VINE VOICEon 31 August 2010
I quote from the book 'Leftovers are at the heart of this book. For example, you'll find delicious roast dinners followed by an abundance of ideas for things to do with the cold meat the next day. Diana's delicious recipes from all over the world, from Sicily to the Sahara, turn 'going without' on its head and make it a pleasure.'
This book is about taking more notice of our approach to food, how we use and how we waste it, and doing it in a delicious way. Diana has a lovely writing style; approachable and not at all preachy. Diana starts with an interesting introduction, encouraging us all to approach food in a caring, thoughtful way which can only serve to increase the pleasure we get from it. I feel I have an idea of what she's getting at here; there is a distinct satisfaction in having a roast dinner, turning the remains into a soothing risotto and boiling the carcass for soup. Don't start thinking that the book is all about eking the last bit of nutrition out of every potato peeling though, plenty of the recipes are standalone, and none of them feel overtly frugal. For me the recipes draw on influences all ready present in Diana's previous books - Moroccan, English, French, Asian - this really is a book that takes a bite of world cuisine. Virtually all the recipes come with at least 2 thorough variations.
Chapters and a few recipes are:
The roast and 'les restes':
Simple roast chicken with herbs - and 7 variations on roast chicken from Corfu roast chicken with sweet potatoes and cayenne, to Malaysian roast chicken. Recipes follow on chicken leftovers - Restorative chicken and parsley risotto, Vietnamese chicken with Nuoc Cham (a sauce), Chiang Mai chicken noodles, West Country chicken and ham pie; Greek chicken, pumpkin and feta pie; Chicken and toasted bread salad with raisins, pine nuts and capers, and Chicken, wild rice and bluberry salad. There is a similar theme through the other roasting meats.
Vegetable love - Herbed ricotta with summer veg; Courgettes with raisins, pine nuts and mint; Turkish carrots and lentils with herbs, Moroccan spiced roast squash and chiokpeas with minted onions, Sicilian braised vegetables with saffron pine ntus, raisins and capers.
Racing pulses - Lentil, redppeper and goats cheese salad, Spanish white beans with black pudding and chorizo, Split pea puree with Greek lemon and oregano chicken.
Good grains - Persian herb chialu; Sausage, radicchio and red wine risotto, Coconut rice pudding with candied limes, Spanish rice with pork and spinach.
Fine fish - Spanish baked bream, Fish pie with leek mash, Gurnard on crushed potatoes with olives, parlsey and lemon, Moroccan fish cakes, minted cucumber salad and hot sauce; roast mackerel on potatoes, lemon, garlic and thyme; Baked salmon with Scandinavian cucumber.
Choice cuts - Thorough descriptions of which cuts are best for which style of cooking. Lamb, black pudding and mustard hot pot, Crispy pork belly with potatoes, eggs and gribiche dressing; Mexican tinga poblana, Ham hock with parsley sauce and cabbage.
Soup, beautiful soup - Ethiopian spiced pumpkin soup, Parsnip and smoked haddock soup, Swedish spinach soup with egg butterballs.
Where the wild things are - Pheasant with beer, carrots and honey, Rabbit with mustard and tarrago, Elderflower and berry jellies, Blackberry and brown sugar loaf.
Sweet fruitfulness - Strawberry and lemon curd cake, Cherry and almond croutes, Gooseberry pots, Gooseberry meringue pie, Pear, almond and red wine cake.
Crusts and crumbs - Southern Italian cauliflower with dried breadcrumbs, capers and anchovies; Spring panzanella, Brown bread and whisky ice cream, wine-soaked autumn pudding.
Eggs is eggs - Alpine souffles, Menemen, Smoked cheddar and apple omelette, Peach and lavendar honey clafoutis.
Littered throughout with beautiful non-gloss pictures, this book is as much of a delight to read as the recipes are to cook. Dinner tonight was smoked haddock brandade with spinach and poached egg - delicious! Thank you Diana for another lovely book!