Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi

Downtime

What is it?  An enticing collection of sophisticated recipes for the home cook by a new name in food writing

Redzepi – why does that sound familiar? Nadine Levy Redzepi is the wife of world-famous Danish chef Rene Redzepi of Noma fame.  This is her debut book.

What does it look like? The book’s design has all the Nordic stripped back chic you might hope for. The mostly overhead food photography by Ditte Isager is simple and uncluttered, allowing the dishes to speak for themselves. High-quality glossy paper means the reproduction of the images is so lifelike that you almost want to plunge a fork into the pages.

Is it good bedtime reading? A forward by hubby, plus an introduction and comprehensive autobiographical ‘A Life in the Home Kitchen’ section by the author that covers her Portuguese and Scandinavian food roots, along with chapter introductions and chunky recipe introductions means Downtime won’t just live in your kitchen.    

Killer recipes? Beef glazed celeriac with buttermilk sauce; cheese ravioli with brown butter egg yolks, parmesan and sage; kale and mushroom carbonara; quinoa salad with spiced onions; brownies with flaky salt and white chocolate chunks.

Will I have trouble finding ingredients?  It seems that great care has been taken to make these recipes as accessible as possible so you should be able to find everything you need at your local supermarket.

What’s the faff factor?  Minimal. The recipes are all about making delicious food for your family rather than exercising your cheffy inclinations. That said, three Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller’s elegant recipe for ratatouille (from the film of the same name) is included in the book.

How often will I cook from the book?  With everything from soups to pasta dishes and roasts to desserts (including a twist on tiramisu with a cheesecake-like crust), you could easily find yourself reaching for the book on a daily basis.

What will I love?  The book’s luxurious look and feel and the accessible and well-written recipes.

What won’t I like?  I’ll get back to you on that.

Should I buy it? If you feel that your repertoire of daily dishes has become somewhat stale, then this book will give your home cooking that inventive boost you’ve been searching for.

Cuisine: Nordic/international
Suitable for: Beginners and confident home cooks
Cookbook Review rating: 4 Stars

Buy this book
Downtime: Deliciousness at Home
£26 Ebury

Cook from this book
Roasted ratatouille with orzo
Lasagne with sausage meatballs
Danish apple dessert

Danish apple dessert by Nadine Levy Redzepi

Danish Apple Dessert

In Denmark this is called a cake, but it’s really more like a trifle, with layers of whipped cream and crushed cookies on a base of caramelised apple purée. Whatever you call it, it’s light and delicious and easy to make. You can also double the recipe and make it in a large bowl, trifle-style, but don’t assemble it until just before serving, as the cookies will lose their crunch. This recipe makes about 20 large cookies and you won’t need them all for the topping, so you’ll have some left over for snacking and lunch boxes. If you have been saving your scraped vanilla bean pods this is the perfect way to use them up. Otherwise, just use a whole fresh one, slitting it and scraping the seeds over the apples.

Serves 6

APPLE SAUCE
Dessert apples 1.8 kg (4 lb), firm and not too sweet
Scraped vanilla pods 2

ALMOND COOKIES
Marzipan 200 g (7 oz)
Sugar 400 g (14 oz)
Large egg whites 3
Plain flour 12 g (. oz)
Baking powder . teaspoon
Double cream 360 ml (12. fl oz)

  1. The filling needs to chill, so make it first: Peel, quarter and core the apples. Put the apples in a large, heavy pan. Place the vanilla pods on top. Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the apples are lightly browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Caramelising the apples brings out their sweetness without any added sugar. It’s okay if some of them scorch a tiny bit.
  1. Stir the apples, scraping the browned surfaces from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have softened into a chunky purée, 45 to 60 minutes. If the apples start to stick or scorch, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and stir to loosen them. Let the apples cool a bit, then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
  1. Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan) with the racks in the top third and centre of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with baking paper.
  1. Crumble the marzipan into a food processor. Add the sugar and process until well combined. Transfer to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat in the egg whites one at a time, making sure each white is incorporated before adding another. Beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour and baking powder just until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the marzipan into a medium bowl using the large holes of a box grater and stir in the sugar.
  1. Scrape the cookie batter into a pastry bag fitted with a plain 12 mm (½ inch)tip or a large zip-top plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe out 5 cm (2 inch) mounds of the batter, leaving about 7.5 cm (3 inches) between them. The cookies will spread in the oven. Bake until golden brown and crackly, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. They will fall and crack, but that’s okay, as they will be crumbled later. Don’t try to remove the cookies from the baking paper until they have cooled completely or they will stick and break.
  1. Whip the cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed just until it thickens and begins to form soft peaks. It should be slightly fluid, not stiff and fluffy.
  1. Divide the apple sauce among 6 serving bowls and top with the whipped cream on the opposite side. Coarsely crumble 1 or 2 cookies over each serving. Serve immediately. Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Extracted from Downtime by Nadine Levy Redzepi
(Ebury Press, £27)
Photography by Ditte Isager

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