Cooking family style

Ferran Adria is a chef known more for his far-out creations at El Bulli than his home cooking. His restaurant broke every mould, combining chemistry with cookery in his Spanish restaurant near beautiful Barcelona.

In The Family Meal, Ferran turns his hand to the dinner table, swapping test tubes for soup spoons and Bunsen burners for the grill. It’s first and foremost a fascinating look into the way his mind works – the construction of dishes – and a fantastic lesson in simplicity and the less is more philosophy he employs.

He applies his distinctive touches and skills to dishes – a Thai beef curry is slow-cooked in the oven using tough beef shank; caramel mousse is siphoned using a whipped cream canister to make it light and airy. But this is virtually as complex as it becomes. He plans meals – three courses, sometimes with plates as simple as pasta with pesto. You might not think you need a recipe for this and you probably don’t, but it works in harmony with the other dishes on the menu.

The book is simply inspiring. It’s the rare breed of cookbook that makes you want to head straight into the kitchen and pick up your knife and get chopping. The flavours are stunningly simple but evocative – a real treat.

The Family Meal by Ferran Adria, published by Phaidon, RRP£19.95