For any English cook this book is a 'must-have'. Divided into seasonal lunch and dinner menus, Clarke teaches you how to take full advantage of local produce at its best and, crucially, cheapest. However, no products are obscure or unavailable from any green grocer, butcher, or fishmonger so don't be put off. Her recipes are intelligently but simply put together, making them easy to follow and ensuring the flavour of the food is distinct rather than muddled with too many ingredients.
Basics such as stocks, invaluable for a homemade risotto, are comprehensively explained and will ensure you never return to cubes. The creme anglaise you will produce under Clarke's instruction, a velvety, rich, vanilla-infused emulsion, is nothing short of sublime. Many of her bread recipes (and living very near her shop I can assure you I am a devotee) are shared and my home-made efforts gave me such satisfaction in making that any slight imperfection in my first loaf of Hazelnut and Raisin could easily be forgiven.
Though Clark can at times seem a little 'brisk', (her opinions on fresh versus tinned crab are very strong as are they about 'rubbery cocktail olives'), this is because SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE IS TALKING ABOUT. I have tried making the tapenade with just such olives and the result was, of course, vastly inferior to what it would have been had i used the good quality variety suggested. Clarke knows where standards of produce cannot be lowered and I recommend you heed her advice.
This is the cooking book I have used most this year and i cannot recommend it more highly. It is inspirational, highly readable, and, most importantly, ensures (if you Follow Sally's advice)that you produce accomplished food worthy - just - of Clarke's restaurant & shop itself.