Pinnock, with a forward by Midsummer House chef, the two-times Michelin-decorated Daniel Clifford.
With more than 40 recipes, accompanied by gorgeous photographs, it’s sure to become the local foodie’s bible. Lisa Pullen of Meze Publishing led the project. Having brought out successful books for the likes of Sheffield and Nottingham, she wanted to do the same for her home county.
“The response has been amazing,” she says. “It was difficult choosing who to include, but I asked friends and I knew the places I liked to go. And I loved coming across places I’d never heard of too.
“Through doing all the research I’ve met a lot of the people involved face to face, so you feel you really get to know everyone – which is what we want to come across in the book. These are lovely people, with fantastic businesses just around the corner from you, and you can pop in and say hi, knowing a bit about them. It’s good, honest food from good, honest people. We hope it’ll help people shop locally and engage a bit more with their local community.”
What does she make of the food scene in Cambridge?
“About five years ago there was a big story about how awful Cambridge’s food scene was,” she replies. “But since then it’s really flourished – from Mark Poynton’s Alimentum to foodPark. What’s so nice about the food scene in Cambridge is that there are a lot of small independents.
“The main reason behind the book was to re-energise the food scene,” she continues. “I think it’s so important nowadays to support local businesses, and what’s so nice in Cambridge is that people are well aware of that.”
Asked about her local favourites, she says: “One of my absolute favourite places is Tom’s Cakes in St Ives. They do the most amazing macaroons. Nanna Mexico did a really nice recipe for us too.”
The Cambridgeshire Cook Book, priced £14.95, is available from Waterstones, Cambridge; Amazon and the businesses featured.