Tag Archives: cookbook

Notes from the Larder – Book Review

My cookbook collection continues to grow, with the latest addition being a wonderful offering from Nigel Slater, Notes from the Larder, a Kitchen Diary with Recipes.

nigel-slater-notes-from-the-larderThis is my favorite kind of cookbook, because it is formatted with stories about food, cooking and the seasons with recipes interspersed throughout. Presented as a chronology of sorts, it begins in January with the baking of bread and moves through the year with stories and anecdotes detailing the changing of the seasons.

Slater writes about his garden, the marketplaces he frequents, the produce and the fish with a friendly and easy-going style.

lamb-osso-buccoThe recipes, unlike those found in ‘chef-ier’ cookbooks, are definitely the kinds of things you can make at home. The photography is excellent as well, featuring mouth-watering displays of most of the dishes contained in the book. I mean, look at this one!

(You can actually download this recipe for Lamb “Osso Bucco” from Amazon for free.)

I am looking forward to cooking some of these recipes and sharing the results with you here. Things like Salmon Marinated with Beets, Dill and Orange, or the Salad of Crab, Avocado and Lime!

Here is a video of Slater making Pepper, Tomato and Basil Pasta, from his show Nigel Slater’s Simple Cooking. I can almost smell the Basil right now…

Cookbook Review – Polpo

A Venetian cookbook (of sorts) by Russell Norman (and gorgeous photography by Jenny Zarins)

“What interested me were glimpses of tiny wine bars in alleys where locals would stand at the counter, a luminous orange drink in one hand and a small snack in the other. You could tell they were locals because they wore dark clothes or market traders’ overalls and shouted at each other in dialect…

Once I found the courage to enter one of these places, point at the bright orange drink, jab a finger at the pre-made snacks in a glass cabinet on the bar and attempt to work out what the hell was going on, I was hooked. There was no going back.”

Polpo a Venetian Cookbook

the book – Norman is a wonderful storyteller, and he has a story for every recipe that he has collected for this book. Nearly as much a travelogue as a cookbook, I am enthralled by the vignettes that accompany each menu creation.

In addition the full-color photography throughout will make your mouth water if the description of the food is not enough!

Scallops with Lemon and Peppermint

Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Lemon Wheels, Minced Garlic and Mint Leaves
Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Lemon Wheels, Minced Garlic and Mint Leaves

Mise for the Scallops

The common denominator of the recipes in this book is that they are simple.  As Norman says, “We have a rule that a dish is ready to put on the menu only when we have taken out as many ingredients as possible.”

This recipe is nearly the epitome of simple fare. Of course, I had to complicate things because, 1 – you can’t get Pilgrim Scallops in New Hampshire in January, and 2 – I wanted to make a little more substantial meal while keeping it light and fresh.

So I made a salad:

Salad of bitter greens
Salad of bitter greens

the salad – arugula, red oak lettuce and frisee – bitter greens that were quite wonderful with the scallops’ lemon and mint sauce as a dressing.

That is it, just a quick saute of the scallops on moderate heat until they are as done as you like them.

You can order this delightful cookbook from Amazon, via my affiliate link here ( I get a small percentage commission at no extra cost for you! ):