Friday 14 March 2008

A Year in My Kitchen

A Year in my Kitchen by Skye Gyngell has just been published in paperback by Quadrille. The hardcover (which is what I have) was the winner of the 'Cookery Book of the Year' at the Guild of Food Writers Awards 2007. It really is beautiful, the photography by Jason Lowe is fantastic, but I'm not sure it will be that easy to cook from - it is so beautifully produced that I doubt you would want it anywhere near your kitchen for fear of grubbing it up. Maybe best to be extravagant and get the hardback for the coffee table and the paperback for the kitchen.

The best bit is the 'toolbox' at the beginning which Gyngell describes as 'the nuts and bolts' of her cooking and it's a really useful reference for everything from herbs and lemon zest to tea-smoking and roasted spice mix. This is great for referencing but also for those flash moments (and please tell me I'm not the only one) of stupidity in the kitchen when you just can't work out how something is supposed to be used.

Although I did a Cordon Bleu cookery course (at the Tante Marie school of Cookery) I am an incredibly fussy eater and this book is pretty taste specific. The emphasis throughout is on flavour and the best use of seasonal foods - which, like the fantastic The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen by Nigel Slater, means that if you are having a complete blank on what to cook you can dip in to the appropriate season and see what could be cooking in Gyngell's kitchen. Spring brings 'Broad beans with mint, ricotta and crisp Parma Ham', for summer 'tea smoked fillet of wild salmon with pickled cucumber salad, autumn has it's own coleslaw whilst winter holds 'pan fried scallops with horseradish cream and winter leaves'. Sound tasty? then this is the book for you. And whilst these may sound quite showy and complicated this is one of the calmest cookery books I've read (probably helped by the aforementioned fantastic photography).

This is the perfect present for any foody - an really great treat to yourself. xx

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