Rohhan Daft book, Menú del Dia, is one of those books that simple make you want to be in Spain, enjoying those long, lazy lunches that are a traditional part of Spanish life. Not only has his book rekindled memories of being there, it has made me want to go back to experience that less hectic lunch that, on first experiencing it, bewilders the newcomer. After all, it is very rare to be able to spend a few hours enjoying lunch in Australia or America on a daily basis.
So, it was with some anticipation that I ventured forth into his book. I was interested to read the reasons that Menú del Dia, or the fixed priced menu, came about. Rohan has provided enough to interest us about its history without launching into a long, boring history lesson. Additionally, for those new to Spanish cookery, the first chapter, Some Spanish Implements, Ingredients, Preperations and Tips, introduces us to terms and explinations use throughout the book.
The recipes are not based on one region, but cover the whole country, which were gleened during a four month odyssey where he travels through Spain to research the book. The recipes are divided into Primeros Platos (Starters), Segundos Platos (Mains), Pastres (Desserts) and Condiments and Miscellany.
The recipes cover a wide range of styles and tastes, so this book will appeal to almost every taste. Some of my favourites are: Ensalada de Habas al Perfume de Apri (Broad Beans and Celery Salad) or Remojón (Orange, Salt Cod and Potato Salad) from the Primeros Platos. From the Segundos Platos, the dishes that excite me are Caldereta de Sardinas (Baked Sardines and Potatoes in Tomato Sauce) and Sofrit Pagés (Ibizan Kid, Lamb, Chicken and Potatoes with Almonds and Saffron). Luckily, the Menu del Dia has uncomplicated desserts, like Crema Catalana (Catalan Custard) and Arrope de Castañas ( Chestnut and Red Wine Preserve.)
Yes, reading this book comes highly recommended. So many lovely ideas for simple, easy to prepare dishes will certainly lead you to seek for those long, lazy lunches of Spain.