Sunday 3 January 2010

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String…and hopefully a cookery book with lots of fabulous pictures inside it!



Isn’t that what we all hope for at Christmas? And maybe no-one buying us the same one?! Well, I was lucky enough to receive 3 fantastic books this year, all of which are lovely in their own way. I’d given huge hints about ‘Coco’, and if you’re a foodie and you haven’t flicked through this huge tomb, you really should! It’s a collection of some of the world’s top chefs and their recommendations of other chefs they value. The book is ordered alphabetically through the 100 contemporary chefs, detailing their food, restaurant, and key recipes. For each of the 100, one of ten ‘leading masters’ introduces them and each leading master corresponds to a coloured ribbon in the book! The last section showcases classic dishes by each of the leading chefs. Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse are included in the leaders, with chefs such as Jason Atherton, Tristan Welch, Tom Kitchen, Theo Randall and Glynn Purnell named as a handful amongst the hundred. As well as an interesting flick through, it also serves as a cookery book and restaurant guide! What more could you ask from this work of art?

My other two books were both Nigel Slater. Now, I now some people find his television programmes a little laboured, slow and over produced, but that’s exactly what I like about them! They’re artful, beautifully shot, gentle and interesting. And I really do care how and where he grows his food. ‘Tender’ is a collection of ‘things to do with things you’ve grown’, and like Coco, is ordered alphabetically, this time detailing vegetables, not chefs. Each chapter then explains how he has grown his, gives ideas as to the different varieties, then suggestions for cooking it and using it in recipes. The photography is plain and understated, with an emphasis on the food itself. Calm and gentle.

‘Kitchen Diaries’, as my hubby pointed out, is a blog through Nigel’s year of food. He comments on what has been eaten and cooked when, the photos being taken in ‘real-time’ after the dish has been cooked and before being eaten! If he’s anything like me, the food will rarely be hot after the time spent getting the photography right, but then, his photographer is probably more skilled than me! Again, there are recipes throughout the book, but it’s the ‘chat’ I like best, and the pictures, and the fact it’s a signed copy! I’m going to try to read it day by day, but as it begins with New Year’s Day, I’ve a little catching up to do. He hasn’t written an entry for every day though, so I should make good time.

All that’s left for me to say is Happy New Year to you all, and I hope you enjoy cooking and trying some of the ideas posted here in the next few months. If you’ve got any of the books I was given for Christmas, you can keep one step ahead!

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Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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