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on 4 November 2017
Excellent book and plenty to read in it from Mr Warner. Great attitude for life this lad. Vote Warner Brilliant Browns Books.
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on 31 October 2011
Valentine Warner is quite well known in food circles, he has made quite a few TV programmes, some scheduled on the satellite food channels as well as writing other books and he has a website (which has other recipes). He is an avid hunter/gatherer/forager type of cook...none of which apply to me I might add, but I could have easily made a lot of the recipes in this book without a hunt around the local woods or needing a trip to the local fishing lake. The notion of this book is very simple in that, what you are served and what you share at Valentine's table is 'good food' and judging by the recipes the title is spot on.

This book has a lot to offer most cooks and lovers of good food, it packs some lovely recipes, most of the recipes are supported by a photograph and the photography in this book is of a really good standard. It is truly crisp and colourful and lends a pleasing detail to all the illustrated recipes. This book describes the kind of food you just want to sit down and enjoy with your family, or curl up on the sofa with (like the 'toast as a vehicle' chapter...which I really loved, being a toast addict myself I never thought a food writer would devote a whole chapter to toast, I love it!). Other chapters include, meat, birds, fish and shellfish, veg and foraged food, bread, cheese and eggs, puddings and drinks. I could easily make most recipes in this book and they would easily suit our tastes here.

Although I have made two recipes from the puddings chapter, the savoury recipes are looking really good too, I have particularly earmarked the 'carne con chile', 'chicken stiffed with pearl barley, livers and walnuts', and 'mushrooms baked with hazelnuts and percorino' for future autumnal suppers.

This is a book I will readily use time and time again, particularly when cooking for others.
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on 15 October 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a bit of a foodie crush on Valentine Warner - he is a consummate writer and food lover and chef, and his enthusiasm and joy over food shines through on every page.

Pure fresh ingredients, with a mouth watering prose to match - this is a cookbook to read and enjoy, then to cook from.

Better still, sit back and have someone cook for you!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Valentine Warner has a wonderfully relaxed and friendly presentation style which translates beautifully to the written page. Every recipe has an interesting, anecdotal introductory paragraph telling us something of the author's personal relationship with a recipe or an ingredient. This makes it a wonderful book to sit and enjoy looking through.

This book harks back to the best selling cookbooks of the Seventies with large, full colour glossy photographs. The difference is that then the food looked too good to be true - glazes were perfect, pastries were glossy mirrors. Cream was probably shaving foam.
Photographer Jonathan Lovekin has given us food that actually looks like what we would put on our own tables when a recipe has turned out rather well. A few recipes have photographs of the food at different stages, which is a helpful touch.
The categories that recipes are placed under are typically Valentine - a little quirky and rather interesting. 'Veg and foraged foods' has delicacies such as wild ceps with chives and a very simple, but very good recipe for coleslaw.

There are enough familiar recipes to make this an excellent everyday cookbook and enough highly original meals to make the food a real talking point for a dinner party.
'The Good Table' is a lovely title that sums the book up nicely. The great thing is that with youth on his side there will hopefully be much more from Valentine Warner in years to come. Recommended - would make a great gift for a foodie.
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The idea of a recipe book should be simple, providing good food and easy instructions on how to cook it, many fail, fewer do it well and best do it fantastically. I am pleased to report that The Good Table lives up to every expectation providing great instructions to produce food with the personality of Valentine Warner and for those of you who remember the television series that accompanied his previous book What to Eat Now that is no mean feat to live up to. Each dish is presented with a picture on one side of the double page spread, a well separated and defined ingredients, an introduction to the dish and then easy to follow instructions. Think of your Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith or Nigella Lawson cookbooks for layout and then apply to it the interesting, modern and international use of food that Valentine Warner does so well and you have an idea of what to expect from this book.

There's nothing complicated here and everything I've tried so far has been relatively foolproof and come out excellent despite some initial reservations. So if your looking for a gift, family classics or just great food go ahead and purchase this book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 November 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a lovely retro feel book with an old fashioned cover and a marker ribbon. So far I like.

There is an expansive vegetarian section which was, in my view, better than the meat section, despite my being a confirmed carnivore (or maybe an omnivore, more accurately).

The New Potatoes with Stinking Bishop Cheese, Dad's Prawn Curry and Caeser Salad are top of my list and easy enough. I have already made the Mushrooms Baked with Hazelnuts and Pecorino (substituting Pecorino for a mixture of Stilton and Parmesan) and they were fabulous.

I loved the full colour photographs and easygoing writing style. I loved the dessert chapter and I loved the fish section.

However, one thing that puts me off cookbooks and makes them seem a little less accessible is the apparent need to list as many ingredients as possible in the title of the dish. It sounds so fussy and off putting. However, I cannot criticise Mr Warner for this as it goes on everywhere and has done for years.

So I will leave you to ponder the importance of Salt Pollock With Peppers, Oranges and Chickpeas, or the Sardines With Garlic, Coriander and Fennel Seeds AND Sherry Vinegar.

Or just turn to page 142 and make the Kedgeree.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautifully presented book in which Valentine Warner gives us a range of recipes from homely to foreign. The recipes are simply divided into the following chapters: Meat, Birds, Fish & Shellfish, Veg & Foraged foods, Bread/eggs & Cheese, Toast as as a vehicle, Puddings, Drinks. Valentine puts real love into the food he produces and cares, a lot, about how it is sourced.

Recipes include: Harira (a moroccan lamb, chicpea and tomato soup), Wild boar with juniper, Pork neck with clams & jerusalem artichokes, Chorizo in cider (very simple, I tried this and it is delicious!), Rabbit in mustard sauce, Mallard and cabbage, Pickled herrings, Warm smoked mackerel with celeriac remoulade, Tuna tartare, Cod with mussels and celery, Taramasalata, Paella, Watercress & gruyere souffle, Carrot & orange salad, Courgette soup with chard bruschetta, Beetroot ravioli, Gourd with cheese (a small squash with a goats cheese baked inside it - I will be trying this for lunch at work), Baked potatoes with garlic and cream (on this earth to know each other according to Valentine!), Swede apple and plum pickle, Pigeon with blackcurrants & bacon on toast, Mussels on toast, Tomatoes with Dijon mustard & cream on toast, Rhubarb & stem ginger fool, Mint granita, Apricot custard tart, Fresh blackberry & lemon sponge, Autmun trifle (pear, chocolate and red wine), prune and brandy creme brulee, Clementine cooler, Port cup, The best hot chocolate ever.

Valentine's cooking isn't fussy and fiddly. This is good food for eating with family and friends. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 21 September 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A summary like "gastro-pub fare" might sound negative, depending on your perspective, but I do mean that in a positive sense. The offerings are varied, ranging from British classics like Toad in the Hole, to more inventive (to my mind anyway) combinations like Pork Neck with Clams and Jerusalem artichoke, and includes puddings and drinks as well. Most of the recipes are pretty straightforward to make, although the ingredients list can be long in some cases. There are no tricky techniques or recipes with pitfalls - and so although the output looks and sounds pretty foodie and professional, I think the recipes are doable for anyone with a reasonable enthusiasm for cooking. Every recipe is accompanied by a photograph, which gives you a good preliminary indication of whether or not you might like to try it! It is broken down into the following headings: Meat, Birds, Fish & Shellfish, Veg and foraged foods, Bread eggs and cheese, Toast as a vehicle, Puddings and Drinks.

The only real criticism I would have (which many would not consider a criticism at all) is that there is no distinct theme to this book. It just seems to be a collection of the author's favourite recipes. Which I suppose is fair enough, but means it has to compete with lots of other recipes books also written by competent and adventurous cooks. I couldn't really state categorically that this book stands out in comparison to the wide array of cook books out there, but it does contain some very tasty-looking recipes, and is as good a vehicle for stimulating your cooking imagination as many others I have read.

I think with cookbooks, if there isn't a specific theme, the best thing to do is browse a few of the recipes and see if they appeal. This book has 350+ pages of very appetising recipes, so if a sample appeals to you, then you may consider this a good addition to your collection.
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on 17 November 2011
The introduction of this book is incredibly poetical. Valentine sets out to explain how The Good Table is his 'heart on a plate'. How gorgeous is that?

He explains how the table is the one piece of furniture that represents the home but also one that doesn't have to be in your own kitchen. A 'Good Table' could be 'any surface where food is eaten or prepared such as a sea wall, a large river stone or a picnic cloth'. He describes a plate of food as 'a plate seasoned with mood, stories, memories, lives, geography and natural history'. (I told you it was poetic).

It's clear that he's passionate about the produce and culinary traditions in the UK and that in order for them to 'remain an inheritance' he encourages us all to cook and indeed buy ingredients we don't know how to cook. 'Failure contributes to success' in his view and I'd have to say I agree. He also encouarges us to taste. To see how food changes on it's way to the table from the kitchen.

The book is beautifully photographed and divided into chapters entitled meat; fish and shellfish; veg and forgaged foods; toast; bread, eggs and cheese; puddings and drinks.

My favourite chapter was toast as a vehicle. I could have something on a different toasted bread for supper every night. In fact I do most nights and it's these meals that are sometimes the best I make - so this chapter just reinforces that good ingredients make a plate of food anywhere.

I also love the mix of recipes in this book. Some are incredibly simple and super quick like the Lemon Posset, Kale Salad, Raw Brussel Sprouts with Ricotta and Fried Ceps with Chives. Others are more complex but mostly because of the time needed and not the method. He includes many recipes from different countries but even these have a Britishness about them - Tandoori Partridge for example.

All the way through this book there are simple but wise words of encouragement which make this book #unputdownable. Truly - you could make something from here everyday. (But not the eggs in aspic. I'm really not sure why he threw that one in there).

Recipes I tried from this book can be found here: [...]
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on 28 November 2011
A stylish but slightly downbeat front cover hides a good-looking book. Earthily shot and beautifully written, it's a great read. Each recipe comes with a story - lively travel tales of where he came across the recipe, whether it's a Sri Lankan poacher, English trucker in Spain, or Mexican bank robbers (that last one's a joke, but you get the idea).
It's quite a macho recipe book with lots of tales of huntin' and shootin', fishin' for mackerel or campin' in -43 degrees. Despite that, many of the recipes feel do-able and don't rely on tricksy ingredients or having a spare week to prepare. However, it is a "foodie" book, and there are some recipes where the ingredients are hard to get hold of, or you may not have heard of them. But I don't mind that, I think it's a good way of educating us. If we didn't have chefs extolling the virtues of mackerel and pollock, we'd all still be eating ever-diminishing amounts of cod. He talks about herring milts (roes), which sound lovely ("The Russians may have caviar on blinis, we have milts on hot toast") which has inspired me,
It's quite a meaty book, but the veg recipes are surprisingly good too - endive in cream sauce with breadcrumbs sounds delicious, I'm more suspicious of the raw kale salad... I've already made one of his recipes, the easiest, of course. Cheese on toast. But this is cheese on toast with mustard, anchovy, worcester sauce and mayonnaise. (I know, mayonnaise. Crazy. But it worked).
I spent an hour lovingly going through the book on Friday, salivating. I then spent half an hour going through it thinking, "yes but what shall I cook for Sunday lunch with the kids?" and nothing jumped out. It was all a little bit too fiddly, or too challenging. So maybe not perfect for family food, but pretty good for everything else.
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