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A lot of people seem to find Tamasin Day-Lewis frighteningly elitist. She isn't the sort of person to wander into the supermarket to buy a ready-meal for supper, and she is messianic about the quality of ingredients, advocating organic produce. In the introduction to this book she says "I am no purist hardliner", although I suspect many would regard her approach as pretty purist. That said, I love her style of cooking even if I don't always, or even, often use organic vegetables - let's face it the recipes will still work even if the ingredients are not organic. She has a go at some TV chefs who, she says, 'short-change' us by showing us how we can prepare meals quickly. I disagree with her there - I would sooner people cooked something from scratch than always buy pre-prepared food. I am a keen cook but, like most people, don't always have the time to linger in the kitchen so a really quick Nigel Slater/Jamie Oliver/etc recipe is sometimes exactly what I need. Where I do agree with TDL is that cooking is a pleasurable activity "as can be planning, shopping, reading cookery books, deliberating, telephoning a friend for a recipe, or even that most evanescent of things, inspiration; checking out the cupboard, the larder, the fridge, the vegetable garden." This book, in particular, is a potterer's dream.

The recipes are influenced by the cuisine of countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the countries of the Far East, and India. Here are a few recipes to give you an idea of what to expect: sweet potato & coriander soup; chickpea soup with pasta; pepperoni alla siciliana; stuffed vine leaves; smoky aubergine & white bean purée, which combines two of my favourite ingredients, aubergine and cannellini beans; potted shrimps; slow-roasted tomato tarts; roasted butternut squash with mushrooms & cream; a tomato cream ring which makes a wonderful light summer lunch dish; roast cod with braised puy lentils & roasted veg; monkfish steeped in saffron milk with a Romesco sauce; another monkfish dish is served with a lemon & caper sauce; leg of lamb braised with haricot beans; grillade of lamb breast. There is venison, veal, chicken, pork (including roast leg of pork with a spiced orange rub cooked with sweet potatoes) as well.

There is plenty to suit vegetarians too, although in some recipes you may need to substitute one or two ingredients. By way of example, there are pancakes layered with mozzarella & tomato sauce or with pesto & mozzarella; butternut squash gnocchi. There is a number of bread recipes, various desserts and cakes including chocolate & raspberry pudding cake with chocolate ganache; chocolate & chestnut marquise; Armagnac & orange apricots; spicy doughnuts with fresh mango & lime; Queen of puddings (I hadn't had that in years until getting this book) and lemon & cardamom cake. There are a number of jellies of which my favourite is clementine, passion fruit & Muscat. There is also the odd preserve including a nice chilli jam.

Off the top of my head I can't recall any ingredients, apart obviously from fresh seasonal produce, which were difficult to find or which I didn't have in my store cupboard.
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on 17 June 2015
Excellent book by a great writer
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on 20 November 2016
What a load of pretentious nonsense.
The caramelized apple cake recipe does not work.
She thinks buying over priced ingredients will result in good cooking.
Save us from these people with more money than sense.
How I long for good home cooking without pretension.
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on 27 May 2007
I've been a big fan of Tamasin's and I find her recipes as well as her commitment to organic ingredients (and supporting local suppliers) to be really inspiring.

Here's what is great about this cookbook. First, the recipes are remarkably varied. You have everything from leeks and arborio rice in phyllo pastry to the truly divine Chocolate Espresso Cake. Nothing is particularly fussy; the directions are very clear and Tamasin's comments on each recipe not only helps to establish some context (why this recipe was chosen, where she got it, etc.) but also gives generally very useful information about the dish itself.

I don't find Tamasin bossy in the slightest. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. She's committed to excellence. What's wrong with that?

Really good cookbook and, if you are considering it for your very first of Tamasin's books, an excellent choice.
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on 17 February 2003
I have to confess to being a fan of Tamasin Day-Lewis' persona as much as of her cooking. The magnificently bossy matriarch who insists on the best, organic ingredients for her recipes and whose TV show sees her living a comfortingly unapologetic posh life is absolutely the antidote we need to the goons who populate most cookery programmes (and thus, it would seem, cookery books). Tamasin reminds us that it can be the process, as much as the end result, that provides the real pleasure of cooking. That is not to say that she is an advocate of fiddly, difficult recipes and fancy presentation: on the contrary, her dishes are as hearty, flavoursome and satisfying as you could wish. Where she has the edge over so many of her contemporaries is that (in this, as with her other books) she has produced a collection that you want to get round to cooking in its entirety. Weekend cooking it may be, but I can think of no other book that I would be happier to cook from, from beginning to end.
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on 7 May 2010
When I have time, I love to spend ages over a recipe. I don't mean endlessly fussing or indulging in really tricky technique, but rather that I find it relaxing to slice vegetables while listening to the radio or give a pot an occasional stir as it simmers gently on the hob. This book is full of recipes that can be pottered over, rather than frenetically rushed. As other reviewers have said, the variety is surprising and includes some real treasure. My family particularly likes chicken savoyarde, chicken charmoula and Troo style cabbage (not sure my arteries agree). We tried the 17th Century Mantuan chicken dish just because it looked so improbable and it turned out to be a really tasty summer dish, perfect for our casual outdoor dinner. Lemon risotto is another family favourite. Having scored some pigs trotters at the local market a few weeks ago, I finally got round to making jambon persille. It wasn't as picturesque as in the book, but it tasted gorgeous and I will definitely make it again. I can't claim to have tried very recipe in this book yet, but I've surprised myself with how many I have made. What's more, there are a fair number that I've made over and over again. That makes this book unusually successful by my fickle standards.
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on 22 October 2012
I am a great fan of TDL and this book is no exception. Even the simplest recipes such as the stuffed peppers are sublime. In fact "Good Tempered Food" is so good that I bought a second copy to take on holiday to a villa in Spain. The only problem being that one of my accompanying friends " borrowed" it and I have not seen it since. Some of my absolute favourites are:caramelized apple cake with calvados, rich chocolate brownies, lemon and cardamom cake, focaccia with potato, thyme, gruyere, roast hake steaks with poor man potatoes. In fact everything in this book is fab. Tamasin simply has the knack of making food interesting, exciting and more to the point easy to do!. Go buy, you will not be disappointed.
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on 9 May 2014
This book arrived on time and in good condition, Full of fresh ideas, I love the way Tamasin Day Lewis gets you try teniques you might not normally want to.
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on 20 December 2014
good buy
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on 23 April 2006
Am I alone in finding Tamasin Day-Lewis hugely irritating?

Far from being the lovable "bossy matriarch" living an unapologetic posh life in the previous review, I see her as a hard-faced and forced personality wringing as much as she can commercially out of her very modest talents in writing and TV presenting.

Her narrative writing is so flat it's hard to be interested in her anecdotes - so you're left with the recipes which, with their hefty emphasis on choosing organic and specialist producers, and her oft-repeated (but unqualified and unexplained) "the best ..." epithet, are frustrating and difficult.

Everything seems to me to contain at least three more ingredients than it would need to be delicious rather than confusing.

Jamie Oliver might come across as a chav, but he is at least self-deprecating and has a natural sense of humour, and his recipes work.
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