The first cookbook of its kind, Taste & Flavour is aimed at those suffering loss of taste and smell as a result of Covid-19, based on the world’s first research papers in this area, by Professor Barry Smith. Chef, author, and founder of Life Kitchen, the UK’s first cancer cookery school, Ryan Riley launched the cookbook with Life Kitchen’s Kimberley Duke, available for free from Ryan’s website (bar the £3 postage cost). Once all 5,000 physical copies are gone, Taste & Flavour will be available to download as a free ebook from the website.
When it first came to light that many people with Covid-19 were experiencing loss of taste and smell, Ryan Riley and Kimberley Duke’s first thoughts were, ‘what can we do to help?’ Created in partnership with Odysea and partially funded by Sunderland City Council Covid relief fund, Taste & Flavour follows the pair’s work on Life Kitchen – a free cookery school for people who’ve lost their sense of taste and smell due to cancer or cancer treatments. In doing this, they use five elements: aroma, umami, texture, layering, and trigeminal food sensations (the tingling, burning, and cooling we get from spices) to help people regain their pleasure in food. With olfactory conditions having a profound knock-on effect on physical and mental health, Life Kitchen aims to help as many people as possible to enjoy food again, taking further steps towards recovering overall well-being.
After undertaking research and working with Professor Barry Smith, Ryan and Kimberley discovered Covid-related changes in our taste and smell have some distinctive features. Sufferers found they didn’t want to eat certain, quite common ingredients, including onions, garlic, meat, and eggs, which meant developing a whole new way of thinking about flavour combinations. Taste & Flavour’s recipes have been tested on people who suffered from loss of taste and smell due to Covid-19, including dishes using ingredient combinations those derive pleasure from (as well as textures and other sensory factors). The recipes also exclude ingredients most sufferers find unpalatable. Split into three sections, highlights include the likes of preserved lemon, feta a za’atar twists; mushroom and blue cheese mac ’n’ cheese; apple and ginger ice lollies with shichimi togarashi dip; and miso butter potatoes with green herb vinegar.
- 350 g new potatoes
For the herb vinegar
- large handful coriander leaves picked
- large handful parsley leaves picked
- large handful mint leaves picked
- 1 green chilli
- 100 ml malt vinegar
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil the authors recommend using Odysea extra-virgin olive oil
For the miso butter
- 1 tbsp brown miso
- 50 g unsalted butter
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Tip in the potatoes and gently boil them for 15–20 minutes, until tender, then drain and allow to cool slightly
- While the potatoes are boiling, make the herb vinegar. Whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until finely chopped. (Or, very finely chop up the herbs and chilli and mix them in a bowl with the vinegar and oil.) Set aside.
- Just before the potatoes are ready, make the miso butter. Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the miso, butter, pepper and soy sauce. Allow to melt, then whisk vigorously to combine. Once you have drained the potatoes, add them to the miso butter in the pan, smashing them down lightly with a spatula and cooking and turning them for a couple of minutes to coat.
- Spoon the potatoes into a serving dish and drizzle with the herb vinegar to serve.
Recipe adapted from Taste & Flavour by Ryan Riley and Kimberly Duke. Taste & Flavour is available to order online now at lifekitchen.co.uk. The cookbook is limited edition, with only 5,000 copies available and is completely free, bar the £3.00 postage fee.