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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 September 2012
This is such a gorgeous book in so many ways.

First of all, it's a lovely object to own. It's a great thick book, with an expensive-looking binding and beautiful end-papers. The spine is cloth-bound; the front cover displays that distinctive, beautiful handwriting, and some ready-made stains - very considerate. The paper is good quality, and reasonably wipeable; I know - mine has already had raspberry juice spilt on it. The margins are generous, leaving enough space for one to scribble notes. The photographs are colourful and adequate; not oil-sprayed cookery-porn, but what you can expect your own dishes to look like. There is a luxurious French-mustard-yellow satin book mark, and the criticism of the paper-back "Kitchen Diaries I", that it won't lie flat on the counter, no longer applies.

Then, it's such a good read, even if you don't intend to cook. If you enjoy diaries, this is a good one. I like reading where Nigel Slater goes to buy cheese, what he's got growing in his vegetable patch and what he gets in for Christmas. I like to know what he cooks when he's feeling depressed, and that sometimes his fridge has too much slightly manky stuff in it, and that sometimes he doesn't feel like cooking at all. There is something very pleasant about reading in September about what he is making in February, (and of course there's also something very pleasant in reading about what he is cooking on the date when I'm reading). I find it comforting to know that he isn't always a domestic god. Speaking of which, he doesn't foist a persona on us as so many cookery writers do . . . ("God, I'm so sensuous," . . . "Golly, I'm so sensible"). He seems to be something of a mixed bag, like the rest of us, and he doesn't seem to think it's important. Read "Toast" if you want to know more about him.

And, of course, he is so good on food. I feel that he is an eating writer rather than a cookery writer. He respects, understands and loves food, and he shares and conveys those feelings so generously. He shows you how if you combine X (which is delicious) with Y (which is also delicious) you will get something which is more than twice as delicious, especially if you cook it by method Z (which makes almost everything delicious). His recipes are open-ended; he frequently suggests variations you could try, and he leaves it to his readers to think up their own adaptations - so he is teaching us to become good cooks in our own right. What more can you ask?
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on 17 September 2012
This is another massive book by Nigel Slater (as big as Tender in its width) so prepare to make room in your bookcase for it. As with any Nigel Slater book it is a joy to read as well as to look at. I have yet to come across a recipe from him that fails to deliver and this book is up to the standard of his previous books. If you have them I would recommend adding this book to your collection. If you are new to Nigel Slater I would say that this would be an excellent place for you to start

I have listed all of the recipes from the book below. Hopefully this will help you to decide whether or not this is the book for you.

A cider loaf
A soup of bacon and celeriac
A parsley risotto with parmesan crisps
A salad of pears and cheese with sprouted seeds
Chicken noodle broth
Ham with artichoke and parsley sauce
Roast artichokes
A ham and cabbage fry up
Hot, sweet baked pumpkin
A crisp-crusted hotpot of aubergines and beans
A hearty pie of chicken and leeks
Poached apples with ginger and anise
Quince and apple tart
Quick, mildly spiced beef
Baked quince with orange and mascarpone ginger crunch
Gurnard, basil and potato pie
WInter leaves with gherkins and mustard
Almond, marzipan and berry cakes
Marmalade chocolate chip ice cream
Seville orange marmalade
A risotto of smoked cod and spinach
A little brown stew of mushrooms and spelt
Braised neck of lamb with apricots and cinnamon
Smoked haddock with potato and bacon
Little prune puddings with caramel sauce
Chicken with potatoes and dill
Butter beans with mustard and tomato
Little apricot and oat cakes
Kale with chorizo and almonds
Pancetta and bean soup with spaghetti
An apricot crumble cake
Fried apples with brown sugar and creme fraiche
Pumpkin, tomato and cannellini soup
Pork with garlic and oyster sauce
Lemon tart
Bulgur and bacon
Chicken with coconut cream
Chickpeas with tomato and harissa
Lamb shanks with black-eyed beans
Passion fruit creams
Beans on toast
A ceviche of sea bass and passion fruit
Sea bass with rosemary and capers
Herrings, soured cream and rye toast
Bacon wrapped salmon
Leek and mushroom pie with skin-on mash
Nigel's chocolate muscovado banana cake
Pork shoulder with ginger and anise
Pork broth with pepper and green leaves
Pulled pork baps with carrot and galangal slaw
Sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi
Lentil and spinach pie
A stir-fry of greens and mushrooms
Duck with ginger and citrus
Espresso and dark chocolate ice cream
Chicken, olives and lemon
Dark chocolate discs with rose petals
Savoury apple crumble
Black pudding in pastry with mustard sauce
A goat's cheese and onion tart
A nettle rabbit
Roast lamb with garlic leaf butter
A couple of pots of lemon curd
A heavenly parfait of orange and lemon
Rabbit with tarragon
A salad of radishes and spring onions
Five-spice chicken and pea shoot salad
A salad of spring lamb, lemon and olives
Crab and coriander cakes
Spring chicken with young garlic leaves
Smoked haddock, mussel and leek chowder
Lamb and mushroom flatbreads
Little spring onion omelettes
Cauliflower soup, roasted hazelnuts
A warm tart of crab and tarragon
Spring lamb steaks, minted potatoes
Herbed salmon
Asparagus with lemon and herb sauce
Japanese pork and cabbage dumplings
Rhubarb with butterscotch sauce
Frittata of peas and spring herbs
Soft lettuce and hot bacon salad
Spiced bread and butter pudding, fried bananas
Aubergine, thyme and feta tart
Lmab cutlets, crumbs and anchovy
Spring carrots, herb sauce
Grilled sirloin with sweet-chilli dipping sauce and Chinese greens
Spiced lentils, mint labne
Cheese, ham and apple muffins
Sausage and egg hash
Baked chicken with wheat and dill
Asparagus tarts with lemon and creme fraiche
A mint and raspberry sugar for strawberries
Gooseberry crumble cake
Chicken with apricots and coconut milk
A sweet cherry salad
Chicken tarragon mayonnaise
Cherry almond crumble
A salad of crab, avocado and lime
A warm jam of gooseberries and strawberries
A risotto of spelt and pea shoots
Wheat with mint and Alphonso mango
A salmon and spinach tart
Salmon and dill patties
Roast chicne, herb and asparagus rice
Orecchiette with aubergine, basil and lemon
Iberico ham, broad beans
Chicken wings and hot sauce
Mussel soup with tomato and basil
Pork chops and gooseberry sauce
Pasta, peas and parmesan
A cold noodle and tomato salad
Tomato and basil bruschetta
A dish of brown rice, courgettes and mint
Plum and almond tart
Tuna, pickled ginger and cucumber salad
A plum water ice
Roast plums, gin and juniper
A latticework pie of plums and raspberries
Smoked salmon and cucumber spread
Grilled lamb with lemon harissa
Mozzarella salad with tomato crumbs
Thyme and garlic chicken wings
Carrot and cockle soup
A peach pie with lemon pastry
Roast tomatoes, thyme and goat's cheese
A thyme and lemon cake
Baked chicken with tomatoes and olives
Elderberries and apples for breakfast
Elderberry and apple pancakes
Grilled aubergine, roast garlic cream
Chicken livers, chestnut mushrooms and toast
Baked greengages, sugar-crusted almonds
Chocolate damson cake
Butter bean tomatoes
A dark and sticky fruit chutney
Chicken, leek and parsley pie
Apricot couscous
Victoria traybake
Baked peppers, summer sauce
A salad of plums, lentils and coppa
A lentil and pumpkin souo-stew
Broad bean, feta and spinach pie
Baked squid with chilli tomato sauce
An autumn-coloured bean chutney
Tarts of leeks and cheese
Blackberry ice-cream cake
Courgette fritters with tomato and rosemary sauce
Courgetts with goat's cheese and toast
A pudding for autumn
Chard and feta tart
Roast pork and rocket salad with lemon and olives
Roast lamb and tomato salad
Slow-cooked oxtail with five-sice and tamarind
Poached pears with cream cheese and ginger sundae
Baked tomatoes
Warm aubergine tarts
Grilled figs with marsala
A mild and fruity curry of salmon
Courgette and ricotta tart
Five-spice squid
Orzo with courgettes and Grana Padano
Mushroom with creme fraice and mozzarella pizza
A simple pear tart
A slow-cooked rabbit with herbs
Pear and chocolate oat crumble
Lamb 'osso buco' with parsley-pappardelle
Chocolate and roasted nut tart
Bacon chops, cabbage and apple
Pork cooked with bay and milk
Apples with maple syrup
Duck breasts with damson-gin and duck-fat potatoes
Rib-ragout with pappardelle
Pork with pears and cream
Brussel sprouts, bacon and almonds
Baked potatoes, rillettes and rosemary
A savoury pumpkin pie
Venison with sweet-sour chard
Blackberry and hazelnut friands
Fig and hazelnut loaf for cheese
Poached quinces with goat's cheese
Banana trifle
A pear and hazelnut cake
A pie of mushrooms and spinach
Salmon soup
Tomato fish broth
Slow-baked sausages
Parsnip and potato croquettes
Angel hair noodles, chicken broth and chives
Chocolate hazelnut slice
A Christmas posset
Butter bean 'cassoulet'
Orange and pomegranate cake
Rarebit puffs
Mincemeat cheesecake
A casserole of oxtails and prunes
Roasted roots with vin cotto
Roast pork belly with pomegranate molasses
Roast duck with apples, clementines and prunes
A coarse pork and fruit terrine
Salmon marinated with beetroot, dill and orange
A salad of celeriac, soured cream and mustard for the salmon
Mincemeat and orange trifle
Roast goose with chickpeas, lemon and stuffing
A hot salmon for Christmas
Potato and onion saute
Brandy snaps
Christmas bubble and squeak
Sweet soup and sizzling salad
A way with leftover turkey
Mincemeat hot cakes
Tamarind fish curry
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on 27 September 2012
I bought this book expecting to read a few nice recipes and not much else BUT the I absolutely fell in love with the whole concept of this book along with all of the recipes. Simple food cooked well, food in season, making memories, nostalgia, beautiful photography and it actually reads like a diary. I also read the passage on blackberrying to my children (6 & 4) which they loved, we went blackberrying soon after and made one of the recipes which they adored, a memory which will I will keep forever. Its a romantic view on simple food, one to sit down at the table and try a few recipes with family and friends, this is how we should all eat....
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I dithered for ages before buying the second volume of Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. not because I have anything against Nigel Slater, rather the opposite. I have most of his other books plus a huge collection of cuttings from the Observer and that was my problem. I was not sure that these diaries would have anything new to say. At least, that was one problem. The other was the fact that because it has been such a lousy summer, I have spent a small fortune on cookery books from foreign, warm and sunny countries.Did I really need another?

Yes, I did! I had a look through a friend's copy and succumbed. Nigel Slater always has something new and interesting to say.

Trying to define why I like his books so much has made me think about attitudes to food and cooking. There are a lot of cookery programmes on the box and loads of books by celebrity chefs, but still very few British people cook their own food, preferring ready-meals, and I think it is because the idea of cooking is mostly recipe led and this can seem both too prescriptive and difficult.

Nigel Slater's philosophy is:
What have I got in the cupboard, garden, local shop that tastes good?
What can I do with it?

His books are full of ideas about what you can do with ingredients. This means that you can learn from his books and start to play with ingredients yourself rather than being reliant on somebody else's recipes. It means that you can look at the contents of your fridge and larder with confidence knowing that you will be able to produce something, not only edible, but delicious. The index for ingredients is excellent.

Again, stating the obvious, because it is a diary the recipes are seasonal. So look at today's date. What's Nigel cooking? If you go to the shops you are bound to be able to find the ingredients. Frequently, he will suggest alternatives so that you can experiment with new flavour combinations.

In addition, this book is full of anecdotes, odd facts and observations. It passes my test for a good cookery book -
* the recipes are delicious and are clearly explained
* it is interesting to read
* it is beautiful to look at with glorious photographs.
- with flying colours.
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on 5 October 2012
think the title says quite a lot, as I am a cookbook obsessive and really if I could only have one, I think it would be this one.
NIgel has a wonderful, chatty companionable writing style that makes you want to be in the kitchen as he potters about. I love that he is not dictatorial or bossy, he actively encourages experimentation and changes to his recipes based on taste, time and experience levels.
None of his recipes are overly complex but all taste amazing. His love for good food over fussy food makes his writing a genuine pleasure to spend a lot of time reading and it will be a lot of time, the book is huge!!!
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on 22 October 2012
There is something about Nigel Slater's style of cooking and style of writing that just makes you want to get into the kitchen. He doesn't try to be a 'chef' - he is a home cook and therefore the recipes will be fairly easy and simple to follow but always the result is fabulous. It is the sort of book you will pick up time and again. I'm still doing that with the first one - I bought that as soon as it came out. It makes you smile
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on 3 October 2012
I would have been perfectly happy to pay the full price for this book - it is a joy to behold. The artistic production of the book is exquisite and one knows that a lot of time has gone into writing it. As for the food, 'simple' would give the wrong impression. Wholesome, nutritious and a delight to eat might come a tad closer. Nigel's food is 'food for the people' in a way only he could present. He deserves the reviews he has received: the book is, undoubtedly, a British treasure.
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on 25 September 2012
I couldn't contain my excitement when I got home this evening to find Nigel's latest book on my doorstep!
I look forward to opening a new book from Nigel Slater like a child looking forward to opening their presents on Christmas Day. I have a complete collection of Nigel Slater books, use them regularly, and yet again, this book does not disappoint. It is beautiful to look at and handle, has the most evocative and sensual photography, and is full of words of wisdom in Nigel's comforting yet infectious style.
It should keep me busy curled up on the sofa for several days, and busy in the kitchen for years to come...
Thanks again Nigel!
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on 14 March 2013
There's no-one quite like Nigel. His books are works of literature with the recipes presented as an integral part of his day to day life. Never prescriptive like other food writers, he has the knack of making the reader feel as if they are in the company of a kindred spirit. Like the rest of us, the daily meal is often a case of what he can summon up from the ingredients already present in his fridge or store cupboard. There is no pretentious demanding that we source obscure foodstuffs or equipment (no 'sous vide' cuisine here). This is cooking as we know it but with an inherent sense of what taste marries best with another, using tried and tested methods. It's rather like discovering that your grandmother, the best cook you've ever known, who could perform miracles with a cheap cut of meat and some lumpy fresh veg, actually did write down all her best recipes. However, in the writing, Grandma has added a huge dash of flair that you never dreamt she was capable of.

Nigel, of course, is very UNlike Grandma in most ways; his recipes are comfortable, reassuring and straightforward, but different enough to inspire the most reluctant cooks into believing that they can achieve something excellent in the kitchen. Perhaps more than anything else, Mr Slater understands the vagaries of human moods and the way in which food can make a good time even better or can soothe away the worst of a miserable day.. In either case, the food is never less than memorable and above all, achievable!

To the best of my knowledge I now have every cookbook he's written, as well as his autobiography and 'observational'
writings on fondly remembered foods of his earlier years. As well as mood, Nigel understands how food can impinge in a major way on memory and how taste and smell can transport us back through time in an instant. Long may he keep on cooking and writing,. No-one understands better how central food is to a life well lived!
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on 11 February 2013
The book is beautiful, well printed, good pics, great quality paper and, after all, it is Nigel! I love Nigel Slater and the way he uses words. He is just so normal and I would love him to be my dinner guest.
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