When Chef Mark Hix struck out on his own back in 2008, he was a lesser known name to those who did not frequent the eateries of the Le Caprice Group of restaurants (including The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey) Hix opened his first restaurant 'Hix Oyster & Chop House' in Farringdon in April 2008, soon followed by 'Hix Oyster & Fish House' in Lyme Regise. October 2009 saw the birth of 'Hix' in London's West End, which opened to critical acclaim and since then the Hix empire has grown from strength-to-strength to included 'Hix at The Albermarle', 'Hix Restaurant and Champagne Bar' as well as 'Mark's Bar'. Through exposure to the nation via TV shows like Great British Menu as well as his column at The Independent, Hix has gone from Chef to culinary demi-God.
Sourcing good ingredients and using local and seasonal produce is of great importance to Hix and this beautiful book is beyond just a collection of recipes, but a month-by-month education on what kind of produce is in season and how best to use those ingredients to create something wonderful. Many of us may find some of the recipes are a bit unusual and the ingredient use can be a bit uncoventional, but shouldn't that be the point of seasonal ingredient use? There is so much that we seem to be mising out on through lack of knowledge and so much that isn't readily available to us because we don't ask for it and so there is no demand for it.
Recipes are divided into 12 sections, from January through to December. Some of my favourite recipes include 'Razor clams with wild boar bacon and hedgerow garlic' from March, 'Slow cooked pork belly with autumn squash' from September and Hix's 'Rabbit and crayfish Stargazy pie' from June, made infamous on BBC TV show 'Great British Menu. There is also plenty for those with sweet tooths including 'Gooseberry and elderflower meringue pie', 'Pear and apple cobbler with berries' and the very delicious 'Buttermilk pudding with rhubarb'.
All this and so much more, the book is truly a must-have for food lovers and seasonal produce fans alike. There is so much to be learned and much enjoyment to be had; small wonder that Mark Hix has become such a respected figure in Britain and his championing of British produce and seasonal ingredients has most definitely impacted the eating trends of our nation.
Mark Hix - British Seasonal Food, is available in all good bookshops and online at www.amazon.co.uk priced from just £9.74 (instead of £14.99)