This is quite simply the best cookbook I own. In the year I have had it, I have tried about half of the recipes and they have all been easy to make, and delicious. Even some `old favourites' that I thought I had down pat (coq au vin, chicken cacciatore, beef rendang) are elevated to higher scrumptiousness by these recipes.
The key is the blend of ingredients - the author never over uses herbs but always adds the 'right' ones, so that every recipe takes fresh and light, even when it's hearty. He's big on pre-browning your meat, but I sometimes just put everything in a slow cooker and it's nearly as good. Also, I sometimes use a different meat to the one he suggests - substituting beef for lamb, or chicken for beef, depending on what's in the fridge - and the recipes all work with these variations. No recipe is too complicated either, this is written by someone eager to eat, rather than about the 'art' of cooking!
The best part of this book, though, is that it is international; recipes are divided into continents (European, Asian, American etc) so you can cook whatever you are in the mood for. Within each of the sections are recipes you may have tried or heard of before, and many you may not have -I cook from scratch every day and I reckon I hadn't come across about a quarter of these before.
Do yourself a favour, buy this book, get down to the supermarket for the key ingredients he uses (it took me about 20 minutes to flick through them all and write a herbs & spices list for what I didn't already have in), invest in a Le Crueset or similar cast-iron hob-to-oven pot, and enjoy!
I for one, have logged on to buy copies for all my friends for Christmas.....