Monday, February 15, 2016

The Royal Touch: Simply Stunning Home Cooking from a Royal Chef {Review}

You don't need to spend a fortune on fancy meals. You can make them at home. I love trying new dishes and sometimes it's a challenge to recreate that favorite dish I've had at a restaurant. Some recipe books are good and some are difficult to follow. I was recently introduced to Chef Carolyn Robb and had the opportunity to check out her recipe book called The Royal Touch.

MY THOUGHTS:  My first impression of the cookbook was that all the photos are amazing and mouthwatering. The instructions are well-organized and easy to follow. I really like that there are illustrations on how the pastry should be cut and divided. A visual of that is really useful for me. It's a wonderful book and it makes a perfect gift.

The Royal Touch is a beautiful compilation of stunning recipes gathered from far and wide on an incredible culinary journey. It is one that has covered three continents over several decades and has taken in many a royal palace along the way. Carolyn Robb, former personal chef to TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry, presents the food that she loves to serve to her family and friends; food that is fit for a king, yet is accessible to us all. Inspired by everything from her mother’s home-cooking, memories of her happy childhood in South Africa and her extensive travels to the extraordinary experiences of 13 years as a chef in the royal household, Carolyn’s recipes are simple to prepare and perfect to share. Whether you are entertaining special guests, going on a picnic, planning a cosy fireside supper, cooking with children or you simply feel like trying your hand at some baking, this book has it all and the ingredients you require won’t break the bank.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: During Carolyn's time working in the royal household she had unique access to many aspects of the culinary world and in particular some of the world's most renowned chefs, with whom she worked when she was still only in her early twenties. Her job required that everything she produced was of the very highest calibre and this book clearly demonstrates that perfection in the simplest of food has far greater appeal than food of great extravagance. The recipes in this book are testament to Carolyn’s great love of all things food related, her thirst for ever more culinary knowledge and the very varied experiences of her 25 years as a chef.

SPECIAL OFFER for my readers: get 50% discount on the book using promo code RT50.

Here's one of my favorite recipes that I am able to share:

Farro With Winter Vegetables
Herbs and Poached Chicken


2 large shallots
18 baby carrots
150g / 5½oz waxy potatoes *
200g / 7oz butternut
2 sticks of celery
1 leek
30ml / 2 Tbsp mild olive oil
30g / 1oz butter (2 Tbsp)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
150ml / ½ cup white wine
600ml / 2 cups chicken stock *
2 chicken breasts (Approx 150g / 5oz each)
100g / 3½oz farro (½ cup)
12 small florets of broccoli


1. Finely dice the shallots. Top and tail the baby carrots and wash them, but you don’t need to peel them. Dice the potatoes and butternut into small 1cm (½ inch) cubes. Wash, de-string and slice the celery and chop the leek into thin rings and rinse well.

2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan. Sauté all the vegetables over a high heat for several minutes, stirring well to coat everything in butter. Add the sprigs of thyme.

3. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, to soften the vegetables. Add the white wine, stock and chicken breasts and cook slowly with the lid on for a further 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and leave it to cool.

4. Add the farro and simmer for 12 – 15 minutes, until it is tender. While this is cooking, dice the chicken.

5. Return the chicken to the pan, add the broccoli and cook everything together slowly for a further 10 minutes. (I add the broccoli right at the end so that it maintains a little ‘crunch’ and keeps its bright green colour.)

6. Serve into warmed soup bowls, accompanied by freshly baked Soda Bread (see recipe on page 220) for a wholesome winter’s feast.

Carolyn's Tip: If you can make this the day before you need it, the flavours will develop and it will be even more delicious.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary digital copy of the mentioned book from the PR firm or publisher in exchange of my honest review.  Credit: The Royal Touch by Carolyn Robb, published by ACC Editions. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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