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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inspiration for cooking for larger numbers with confidence
I have very little experience of catering for more than about 4 or 5 people at once, but having managed to host 8 people for Christmas lunch last year and more importantly having survived and indeed enjoyed it, I thought that this book might give me ideas to inspire me for feeding larger numbers and it has.

There are some really delicious recipes in this book...
Published 23 months ago by K. Z. Sobol

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for the coffee table, I think ...
This is a cookery book, packed full of menus and recipes for almost any kind of gathering carefully divided by season.

It is beautifully presented, the photography is stylish, and there is a wealth of extra material that adds a certain charm.

Those recipes, those ideas, look lovely, and there are a few that I'll try, but there are rather more that...
Published on 16 May 2012 by Lynrow Kernow


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for event inspiration, 23 July 2012
By 
Antonia Chitty "Author of Food and Your Speci... (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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Do you feel that all too often your picnics are simply sandwiches and crisps? Or have you been camping and got fed up with reheating tinned food? Get some glamorous inspiration from Alice Hart's year round recipes. From garden brunch to chic picnics to a New Year's Eve supper, Hart provides a mix of recipes and fun 'how to' guides. Ever wanted to know how to build a fire pit, forage for food in a hedgerow, swim in the wild or play beach cricket? It's all in Friends at my Table. There are also tips on what's seasonal, essentials to take to a holiday cottage, and rules for cooking for a crowd.

The recipes and photography are fresh and inspiring. Overall the book makes you feel that you too could have an outdoorsy lifestyle packed with glamour, weather permitting!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice but niche, 18 July 2012
By 
bomble "bomble" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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Alice Hart has produced an unusual and rather pleasing way to put together a recipe book. The food is themed by season and by the events & gatherings in which she served them which makes it something of a diary of a foody (with rather glamorous pretensions!). I can't see it having universal appeal but to a certain affluent entertainer this could be an inspiration... especially if they've a whim to arrange a Vietnamese Bridal Shower for example!!!

Laying the food out by season is a good way to encourage the use of fresh seasonal ingredients and Hart has reinforced this with a quick lookup seasonality chart listing the produce as it is at its prime. The menus are very good giving both a well composed meal and suggestions on how you might bring it into being. These aren't just `friends round to dinner' - we're talking fire-pit cooking, glamping and other essential pastimes of those who dry their Hunter wellies by the Aga. I'm being a bit cynical here but Hart should be commended for finding her niche and making the most of it. There are several ideas within that may just get me motivated (hedge-row foraging is already a great delight in our household).

Sadly the book is let down somewhat by its styling which is decidedly retro bordering on old-fashioned. Some of the illustrations could have been cut straight from my mum's 1970's recipe books - and this is perhaps what the illustrator had in mind but it really doesn't appeal to me. Another issue is that the subject of the photos often bears little relationship to the recipes and while it may capture the theme that a `jolly good time was had by all' it doesn't inspire me to get cooking as much as other titles on the market.

In summary, for a certain market this is spot on - for much of the rest it could be a bit off-putting.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lifestyle cook book ... slightly rose tinted, 16 July 2012
By 
Nick Flynn "NickF" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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This is a lifestyle cookbook that doesn't really match my own, or one that I aspire to.

Don't get me wrong, the recipes are great, and once you get past the mannered writing and the 'how to' bits ... there are a few recipes I will try out (if the summer ever begins that is.

My view is that you could take all of the same recipes ... present them in a slightly less twee way, and it would go down a storm.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please let me be your friend, Alice, 26 Jun 2012
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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In the day there was Martha Stewart, in mythology there were Elizabeth David, Julia Child and let's not forget Alice B. Toklas. These are the iconic ladies who made entertaining an Olympic sport. And now we have Alice Hart who has not only produced a practically edible volume, so tasty I want to pour cream over it, she slips in pages and items that even our dear E. Blyton would be proud to see included ~ indoor party games,building a firepit,cloud recognition, how to use chopsticks, rockpools and what to find there and the basic rules & guidelines of beach cricket.

So, as you see, this is more than just another cookery book filled with impossible to achieve recipes unless you have full time staff, this is is an adventure ~ a year long adventure into the culinary continents of entertaining and impressing your friends.

Whether it is a Vietnamese bridal shower for 8, a chic easy picnic for 10 or a help yourself New Year's Eve supper for 16 Ms Hart has just the menu for you. Her mouth watering meals look exquisite in the fabulous photographs included here, the photographer gets her own credit as she should.

And if all this were not enough there are helpful and handy hints on virtually every page ~ no space unfilled ~ on such essentials as a weekends away check list including " what you don't need to take", hedgerow foraging ( so very Famous Five)how to make vodka more interesting(?) and a survival kit for camping, although Ms Hart has invented a whole new word and concept called "Glamping" = glamorous camping i.e. state of the art tenting including comfy beds, mini refrigerator (to chill that vodka)plugged into an electric hook up!!

This is a real treasure trove in recipes alone ~ squash & manouri salad; merguez sausages, spiced potatoes and eggs;sticky quail in honey & five spice;hunter's rabbit stew and pappardelle (my spell check is having a nervous breakdown!!)

The perfect gift for your hostess at the next country garden dinner party though I hope she will not be insulted at your suggestion that she could improve her table
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Friends At My Table, 19 Jun 2012
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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Friends At My Table is a beautifully presented book, with a gorgeous, soft thick cover. The pages are top quality and the illustrations are stunning.

It's a recipe book, but it's also a guide to entertaining, with helpful hints and tips and lots of easy to follow instructions. I doubt very much that I'll ever throw a 'wedding party for 20', but if I did, I'd know exactly where to look for ideas and inspiration.

Written in a friendly manner, not too complicated, but not patronising - this is the perfect book for foodies everywhere.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not for me, 6 Jun 2012
By 
E. Ramshaw - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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I was a looking forward to adding yet another cook book to my ever growing collection but was disappointed with this one as it seems different to others i had as it seemed to focus on occasions rather than everyday family cooking or baking.
It's a pretty book and its well presented although a little old fashioned in my opinion but i found more pictures of tables decorationed etc rather than great photos of the finished product which is always helpful to use as a guide and not only that but entices you to want to cook it, i just didnt feel that here with this book, it was great to read but didnt make me want to rush to the kichen and although im a well practised cook of many years who can change recipes down for smaller amounts of people etc i found the need to feed so many people in these recipes a little silly and unhalpeful, i understand it was a book for enetertaining but really a wedding ?????? how many people will want to cook for a wedding ?
I like other reviewers found some of the wording and content patronising and too upper class for me to make this a favourite cookbook./ id even have trouble getting alot of the ingredients she asks for so really its a reader not a cooker for me.It's a nice book but wont be suitable for alot of people
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to become a classic, 29 May 2012
By 
Paolo Sammut - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a wonderfully bound volume which I am sure is destined to become a classic. The book has somehow captured the wonder of a quintessential English household with the air of country walks, games of "pooh sticks" on summer evenings and lashing of home made lemonade. Its one of those books which is more than just a cookery book since it contains a measure of pratical advice, for example in making a smoker or firepit, or foraging for free treats in the hedgerow or seashore. Really it reflects what I feel would be a perfect family gathering where everyone is having fun and enjoying themselves.

There is an excellent range of recipes here, and despite my comments above, this is a cookery book first and foremost. The range of recipes is fairly wide and we see a mix from many places in the world including Morocco (Chicken Kdra, mint tea), Greece (Stuffed Vine Leaves), Italy (Panzanella). There is also a wide range of drinks and some sumptious looking desserts which are on on my list for the weekend. How could one resist a Black Forest Knickerbocker glory.

There is also a final "foodie" section to the book which is the unusual, things you dont always find in a cookery book such as how to make a whole range of flavoured vodkas or what foods and utensils should you take on a weekend away or on a camping adventure.

In summary I totally loved this book which will have a pride of place in my cookery book collection. This is easily the best book I have seen this year on the subject, and since this is late May that is excellent going. Very very highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book to treasure, 17 May 2012
By 
sam155 (Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This books stands out from the crowd for several reasons.

It's beautiful candy striped padded cover is one, and its pleasure seeking approach to life is another. It's all about enjoying friends, nature and banking special memories and moments. there happen to be good recipes within as well. It is informal: often eschewing cutlery in favour of buns you can eat with your hands.

It sets you up for unforgettable summer afternoons -cook lamb in a fire-pit! You won't forget that in a hurry.

She even mentions wild swimming and cloud formations for those who like to stare at the sky as they digest their lunch.

I was expecting this to be smug and annoying, but far from it. It's a book to treasure and give to friends.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much more than just a cookbook, 26 April 2012
By 
Dr. Nicholas P. G. Davies (Halifax, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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This is a beautiful book to look at and hold. The recipes are interesting and unusual and are arranged arround ideas for holding different kinds of foodie gatherings. Not only does the book give you ideas for the food but also suggestions and ways to put together your event even down to the fine detail of what kitchen utensils to take for a weekend away and suggested party games for a mezze night. The recipes are interesting and varied and although the instructions are not in a step by step way for anyone who is used to following cookbooks they would not cause any difficulties. A lovely book I am happily dipping into and gathering ideas from.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely life!!!, 26 July 2012
By 
F. Proctor "Wildfrank" (Plymouth. UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Friends at My Table: A year of eating, drinking and making merry (Hardcover)
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Sadly, my life isn't like Alice Harts' I only wish it was, and I feel like this book is sort of laying on a lifestyle on the reader and I did feel a bit of a failure not laying massive and beautiful repasts for all my friends in my huge back garden or down by the sea, excavating fire pits to cook for the throngs of mates, and then I'll expertly strum my guitar sitting by the embers of the firepit drinking my ginger fizz, oh welll!!!
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