Now, we’re cooking with city food book

Natalie Stacey and Paul Cocker
Natalie Stacey and Paul Cocker
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Meat and potato pie made with ale? Greasy chip butties? Pretty much anything – stew, curry, ice cream – with Henderson’s?

These, perhaps, are traditional Sheffield delicacies.

But today, as city food expert Paul Cocker officially announces the first ever cook book inspired by this region, he’s making a, er, vanilla pannacotta with rhubarb.

Not exactly the first dish which springs to mind when you think of South Yorkshire, perhaps. But then that, it seems, is sort of the point...

The new 192-page tome – called The Sheffield Food and Drink Book, and to be released next month – will feature recipes, anecdotes, hints and tips from some of the city’s best-loved restaurants and food producers.

Celebrities, including football legends Chris Morgan and Lee Bullen, radio star Rony Robinson and Shaun Doane of The Everly Pregnant Brothers, will offer their own favourite recipes. High quality photography will feature throughout.

The idea is to shout about the city’s food scene, while simultaneously encouraging more of us to get in the kitchen ourselves. Using local ingredients, of course.

So, why the rhubarb pannacotta – an Italian dish made with a famously Wakefield food?

“Sheffield has an incredibly varied food offering,” says Paul, whose own publishing house, Meze, based in Milton Street is behind the book, along with industry champions Eat Sheffield. “But we don’t boast about it enough, we don’t sell ourselves.

“That means when you think of Sheffield food you think meat pie or whatever. Now, a plate of my mum’s pie with Henderson’s is food heaven. But the city has so much more as well – and that’s the point of this.”

As such, contributions come from everywhere from the Michelin-starred Fischer’s (actually in Baslow, Derbyshire, but overlook that) to little cafes like Lynne’s Pantry in the city centre; from ice cream makers like Our Cow Molly to booze providers like Mitchells Wines.

“Some of the anecdotes are worth the money alone,” says Paul, 43, of Deepcar. “The guys at Ashoka, in Ecclesall Road, have written about their Cricket Ball Pakoras. They’re called that because their grandad made them back in India for the family to eat while listening to cricket on the radio.”

He says “that’s real 21st century Sheffield food”.

He may have a point, although there will be a meat pie recipe too. “A Sheffield cookbook without one would be a mockery,” says Paul.

The book will be in shops in late April.