There’s No Taste Like Home tells the remarkable story of John’s life in food and his emotional journey of grief and recovery through cooking, with every dish inspired by a personal memory, and each punctuated with stunning photography. It is cookbook with real difference and emotion – born out of his winning MasterChef menu that was inspired by his mother who he had recently lost to Alzheimer’s.
During the year leading up the MasterChef final John learnt to reconnect with his past, to grieve and to heal through cooking. There’s No Taste Like Home is a collection of heart-warming, fuss-free and budget-conscious recipes that each promise to deliver a simultaneous sense of nostalgia and comfort. From easy Breakfast Doughnuts to fun Fish & Chip Tacos to a showstopping Black Forest Gateaux there really is something to satisfy every palette and suit all occasions no matter your skillset or budget.
John has created this wonderful collection of recipes, drawing on all his favourite memories of food, menus and cooking, adding his own unique and creative twist to each dish.
Today I am delighted to welcome another talented cook Alexandra Taylor to booksaremycwtches with a guest review of John Partridge’s cookbook There’s No Taste Like Home. Alexandra is looking at one recipe, the rather lovely looking Root Roast!
Due to lockdown, 2020 was the first Easter I’ve not spent with my family and I was feeling very sad about it, so I decided to bring a bit of festive cheer to the house by cooking a special Sunday lunch for my housemate and me. We plumped for the Root Roast on page 135 – I’m a veggie, she’s an ex-veggie and this looked like a dish we’d both enjoy.
The roast was very simple to make, and extremely adaptable. It can easily be made dairy-free by using oil rather than butter, but it you wanted to go egg-free you’d have to find a substitute binding agent to hold it all together. All the other ingredients are plant-based.
The only problem I had was getting hold of celeriac under lockdown. As the name suggests, the dish is all about autumnal root vegetables, and I was making it very much out of season. Carrots and parsnips were easy to find, but I could only get pre-cooked beetroot and, despite visiting a number of supermarkets and farm shops, the celeriac remained elusive. In the end I substituted it with the same weight of sweet potato (because I already had one in the fridge), which worked fine. Using cooked beetroot wasn’t a problem either.
Putting it all together is mainly a lot of grating, so make sure you have a decent grater. Also, a small warning: if you haven’t cooked with beetroot before, it gets everywhere and it will stain – use gloves and a non-porous chopping board.
With its dramatic scarlet outer layer, the finished roast looked very impressive turned out onto a tray, but you could serve it straight from the oven dish if you preferred. If you are planning on turning it out, think about that before you choose your oven dish so the roast is the right size and shape for your serving plate. I didn’t think about this until after mine was cooked and as you can see, the dark red tray doesn’t show it off as well as a plate in a contrasting colour.
The book is spot-on with the number of people this roast serves. It’s filling, but because it’s made entirely of veggies, it’s not heavy and it’s also lovely and moist. We had it with hasselback potatoes (page 148 – also delicious), roasted cauliflower, peas. broccoli and onion gravy. We both went back for seconds, and I also put several portions in the freezer for another day.
I’d definitely recommend the Root Roast for a simple, tasty and eye-catching centrepiece to a hearty roast dinner, and it helped bring a little bit of cheer to Easter on lockdown.
Why not also consider ordering it from your favourite Indie bookshops, all of whom need our support, especially at the moment.
About the author
John Partridge is an actor, singer, and new author. He was born in Manchester in 1971, went on to train at the Royal Ballet School, Bush Davies, and Doreen Birds. He has appeared in over 18 major West End Musicals including Cats, Chicago, A Chorus Line, Starlight Express, and Tommy. While he played the role of Christian Clarke in BBBC1’s Eastenders for over 5 years.
There’s No Taste Like Home is his first cookbook following his fabulous win of Celebrity MasterChef in 2018. The recipes are inspired by his family and heritage. All the recipes in this book were cooked and photographed in the authors house, his kitchen by the author.
John also regularly shares new recipes and ideas on his twitter @mustbejp and Instagram @johnpartridgecooks if you fancy even more tempting dishes.