Simply the Best
is made up of much more than its subtitle, The Art of Seasonal Cooking
, suggests. Tamasin Day-Lewis provides so many contexts for her recipes--in descriptions of family holidays and picnics, food-fact-finding expeditions to France, Spain and Ireland, encounters with chefs and organic-food producers and many other delightful experiences--that the effect encompasses a complete lifestyle. Pleasurable in the highest degree, it inevitably induces a bewilderment that the results of one's own exertions should fall so far short of what is possible. What is possible, if you have the time, the money and the inclination to do the kind of shopping that Tamasin Day-Lewis can afford, is wonderful ingredients: cooked with care and attention, they deliver marvellous flavours. The recipes are a mixture of the familiar and less so, the comforting and the exciting. In spring, tender rhubarb is made into ice cream with preserved ginger and acacia honey, and guinea fowl is stewed with preserved lemons and broad beans. Summer might bring squid, braised in its ink with fennel, peas and Oloroso sherry, light fish stews or a white-fruit summer pudding. Wild mushrooms and game are the flavours of autumn, followed perhaps by a steamed lemon-curd pudding; while winter rounds the year off with rich meat stews, baked fruits and chocolate; and, to soothe the post-Christmas stomach, a dish of baked skate, verging on the bland but spiked with lemon and capers. --Robin Davidson
"A book filled with the sort of recipes dreams are made of" Nigel Slater on The Art of the Tart"