11th November 2022

The Cookbook Book Club: The Little Book of…

The first review in our new collaborative series: The Cookbook Book Club, kicking it off with The Little Book of Curry and The Little Book of Chillies
The Cookbook Book Club: The Little Book of…
Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

There are two main problems with recipe books that face the everyday student: they are often far too expensive, and far too heavy. No student really wants to spend £30 on a book that’s going to give them back problems as they walk back home from Waterstones in Deansgate to a bus in Piccadilly.

This is where Rufus Cavendish’s The Little book of… series comes in, particularly his Little Book of Chillies and his Little Book of Curry. Coming in at £6 brand new, and only about 10cm by 15cm, they are the perfect price range and size to be easily bought and taken anywhere – curry night at a mates couldn’t be easier.

Despite its small size, both books are packed to the brim with not just recipes, but also fun facts, spice guides, fascinating titbits of history, and everything in between.

Written in a very relaxed, conversational, and informative prose, it is incredibly easy to read and does the true job of a cookbook very well; to be interesting enough to read whilst your rice is taking far longer than you thought it would.

Both books have a ‘cooking with’ chapter containing recipes, there’s an array of curry recipes including classics like Bhunas and Baltis as well as a Japanese Katsu and a selection of side dishes. While the ‘Cooking with Chillies’ chapter has every kind of recipe from chillied condiments to hot desserts, even a jalapeno margarita to spice things up. 

For any budding chef, these pocket guides are the perfect introduction to the world of curries and chillies. There are top tips for cooking curry littered throughout, including how to properly use lemongrass. ‘The Big Names’ gives the history of, as it says on the tin, all the big names in the curry game as well as the main spice combinations. 

And for the spice lovers, the Little Book of Chillies, gives the heat level and scoville units of a selection of different chillies, again including “the big names” like Serrano and Cayenne, as well as some “honourable mentions.” The perfect guide to levelling up your spice game. 

Designed well, written in an easy-going and thought-out manner, and containing lots of interesting information and tasty recipes, these little gems are definitely a kitchen must-have for a curry or chilli connoisseur. 

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