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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 June 2014
A great chef and a good read with some receives different to the norm. I was very pleased with this book
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on 9 May 2014
This is an amazing book . It had a glowing recomendation from my Niece so I thought I would buy it and give it a go . I was amazed at the very inovative way she has with food. I've done the crab trifles which is a bit of a take on prawn cocktail, but they look amazing and taste fab,I used this quirky recipie to do an assiette of starters for one of my long relaxing get togethers that last a few hours. And I highly recommend the salads.

Great book give it a go.
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Straight away this book has seemed to spark controversy in some quarters. The front cover features a woman with a dead pig over her shoulders, not quite how a fox fur would be worn, yet there is nothing controversial, campaigning about the picture.

It is almost a serene, respectful scene. Nothing more, nothing less. The author, a renowned chef who was born in England but escaped to the United States, clearly likes her pigs - one of her restaurants is even named after a pig. A good chef will respect their ingredients and if an animal, they will obviously care about the animals welfare before they make their journey to table. Why do anything different?

This is quite a personal work of love for the author, more than just a recipe book, yet it is not so autobiographical first and recipes second. Maybe the author's life and personality starts to come out through the eclectic mix of recipes. Not just porky goodness but the whole gamut of food... even vegetables.

Sometimes one gets the impression that books of this kind are a little too navel-gazing for the author, one of those things a chef "has" to do at a certain time, i.e. issue a book, and thus a lot of the text accompanying the recipes is filling - like sawdust in a cheap sausage. In this book, it doesn't feel like that. There is just some form of harmony. A culinary ying and yang if you will.

Certainly reading about the author's life and her philosophy to her art helps take her food into another, more personable dimension. The author just has a sort of devil-may-care, unplanned rebellious streak that is truly subconscious. Good food often takes discipline (right recipe, right ingredients, etc.) yet on the other hand things like precision are eschewed. Yet it works. Formality and pomposity is similarly given a bit of derision for good measure. Whatever you feel, there is balance here, it makes sense to the author and it will no doubt make sense to you once you get on to the same wavelength.

Even the book's signposting and organisation in some ways shouts planned rebellion yet there is no call for change or doing something, well differently. Sure there is organisation but can you see a thread? Recipes are split into sections, namely breakfast; nibbles; big bowls of soup; well-dressed greens and things; meat without feet; birds; cow; a little lamb; fine swine; the not-so-nasty bits; veg; potato and friends: sweets; dressings, sauces and condiments; a couple stocks and libations. See. No real thread. No chronological order. Yet ... well, this reviewer understands. So maybe it is the "rest of the world" who is at fault if they just don't get this. It is really, really hard to describe.

Even taking a recipe at random - in this case the first one: pancakes with bacon and chilli. Chilli for breakfast? Yet why not? In fact it can be a very nice balance. This book is full of these unfamiliar things and of course some of the more familiar to boot, but do look carefully for hidden differences.

Each recipe is surrounded by lots of chatter - there is no other word for it and this is not being disrespectful. It is like having a loud-mouthed, good-natured Brummie (a person, like the author, from the Birmingham area of England) just talking and telling you things as you go along. It doesn't feel stilted. You are learning whilst (hopefully) having fun. But if there was a test at the end you might struggle to know what you have specifically learned thanks to the structured, unstructured-ness (if there is such a word) to it all. The recipes are easy to follow, challenging but not necessarily hard. Would it be fair to say a positive experience possibly unlike others you will have.

Now, usually at this point YUM would note with disdain if the recipes fail to give an approximation of the preparation and cooking times. What's the point here? No doubt the author wouldn't keep to them - even in a professional kitchen the sense is that the timer might be buried beneath a pile of cloths - intuition rules OK.

So either the author has found a great niche for a book of this kind which is, let's face it, not overly innovative (good chef writes book, adds bit of a life story, recipes etc). Yet it is innovative. Probably not by design either but by nature. So either the author and this reviewer are similarly "mad" (which is a possibility as we were both born relatively near to each other) or there is just a little something that will be shared with you once you start looking at the book.

Let time and your thought determine it. Even if for whatever reason you don't gel with the author and her style, the recipes will still be more than good enough to make this book a great buy. And if you can gel with the overall wavelength which is really, honestly not trying to get you to buy into something. Then well, boy!
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on 1 December 2012
I haven't cooked from this yet - waiting for my copy to come from Amazon - but I have spent some time looking at the recipes. I thought I wasn't going to like it. I am not a big meat eater - I like it well enough but not too often and not in large quantities.

Plus I guess I had a prejudice since we used to be lucky enough to spend some holidays in the West Village in Manhattan and walked past The Ginger Pig many, many times and talked about eating there. But I didn't much like the look of the noisy young trendies flocking into it (I am just a grumpy old man who likes to cook and eat and doesn`t much care about my clothes - the opposite of most of her clientele it seemed).

Anyway, earlier today I didn't look at a single meat recipe but I did look at the vegetables and the accompaniments - and was very impressed indeed. "innovative and straightforward" is not a bad description - lots of use of tomatoes and other vegetables prepared in ways that I had not seen before - some interesting blends of different cuisines. I haven't yet tried any yet obviously but I am looking forward to cooking from this when it arrives.

The book is easy to read and she is in no way "up herself" - very much the reverse. And it is a very nice piece of book production - well designed and laid out.

So - more later on the recipes when I have had a chance to try them. But full marks so far to April. Nice to see a Brit conquering Manhattan. Good luck to her!!

Only cooked one so far - roasted vegetables - very good - just a couple of additions to the standard methods which make all the difference. Tonight - roasted tomatoes and I will try the chard dish which sounds great - if I can find some decent chard.

Lined up are a lovely sounding lentil puree and a chickpea dish also. And a goat's cheese souffle which sounds as if even I can make it.

Really detailed description of how to segment lemons - something I have never seen explained in such detail and so clearly before.

I know, I know - where are the comments on the MEAT recipes. Soon I promise - I have to do my research and decide what to begin with.

And just one more general comment - lovely book, text around the receipes makes very interesting reading but also occupies a fair amount of space - so there are rather fewer recipes than I had thought. But still very much worth buying or borrowing.

A late PS many months later - at last I got to eat there. And it more than lived up to my expectations - and it was quiet. Bliss - glorious food and a very pleasant atmosphere - great service.
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on 7 May 2014
The book makes for pleasant reading as it is laid out differently to a standard recipe book. I love the anecdotes about April's life.
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on 8 May 2016
One of kind original cookbook the recipes are really yummy and well
Presented and well written altogether and with a sense of humour
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on 5 October 2016
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on 14 February 2013
Much liked by my Granddaughter. An ideal present to buy for a relative at uni. With a nice feel to the book and lots of good recipes for a hunggery student
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on 10 March 2013
I never found restaurants like this on visits, where we're they hiding back then in 2005? I was wondering what Americans make of this book all the way through, then I remembered reading that St. John's in London is booked out with Americans.
Lovely descriptions of things I already cook, but then wonderful new ideas and twists. A delight!
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on 12 June 2015
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