Monday, August 22, 2011

Six recipes to cook from . . . Everyday and Sunday

Anyone who thinks that books are dead should pick up a copy of Everyday & Sunday, the latest book from Guy Watson and Jane Baxter of Riverford Farm in Devon, Britain's best known veg box supplier.

The 362 pages are packed with imaginative recipes, mostly based on the veg the farm grows. As the name of the book suggests, they're divided into everyday and weekend meals (though I'd be more than pleased to have someone cook the midweek ones for me) and is divided up month by month.

So it's useful and practical but far more than that because 'Bax', as she's known to her friends, has plenty of attitude and a vigorous, engaging writing style. The pictures (by Ed Park) which are sparingly but tellingly used as are the illustrations by Leanne Shapton that open each chapter. It's a satisfyingly chunky, well-designed book and at £12.90 - the price Amazon is currently charging for it - an absolute steal.

So, which recipes? This is a tough one - so many of them appeal - but if I'm forcing myself to pick six let's start with

* French and Runner beans with sun-dried tomatoes, olives and basil (August, p 201)
A typical Bax recipe, simple, seasonal, slightly off-piste, with the helpful advice that the beans should be blanched until 'not al dente but squeaky when bitten'. I know EXACTLY what she means. Perfect for a runner bean glut

* Corn and courgette soup (September, p 233)
Another good idea for this time of year from one of Jane's co-chefs Anna Colquhoun who used to work at Chez Panisse. Thriftily the cobs are used to make a stock then the kernels are cooked with the courgettes, blitzed and the soup topped with a herb and chilli-flavoured butter.

* Chard, mushroom and walnut tart (September, p 244)
The answer to the problem of what to serve for an interesting veggie main. Great combination of flavours. Good tip that you can bake the filling in a gratin dish rather than in a pastry case which I suspect would be equally delicious

* Quick roasted cauliflower cheese (March, p.60)
Crème fraîche, mustard and gruyère instead of fiddly bechamel, no soggy cauliflower - a clever reinvention of this family favourite.

* New potatoes with crab, chilli, parsley and lemon (June, p. 144)
I normally make this sauce, as Jane does, with pasta but the chance to combine it with new potatoes is too good to miss

* Apricot brioche pudding (July, p. 187)
I've chosen this out of the many outrageously good desserts in the book simply because I tasted it at a demo Jane, Mitch Tonks and I took part in at the Dartmouth Food Festival last year. Basically it's an apricot bread and butter pudding. Gorg.

I could easily have picked out another six. And another . . .

What's really good about this book (and its companion volume, the award-winning Riverford Farm Cook Book) is that you could go off to the farmers' market and buy whatever produce looks most appealing without any clear idea what to do with it, bring it home and find a fabulous way to cook it. Now that's what you want from a recipe book.

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