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Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes (Anglais) Relié – 24 septembre 2013

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A few words of introduction
I cook. I have done so pretty much every day of my life since I was a teenager. Nothing flashy, or showstopping, just straightforward, everyday stuff.

The kind of food you might like to come home to after a busy day. A few weekend recipes, some cakes and baking for fun, the odd pot of preserves or a feast for a celebration. But generally, just simple, understated food, something to be shared rather than looked at in wonder and awe.

Sharing recipes. It is what I do. A small thing, but something I have done for a while now. As a food writer, I find there is nothing so encouraging as the sight of one of my books, or one of my columns torn from the newspaper, that has quite clearly been used to cook from. A telltale splatter of olive oil, a swoosh of roasting juices, or a starburst of squashed berries on a page suddenly gives a point to what I do. Those splotches, along with kind emails, letters, and tweets, give me a reason to continue doing what I have been doing for the past quarter of a century. Sharing ideas, tips, stories, observations. Or, to put it another way, having a conversation with others who like to eat.

That is why, I suppose, each book feels like a chat with another cook, albeit one-sided (though not as one-sided as you might imagine). It is a simple premise. I make something to eat, and everyone, including myself, has a good time, so I decide to share the recipe. To pass on that idea, and with it, hopefully, a good time, to others. For twenty years I have shared many of those ideas each week in my column in the Observer and in my books. They might also come dressed up a little nowadays, in the form of the television series, but it is still the same basic premise.
Tomato and basil bruschetta 
olive oil: 6 tablespoons
basil: 1/2 cup (20g)
cherry tomatoes on the vine,
ripe and juicy: 4 sprigs
crusty white bread: 4 small slices
marinated artichoke hearts:
4 small
Preheat the broiler. Pour the oil into a blender. Tear up the basil and add it to the oil, then blend to a smooth green puree. Place the sprigs of tomatoes, still on the vine if you wish, on a baking sheet and broil till the skins just start to blacken and burst here and there. Place the slices of bread on the baking sheet and pour over the basil oil. Season with salt and black pepper, then place under the broiler for a couple of minutes, till the edges are crisp.

Place a sprig of cooked tomatoes on each and tuck in the artichokes, halved or sliced.

Serve immediately, while the toast is still hot and crisp.

Makes 4 small toasts

Revue de presse

“Few cooks describe flavors better, or with more charm.” 
—Wall Street Journal

“Not only is Nigel Slater one of the greatest living food writers, he’s also the ultimate urban gardener.” 
Bon Appétit

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 14 commentaires
23 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Lovely, insightful and serene book filled with splendid recipes, pictures 24 septembre 2013
Par I Do the Speed Limit - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There is something very special about Slater's books. They are as much creative non-fiction masterpieces as they are compilations of easy-to-put-together recipes. He combines playful and insightful impromptu with his vast cooking experience to create dishes that will delight you. Sometimes his combinations are almost whimsical and amusing, sometimes so very simple and tasteful that they are masterful. Sometimes they are a marvel in basics. If you are a cook, looking for a serene and peaceful, thoughtful read, complete with wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures, this is a book you should pick up.

Slater does not cook for a large family, not even a small family. He cooks for one or two. He does cook for friends. I didn't really think about how that affects the tone of a cookbook until recently, when I went from reading this book to one written by a woman--possibly about the same age--who had a large and loving family for whom to cook. I realized these two different family situations resulted in a totally different tone and attitude in a cookbook. That's not to say that if you cook for many, you won't get anything out of this book. You will--no matter how large an audience you have. There will always be a need for the type of dish that Slater creates. If, because of your lifestyle and your responsibilities, you are a busy, no-nonsense, hurry-up-and-get-something-nourishing-on-the-table type of cook, you will find help in this book. You will even find some respite from the frantic activity.

But if you need to find recipe instructions and ingredient lists very quickly and at a glance, well, then, maybe this book is not for you. Or, maybe it is, most definitely, just what you need. Be aware that you will need to read through tips, interesting tidbits of information, descriptions of how a fish glistens or figs drop and stain the flagstone, the state of the weather and stories about the author's house renovations, the status of his garden and his vacations--just to get to the recipe's ingredient list.

In other words, when you are in the right frame of mind, this book is a wonderful experience: Helpful, thought-provoking; stirring your creative juices and tingling your intuition. Not in the right frame of mind though, you might be irritated by a fish recipe, followed by a plum tart, followed by a simple stir-fry, only because that is what the author happened to cook that week: Because he passed by the fish market, or because his neighbor's plum tree was exploding with ripe fruit, or because he worked all day and needed quick, easy sustenance from what was handy in the frig and on the shelf.

His other fairly recent books, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch and Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard, are written in the same style: Great story-telling, beautiful creative non-fiction writing and pictures worth studying; and wouldn't you know it, there are hundreds of recipes in there, too! The predecessor to this book is The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater.

As you can tell from the above paragraphs, I highly recommend this book. If you are still undecided--and if you have time to read more--I have gone into more detail below and I've listed some recipes, too:

It seems these recipes were born of opportunity: A lot of them were created from what was in the larder at the time and from the food he "happens upon" as he moves through his day. (And that is how I cook, so obviously I like his style.) Slater finds inspiration by walking through his garden, through his favorite shops and farmer's market, checking out what's left in his pantry and on his shelves, and gazing at leftovers in the frig. So, he creates a recipe to fit what he has "in the larder", then he writes down--on whatever piece of paper is handy--his recipe and his thoughts at the time and he dates it. For this book, he took his notes from a three-year period of time and compiled them by calendar date, not year. He ended up with a recipe and a story for almost every day of the year, plus he was able to fine tune some of those recipes over three-year's time and was able to pick and choose (probably) which notes from which year told the best story.

There is so much information in this book, and so many different types of recipes, that it's hard to give recipe examples that are representative. It really is a mixed bag. I can say that--even though this publication is written for an American audience--the type/style of recipes and ingredient lists still retain their British flair. (You won't find hamburgers, bratwurst, steaks and chicken on the grill, Italian/American dishes, etc.) You won't find white rice, a lot of pasta recipes, heavy-handed cheese layers. Because Slater is health-conscious, you will find brown basmati rice, a decent amount of grains, and fresh veggies and fruit in season. You will have to take into consideration that London's seasons may not mimic your own. (His zucchini overflows in August and September, mine (in Texas) overflows in June.) And, when I run across the name of an ingredient with which I am unfamiliar, I go to a UK website and ask.

Let me sum up with a mention of some of my favorite recipes from this book. (But, actually, some of the best ideas come from the very simple dishes he throws together on a moment's notice and scatters throughout his prose--there are no ingredient lists for those, and you can't really call them "recipes".):

--Marmalade chocolate chip ice cream;
--A risotto of smoked cod and spinach;
--A can of butter beans with mustard, crushed tomato, hot peppers, molasses and herbs;
--Pork and mushrooms, hot peppers, garlic and oyster sauce;
--Bulgur and bacon, with onions, mushrooms, dill and parsley;
--A stir-fry of spring greens, mushrooms and hot peppers, with ginger, soy and cilantro;
--A salad of radishes, scallions, fennel, lemon, mint, capers and sprouts;
--Ricotta, green onion and cilantro omelets;
--Mint and raspberry sugar for strawberries;
--Tuna, pickled ginger and cucumber salad;
--Sole, simply fried in a bit of oil and topped with lime butter;
--Slow-cooked oxtail with five-spice powder and tamarind;
--Tomatoes, onions and bell peppers in coconut cream with ginger, hot peppers, mustard and turmeric;
--Orzo with zucchini and Grana Padano;
--Pork rib ragout with pappardelle;
--Pork rillettes made with pork belly; (I make mine with domestic duck, and I never thought about using pork belly, but it makes perfect sense.)
--Salmon soup with cauliflower, rutabaga, potatoes, tomatoes and cream;

**I received a temporary download of this cookbook from the publisher, through NetGalley. I have been scrutinizing it and working with it for several months. I've got to give up the download now, and buy my own copy!
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Reasonable 30 septembre 2013
Par I. Darren - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This very weighty tome is a kitchen diary offering many observations, facts, happenings and of course over 250 different seasonal recipes from acclaimed British food writer and broadcaster Nigel Slater.

Would it be fairer to describe this book as a more edited, polished memory dump from the author, providing a little bit of everything along the way that is wrapped around a diary? The author is clear to note that whilst items follow over the course of a year, they are not a strict chronology but more a focussed collection of events that have happened over the years, so something that happened on a given November day would have happened on that given day, but not necessarily in the same year as the previous or subsequent diary "entry". Not that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things though!

This is a book that, to be fair, you will get as much out of it as you put in through reading and comprehension. If you use the book solely as a source of recipes then, whilst you will invariably find many interesting recipes from the sheer multitude on offer, you will be missing much by ignoring the surrounding text.

When browsing through this book one notes that whilst the recipes have been "translated" to U.S. imperial units, at the same time ignoring their metric equivalencies, there are many cultural references that might have non-native Britons scratching their head in puzzlement before seeking clarification to a small, possibly insignificant point. There are a number of average to relatively good photographs to break up the text but they just don't feel like they fit, feeling instead that they are there solely as filler material to "illustrate" the book. Technically the photographs are quite good, particularly when they accompany a recipe yet many just feel out of place. It would have been better to have had smaller photographs accompanying EACH recipe and then use a few hand-drawn illustrations if one did need a "barrier" or "filling" image. A small thing that doesn't detract from the overall delight of this book, but when you pay a premium price for something one becomes invariably more picky over the smallest of things.

The end of the book featured a very detailed index to the recipes, referenced by key ingredient) which is a Godsend when you see the sheer bulk of this book. It would have been nice if each chapter (month) had a separate list of the recipes within to help navigate as the internal signposting is quite sparse... but it was not to be. Even a mini index to some "key happenings" or traditions would have been appreciated.

This book was an enjoyable gambol throughout a typical "year" of a British food writer and active cook. If you have enjoyed other books by this author then you won't be disappointed but if the name Nigel Slater doesn't mean anything to you, it could also be a good introduction to his work, his viewpoints and style - and after that there is no shortage of other Nigel Slater books to keep you occupied for a long time.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Too many words for too few recipes 25 novembre 2013
Par Kayt - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
A lot of words, albeit charming words, for a few recipes. I bought it because my friend told me about an onion tart recipe.
Inspiration for the Intuitive Cook 17 novembre 2014
Par Curmudgeon in the Kitchen - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Like "Tender" and "Ripe," Slater's "Notes from a Larder" share his personal experience of food, which combines cooking experience with sharp culinary intuitions. This volume is a sequel to his "Kitchen Diary." While I have cooked some of the recipes in both, I find I read them more for inspiration. Furthermore, many of the ingredients he makes a lot of use of are hard to find in many parts of the U.S. (For example: sloes, damsons, currents, or mackerel and some cuts of meat.) All the same, his example has sparked my imagination in using foods from our local markets.
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Irresistible, this book is a must have for all enthusiastic home cooks! 3 novembre 2013
Par Ann P Hayden - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Fantastic, usable, luscious recipes, and the writing is enchanting!...he makes even a cold winter's day or a rainy spring one cozy again with his recipes...ty, Nigel!
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