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A Table in the Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in South-west France [Hardcover]

Orlando Murrin
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
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Book Description

7 April 2008

While walking in South-west France, cook and journalist Orlando Murrin dreamed up the adventure of a lifetime: why not wave goodbye to the rat race and come to live in this rural paradise, where the only traffic is the boulangerie van delivering baguettes? His book tells the story of how he set up a boutique b&b and includes 100 amazing recipes.

The story of the Manoir de Raynaudes begins on New Year's Eve 2001 when Orlando and his partner first glimpse the ruined manoir at dusk. Set in 13 acres of lush meadow, woodland, lakes and garden, they set about transforming the dignified old manor house into a phenomenally successful boutique b&b with its own magnificent kitchen garden.

A Table in the Tarn charts the discovery, acquisition and renovation of the property. Along the way, we learn about the local food scene, with its astonishingly rich heritage of ingredients and dishes, about working in France and coping with the famous French bureaucracy, and about the unforeseen delight of working with the locals.

Four years on, with countless plaudits and a coveted entry in the classy Mr and Mrs Smith directory, the business attracts visitors from around the world and continues to be a gastronomic destination for anyone seeking peace, tranquillity and above all fantastic food.

Everything at the Manoir is home made, from breakfast breads to after-dinner chocolates, and the book includes 100 recipes. From the sublime Roquefort Brioche via Savoury Mini Clafoutis and Roast Pigeon Breasts in Armagnac to the unparalleled Chocolate Nirvana with Creme Anglaise, this collection of recipes offers a vivid experience of life in rural France. Cooks everywhere will devour the descriptions of country cooking as mastered by generations of French cooks.

Not only will you learn the insider secrets of making acclaimed dishes from the Manoir, but find out what it’s like to make a dream come true.

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Frequently Bought Together

A Table in the Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in South-west France + Cooking and Travelling in South-West France + South-West France: The Wines and Winemakers
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Edition edition (7 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007263945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007263943
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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‘If there is any justice in the market, Murrin’s book will break all records - it is beautiful and perfectly executed…the nature and identity of the house at its centre - the elegant Manoir de Raynaudes - haunts every recipe and every word on the pages. This is quite simply a joy of a book.’ Simon Gallagher, Borders.

Reviews for Orlando’s previous book, The No-Cook Cook Book:

‘One of the best books of 2003, this is bursting with savvy and style. Best of all, you don’t have to be a skilled cook to get great results’ Jennie Muir, Independent

‘A year after it was published, I’m still recommending this book to anyone who has to entertain guests but lacks confidence’ Jenni Muir, the Independent Review

‘The book shimmers with verve, style and dash, the photographs make the simple look sophisticated and the recipes… are remarkably clever and appealing.’ Henrietta Green, Daily Mail

‘This book landed on my desk on the hottest day of the year. I have been using it ever since.’ Leslie Geddes-Brown, Country Life

‘Lazy cooks have been fighting to get this book off the shelves.’ The Week

From the Inside Flap

What happens when you make the choice to live out your dream ...?

When Orlando Murrin made the momentous decision to leave his life in London and open a boutique guest-house with his partner in a little known part of rural South-west France, he had some idea of how much he was taking on, but very little idea what a huge success it would turn out to be.

Le Manoir de Raynaudes, a modest but dignified old manor house amid a landscape of gorges and fortified villages, has been painstakingly transformed into a gastronomic destination. And in transforming himself from keen amateur cook to passionate professional, Orlando has created a table that is widely considered one of the finest in the Midi-Pyrenees.

A Table in the Tarn is a remarkable and intimate cookbook which describes in detail how to make more than 100 of the Manoir's acclaimed dishes. The origin of every recipe is given, along with the secrets that make the dish special and the learned-the-hard-way tips for achieving perfect results. The book also tells the fascinating story of the challenge of finding and renovating the Manoir, the creation of magnificent vegetable, fruit and herb gardens to supply the kitchen with produce, and the extraordinary people, from the neighbouring hamlet and from further afield, who play their part.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to go there! 15 Jun 2008
By Moana
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as an accompaniment to another cook-book - to get free delivery. The so called main book has been shelved and although I haven't read this one from cover to cover (saving it, determined not to read all in a oner) I have already recommended it on a worldwide newsletter. Although the recipes are superb - I am enjoying all Orlando's observations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! 21 July 2008
I asked for this for my birthday having read an excerpt in a Sunday paper. It's the best sort of travel/lifestyle/cook book. Everything's here; I defy anyone not to want to book themselves in for a stay having read it. And the recipes work too!
I keep it by my bed, and can't wait for "A Table in the Tarn, Book 2".
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very special bit of magic 29 May 2008
Okay, I've been there, made new friends, `sent the postcard' and now have the book. Magimix now on order and can't wait to try some of Orlando's recipes savoured at Le Manoir. Written with caring, and much love, by an exceptionally talented Orlando. Rare in these days of `celebrity chefs' that Orlando shares his `tips' to ensure that everyone can enjoy success with his wonderful recipes ... and there seems to be a story for every recipe too.

I defy anyone who reads this book not to want to beat a path to Orlando and Peter's; meet the villagers and, of course, try the recipes, and `send the postcard'. Without having to stretch the imagination in the slightest, you will feel you are there before you've even left home. I cannot recommend highly enough this beautiful read followed hotly by a visit to Raynaudes and discover a most special area in France. Enjoy the magic!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel Good Factor 12 Sep 2008
This is not 'another cookbook'. It is a story of a renovation of a once pretty house into a rather lovely manoir. Beautifully written and illustrated. The book is a memory of happy times and some disastrous - normal problems which happen to anyone renovating in France. This is not just for francophiles but anyone who likes a good story and some wonderful recipes, which are easy to follow and delicious to eat. For gardeners, it has some wonderful ideas. It has to be on the Christmas wish list. Keep it on the kitchen table and when the winter is too much, have a little bit of France to cheer you up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great yarn about the Tarn 23 Aug 2008
I was initially sceptical about the purpose of this book - I kept thinking, is this just a fantastic marketing exercise, an extended advertisement for a beautiful boutique place in France, something I could find in one of the glossy foodie or travel mags? And in a way, yes - but it is so much more, and so beautifully and engagingly done that I have completely succombed to its many charms. It really is the stuff of dreams - only these guys really did it, and did it with great success. It is a gorgeously put-together book, with seductive recipes - I salivate just reading them through, the mark of a favourite cookbook in the making for me. I look forward to going beyond the page one day, and make a visit to this lovely looking place and sampling its food, particularly the sweet variety.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous hands-on guide for swanky french food 22 July 2009
By onion
As other reviewers have noted, this book falls into 2 parts - the descriptions of setting up and running the hotel (very seductive) and the recipes.

The food section is very French, practical (e.g. lots of info on how to do ahead), and has some very glamorous dishes - the aperitif section is particularly strong. However, it's probably *not* for less experienced cooks or for in-front-of-the-TV dinners - it's for pull-the-stops-out, impressive (but not difficult) meals. I've tried 3 recipes so far and have more earmarked for our next party. A very enjoyable book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
What a lovely book. Very readable, as it's written in an engaging and interesting way, and so attractive. It's a mixture of the story of leaving London to start a very stylish B&B in South-West France, combined with a really good, and different, cook book. Everything about it is good, and I know I will refer to the recipes again and again. They're a bit different, but eminently practical.
I absolutely recommend this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read and a good eat 17 Aug 2010
By Pibo
I came across this book by chance. I was browsing in a bookshop and the word "Tarn" caught my eye. I have just came home from a superb visit to the Tran region and so naturally I was curious about a book about the Tarn. I hadn't heard of Orlando Murrin and have not watched Master Chef in years. But I was curious in finding out their experiences of setting home and business in SW France. After all, some of us have toyed with the idea of moving down south after spending some lovely time there. But that feeling usually evaporates after three days of coming home when reality is back in residence.

First half of the book was a jolly good read and I didn't find it self-congratulatory at all. Even if it were, they had worked hard and quite rightly felt proud of their achievement. I, for one, was interested in knowing that the manor was built in the bastide style. It reminds me of what I saw there - a vitally important style of architecture in that region.

I agree with another reviewer that the first half seems to have just stopped. It would have been nice to know what their future plans were. I am alarmed that the place is up for sale. Yes, the URL given towards the end of the book leads to a page that is all in Japanese but it's to do with overnight stays in Nagoya. So something is definitely not right with the URL.

The recipes are very good and easy to follow. I have tried a few of them (I only got the book a month ago)and all turned out well. I don't miss not seeing the photos of some of the dishes.

I have more of an issue with the lay out of the book. I didn't like having some of the recipes in the biographic section because it means that they are outside of the classification of starters, main courses, etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars would warmly recommend it!
lovely lovely book! I started reading it at a friend's house and had to buy my own copy when I returned home half way through it. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Lisa Crossley
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Not especially local regional food, but a wonderful read and amazing recipes that I am working my way through. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marlene Perowne
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted
This is a wonderful book, ordered for a gift, as I already have a copy. It is a wonderful description of a table d'hote in France, with wonderful pictures and sublime recipes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. K. Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recipes - helpful hints
I live and France and found the tips for finding ingredients very helpful - just wish I had bought it 7 years ago when I arrived. Brining the pork tenderloin is genius!
Published 17 months ago by Peggy
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!
I was aware of Orlando in his Good Food Magazine days and always liked his approach to cooking. I have a vague recollection of him leaving and heading off to France, and so when an... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good for party buffets
I borrowed this book from my local library and found it so useful I renewed my borrowing of it for nearly two years. Read more
Published 19 months ago by foodieholic
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelational Recipes
Based on the great reviews for this book I was tempted to buy it and initially I felt disappointed that there are seemingly so few recipes - but what I have found with the recipes... Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2010 by L. A. Ellett Iolite
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
A review by my wife (more of a woman's book I think).
A beautifully presented book - photographs, typeface - all in 'designer' class. Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2010 by Roy Croft
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of heaven in the sun
I adored this book. It's not the largest of cookbooks, not stuffed with dishes you are never likely to make. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2010 by Gentle Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves
It's not hard to explain the appeal of the first section of this book. Combining as it does two peculiar forms of middle-class, channel 4, lifestyle porn: moving to France and... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2010 by Declan Swan
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