'Louise runs Aga cookery lessons from around the four-oven Aga from her home in Bath, and travels to Aga shops all over the UK to demonstrate to both new and seasoned Aga owners...' She also has her own website with further information and where examples of complete recipes can be found for a true insight into what the layout of this book is really like.
From the introduction:
'A few notes about the recipes They have all been tested by me on my Aga, so they work for me and I hope they will do for you! Agas do vary, so you may need to adapt cooking times slightly. I have tried to use ingredients in season that should be easy to source. I try to buy British fresh produce wherever possible...'
From the back cover:
'Louise Walker's beautiful book celebrates all that is the best about British produce through a wonderful collection of 365 recipes following the ever-changing moods of the year. Never a slave to the seasons but always aware and respectful of the bounties that can be enjoyed, this is a collection that offers something perfect for every occasion and every time of the year.'
Measuring in around 16.5 cm x 23.25 cm, this chunky tome has 448 matt pages, split over 12 chapters:
♦ January ~ December
sandwiched between a short introduction and an 8-page alphabetical index.
Well written, this book contains a good balance of savoury and sweet dishes - some old/some classic/some tweaked; some new -along with occasional fare which is handy with Easter just around the corner (at the time of writing).
Most (but not all) of the recipes which have already appeared in another of Louise's titles, are mentioned in the opening note, e.g.:
Each double page chapter opener has a colour plate on one side alongside the month name and a list of all the daily recipes included for quick reference. Each chapter has a colour theme which follows through with coloured ink for each month. Each recipe is on one page and opens with the date, title and an opening note, followed by the list of ingredients, the number of servings, the method and a cook's note/s. Some carry extra tips and information, generally informative e.g.:
* Oriental 'Paella' (February 23rd/page 71)
'Despite the value traditionally assigned to Pollock - 'pollock for the puss/coley for the cat' - the fish has in recent years become far more popular and readily available. It is a full, white-fleshed fish and a far more sustainable alternative to cod and haddock, both of which are currently in danger from over fishing...It is a mild, delicate-tasting fish with a slightly coarse texture, and perhaps a little more taste than cod, due in part to its higher oil content.'
♦ When required, two-oven or thee/four-oven instructions are included, e.g.:
* Cherry and White Chocolate Cookies (January 9th/page 19)
'...For a two-oven Aga hang the baking tray on the bottom set of runners of the roasting oven and slide the cold shelf onto the second set of runners. For the three or four-oven Aga hang the baking tray onto the second set of runners from the bottom of the baking oven and bake the cookies for 18-20 minutes, until a pale golden brown........'
* Apricot and Walnut Biscotti (June 12th/page 203)
'...For a two-oven Aga, hang the baking tray on the bottom set of runners of the roasting oven and the cold shelf on the third set of runners from the top of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. For a three or four-oven Aga, hang the tray on the second set of runners of the baking oven and bake for 25-30 minutes...'
* Celery Baked in Cream (December 2nd/page 407)
'...Put the shelf on the bottom set of runners of the roasting oven and put in the dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes until browning and then move to the simmering oven for a further 1 hour, until the celery is cooked...'
There is a dusting of colour plates, from Cristian Barnett, but the matt finish doesn't really do them real justice and the photography is on the light side for this size of book (IMO).
A small taste of the other recipes contained within the durable hardboard covers:
* Japanese Style Salmon * Beef Tagine with Prunes * Apple Porridge * Classic Beef Casserole * Cup Cakes * Slow Roast Pork * Cauliflower Soufflés * Venison Casserole with Parsley Dumplings * Malthouse Bread * Orange and White Chocolate Sponge * Ethel's Shortcake Biscuits * Scones * Rabbit in Dijon Mustard * Simnel Cake * Easter Biscuits * Lamb Tagine with Minted Couscous * Elderflower Fritters with Elderflower Mousse * West Indian Fish Curry in Coconut Cream Sauce * Strawberry Meringue Roulade * Tian of Aubergines * Pea Soup * Aga-Dried Tomatoes * Aga Lemon Curd * Fruity Glazed Chicken * Queen of Puddings * Spinach Quiche * Roast Gammon with Plums and Redcurrant Glaze * Sweet Pickled Damsons * Pear, Prune and Walnut Chutney * Blackcurrant Slump * Turkish Ratatouille * Artichoke and Wild Mushroom Pie * Oven-Roasted Vegetable Moussaka * Beetroot and red Wine Risotto * Coffee Cake * Italian Beef Burgers * Classic Quiche Lorraine * Pumpkin Pie * Tagliatelle Sicilian * Sephardic Chocolate Cake * Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie * Granny's Christmas Pudding * Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts * Mince Pies with Brandy Cream * Sherry Sauce * Roast Turkey * Bread Sauce * Yorkshire Puddings * Hare Stew with Whisky
n.b. 'Devils on Horseback' appear in the index and on the chapter list for page 427, but my copy has that aforementioned Yorkshire Pud recipe.
Louise Walker's latest book, leading you through the year with some delicious new recipes and a fresh take on some classics. Even for those without an AGA, I strongly recommend adding this one to your collection.
I had this book on loan from my library and liked it so much I decided to buy it. The recipes are easy to understand and it has great pictures to give you inspiration. The chocolate brownie recipe is worth the price of the book alone! I would say that you do not necessarily need to have an aga to find this book useful but for anyone who has one this book will give you lots of new ideas.
excellent book with a huge variety of recipies. Each recipy is commented by the auther and provided some tips for possble substitues of ingridients or ways to use etc. Monhly recipy ideas helps you cook with seasonal veggies and fruits from local produce rather than imported. These recipies will suit any cook. Do no need an aga to cook them.
I have to say that I really like this book. I have used it so much and recently when I was away on Holiday my friend borrowed it and thought it was fab too! The recipes are seasonal ie lots of Turkey leftovers meals in January etc.