3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Year in My Kitchen (Hardcover)
I think there's truth in all the reviews. This isn't an open-and-go cookbook, but it is very lovely, and if you enjoy a wet afternoon pottering in the kitchen, it can find a place, even in a single, working person's cooking. I bought it beguiled by the styling and the sound of the recipes. When I realised that to get started on many of the recipes you had to concoct the "tool-box" elements first (slow-cooked red onions, slow-cooked tomatoes, braised lentils, various oils, the divergently maligned and praised spice mix), the book went on the shelf for a while. But a couple of weekends ago, I had that afternoon pottering. Nothing was particularly difficult, and for a fortnight afterwards, I've been having delicious remains, and various new recipes pulled from the book that have been very swift to prepare with the toolbox elements already in the fridge - brilliant morale-boost on getting home late. I haven't died from eating 10-day-old red onions or basil oil, but obviously different people are variously sensitive (over-anxious?) when it comes to smell-it-and-see food testing. The index isn't very helpful with regard to using the tool-box, so I've been through and annotated mine, which makes it much more practical - you do want to have all the ways of using this stuff listed. The recipes: most are delightful, some, as others have said, not completely original, but they're all very fresh and very evocative of the seasons. NB, not everything relies on the toolbox. Gyngell's tone can be hectoring: "last night's roast chicken simply will not do", lends to the, "Go away, I'm a working woman, so have some understanding that last night's roast chicken is *exactly* what I'll be using", response. However, I can overlook that for the beauty of the book, and I'm enjoying being inspired by it for a month, despite having limited time for cooking. If cooking is a hobby, you like the thrift of combining elements in different ways over consecutive days and are uplifted by seasonal food, this book is pretty good. If not, not!