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3.8 out of 5 stars9
3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 September 2013
There are some great recipes in this book, for the most part very simple to prepare.

The opening chapter looks at asparagus and there are two gorgeous starters in the form of asparagus with Tabasco butter or with a tomato dressing and crème fraiche. There are some lovely looking fish and seafood dishes dotted around the book - for example crab cakes with corn purée and chilli oil (and made with home-made mayonnaise), monkfish curry with coconut, lime & curry leaves, sea bass with mint, tomatoes & red onions. There is a nice looking recipe for lobster with white beans, tarragon & tomatoes but I couldn't freeze a live lobster to make it 'soporific' and then boil it to death! I should perhaps say that I am a vegetarian with family & friends who are confirmed carnivores for whom I will cook most things.

There are plenty of slow-cooked meat dishes which always seem to go down well - a roasted shoulder of beef from Tuscany or slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with a sauce of fennel, chilli, garlic and anchovies which smells divine too. There are a few game recipes including grilled rabbit with lentils, braised guinea fowl plus partridge, quail, mallard, pigeon, grouse & pheasant.

There aren't many purely vegetarian recipes but the wild garlic & white bean curry is good (you can add white fish to it if you want to but the basic recipe is vegetarian and really doesn't need anything extra) and there is a squash & tomato curry which can be 'vegged' by omitting the fish sauce. There is a also an excellent basic borlotti bean dish using fresh beans, which I love, when available and dried beans for the rest of the year.

There are some desserts, such as ice cream, a pink grapefruit & sherry sorbet (you'll need an ice-cream maker to churn) and a nice hazelnut tart which is really simple to make.

This isn't a book I pick up regularly but it is useful for ideas when I have certain ingredients to hand. The book is arranged thematically by ingredient e.g. citrus, tomatoes, asparagus, pulses, game, leaves, garlic, nuts. Unfortunately this means that recipes tend to pop up in a rather random fashion rather than being grouped according to the type of dish e.g. all starters together. One reviewer has commented to the effect that the recipes are more complicated than Nigella/Delia but for the most part I don't think that's true. There are a few fiddly recipes e.g. some of the seafood dishes but overall not many.
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on 30 May 2011
My mum surprised me with this book as an early Christmas present and enclosed an article about Skye inside the cover. Like the other reviewers, I have some cookbooks that I like but hardly ever use, however this book has become my top choice whenever anyone is coming to visit. I just love it. At first glance, some of the recipes don't look remarkable, but something about the sequencing or combination of ingredients or just plain genius make these recipes taste really special. So far I've made the asparagus, rice and pancetta soup, the roasted vegetable salad, grilled poussins with lemon, marjoram and yoghurt, the squash and tomato curry, the jerusalem artichoke with goat's cheese and the chicken with garlic and fennel and they have all been really, really good. That isn't a boast, it's just a wonderful book! The only recipe I haven't loved was the one for blood oranges and honey, but I think I'm just not a fruit-for-pudding sort of person. It's perfect if you're the sort of person who is getting bored of all of your usual favourite recipes.
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on 30 August 2008
I've just finished reading - devouring, really - Skye's new book. As with her first book, she is focused on her twin passions: seasonality and how to use a host of constant store cupboard and fresh ingredients.

Many chef-writers emphasise seasonality, but Skye is especially persuasive and passionate in making a case for the sensuality, and good sense, of seasonal eating, that you are completely seduced. Thus, while we might dread the passing of our all too brief English summer, I'm already salivating at the prospect of what autumnal goodies I can cook from the pages of this book.

Skye never sacrifices her considerable principles about food, and rightly so - she asks us to demand the very best from our ingredients, and to treat them with absolute love and respect, to bring our their very best, and enhance our eating experience. I love her integrity - and it is this quality, along with her great sense of style, and attention to detail, that makes this book such a class act, and Skye a true original.
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on 27 September 2014
I was disappointed. I'd seen a good chicken recipe from this book in the Guardian and sent for the book, but it turned out that there wasn't another recipe that I'd ever make. I guess it's just a personal view but I think most home cooks would struggle to find something they'd think of making.
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on 4 September 2008
Another beautiful book has arrived from Petersham Nurseries.

When I read her first book 'A Year in My Kitchen', I felt like I was not reading a mere cook book, but it felt like it was a book with a story to tell...

I do take some people's comments that the ingredients listed in her books are hard to get, and her recipes seems sometimes a little complex. Yes, her books are not like Nigella's nor Delia's (both of whom I adore). Just think about it, both Nigella and Delia publicly say that they are not a chef, but a cook. Whereas, Skye is a well known chef working in a well-established restaurant, Petersham Nurseries.

I am a seasoned cook (who has been cooking for more than 30 years), but I have to confess one thing to you - I have never made anything from her books! I tend to rely on the books by the said great cooks when I have to fix dinner for my family quickly and easily.

Having said that don't we all have enough "easy" cook books on our shelves? I think it is nice to ring a change and read a cook book written by a great professional chef who does not appear on terry. Her recipes may not be as straightforward as some other recipes that we come across often, but it by no means entails she is snobbish or looking down on you from above. Completely opposite. She is trying her best to communicate what she knows best in layman's term to you. It just that what she is trying to communicate is not a mere "cheese on toast", but some beautifully seasonal professional dishes!

I nearly always reach for Skye's book when I have a quiet afternoon when I can indulge myself in reading some calming books on a sofa ... I hope you will agree that nothing soothes you like her books. I feel most contented when I am reading her books near a bright open window on a quiet Saturday afternoon..
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on 27 November 2011
This is a book with great recipes. It is all with the best fresh ingredients, easy to make. It is about cookbook nr. 100 in my collection but it is certainly one of my favourites.
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on 31 December 2009
I have to confess that I don't really get this book. While the recipes sound great and look stunning, I have had this book on my shelves for a year and it's never one I pick up to cook from. It may be the way that it is organised around certain ingredients like honey, nuts rather than by fish, meat, etc, that stops it from being practical. For great flavour combinations I prefer Ottolenghi.
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on 21 July 2009
Skye is one of the best cookery writers out there. Passionate and with a deep understanding of flavours. Easy to follow recipes, great results.
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on 15 November 2010
Uninspiring and nothing new. I was expecting something creative but it seems to be running off old ideas with little thought or inventiveness.
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