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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2010
I quote from the book 'Leftovers are at the heart of this book. For example, you'll find delicious roast dinners followed by an abundance of ideas for things to do with the cold meat the next day. Diana's delicious recipes from all over the world, from Sicily to the Sahara, turn 'going without' on its head and make it a pleasure.'

This book is about taking more notice of our approach to food, how we use and how we waste it, and doing it in a delicious way. Diana has a lovely writing style; approachable and not at all preachy. Diana starts with an interesting introduction, encouraging us all to approach food in a caring, thoughtful way which can only serve to increase the pleasure we get from it. I feel I have an idea of what she's getting at here; there is a distinct satisfaction in having a roast dinner, turning the remains into a soothing risotto and boiling the carcass for soup. Don't start thinking that the book is all about eking the last bit of nutrition out of every potato peeling though, plenty of the recipes are standalone, and none of them feel overtly frugal. For me the recipes draw on influences all ready present in Diana's previous books - Moroccan, English, French, Asian - this really is a book that takes a bite of world cuisine. Virtually all the recipes come with at least 2 thorough variations.

Chapters and a few recipes are:

The roast and 'les restes':

Simple roast chicken with herbs - and 7 variations on roast chicken from Corfu roast chicken with sweet potatoes and cayenne, to Malaysian roast chicken. Recipes follow on chicken leftovers - Restorative chicken and parsley risotto, Vietnamese chicken with Nuoc Cham (a sauce), Chiang Mai chicken noodles, West Country chicken and ham pie; Greek chicken, pumpkin and feta pie; Chicken and toasted bread salad with raisins, pine nuts and capers, and Chicken, wild rice and bluberry salad. There is a similar theme through the other roasting meats.

Vegetable love - Herbed ricotta with summer veg; Courgettes with raisins, pine nuts and mint; Turkish carrots and lentils with herbs, Moroccan spiced roast squash and chiokpeas with minted onions, Sicilian braised vegetables with saffron pine ntus, raisins and capers.

Racing pulses - Lentil, redppeper and goats cheese salad, Spanish white beans with black pudding and chorizo, Split pea puree with Greek lemon and oregano chicken.

Good grains - Persian herb chialu; Sausage, radicchio and red wine risotto, Coconut rice pudding with candied limes, Spanish rice with pork and spinach.

Fine fish - Spanish baked bream, Fish pie with leek mash, Gurnard on crushed potatoes with olives, parlsey and lemon, Moroccan fish cakes, minted cucumber salad and hot sauce; roast mackerel on potatoes, lemon, garlic and thyme; Baked salmon with Scandinavian cucumber.

Choice cuts - Thorough descriptions of which cuts are best for which style of cooking. Lamb, black pudding and mustard hot pot, Crispy pork belly with potatoes, eggs and gribiche dressing; Mexican tinga poblana, Ham hock with parsley sauce and cabbage.

Soup, beautiful soup - Ethiopian spiced pumpkin soup, Parsnip and smoked haddock soup, Swedish spinach soup with egg butterballs.

Where the wild things are - Pheasant with beer, carrots and honey, Rabbit with mustard and tarrago, Elderflower and berry jellies, Blackberry and brown sugar loaf.

Sweet fruitfulness - Strawberry and lemon curd cake, Cherry and almond croutes, Gooseberry pots, Gooseberry meringue pie, Pear, almond and red wine cake.

Crusts and crumbs - Southern Italian cauliflower with dried breadcrumbs, capers and anchovies; Spring panzanella, Brown bread and whisky ice cream, wine-soaked autumn pudding.

Eggs is eggs - Alpine souffles, Menemen, Smoked cheddar and apple omelette, Peach and lavendar honey clafoutis.

Littered throughout with beautiful non-gloss pictures, this book is as much of a delight to read as the recipes are to cook. Dinner tonight was smoked haddock brandade with spinach and poached egg - delicious! Thank you Diana for another lovely book!
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on 7 September 2010
"Food from Plenty" is a veritable mangnum opus, a compendium of recipes "made from the plentiful, the seasonal and the leftover". This weighty, beautiful book contains over 300 recipes, and we are reassured that none of them are extravagant.Diana Henry is best known for her Sunday missives in the food section of the "Stella" Telegraph magazine.She has a philosophy of cooking which I share with all the students at the cookery schools I teach at, and, also, in my own home. Leftovers are sacrosanct, they should be used up the next day, and Diana gives us several examples of how each recipe can then be turned into something else. Parsimony is the new holy grail, so buy quality meat and fish, for example, but lesser quantities. Stock, both chicken and vegetable, is so simple to make and so very vital for soups, risotto, sauces and many, many recipes. Diana does not preach nor admonish, albeit pointing out the many sustainability, wastage and health problems facing a nation that needs to re-connect with food, its provenance, preparation and enjoyment.

This book transcends the general genre of "cookery book", as it is didactic in so many ways. Within its pages you will travel on the flight of Air Simple Gastronomy. You have arrived in Vietnam with Chicken with Nuoc Cham, a sauce made out of garlic, chilli, salt, lime juice, fish sauce and a little sugar. Next, you are sitting in an Italian garden, feasting on Pinzimonio vegetables, maybe dipped in a herby ricotta and olive dip. Mind the heat in your Mexican foray, with spicy Tinga Poblana. Diana has done a great deal of research, and her references are not just drawn from different cultures, but also across history. Ribollita, my favourite bean, cabbage and bread soup is a recipe as old as the Tuscan hills themselves, but "Scottish pear and raspberry trifle" seems to me a bang-up-to-date rendition of its more traditional cousin. There is a 1929 cookbook recipe, "Dorothy Allhusen's Cherry Salad", taken from "A book of scents and dishes". "Paradise Jelly", taken from an old American cookbook, is this season's winning recipe: a crimson jewel quince, apple and cranberry jelly that looks as good as its name implies. The very first recipe I am going to try has to be "Barley, parsley and pomegranate salad", it looks so enticing, minutely pretty and crunchy.

The styling and composition is homely, rustic and warm, featuring the best needlework linens and crackle ware pottery I have ever seen. Home cooks have had enough of the endless stream of transient celebrity cooks who are plugged into the oxygen tank of hype, fame and tweets. It is so life-affirming to read the work of a professional, serious, Mamma cookery writer who has stood the test of time by putting really good, conscientious dinners on the table, by caring about cooking and taking pleasure in its comfort. Her words ring timely and true: "What it boils down to is taking more care. We need to value our planet, our bodies, the people who produce our food, the animals who provide it, and those we feed every day. It makes for a much happier life".
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on 30 October 2011
I already own and love Diana Henry's previous books but have sworn that I must stop adding to the groaning shelves of my kitchen library. This one, however, sounded worth making an exception for, and how right I was. My children thought I was mad when we embarked on a 4 hour car journey with my new book opened on my lap, but by the time we reached home I was itching to get cooking as these recipes sounded so vibrant, simple and delicious. No hard to find ingredients, no special equipment required - a one stop shop enabled me to get to work with a chicken roasted with preserved lemon, garlic and bay, and a fantastic pilaf based around carrot, orange, pistachios and coriander. The only sadness was these provoked such greed there are no leftovers! The book is joyously written, the photos are enticing and chimes with my own beliefs about food without sacrificing anything to frugality. I know it's about to join my list of favourites (along with Simon Hopkinson, Madhur Jaffrey,Ottolenghi, Nigel Slater and the Greens Cookbook amongst others). So, when you need no more cook books - buy this one. Seriously.
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on 29 September 2010
I have all Diana Henry's books - as well as a few hundred by other cookery writers - and this is already one of my favourites. It is a wonderful book; full of ideas, full of things that you want to cook, full of suggestions for food that you may already have - that leftover chicken or those cooking apples from the neighbour's tree. For the last three weeks I have insisted on roast chicken on Sunday just so I can cook the Vietnamese chicken with Nouc Cham or the chicken and parsley risotto for supper on Monday. The family will catch on soon...Diana Henry is a fantastic writer with an easy yet passionate and descriptive style so this is also the kind of book you can take to bed with you and read. The recipes are not overly complicated, but they are exciting - full of influences from all over the world, and combinations of ingredients and flavours that sound so delicious you are inspired to try them - so far none have disappointed. The book is beautifully produced, stunning photography, lovely paper...there is no more to say except that I have already given three copies to delighted friends and will be giving away quite a few more at Christmas!
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on 26 August 2010
I'm going to have to disagree with the previous reviewer, this new one is a classic Diana Henry book in both writing and recipes. It's in a different format shape wise, but it is without a doubt Diana in style and content. It is about getting the most that you can from the seasonal ingredients that you buy (or grow), cooking and eating, and crucially not wasting food to be better from both your pocket and the world we live in. This is not a cheap food book, it goes deeper than that into the whole ethos of buying and using food.

The chapters are driven by an ingredient or type of cooking eg. Racing Pulses, The Roast and `les restes', Soup, Beautiful Soup or Sweet Fruitfulness - to name but four of eleven chapters. Plenty of Pictures too.

Here is a taster of some of the recipes I fancy trying:

Malaysian Roast Chicken.
Chicken. Wild Rice and Blueberry Salad.
Lamb Pilaf with Figs, Pomegranate, Feta and Pistachios.
Middle Eastern Shepherd's Pie with Spiced Parsnip Crust.
Pork, Roast Squash, Apple and Chestnut Salad.
A side dish for meat of Peas, Broad Beans and Chorizo with Mint.
Turkish Carrots and Lentils with Herbs.
Fillet of Salmon with Sweet-sour Beetroot and Dill Crème Fraiche.
Smoked Haddock Stovies with Fried Egg and Mustard Sauce.
Summer Soup au Pistou.
Cold Weather Soup au Pistou.
Cardamon, Honey and Orange Roast Apricots.
Butter and Brown Sugar Roast Apples.

If I had a criticism it's that there is very little for the cake tin or to have with a cup of tea or coffee. Still, I'm going to give this book a 5 because I think it's a good book with good food for feeding family or casual get togethers for friends. Lots of main courses and fruity puddings. I'm off to do the roast apples now!
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on 13 June 2011
I love cookery books and my shelves groan under the weight of Delia, Nigella, Jamie, Nigel Slater et al. But if I could only keep one of my cookbooks it would inevitably be by Diana Henry, because her books are full of inventive, interesting and delicious food. She has lots of Wow! dishes for when you are cooking for friends and want to give them something fantastic, but where she reigns absolutely supreme is as a writer for the everyday cook, who has to put food on the table day in, day out. Food From Plenty is the perfect companion when you are looking for something different to cook - a twist on an old favourite, a completely new dish, or an interesting way of using leftovers. You will want to reach for it every day, because it is overflowing with inspirational ideas that take the grind out of everyday cooking. It is beautifully laid out with gorgeous pictures. Buy it now!
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on 30 November 2010
Food from Plenty arrived just in time before we left for our holiday in Virginia. We decided to pack it and take it to our cabin retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We could think of no better culinary companion for the trip. Stopping off in Wholefoods Charlottesville, we stocked up with provisions to make a few of our favourite recipes we had identified while reading the book on the flight over - Spanish Lamb with Beans and Chorizo, Black Bean Soup with Pico de Gallo, Slow Roasted Shoulder of Pork with Stuffed Squash and the Nicoise Vegetable Stew with Rouille. All perfect Autumnal fare and easy to rustle up in our tiny, ill equipped kitchen in the mountain woods. All the dishes we made were simply delicious! We spent hours drooling over what we would cook on our return home - love the chapters on Racing Pulses and can't wait to try out some of the Good Grains. On our second night home we cooked the Roast Squash and Spinach Lasagne which had us reminiscing of our cabin retreat. This is one of Diana Henry's most deliciously warming and cosy cookbooks. It's homely and the food is deeply comforting.
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on 31 October 2011
This is a really great book- I haven't found a duff dish yet- the recipes are straightforward, often using simple and inexpensive ingredients- for example the Turkish carrots and lentils with herbs is cheap and easy peasy to make and even my husband who usually suffers from lentilphobia loves it! The caramelised onion and blue cheese tart is to die for and the indian beef and peas is another favourite. There are also a few pages with more general advice at the start of each chapter which are also really good- the grain section with advice on types of rice and how to cook them is very useful.
I have a huge collection of cookery books and this is one that I use all the time.
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on 26 September 2010
This is a very attractive looking book and beautifully illustrated. The recipes are excellent and unusual using easily obtainable ingredients. I also like at the bottom of the page suggestions for other ways of using the same ingredients. There is also a lot to learn from this book eg about grains. I love the ideas for leftovers and for learning what is in season. An excellent buy.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 January 2012
This is a brilliant book - full of wonderful, inspiring recipes with the overriding theme being using plentiful, seasonal produce and using up leftovers. There is also an element of buying good quality ingredients but making them go further using cheaper ingredients like pulses. There is nothing 'worthy' about this - the recipes are interesting, with influences from all over the world.

You will find, for example, a simple roast lamb dish with sherry, thyme and red onions. The onions & sherry are cooked separately so the leftovers can go into a shepherd's pie - here with a middle eastern twist and a spiced parsnip crust. Recipes cover meat, fish, grains, pulses, breads, eggs, a whole chapter full of glorious soups. There is a chapter devoted to wild food - wild garlic, salads of nettles & wild greens, berries (e.g. elderflower & berry jellies), pheasant, rabbit (with mustard & tarragon). Some will think that pheasant is extravagant but I live in a rural area surrounded by shoots so in season I can buy a brace of pheasant for less than the price of the cheapest supermarket chicken.

Interspersed throughout the book are some great vegetarian recipes - Nicoise vegetable stew with rouille; creamy lentils & pumpkin with ginger & cumin; roast squash & spinach lasagne; creamy white vegetable, chestnut & cranberry gratin; korma curry; Vietnamese sweet potato curry; a lovely basil & tomato tart; quinoa with lime, chilli & coriander; Moroccan lentil soup with yoghurt & chilli-fried onions.

Puds include coconut rice pudding with candied lemons (there are variations on the theme - citrus & spice rice pudding, vanilla rice pudding with fruits or rose and cardamom-scented rice pudding); apricot, peach & blackberry crumble; cardamom, honey and orange roast apricots; peach & lavender honey clafoutis; pear & raspberry trifle.

A nice feature is that most recipes come with a selection of alternatives at the end which can be used to reflect seasonal availability. The recipes are also straightforward - no complicated techniques nor any particularly fancy ingredients. Ingredient lists sometimes look long but this is mainly down to seasonings, herbs and spices (a well-stocked herb & spice cupboard would be useful). The variety of recipes should also mean that there is something for everyone.
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