Florence Knight became head chef of Polpetto, a popular restaurant in London's Soho, when she was just 25 years old. When the tiny 23-seat restaurant closed a year later while its owners looked for a larger location, Florence took the opportunity to write One: A Cook and Her Cupboard, a cookbook featuring ten of her favorite home kitchen ingredients. Now, at 27, her book has been released and Polpetto has found a new home. Hurray for both!
• Who wrote it: Florence Knight
• Who published it: Saltyard Books
• Number of recipes: 108
• Recipes for right now: Drowned Tomatoes (olive oil); Jam Roly-Poly (flour); Buttered Mustard Lobster (mustard); Burrata, Pickled Beetroot and Rhubarb (vinegar); Bay Salted Caramel (salt); Marmalade-Roasted Chicken Legs and Squash (ketchup); Purple Kale, Shallots and Almonds (nuts); Lemon Curd (eggs); Honey Tart with Clotted Cream (honey); Pear and Chocolate Upside-Down Cake (chocolate.)
• Other highlights:
One is divided into chapters featuring ten everyday ingredients found in most pantries and refrigerators, with a dozen or so recipes for each ingredient. While most of the ingredients are expected (such as salt, olive oil, and eggs) ketchup also shows up on the list with some surprising uses — in chocolate cake, for instance. But in general, the dishes are all fairly simple, with short ingredient lists and easy to follow directions.
With its blue watercolor highlights and richly textured photographs of simply plated food, One is simultaneously elegant and simple, refined yet rustic. It feels intimate and personal, as if you are spending an evening with Ms. Knight in her kitchen, drinking wine and talking about favorite dishes and ingredients. While the author and her kitchen are clearly located in London, the palate is very Italian with an emphasis on seasonality and low-tech cooking. This book will definitely find its place on your bedside table as well as your kitchen counter.
This is a British book and no allowances have been made for American names or measuring. You will need a kitchen scale that measures in grams and a basic understanding of British terms for certain foods (double cream, aubergines, caster sugar, etc.) None of this was an issue for me as I use a lot of British cookbooks but it's easy to find definitions online if that's not the case for you. (And using a scale is an excellent practice more Americans should pick up!)
• Who would enjoy this book? If you like to cook rustic, ingredient-driven cooking, or if you sometimes find yourself gazing at your full cupboards and moaning that there's nothing there, then One: A Cook and Her Cupboard belongs in your cookbook library.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: One: A Cook and Her Cupboard by Florence Knight
• Visit the author's website: Florence Knight
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Dana Velden)