With Autumn into Winter
Gary Rhodes continues and concludes his cookery cycle with another very generous selection of seasonal recipes. There is a section for each season dealing with vegetables, fish, meat and fruit and puddings where seasonal ingredients are carefully tracked as they approach their best, peak and decline. Rhodes' well-known fondness for traditional British foods means that in many ways he is at his best in the colder part of the year--with root vegetables, brassicas, game and the more comforting kinds of pudding.
There are some arresting combinations here, as you might expect from this source: Sautéed Cep Mushrooms and Cox's Apples on Walnut Toasts, Parsnip Fritters with Blue Cheese Walnut Whip, or Rabbit and Pork Pot with Rhubarb and Mustard Soured Cream, for example. Rhodes also does interesting things with fruit in combination with meat or seafood, such as Roast Duck with Braised Onions and Buttered Pears, or Scallops with Puréed Shallots and Black-Peppered Tangerines, some of which may raise a traditionalist eyebrow or two.
Rhodes is above all a restaurant chef (two Michelin-starred establishments in London)--a fact that makes itself strongly apparent. There is a proprietorial air hanging about the recipes: they are his, they represent his own individual take on (and, implicitly, improvement of) tradition, which may not be to all tastes for several reasons. Tradition, of course, must be renewed to keep it alive, but Rhodes' endless tinkering can seem relentless. Moreover, the recipes are presented prescriptively, as though he were teaching them to his kitchen brigade. Essentially restaurant dishes in concept (though not in execution), in most cases the main element is served complete with garnish and there's not much room for individual inspiration. Nor is there anything here that you might rustle up for a quick supper. There's something take-it-or-leave-it about this--and he isn't especially generous in suggesting alternatives if you don't fancy, for example, the Savoury Fig Tarts that accompany Roast Loin of Venison, or the Sharp Rhubarb Sticks to go with Seared Peppered Tuna Fish--though there's no reason why you shouldn't. But one cannot fault Rhodes' skill and confidence, and can only applaud him for attempting to lead British cooks into territory at once so familiar and so adventurous. --Robin Davidson
In this, his second book to accompany his new series, Gary Rhodes focuses on ingredients at their best autumn through winter: apples, pears, pumpkins and mushrooms being just a few to catch his eye. His love of freshly picked and harvested produce translates into his modern, tasty dishes for starters, main courses and desserts. Traditional dishes such as roast partridge and grilled gammon steaks are enlivened by his imaginative touch and original stalwarts such as scrambled eggs and leeks are given a new lease of life with his culinary daring. Accompanied by luscious colour photographs, a quick flick through this gastronomic feast will get the fingers itching to get in the kitchen and start cooking. Another Rhodes delight. - Lucy Watson