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River Cafe Cookbook Green Paperback – 6 Sep 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; New Ed edition (6 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091879434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091879433
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 3.5 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

River Cafe Cook Book Green is the latest instalment in its authors' quest for perfection. (That this austerely high-minded project should be taking place in one of London's more expensive restaurants only adds a pleasing Zen-riddle quality). In the first River Cafe Cook Book, illumination was achieved through the wood-fired grill. That was OK, because one of those ridged grill-pans would do at a pinch, though we were left in no doubt it came a very poor second. By the time River Cafe Cook Book Two came out, the famous wood-burning oven had been installed, to the despair of many. In the new volume the focus is on the ingredients, specifically fruit, vegetables and herbs. Quality, freshness and seasonality, of course, have always been paramount at the River Cafe, and are now boosted by, wouldn't you know it, the adjoining organic vegetable garden. Combined with the Cafe's unbeatable network of organic suppliers, this may make some readers wonder whether it's worth trying to keep up any more.

Emphatically yes, must be the answer. The River Cafe phenomenon has always been inspirational, if not aspirational; and the new book is packed with astoundingly good, simple recipes and ideas. It is constructed round the appearance of individual fruits and vegetables in the garden or the market. Perhaps in part to distinguish themselves from the rather many cookery writers who have previously adopted this approach, Gray and Rogers work through the year month by month rather than by season. Thus May brings apricots (Apricot, Lemon and Almond Tart, Apricot Jam Ice-Cream), asparagus (in Risotto, with Anchovy and Milk Sauce, in a salad with gulls' eggs), broad beans (in a Minestrone), melons (Melon and Lemon Sorbet, Melon Marinated in Valpolicella with Vanilla), spring carrots (Braised Spring Carrots and Artichokes, Carrots Marsala) and spring onions (Peas Braised with Spring Onions, Spring Onion and Thyme Pizza). So it goes on, beautiful, simple, delicious. And if our carrots aren't quite perfect, well, we can have a word with our greengrocer, or join an organic box scheme. Or we can just aspire. Not the least achievement of Gray and Rogers is to restore to this simple food the magical allure it possessed when most people knew it only through the early books of Elizabeth David. --Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Like Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book, written way ahead of its time, I have a hunch that this willl turn out to be similarly far-sighted." Harpers & Queen "this is as dazzling and imaginative a collection of vegetable recipes as you are ever likely to find in one book...it has barely left my kitchen all summer" Nigel Slater, The observer "It is the most wonderful book - it looks beautiful and makes you want to get chopping and stirring and picking and eating straight away" Nigella Lawson, Vogue "Their two astonishingly successful books have already sold over a million, but in many ways the latest is the best of the lot." Sunday Express

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Aug 2001
Format: Paperback
If you, like me, adore Italian food and have, again like me, had access to and loved Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers previous books don't think that there is nothing further that they can add to their third Italian cookery 'bible'.
In 'River Cafe Green' (aptly named and you'll soon understand why), Rogers and Gray divide the book into 12 sections, one for each year. In each month there are sub-sections featuring whatever fruit and vegetables are best around that time and how you can use them to their full potential. Never have I found such pleasure in cooking as I have this year, not just because of the standard of food the duo enable you to produce, but also because of the enjoyment I have had in using home grown, seasonal ingredients.
Basics such as stocks, sauces, rich pasta, and crispy pizza dough are given as in the last two books but many of the dishes have very novel ideas and flavourings. Try the spaghetti with tomato and ginger and you'll see what I mean. The risotto recipes (particularly if you use homemade stock) will enable you to produce a rice dish worthy and often better than a lot of what you will get in a restaurant. The puddings are, as usual, wickedly wonderful. The recipe for cherry foccacia (an unusual variation for a summer pudding dish) is garaunteed to WOW your friends over a picnic lunch.
Having said this, some of the ingredients are slightly obscure and hard to access (unless you live in Italy or very near a good Italian delicatessen!!) but hunt around as if you can get hold of such treasures as aged balsamic vinegar, it is worth it, if expensive.
Verdict: a great follow up to the other books, and speaking for myself I hope they come up with a red, pink, purple, and orange book as well!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 May 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers have written the cookery book the beggars the question: Why didn't anyone else do it like this before?

They have reminded us what real, day-to-day cooking is all about: simple, fresh, seasonal food cooked with some imagination. The pictures are enticing without being showy and ridiculous, but most of all the recipes are delicious. You will find yourself reading this book like a novel rather than a reference work. None of the recipes are complicated; in fact even a beginner would be able to make most of the recipes in the book. Some of the ingredients may be a little difficult to get hold of if you live outside London.

I have a very large collection of recipe books, most of which end up gathering dust on my shelves. This book will have a lasting place in my kitchen, and will have the distinction of having more food stains and dog-eared pages than any other.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annemarie on 4 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
I love this cookbook! It is not a cookbook that you would whip out on a weekday - although it is a mix of really easy dishes and more time consuming and advanced ones. Because of the latter I would probably not recommend it to a beginner. Some of its recipes have definitely become regulars with us.

We love the 'seasonal' approach & the recipes are all a treat to those who like Flavour with a capital F. What I mean by that is that most recipes taste like the basic ingredients/vegetables, and not like a mix of tons of ingredients (if that makes sense). What I also mean by that is that it also provokes you to taste something you may not have come up with yourself (within the Italian kitchen realm), such as a lemon salad... which isn't as sour as it sounds. Or spaghetti with tomato, ginger and ricotta. (This dish is definitely our all time favourite, and the recipe has been passed on to many of our friends, in our view it combines the Italian kitchen with a distinct Asian ginger influence. By the way: we usually replace the ricotta with parmesan, and the ginger & tomato sauce can easily be frozen & reheated.)

Complaints in previous reviews have been that ingredients are sometimes hard to come by. I don't agree. First, you have to wait until the right season, that is the whole point of the book! In addition, what Gray and Rogers do is give us their choice of the best ingredients (such as maldon salt, or puy lentils) and using those ingredients would give the beste taste experience. However, with more regular ingredients (sea salt or lentils etc. ) you will come a very long way too.

I hope you'll enjoy this book as much as we do!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 12 May 2003
Format: Paperback
I've not found this book as useful as I had hoped - a lot of the recipes seem to be rather unbalanced - flavourings too crude and heavy handed. One in particularly, a spaghettis sauce that is an interesting twist on an ordinary tomato sauce as it has ginger in it. If you use their proportions the ginger virtually blows your head off - it really needed drastic toning down to work. I've tried some other recipes in the book with similar results. It almost feels like they have only 'tasted' the dishes rather than having actually sat down to eat a whole plate. A finger-tip taste is fine, but the whole effect can be overpowering. I think this is a trap a lot of chefs make - cooking for effect rather than satisfaction.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Nov 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have had this book for some time, and have to admit I have not cooked a single thing it covers. I think it is mainly due to the fact that almost every recipe calls for at least one ingredient that I am having great difficulty to get my hands on, unless I plan days ahead, and unfortunately I am not that type of person. That does not mean the book is not inspiring and appetising. In fact, the one thing it does for me the most is making me want to visit the restaurant!
The book focuses on vegetables and fruit, and each recipe is sectioned according to season of the year, the motivation being that fruit and veg is best when harvested in their own season. The idea is to promote a concern for how food is grown, with focus on organically grown produce, and with that, I would imagine, promote the concern about transport and year-around harvesting issues.
All recipies are Italian, covering soups, pasta, antipasti, salads, deserts, sauces, pizzas, drinks, and more. How about a chickpea pancake with rosemary or a bruschetta with puffball and field mushrooms with tomato and thyme for starter, Penne with asparagus carbonara or a focaccia stuffed with gorgonzola and marjoram? Melon marinated in valpolicella with vanilla or red wine sorbet with crushed strawberries? Or, mmm, Chocolate ginger cake?
The book has over 200 recipies, and if you have access to a good farmer's market where you can get things like a variety of cabbages and mushrooms, fresh herbs, artichokes, figs, and pumpkins, this book will come in handy. The pictures promise greatness without being overly fancy.
I think I will go make some rosemary bruschetta, or perhaps figs, buffalo mozzarella and basil...
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