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Cooking in Provence Hardcover – 3 Apr 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; New Ed edition (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091924944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091924942
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"I watched Alex Mackay become a master during his time with me at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons... I think he was probably a Provençal gourmet in a former life. The recipes in this book show his passion and knowledge while taking you on a tour of all the things I love to experience whenever I'm in Provence" (Raymond Blanc)

"Alex Mackay is a brilliant chef... with a rare and very special gift" (Delia Smith)

"The perfect insight into French food without any airs and graces" (Anthony Worrall Thompson The Express)

"Just reading through the recipes in this book is enough to make you want to get down to your local farmers' market, snap up the best ingredients on offer and get cooking....great descriptions of the people and scenery in a way that really brings the region to life" (Michelle Stanistreet Sunday Express)

"The perfect purchase for any foodie" (Heat)

Book Description

A new edition of this classic collection of recipes: Provence's best-loved dishes, accompanied by stunning photography

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By A Customer on 5 Dec. 2003
Format: Hardcover
There is one line in this book that sums up the entire spirit of it: the author suggests peeling tomatoes for a recipe but then adds "but as I become more of a cook and less of a chef I do this less and less".
This is a book for cooks not chefs. It is warm hearted and user friendly and inspirational. It draws on the fine skill and love of food of a chef but translates the recipe in to something real and human for a cook. The ingredients lists are beautifully short. The pictures gorgeous. The rythym of the book follows the rythym of the seasons.
Alex Mackay has a real understanding of food and provencal food but is never academic or obsessional in approach. Each recipe is given space and a meaningful introduction.
It is in essence a book of relatively simple recipes but each with a true and unique provencal flavour. I have so far enjoyed the Onion Tian - a kind of onion pie which where the onions are braised and baked for hours until they are meltingly gorgeous. Also mushrooms with chestnuts in red wine as a first course with crusty french bread - which took all of 4 minutes to prepare but look and tasted superb. Daube Nicoise - the regional equivalent of Boef Bourginon - which was a triumph: I used very cheap cuts of stewing steak (to save money) and simmered at 95 degrees in the oven for many hours (with the orange peel and black olives for true provencal flavour) and the result was tender melting and delicious beef, in fact a dinner party for 6 for a about £5 of beef.
The book is not at all about being parsimonious - quite the opposite. But it is a delight to make wonderful food for pence because each cut of meat, or ordinary vegetable is valued and treated with creativity.
A delightful book that knows its subject, is a pleasure to use and actually encourages and inspires one to cook the recipes in it. Also a wonderful coffee table book if you're in to that sort of thing.
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By A Customer on 25 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
For those who can't afford a trip to Alex Mackay's wonderful cooking school in Provence, this is the next best thing. Alex once ran the cooking school at the Manoir aux Quatres Saisons, and now has his own near San Tropez. He is a born teacher, and his infectious enthusiasm and sense of humour come through clearly in the book. A treasure trove of Provencal recipes, the book is graced by the extraordinary photography of Peter Knab. Food porn, and on top of that, the carefully devised recipes will encourage you to experiment, and allow you to recreate the savours and smells of a glorious corner of the world. This book has my highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone expecting this to be just a terrific Provencal cookbook is in for a very pleasant surprise. Alex Mackay's mastery of french cuisine has become almost a given, especially for those who have had the chance to sample his work in Britain or on the continent. What surprises most about this new book is the incredible richness and depth of the recipes and the vibrant photographic textures of Peter Knab. One need not be a master chef like Alex to indulge in the delicious imagery of this book.
More than just a cookbook, this is just as much a carefully guided and informed tour into the culinary heart and soul of Provence. Peter Knab takes the book far beyond the kitchen, to the fields and overflowing family gatherings of the sun-drenched region.
Finding this book in the dead of an otherwise dreary winter provided a delightful escape to what seems a better place and time. I can't help but think that Alex Mackay's classic recipes, once attempted, will get us closer still.
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Format: Hardcover
Ah, Provence, to savor its flavors again. Some British friends gave us this book at "our" gite in Provence, with a dedication: "Here's some inspiration for the next decade." And with all those twists and turns that life can dish out, as it were, this book does remain that: an inspiration, as though one more was needed, to return to Provence.

Just for the photographs alone, this book is an essential purchase. Peter Knab has done the photography, and my British friend, who is also professional photographer explained how difficult it is to realistically photograph food dishes. And every picture is flawless. Time, and time again, Knab gets the light just right. He leavens the food pictures with a well-balanced selection of Provencal scenes, including the long outdoor table, wine glasses already half full, awaiting your arrival.

Alex Mackay is a New Zealander who did his apprenticeship in Michelin-starred kitchens in Courchevel, Beaune and Tours, before teaming up with Knab, and opening Le Baou d'Infer cooking school in the heart of the Var departement, half way between Hyeres and St. Tropez, with the local market being at Cogolin. There is not an index to the recipes, so I'd estimate them to be around 100, each one a "must" before you shake off your mortal coil.

Regrettably, this book seems to have been a "high water mark" of a dream. I received the book, the first edition, in the year it was published, 2003, and the cooking school closed its doors in 2004. And I can find no explanation for its demise, with Mackay apparently running another cooking school in England.

The only criticism of the book is that some of the text must have been written after one too many pastis. Hyperventilating?
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