Saturday, 13 February 2010

Book review: My Favourite Ingredients

By Skye Gyngell
Published by Quadrille

After the success of A Year in My Kitchen, the chef of Petersham Nurseries Café in Richmond, Surrey, comes back with a new and delightful cookbook, My Favourite Ingredients. A great addition to every kitchen that will ensure the success of any dinner with family and friends.

Skye Gyngell explains her ‘produce driven’ approach to cooking and introduces us to sixteen of her key ingredients, which include asparagus, cherries, tomatoes, nuts and cheese. From the first few words of a beautifully written introduction, we learn about her development as a chef and her continuous discovery of new varieties and nuances of known ingredients.

The recipes that make up this classy volume have clear instructions and follow a popular and healthy concept of sustainability. Admitting that fresh produce tastes better than fruit or vegetables that have flown around the world before landing on your kitchen table, the talented chef shows us how to skilfully match ingredients that grow in the same time of year. ‘Nature,’ she writes ‘cleverly provides perfectly balanced partners’.

Page after page you can find chick pea and chard soup, squash and tomato curry with lime and coconut, aged pecorino with raw sprouts, celery and speck and many other delicious sounding meal ideas. And if the names of these recipes were not mouth-watering enough, the splendid photographs by Jason Lowe, with their warm colours, are the finishing touch that make this book a pleasure to browse and turn to for inspiration.

My Favourite Ingredients, with its simple and practical layout, is not only a collection of recipes. Skye Gyngell accompanies you during every step of the process, from selecting the best products in the shops to preparing them before cooking. Handy tips and mini lessons on the best practices are intertwined with anecdotes from her childhood in Australia and from her working life. It will be like chatting with a friend who won’t take the merit for your delicious meals!

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