Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has become widely known as a broadcaster for his uncompromising commitment to real food and honest home cooking. His three series for Channel 4 -- most recently River Cottage Forever -- have earned Hugh a huge popular following. His most recent book, THE RIVER COTTAGE COOKBOOK, scooped the top food writing awards in 2002, winning the Glenfiddich Trophy, the Andre Simon Food Book of the Year and the Guild of Food Writers' Michael Smith Award. Hugh lives in Dorset with Marie and their son Oscar.
`River Cottage Everyday' brings recipes that are a bit different than the normal ordinary everyday cookbook; although these could be served day after day and also for some special occasions too.
There are some excellent descriptions in the differences between cooking oils and flours. There are many pictures of the recipes and ones illustrating Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's narrations of his cooking experiences. Entertaining line drawings are added into many of the pages.
He introduces each section, which include recipes for; making breakfast, bread, lunch boxes, fish, thrifty meat, vegetables, which includes soups, fruit and treats. These are recipes that are a bit geared to European tastes and cooking rather than the heavy American comfort food. They are healthy and make use of fresh ingredients and provide some great alternatives for ordinary cooking. Hopefully you would have a taste for thyme, since many of the recipes seem to lean heavily on this seasoning. There are many delicious smoothie recipes and some interesting healthy alternatives for lunch. Surprising hits with our family have been; kippers with smashed new potatoes, scotch broth salad, slow roast beef brisket with potatoes and onions, salad of baby peas ricotta and green onions, green beans with tomatoes, stuffed butternut squash and especially his version of Eton mess with raspberries. That will give you an idea of some of the types of food that you can find in this book
The recipes are clearly written and printed out, with enough white space around them, that even when a page has 3 on it, one can read and interpret what you should be doing very easily. This would provide an interesting addition to many cookbook collections.
Was this review helpful to you?
I just finished reading through this cookbook and intend to put many of these recipes to use. I wanted to say that the author makes a point of saying, *before* the chapter on meats, that he is interested in helping folks put to use some of the less expensive odder cuts of meat with which they may find themselves. He is also British, which I think changes what is readily available for him. I think you have to keep that in mind. If you are a family who has ever purchased a quarter or half of a beef (we have, this is common in our rural area), then you know exactly what he is talking about...you get the tongue, the heart and other things that many of us Americans don't really know how to cook. I think this is his intention, to allow these cuts to be enjoyed. So I think the "devilled lamb hearts" example of a previous reviewer, while it does make a point--this kind of cuisine is not for everyone--is probably the most extreme example in the book and ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
I found myself really loving the recipes, most of which do not require an insane number of ingredients, though some substitutions for Americans might be necessary--but he often addresses this with variations or notes already! His vegetable recipes are particularly inspiring to me, as are some of the breakfasts (portabellos on toast!). I think this is a nice cookbook for someone who wants to put a little more thought and gourmet variety into their "everyday" cooking and mix things up a bit. I could see a number of these recipes making it onto our family table frequently, and we are cooking for 2 adults and 5 kids (including 3 teenagers).
I have to admit that I buy more cookbooks than is truly practical and unfortunately I often don't cook as many recipes as I should from the books I purchase. Unlike some that I currently own, this cookbook has so much more than pretty pictures and interesting ideas - a bit unlike High's earlier books the recipes in "river cottage every day" are practical day-to-day undertakings and can be accomplished by the home cook in a reasonable amount of time. His focus on seasonal cooking and fresh produce make this a year round winner - there are of course many recipes that take advantage of the summer and fall bounty of crops but these are balanced by a wealth of appealing recipes to carry the cook trough the less abundant winter and early spring seasons. The hand drawn images that are strewn throughout the book bring whimsy and unique detail to Simon Wheeler's beautiful photos. I am on a mission to cook through this book and so far have made the chicken and mushroom casserole with cider, roast beef, six seed soda bread, seedy spinach salad, and beef with mustardy lentils and mint - all included enough direction for the novice cook while leaving room for more experienced practitioners to improvise, some recipes even include variations. I are very much looking forward to experimenting with home made sourdough and fish curry (likely leading to fish curry pies) this coming weekend and am excitedly anticipating tackling many more of the books recipes in the coming months.
Was this review helpful to you?