on 19 August 2012
A first class book. Full of great information and ideas. I read the whole book as soon as I got it - great style and beautiful photographs. I couldn't wait to cook these recipes, and the ones that I've tried - Five-Spice duck Breasts, Ricotta-Marscarpone Cream with Summer Fruit & Orange Flower Syrup, Pain Perdu with Raspberries - all delicious. And as a big rice pudding fan I can't wait to try the Lime and Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango. Xanthe's comments and descriptions are fun to read and inspiring, and just like it says, no-nonsense too. I love it!
on 7 June 2012
I bought this book as I often read Xanthe Clay in the paper and was hopeful that a book full of her recipes would be worth buying - and I was right for once - It's a work of art, actually, with beautiful photos that really do look good enough to eat. The recipes are very simple, often just putting together combinations of ingredients with very little extra effort (so little room for error - suits me!), and none of them have hundreds of ingredients either. I had great success with the olive oil madeleines, oranges with saffron and the poulet a l'estragon so far. I like the way she writes - not gushy or overly descriptive, and there's some very sensible party advice too...
on 18 September 2012
Xanthe's book The Contented Cook is exactly the kind of book I can lose myself in. The photographs are just beautiful, and the recipes are practical. For someone who has many cookbooks I find myself lost in deciding what to cook .. bit not this one... I want to cook everything in it.
You see the recipes in the book are practical in every sense of the word. They are as you would expect from Xanthe well thought out and in a sensible order, but there is more than that. It's classily perfectly written to make me feel I can and will cook from it. I earmarked the Hot and Sour Noodle Soup, the Squishy Almond cake and the Pan-fried Onglet with Fennel Seed Roast Potatoes and am off to the butcher to buy the beef right now.
I love love love it.
Xanthe first came to my attention when I was reading The Daily Telegraph's on-line recipes and I thought I would give her book a try - and I'm glad I did.
It does feature (as the title conveys) recipes for the whole year ie Early Spring, Late Spring/Early Autumn, High Summer, Early Autumn, Late Autumn and Winter and has lovely recipes for entertaining the whole family.
For me? Well, I wish I'd read the full title of the cookbook before I bought it because I'm more into baking than entertaining and there isn't a huge section on baking (cakes are interspersed in the above-mentioned chapters) but nevertheless, the cakes that DO feature are simply stunning. A case in point is the Squishy Almond Cake which does exactly as it says ....... etc and which was devoured in about 25 seconds from my afternoon tea table (so I had to make another one the next day and made the Apple version - which went quickly too).
For those who love baking, these are the cakes that feature in the book:
Lemon & Polenta Cake
Olive Oil Madeleines
Pumpkin Cake with Pomegranate
Raspberry & Hazelnut Cake
Simple Rosewater Cake
Squidgy Apple Cake (YUM!!!)
Squishy Almond Cake (YUM x 2)
It's a shame that Xanthe's wonderful cakes (as featured in The Daily Telegraph) aren't replicated in this book, but perhaps next time .....
on 20 September 2012
Xanthe writes in a way that you can picture yourself actually cooking the recipes. A bonus is that they are so easy (and delicious) that my husband and son want to make them too. I have all Xanthe's books and this one does not disappoint: I especially like the use of seasonal produce and her notes, tips and suggestions for varying the ingredients. Favourite recipe so far? It's hard, but it's probably Ricotta-Mascarpone Cream, Summer Fruit and an Orange Flower Syrup - just yummy!
on 10 June 2012
This is a lovely book - beautifully designed, gorgeous photography, and the kind of food writing that makes you want to get into the kitchen right now. The book has a lovely seasonal rhythm, and Xanthe's writing is warm and engaging. Ingredient lists are straightforward, directions simple, and the pace is easy. People who love cooking will appreciate its emphasis on the sheer joy of preparing good food, and for those who don't, this might well be the cookery book that converts them.