HIX by Mark Hix

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Hix, by chef Mark Hix, is a lovely cook book. I say that as someone who needs another cook book on her shelves like she needs a hole in her head.

For a start it looks and feels chic, with a matt brown-paper style cover and smart gold embossed letters (what a perfect, graphic surname to have as a chef) and wonderful photography by Jason Lowe.

It’s got a boys-cook-book feel to it, due to its no-fuss cover and the introduction by Mr Hix which explains a little of how he came to set up the successful chop and oyster house restaurant in London that the book is based on. You can tell he’s a chef and not a cook as some of the recipes tell you to deseed cucumbers – I mean, no one does that at home, do they? Also the cover, although gorgeous to feel, is going to get grubby fast in this house.

But this is distraction from the content, which is fabulous for a couple of reasons.

First, the photos explaining oysters, which I buy and eat so rarely that I don’t know what I’m doing, so to have pictures and an explanation is great. Same with the cuts of meat, I’m a good home cook but often I look at some frozen meaty lump in the freezer and wonder what it is. And photos are so much better than illustrations, which many cook books seem to use.

Secondly, the recipe for something called Heaven & Earth, involving caul fat (me neither), black pudding (must be soft) apples, mashed potatoes and butter. I had never heard of it before but it looks and sounds fabulous.

Hix Oyster & Chop House, by Mark Hix £25

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