With a name like 'Winter on the Farm', you can't help but conjure up images in your head of rustic, homemade food prepared in a large country-house kitchen, and on ordering the book I was excited about the potential of tasty recipes to try out in the looming winter months. And with a tagline like "Heartwarming food for the cold months", I can perhaps be forgiven for doing so. When the book arrived, however, it left me a little cold, in more ways than one.
While beautifully presented with stunning photographs that make you shiver with cold and half expect to see your breath when you exhale, the recipes themselves failed to entice me in any way. Instead of a celebration of winter, I found the recipes to be a bit over-complicated, without really any mention of farm produce as I was expecting. Indeed, a lot of the recipes seem to be inspired by the Mediterranean, what with risottos and pasta aplenty. While this is no bad thing in itself, it didn't really fulfil my expectations of recipes celebrating good, bracing winters.
One a more positive note, however, there is something rather heartwarming and cosy about the way Matthew Evans divides his recipes into sections. Headings like "Sleep-in food" and "Rib-sticking meals" are just what you want on a cold day, while others like "Puddings and things to eat while drinking tea" don't beat around the bush and simply say it as it is, letting the reader find exactly what they want depending on how they are feeling.
All-in-all, I'd say that while this book is a worthwhile read for cooking enthusiasts and offers some interesting ideas for winter cuisine, more could have been made of using seasonal produce during "Winter on the Farm".