Keep it Simple: Fresh Look at Classic Cooking

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Keep it Simple: Fresh Look at Classic Cooking

Keep it Simple: Fresh Look at Classic Cooking

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Beginning by telling you what you should have in a kitchen (an unusual move for a chef not known from TV appearances) he preaches simplicity and seasonality in cooking. This book won the Glenfiddich Award in 1994 and I still sometimes hear it referred to reverentially as the godfather of modern British cooking.

Where possible, alternatives are given for ingredients difficult or costly to obtain and every recipe includes advice on how to prepare ahead for efficient and panic-free cooking. The recipes are organised seasonally and reflect Little's interest in Italian, Japanese, Chinese and French cookery.

In any case, he said an oven thermometer was essential; you also had to make sure the heat had stabilised before putting the meat in. Do your salivary glands throb and your feet make pawing gestures in the direction of the kitchen, or do you find yourself thinking about the attractive blue neon signs of Pizza Express? If you gave him a human brain he might poach it lightly in a reduction of 1978 Cornas and top it with a mortar-board made of liquorice; but he might not understand all that had been going on inside it before he popped it into the pot.

What we are after is "purity of effect" - which (you will have guessed by now) may involve considerable complication of means.

The Times obituarist rightly said of his Simple French Food that it was "one of the very few cookbooks everyone should have". It's partly about admitting the limits of one's ambition; but it's more about one's attitude to failure. Discover the joy of reading with us, your trusted source for affordable books that do not compromise on quality. Like Mrs David, he was a powerful force for good, a fine and evocative describer who put food in a wider cultural context. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice.

Overleaf, where Olney mentions this item, I see I have underlined his words and written, "Why not explain what this is somewhere in the bloody book, matey? It was, inevitably, in that drawer where you put such things and then forget about them, where everything is tangled up - whisks with chopsticks through their wires - a shameful place. Years ago I was a restaurant critic, and invited to a grand celebration of French cuisine at the Dorchester Hotel. There are too many favourites to list but they include daube of beef and panettone bread and butter pudding. This much loved cookbook (and the eponymous restaurant) was part of my life for far too short a time, but it was a joy to revisit the book after almost thirty many years!I revere Elizabeth David, yet don't cook from her as often as I know I should, or even as often as I want to.

I think I gave it five, and two subsequent reheatings of 45 minutes each only enhanced the tail's fork-meltingness. Honestly, unless you are an enthusiastic and well-practiced cook, you simply wouldn’t believe how many puffed-up, information-light (some downright misleading) cookery books there are out there, or at least you wouldn’t realise that until you read and consciously applied your learning from Little’s “Keep It Simple”. One of the best weeks I have ever had, full of simple classic Italian cooking, lots of laughs and in a dreamy setting. My annotation of Olney's Courgette Pudding Soufflé (and I apologise in advance for the language) goes as follows: "This dinner for 2 took me 4 hours.A restaurant critic told me the other day Mr B also believes that if you prick each chip individually with a fork, this makes for an even finer end-product; but that for some reason (like straining our credulity) he didn't put this in the recipe. The majority of pages are undamaged with some creasing or tearing, and pencil underlining of text, but this is minimal. By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions. Before him in the UK, food was heavily cooked and sauced, year-round comfort food with barely a fresh vegetable in sight.

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