I’m a cookbook junkie, we have over 500 between us. Some we’ve inherited from our mothers and grandmothers, others gifts, recommendations or on a whim for a specific recipe. However, it’s always quite different reading a book when you know the author, when we can hear them speaking, feel their passion and have tasted some of the recipes in the book first hand.

Food and Fire by Marcus Bawdon is one such book.  The title does what it says on the tin, it’s about Food and Fire and one of the first things you will read in the introduction is that ” If you are near a fire, you can cook”  Marcus’ passion for cooking with fire is huge and if you’ve visited his amazing set up at Country Woodsmoke HQ then you will know what I am talking about. His enthusiasm for showing others about cooking outdoors shines through if you meet him or have been on one of his fabulous courses and is evident throughout this entire book.

The beginning of the book describes the basic techniques needed to set up a BBQ together with advice on placing coals, lighting the fire and something I always have issues with, controlling the temperature. It’s written in a way that is accessible to everyone and doesn’t blind you with science when it talks about the different fuels or which charcoal to use. There’s also great information on rubs including 3 recipes. If you don’t want to make your own, then it wont surprise you to know that Marcus as two rubs currently on the market with more to follow.

Each chapter of this 65 recipe book is split into different cooking techniques, which is far more sensible than the traditional Meat, Fish, Poultry etc etc  and at the end there’s a couple of chapters with side dishes and sweet things including a Smoky Tomato Bloody Mary which is absolutely divine. Some of the recipes that jump out at me are the simple but flavour packed Dirty Tommahawk Steak and the Nduja-Stuffed Porchetta and of course the legendary Country Wood smoke bread which is just to die for and amazing for mopping up juices and Marcus’ signature Chimichurri sauce.

We thoroughly recommend Food and Fire, it’s a wonderful read, it’s got delicious and flavour-packed recipes, it’s inspirational and above all its written by someone who deserves every bit of its obvious success.

Food and Fire is Published by Dog’n’Bone and is available online and in all great bookshops. If you want to more about Marcus then follow him on Twitter or find him in his Facebook Group Country Woodsmoke. 


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