I’m not quite sure where I stand on the idea of ‘food porn’, but if it exists it arguably falls into two distinct categories. The first is the molecular, the vivid purées, artful blobs and golden skin that we gaze at longingly on the websites of Michelin-starred restaurants. In ogling terms, this is akin to my flatmate googling pictures of Roger Federer (which she does, periodically). The second comes from that stomach pang we get from looking at a plate of squidgy brownies, glossy macaroni cheese or the broken yolk of a perfectly poached egg cascading over a thick slice of buttered toast. If the analogy still stands up, this is similar to me fluttering my eyelashes at the suave barista who makes my coffee every morning – here it is the accessible, not aspirational, which appeals.
My Kind of Food by MasterChef’s John Torode falls very much into the second camp which is preferable, I think, for cookbooks. Its intended destiny is to be a well-thumbed family favourite which is used throughout the whole week, from quick midweek suppers to Sunday dinner and lazy weekend brunches. The chapters set out this wide appeal, usefully categorising the recipes in seven different sections: Brunch and Lunch, For the Family, In a Rush, Stores and Leftovers, All Outside, Leave Overnight and To Finish.
Brunch is, perhaps, the most exciting of the seven sections – as you’d expect from a chef who grew up in Australia, where the breakfasts are leisurely and the coffee superb. Indeed, there are some lovely versions of classic Australian brunch recipes here (including the toasted banana bread, corn cakes and now ubiquitous smashed avocado) along with influences from around the world: granola and labne, American hash browns with crispy bacon, poached eggs with tomato kasundi and London’s very own omelette Arnold Bennett.