From Publishers Weekly
In this age of chemistry-experiment cooking, it's refreshing to remember that some chefs still find their greatest inspiration in the simplest of elements. In this readable, colorful volume, London chef Gyngell (Petersham Nurseries Café
) chooses 16 of her favorite foods and showcases their versatility with highly original recipes. Asserting that her cuisine is mostly produce-driven and seasonally sensitive, Gyngell cooks to highlight natural subtleties rather then wring unusual sensations with elaborate technique. Chapters are paeans to topics such as asparagus, leaves, and apples, beginning with lyrical yet informative descriptions of the ingredient at hand, including tips on preparation, selection, storage, and, in some cases, how to grow it at home. The simple dishes that follow are sophisticated yet easy to make (provided there's access to some of her more obscure ingredients like Malanca and partridge): an arranged plate of clementines, Medjool dates, pomegranates and honeyed almonds with a dab of mascarpone cheese; seared skirt steak with hazelnut and wilted escarole; a layered salad of peppery kohlrabi, sweet fresh crab and crisp apple. The result is an idiosyncratic cookbook, and, in her understated way, Gyngell has much to offer curious cooks. Photos. (Mar.)
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“Cookbooks are a bit like plays, in that the English seem to have a real knack for producing them, and send the best ones across the pond once they’re tried and tested. My Favorite Ingredients
by Skye Gyngell is yet another great new cookery book by a London-based writer. Gyngell, who is the chef at London’s acclaimed Petersham Nurseries Café, has arranged this book around 16 of her favorite ingredients such as “leaves” to “cherries” to “honey.” This quirky organizing principle makes the book feel very personal, like a good friend hanging out with you in the kitchen. Gyngell writes in her introduction: “Nature provides ingredients in the same season that go together perfectly.” Indeed, the recipes (many of which stem from the restaurant’s repertoire) are unquestionably refined, but they also feel somehow holistic and pure. The recipe for chicken with garlic and fennel, which results in a kind of herbal chicken bouillabaisse, is alone worth the price of the book.”
—The Daily Beast, Best Cookbooks of 2010, 12/4/10
"A great way to reinforce the beauty and logic behind the farm-to-table movement that drives so much of the food culture these days. . . .the variety of recipes—Cherry Cordial, Sauce Vierge, Kohlrabi, Lamb with Tomatoes and Horseradish Dressing—are interesting and unusual enough to have you cooking for a long time."
"From asparagus to chocolate, it's hard not to turn the pages and feel inspired."
—Apartment Therapy's TheKitchn.com, 3/30/10
"England's next great cookbook. . . . Our latest British cookbook obsession."
—TastingTable.com National Edition, 3/12/10
"Inspired by seasonal eating, Skye Gyngell has assembled her favorite ingredients and given them star treatment in casual, stunning recipes. The lush flavor combinations are daring but not at all fussy, and her mindful use of ingredients and simple techniques result in utterly embraceable food. . . .It's truly good food you can truly feel good about, and it's little wonder that Alice Waters adores her."
—AOL Slashfood.com, 3/11/10
“Cooking delicious food depends on the choice of ingredients. Skye understands this and insists on seasonal, ripe, and sustainably produced foods. This book is beautiful and important, emphasizing the quality of ingredients and simple cooking techniques.”
—Alice Waters, founder, Chez Panisse
“Skye so clearly adores her gorgeous ingredients that one almost forgets a recipe has actually been constructed. I see them more as deeply intelligent and respectful marriages that sing and dance off the page.”
—Simon Hopkinson, author of Roast Chicken and Other Stories