Made in Italy: Food & Stories

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Giorgio Locatelli
The Observer, Sunday 24 September 2006

It took Giorgio Locatelli five years to put together his definitive, 600-page Italian recipe book and memoir, Made in Italy. Full of mouth-watering dishes from his home country, it’s got everything from delicious pasta and fish, to amazing risottos and meat.

My first feelings for cooking came from my grandmother, Vincenzina. But my first understanding of the relationship between food, sex, wine and the excitement of life came together for me very early on. I grew up in the village of Corgeno on the shores of Lake Comabbio in the north of Italy. My uncle and auntie, with the help of my granddad, built our hotel and restaurant, La Cinzianella, in the village in 1963. I helped out in the restaurant from the age of five until I got my first proper job in a kitchen when I turned 16. In Corgeno, there were eight founding families. The Caletti family, on my mother’s side, was one of them; and on my grandmother’s side, the Tamborini family, along with my cousins, the Gnocchi family, who have a pastry shop in Gallarate, near Milan – the speciality is gorgeous soft amaretti biscuits. It was in this shop that I got my first taste of an industrial kitchen – the ovens were so big that you could walk into them. I loved it. Continue reading ‘Made in Italy: Food & Stories’


Mexican Food Made Simple

If you love having friends and family round for dinner or simply rustling up fresh, fast food, Mexican cooking is fun, fantastic and full of flavour. One of its brightest stars, Wahaca chef and food writer Thomasina Miers shares the recipes she has gathered since she first fell in love with the country aged 18, reinventing the classics with accessible ingredients to demonstrate how exciting and delicious traditional Mexican food can be.

Whether you’re looking for street snacks full of punch, rich, hearty stews, or sensational, spicy wraps, Thomasina’s Mexican Food Made Simple is bursting with recipes you’ll want to eat and share: soft corn tacos and tostados; little cheesy things (Quesadillas); a great Mexican chille con carne; Grilled Seabass or succulent Lamb Chops with homemade salsas and tortilla chips; and to finish churros with chocolate sauce.

The book features vibrant food photography throughout, and step-by-step guides to folding the perfect burrito, eating a taco (no knives and forks allowed), making a sizzling table salsa, and much more. And with Thomasina’s guide to the world’s hottest Chillis, ingenious cheats, and helpful menu planner, Mexican Food Made Simple has everything you need to put together a fantastic Mexican feast at home.


‘Mexican food is one of the world’s great cuisines and there is no one I’d rather read on the subject than Tommi. I love her writing and the recipes in this book are wonderful too’

(Tom Parker Bowles, Market Kitchen )

‘When I read this book I wanted to cook from it immediately … then jump on a plane to Oaxhaca. Colourful and inviting, full of scrummy-looking and achievable recipes, it’s for anyone who likes their food vibrant, healthy and ballsy…just like the author!’

(Allegra McEvedy )

‘A world away from Tex-Mex sizzling fajitas with cheesy nachos, Thomasina Miers, former MasterChef champ and Wahaca restaurant founder, is bringing a large slice of genuine Mexico to the mainstream’

(Delicious )

‘Perfect for summer, this book from the MasterChef 2005 winner is full of easy flavourful recipes.’ (BBC Good Food Magazine )

‘A great introduction to the breadth of real Mexican cooking, which goes way beyond the Tex-Mex cliches.’ (Delicious )

The Good Cook

Simon Hopkinson loves food and he knows how to cook it. The Good Cook is the result of over 40 years’ experience and is based on Simon’s belief that a good cook loves eating as much as cooking.

How the ingredients you choose and the way you cook them will turn a good recipe into a great dish. That a cheap cut of meat cooked with care can taste as nice as a choice cut prepared by indifferent hands.

Structured around Simon’s passion for good ingredients (Anchovy and Aubergine, Cheese and Wine, Smoked and Salted Fish, Ham, Bacon and A Little Pig) and written with Simon’s trademark perfectionism and precision, this is the book that you will cherish for life.

Rick Stein’s Spain

Driving his chum’s rather clapped out camper van, which he describes as his Rocinante, Rick Stein embarks on a culinary journey laced with history, literature and stunning photography through Spain.

I’ve wanted to make a series in Spain for a long time. I love Spanish food, I’ve been going there since I was a young boy – but until quite recently I don’t think people really took the food seriously. French and Italian cooking was felt to have more finesse. Thanks to a handful of really dedicated Spanish chefs and a growing enthusiasm for its rugged flavours, that has all begun to change. No one cooks fish with more respect or grills meat better.

To me the underlying point of journeying to Spain would be to discover the ‘duende’ in the cooking. By that I mean a sense of soul, of authenticity. The word is normally used for the soul of flamenco but I think it could be equally applied to the art of Spanish cooking because to my mind, in really good food, there is a communication between the cook and diner that amounts to art.” Rick Stein

Programme 1 – Galicia, Andalusia, Asturias, Gijon and Basque
Programme 2 – Rioja, Navarra, Catalonia, the Mediterranean and Lleida
Programme 3 – Catalonia, Valencia, Sueca and La Mancha
Programme 4 – Extremadura, Guadalupe, Seville and Granada

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Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean

Silvena Rowe invites you on a journey through Oriental Mediterranean history, sampling some of the best-kept secrets of the culinary world along the way. The olive, rosemary and basil of the west are here combined with the exotic spices of the east, for a contemporary cuisine of surprising lightness and variety – proof, if proof were needed, that there is more to the Mediterranean than just Italy and France. It’s food for sharing, food for healthy living, food for celebrating – and above all it’s delicious! Silvena Rowe gives her own modern twist to the classic recipes of a rich tradition, following in the footsteps of the great Ottoman chefs who combined the sweet and the sour, the fresh and the dried, the honey and cinnamon, saffron and sumac, scented rose and orange flower waters. Presenting mouth-watering recipes alongside stunning photography, “Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume” brings to life the natural beauty and irresistible flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean.  

For photos and links to further reviews click on link below

Continue reading ‘Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean’


From the NYT, 06.12.09

This season, the 1,000-plus recipe category also includes books of French and Italian cuisine. I KNOW HOW TO COOK (Je Sais Cuisiner) (Phaidon, $45) was written in the early 1930s by the Sorbonne home-economics teacher Ginette Mathiot, who was tapped to compile a comprehensive collection of recipes for young brides. The resulting 1,400 recettes tick through the French repertoire, from abricots à l’anglaise to zephyr veal scallops, and are written in a brisk, authoritative manner that assumes the reader does indeed know how to cook. As Mathiot wrote in the original introduction, “A good cookbook must only offer useful information.”

With up to six recipes per page, this translation by Imogen Forster is more “Joy of Cooking” than “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Like “Joy,” Mathiot’s book has been updated through the years. Considerable visual charm aside, it earns its chunk of shelf space with unfamiliar vintage dishes like potage à l’aurore, sauce bâtarde and sheep’s foot rémoulade. You’ll have to make them on faith, like the chocolate cake that requires grating rather than melting chocolate. It wasn’t the chocolate cake I had envisioned (i.e., a brown one), but given the mystery factor and brisk instructions, it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Under Mathiot’s guidance, the vanilla soufflé did exactly as told, which is really all you can ask.

GOURMET TODAY: More Than 1,000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

From NYT, 06.12.09

Molecular gastronomy didn’t kill Gourmet magazine. The dump-and-stirrers did. Still, the timing of GOURMET TODAY: More Than 1,000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40), compiled by the magazine’s editor, the former New York Times food critic Ruth Reichl, is tragicomic: the book was published two weeks before the magazine was shuttered, its staffers given 48 hours to clean out their desks; a sticker on the cover offers a free subscription with purchase. But what a great final act. “Gourmet Today” offers a thoughtful, thorough portrait of the way Americans are eating, documenting a cuisine that seamlessly incorporates ethnic ingredients, farmers’ market produce, vegetarian entrées and quick-cook staples — plus plenty of cocktails. This big green book isn’t the big yellow one you bought your mom for Christmas ’04. Not with recipes like Korean bulgogi, farro risotto with cauliflower or Afghani dumplings. Your mother might not make the recipe for David Chang’s Momofuku pork belly buns, but chances are she’d try the pork chops with fennel-pomegranate salsa, and you should, too. Like many of the dishes in the book, it’s simple, satisfying and pretty au courant. Thank you, Ruth Reichl. Come back soon.


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