This book arrived on my desk way back in January, I was desperate to start trying the recipes, but it was weeks before I got a chance to dive in and test it out.
Mr T senior died, I was ill, life got in the way and writing this review “fell off” my to do list. Until Friday night, when I turned to my current favourite recipe and realised in horror, as I turned the the soy sauce splashed pages I had never told you all what a brilliant book this is. The food splatters are perhaps an indication that this book has been well used. It fact, we cook from it at least a couple of times a month and every recipe we have tried has been easy to follow and delicious (almost as delicious as the food served at Sweet Mandarin itself, but not quite)
Many of the recipes are naturally gluten and dairy free, but wherever possible advice is given about substitutions or variations in the basic recipe. The Pork Rib Broth is delicious and the Steamed Mussels in Chinese Rice Wine were a huge hit when served to friends who “Don’t like Chinese food” – they are now converts – and proud owners of their own copy! Mr T has a particular fondness for the Peninsula -Style Chicken with Cashew Nuts, which is what we ate on Friday, with apologies to Helen and Lisa, we’ve tweaked the recipe slightly to add plenty of chopped spinach in addition to the carrots and spring onions (simply because I was too lazy to cook a side dish and the frozen spinach was handy)
I only just managed to take a quick photo as I dished up, poor Mr T does try to be patient when I whip out my phone to record our “eats”, but it was the end of a long week and he “needed” pampering and I had to admit I was pretty hungry too.
Manchester has more than its fair share of great Chinese restaurants (Mr T have eaten at most of them over the years), but Sweet Mandarin is worth seeking out, avoid China Town, head towards the Northern Quarter and enjoy a fabulous meal (here’s a map if you are tempted). The restaurant is particularly friendly for anyone on a special diet, with gluten and dairy free options and a great choice for vegetarians. If you can’t make it into Manchester, buy the book and recreate many of their specialities in your own kitchen, and if all else fails, you can find their delicious sauces in the “free from” aisle of most large supermarkets, Mr T recommends the Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce!
Published by Kyle Books at £18.99, find the Waterstones listing here.