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4.5 out of 5 stars35
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on 9 May 2011
I've been a vegetarian for about 15 years. If you're in the same boat then I'm sure you understand my frustration at the usual vegetarian staples being offered in nearly every veggie cookbook out there... you know, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, pasta with tomato and basil sauce, or macaroni cheese. Thank god for Denis Cotter is all I can say! I'm forever grateful for this book - I have all Denis's previous books and this one is the best, a bible of haute veggie cuisine that you don't need a restaurant for.

The book is called For the Love of Food and that's because you really have to love cooking and tasting, putting ingredients together and making everything from scratch. There are no ready to use ingredients in sight, in fact, the only shop-prepared items that Denis ever uses is frozen puff pastry and the option of artichokes in oil if you can't be bothered to prepare them from scratch. If you know Denis's recipes, you'll know that nothing comes alone - most meals have a salad or sauce or some other `bit' to complement the main ingredient. Of course you can select sections of recipes to prepare but those little extras always contribute an extra taste or dimension... you won't be disappointed.

The chapters are: breakfast, salad, risotto, soup, mash, all wrapped up, bowls, oven, and sweetness.
Some of my favourites so far are: vanilla and coconut risotto; spiced haloumi on puy lentil, spinach and beetroot salad (sounds dull, doesn't it? lentils, beetroot and spinach, how exciting can it be...but give it a try - every mouthful bursts with awesome, contrasting flavours) ; cous cous salad with apricots, broccoli and feta; cauliflower and leek soup with hazelnut gougers; roast pumpkin soup with chickpeas, leeks, and spiced croutons. There are some bizarre recipes that you read through twice just to make sure Denis is not pulling your leg, like the snow cakes for which you need `4-5 cups of fresh fluffy snow.' Can't wait for winter to check if this is perhaps a joke or a misprint! There are some completely new ways of putting ingredients together, such as the asparagus and raspberry tartlets (no, of course that's not all, this comes with strawberry champagne salsa) or the salad of rose-poached rhubarb, baby carrots, rocket and fresh goat's cheese with hazelnut citrus praline. As if the sound of that is not mind-blowingly tempting, there are gorgeous photos to entice you into the kitchen and share the love and the food.
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on 4 July 2011
I'm not a vegetarian but eating meat all week is not necessary so I often cook vegetarian. I bought this book not knowing what to expect but I'm so glad I bought it. I really love this book, what a beautiful and tasty dishes.

Some examples of the dishes:
- beetroot risotto with shelled broadbeans and fennel/lemon oil.
-warm chickpea, aubergine & broccoli salad with bulgur, sunflower seeds and lemon yoghurt dressing.
-corn pancakes of courgettes, pine nuts & roasted red onion with warm tomato & caper salsa.

And I absolutely LOVE the leek & wasabi new potatoes mash with oyster mushrooms and choi in a coconut and tamarid sauce...

Only downside, so 4 stars for That INSTEAD OF 5, the recipes are quite labor intensive and it takes quite a long time to cook. But aside from that, it is a gem of a book and I am very pleased with it.
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on 16 December 2011
Having bought Denis Cotter's previous vegetarian cookery books, I had a fairly good idea what to expect fom this one, and I was not to be disappointed. Those familiar with Denis' style will know that his recipes are not the sort of "quick, 30-minute after work" style so popular these days; his recipes involve time, care and a great deal of attention to detail. Hence, the title "For The Love Of Food" is highly appropriate. If you're not really fussed about what you eat, then recipes of this complexity will not be for you. However, if like me, the thought of something unusual means you're looking forward to it all day then you'll get great satisfaction from this book.
Back in the summer, I made every single recipe from the salad chapter, and each and every one was very tasty. I did simplify some of the recipes a bit, not by omitting particular ingredients, but by, say, cooking several things together rather than having about four or five elements to each recipe. This still resulted in delicious outcomes, even if not so visually attractive. With a bit of forethought, all of the complexed recipes can be simplified in this way, so do not be put off by the sight of a recipe with numerous elements to it.
Overall, I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who would describe themselves as a true "foodie", vegetarian or otherwise.
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on 23 September 2012
This is one of the books I find myself reaching for the most often. It has lots of great ideas and if there is a theme it is that of the title - your love of food. Each recipe is introduced by a story of how the idea arose, or advice on a key ingredient or maybe some tips on technique.

My meat eating partner always enjoys the food from here as each forkful is bursting with flavour. There aren't many one-pot meals in this book and just about everything is prepared from scratch (he confesses to shop bought puff pastry but otherwise, start with the basic ingredients) however nor does it assume you have an army of sous-chefs standing by to prepare a multitude of sauces.

It's hard to select just a few favourites but to give you an idea then try
- squash tagine (with cherries as well as apricots)
- pasta with aubergine, honey, dates, pistachio and feta
- wild rice, haloumi, ginger-braised leeks with sweet pepper, chilli and caper sauce (my partner raved about this for days)
- olive oil choc mousse with cherry salsa (any chocoholic will love you forever if you serve this)

I've cooked from Cotter books before and they are not always that well proof-read (ingredients can suddenly appear in the text) but this one is pretty good and now all I need is a good excuse to make liquorice ice cream with blood orange juice and pistachio-anise biscuits - he's not afraid of mixing strong flavours and will use ones such as liquorice which are in the marmite category of tastes.
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on 20 June 2011
I enjoy a good steak but with recipes like those in the book I'm becoming less of a carnivore. Dennis puts together some unusual food combinations but they really work. Cauliflower and leek soup with hazelnut gorgeres - delicious! Chard dolmades with cashew nut butter sauce- lush! Some recipes take a little more effort but are worth it. Since a got my copy a few weeks ago it been used at least twice a week. I suspect it will become one of my top 10 cookery books - and I have over 300 to choose from.
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on 18 April 2011
I am a fan of Denis Cotter. "The Cafe Paradiso Cookbook" and "Cafe Paradiso Seasons" have long been inspiring favorites. "Wild Garlic, etc." did not thrill me so much - it felt more like reference material.

"For the Love of Food", rekindles my affection for the man, his books, and vegetables in general. There are plenty of lovely photos (admit it - this is what we always hope for); but while the photos and recipes are enchanting, I am more entertained by the author's words. Denis is wise, talented, generous, and always just a little bit funny. How many cookbooks make you smile - from beginning to end? From the introduction: "The book took more time than should have been necessary to put together because I spent so long at the beginning writing bits and pieces of essays that would form the core themes of a serious food book. A few recipes would be added later to flesh out the concepts...For a while I thought I would get back to big themes, but the day came when I realised that perhaps a book of nice things to eat would be of more use than an addition to the growing list of serious food tomes." So thank you Denis, for coming to that right decision. This is what I wanted from you.

The book is LOADED with recipes with mouth-watering titles. In typical Denis fashion, there are many components (but that is how you bring flavor to a dish).... Wild Garlic Mash with Grilled Asparagus & Citrus Tarragon-Dressed Puy Lentils, Warm Salad of Roast Pumpkin, Brussels Sprout Tops & Borlotti Beans with a Maple-Sesame Dressing, Grilled Ravioli of Cavolo Nero & Almonds in Sweet Spiced Citrus Butter.... I've decided, if he can make this kind of food at home, on a weeknight - so can I! I'm determined to let this book live in my kitchen, not on a book shelf in the spare room.

Do not miss the poignant 2-page intro to a recipe for "Love Soup".
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on 19 March 2013
I love to read cookery books for pleasure - to lust over those delicious sounding dishes and stick post-its into the pages that I really must try. On my first hungry perusal, I must have bookmarked no fewer than twelve recipes that I simply HAD TO MAKE. I could have bookmarked more. I make no (vegetarian) bones about my love of cooking; I'm very happy in my kitchen chopping and sauteing, tasting and seasoning. I set time aside to cook in the week, just for the two of us. If you, like me, enjoy the soothing orderliness of the tasks you know well and are perfectly at home with a glass of wine and some decent music, then this book is for you, too.

I see in other reviews some have criticised the recipes as being complicated, or time consuming. I feel I must challenge those assertions! A dish may have two or three main components and a sauce or salad, each of which takes time to put together. Yet none of the stages are tricky or complicated to a cook of medium ability who enjoys the process. And to serve a dish to friends that makes them 'ooh and ahhh' and beg for the recipe is very satisfying! I've also found that everything I've made so far can be frozen and/or parts of the dish can be made in advance and frozen. Maybe we're unusual in that we make our own bread, pasta, soups and sauces and buy almost no 'ready mades' at all. If you are the same, then this book truly is for you. I recommend it most heartily. Of particular note are the breakfast sausages (just delicious) and the Tian. I have a few more new dishes to try 'booked in' on the meal planner, the spiced halloumi with puy lentils and beetroot is coming up on Thursday.
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on 22 March 2013
If you like cooking moderately complex dishes, this book has some truly stunning recipes for you, and for vegetarians like me it offers some exciting new ideas. His innovations with mash are delightful. I've been cooking my way through this book for some months now and the results often put us in vegetarian heaven. Other reviewers have covered the difficulty level of this book, so I will simply say: it's not for beginners and it's not for 30-minute meals.

However I came here to write a review because I've been sorely disappointed at the frequency of errors and omissions in the recipes. It seems clear that no one tested these recipes AS WRITTEN before publication. Often a recipe will say "put in half the ____" and never tell you what to do with the other half of that ingredient. Other recipes tell you to add various amounts such that the total amount (for example 6 tbsp olive oil) is not equal to the amount in the ingredient list (4 tbsp) which leaves me wondering which is correct and have I made a mistake. A couple of the recipes simply didn't work at all as written, which suggests that a step or ingredient was not correctly transcribed.

For one recipe (a gorgeous dried-fruit tagine) I saw that Dennis Cotter published a corrected recipe on his Cafe Paradiso blog, but I was really disappointed to see that in doing so, his tone was a bit disparaging as though a cook with any brainpower could have figured it out. I see his point, but Dennis we paid for your book so we expect that the recipes in it can actually be made, from accurate instructions -- that seems the least that can be provided for the money we spend on your product. And it can be *stressful* to get partly through a challenging dish and find that no matter how many times you read it, some information you need doesn't seem to be there!

I say this sadly -- because I want so much to love this book, his food can be beautiful -- that I won't be buying any more of his books because I don't feel I can trust the accuracy of the recipes.
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on 10 March 2012
A fantastic book full of unusual recipes and combinations of ingredients.

I am not a vegetarian but can vouch for some wonderful dishes in this book.
Last night for example I cooked the Cardamon roasted cauliflower with a tomato, coconut and leek pillar and a green pepper and pistachio salsa. It wasn't good. It was absolutely sensational. I'm pleased to say that I made enough for lunchtime leftovers today as well.

I cannot wait to cook more from this book and will definitely look out for other Dennis Cotter books.
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on 18 January 2012
Like many, it seems, I got this for christmas and was initially very pleased. Loved the style of the book (although its a bit thick to put in my cook-book stand!),nice photos and I really enjoyed the way he writes about food, he truly is passionate about cooking. The recipes are good and not really as complicated as some reviewers have found.
However, and its a big however, I've so far had to adapt every recipe that I've made as so many of the ingredients are from completely different seasons! Purple sprouting broccoli and aubergine? Celeriac and green pepper? Ok if you want to ship your ingredients from the other side of the world. Yes we all want to eat good food, but please spare a little thought for the planet (and your tastebuds) and use local, fresh, wholesome and tasty ingredients rather than the tasteless veg available all year round in the supermarket.
I've had to mark down to 3 what would otherwise have been a delightful book.
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