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The Great British Chefs Cookbook Club: February 2018

The Great British Chefs Cookbook Club: May/June 2018

Welcome to the Great British Chefs Cookbook Club! Find out how it works, how to get involved and what prizes you can win.

Even with the vast number of recipes available on the internet these days, there’s nothing quite like leafing through a beautiful book full of recipes. It’s a medium that’s stronger than ever before, with cookbooks topping bestseller charts throughout the year. If you’re anything like us then you’ll have shelves upon shelves of them in your home – some kept in pristine condition, others earmarked, stained and scrawled over after years of use.

It’s this national love for cookbooks that has prompted us to start our very own cookbook club. Each month we’ll select a cookbook that we think stands out from the rest and ask you, the Great British Chefs community, to cook a recipe from it. We’ll publish a small selection of recipes on our site so, even if you don’t already have the book, you can still get involved and see how your cooking compares to everyone else’s. Apply to join the Facebook group here and take a look at this month's book (and recipes) below. We've also included the winning post from last month's book, as well as some of our other favourite entries.

Apply to join the Cookbook Club today!

Click here to apply to join our cookbook club, meet likeminded home cooks and share your creations for the chance to win prizes. Please make sure to answer the two simple introductory questions to speed up your application.

This month's book: The Little Viet Kitchen by Thuy Diem Pham

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Vietnamese food has taken the UK by storm in recent years, with pho, bahn mi and summer rolls among the most popular dishes. But have you ever made any of it from scratch at home? It can seem a bit intimidating, with lots of unusual ingredients, new flavours and different cooking techniques to get to grips with. However, Thuy Diem Pham is out to prove that it’s easy to make delicious, authentic Vietnamese food in your own kitchen. She’s the owner of The Little Viet Kitchen, a restaurant in Islington, London, and her first cookbook The Little Viet Kitchen (£22, Absolute Press) contains over 100 recipes that cover every aspect of Vietnamese cooking.

With heady, fragrant ingredients such as lemongrass, fish sauce and plenty of fresh aromatic herbs, it’s no wonder Vietnamese cuisine is such a popular choice when eating out. But making it at home is easier than you might think, and means you can always make sure you’re using the best ingredients.

The three recipes below are all from The Little Viet Kitchen (which you can buy here) so if you don’t have the book you can still take part. If you’re looking to master the cuisine however it’s certainly worth picking up a copy, as there’s a real wealth of dishes to get stuck into. Thuy herself was on-hand to answer questions during our monthly Facebook Live video, which took place on 11 June at 6.30pm. Members had posted questions on the Facebook Cookbook Club page beforehand.

Morning glory stir-fry

This is one of those side dishes that steals the show, thanks to the combination of fiery chilli, fragrant lemongrass and plenty of garlic. Morning glory (or water spinach) can be found in some supermarkets and almost all Asian food shops, and its delightfully crunchy texture and spinach-like flavour makes it one of Southeast Asia's most popular vegetables.

Coconut-braised pork and egg

Something incredible happens when you slow-cook rich, fatty, caramel-covered pork in coconut water. The broth takes on the richness of the pork, while the meat gets infused with subtly sweet coconut. The addition of hard-boiled eggs might sound strange if you haven't had Vietnamese food like this before, but trust us – they're delicious.

Beef pho southern-style

There's no denying that a bowl of aromatic beef pho (pronounced fuh) is Vietnam's greatest culinary export, but all too often in the UK restaurants serve a pale imitation. This is the real deal – a bowl of delicately balanced spiced broth with rice noodles, spring onions and a savoury cornucopia of beef cuts. If you're looking to cook the best pho you've ever tasted, this is the recipe to follow – and it's well worth the time spent.

Last month's winner

Last month we went vegan with Chantelle Nicholson’s inspired book Planted, which saw the group ditch meat, fish and dairy and give plant-based cooking a try. Despite some initial reservations it was a barnstorming success, with members blown away by Chantelle’s ability to tease out every little bit of flavour from ingredients. Huge congratulations to Kinga Wachowska whose winning dish came top – she will win a signed copy of a cookbook club book of the month of her choice! Take a look at other posts from last month below, picked by Chantelle herself which she thought deserved a very worthy mention!

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Sophie Rushton-Smith absolutely nailed the spiced plums with homemade granola
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Jez MC showed how chocolate mousse can be both vegan and beautiful to look at, complete with edible flowers
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Sergio Villavicencio made a fermented mushroom pâté complete with a lapsang souchong jelly
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Mary Berry eat your heart out – Lisa Forbes' pear and ginger cake looked mouthwateringly good
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Hannah Steen's apricot frangipane tart was perfectly caramelised complete with beautifully carved fruit
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Catherine Verceles' lavender and lime drizzle cake showed how aquafaba could be used in baking to great effect
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John Harlow created the unusual – but delicious – combination of peaches, tarragon, meringue and cream cheese
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Matt Hart's vegan caramelised banana creme brulées proved very popular with the group

Make sure you post photos along with commentary of the dishes you cook from Thuy Diem Pham's The Little Viet Kitchen in our Facebook group to be in with the chance of winning a signed copy of one of our featured cookbooks of the month.