Good Food Magazine - Birthday Issue

It's Good Food's Birthday - celebrating 25 years of the magazine, and as a consequence, everything in it this month has the number 25 at its heart. There are 25 new recipes, 25 game-changers that have shaken up the way  we cook in the last 25 years, James Martin's 25 years in food, 25 top gadgets and a look back at the food landscape over the past quarter of a century. However, all of this fades into insignificance against the new fresh-look magazine with new features, interviews and trends. Good Food has thrown down the gauntlet to Olive and other food magazines with some great new ideas.

Among the new stuff, there's the 'Chef's notebook' - an interview with a leading British chef about their favourite places to eat and sleep. This month it is James Durrant, chef-patron of the Plough Inn in Longparish in Hampshire (above and not in London!). There is also more of a local and community emphasis with 'Community hero' and 'Great British producer'. A new 'Food lovers weekend' goes this month to New York with lots about food, retail, hotels and sights. 'Cannycook' is a new series providing new meal ideas for a busy family. What's new are the verdicts given by family members to the dishes on offer - very entertaining! 'My kitchen' - an idea copied from Olive magazine - so not originally new, features James Martin this month, in his kitchen at home (below). Nice photos and great comments from Martin make this a fun article. I look forward to following this in the future. As for 'Cake Club' - a new series that jumps on the Great British Bake Off  bandwagon, there are some superb creations made by Edd Kimber.

Back to the 25 new recipes, I liked the look of the Steak and blue cheese en croute (below), the Moroccan-spiced cottage pie and Lobster rolls. I was less enthusiastic about the Cauliflower crust pizza or the Hot mocha puddings and as for the Spaghetti alle vongole, this is hardly 'new'. The '25 game-changers', features a host of interesting people, places and trends that have shaped our cooking, eating and talk of food. I agree with The River Café, Coffee shops, Couscous, Street food and MasterChef (my wife was a finalist, so I daren't disagree), but I don't accept that Heston, Online shopping, Chorizo and Nigella have been influential. Well, not on me!

Equally, 'Our Top 25 Gadgets' is open to debate amongst home-cooks. Yes, a Cuisinart mini chopper is a must in our kitchen, as is a good measuring jug, but not a bean slicer, I prefer to slice with a sharp knife. A cherry stone is also not a priority and neither is a folding stainless-steel steamer. See what you think?

It's a good magazine this month and there are all the usual features we are used. The 'Weekender' pages have some great recipes for Bonfire Night and for Halloween parties. I liked the Charred sweetcorn salsa and Crunchy smoked sweet potato chips (above). I love sweet potatoes. 'Cook school' prepares Confit of duck and shows readers how to prepare lemongrass. 'Eat Well' has some inspiring dishes like Roast autumn vegetables with spelt and sausage and Harissa roast chicken with quinoa and couscous salad (below). I have just discovered quinoa and this super-food is very tasty when mixed with pomegranate in a weekend salad.

Finally, there is lots to savour in 'Stars of the month' from the 'In Season' section, particularly the desserts of Treacle apple tart and Squidgy pumpkin and ginger loaf. However, try not to miss Venison meatball and wild mushroom stroganoff and Wild mushroom, potato and pancetta gratin. They look delicious and I can't wait to try them as soon as the clocks go back for winter, later this month. And finally, finally, according to Good Food, 67% of us watch TV while eating, Chinese food is the UK's favourite takeaway, 36% of us feel happy when cooking and 48% of families eat together everyday.



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