Handing over to Ed again.
Living the rural idyll with The Country Cook’s Kitchen
After reading this book, I want….the perfect Georgian rectory, with sun dappled kitchen, and wind-wafted curtains. A field with a cow or two and some sheep. Chickens scratching around the old variety apple, pear and quince trees in the orchard. A wood, where a pig or two can be found rootling in the undergrowth. And we will eat our lunch of crusty, home baked bread with lashings of home made butter and cheese, and our own terrines and pates and pies and drinking cordials made from garden fruit, and marmalade for breakfast and jam for tea from the overstuffed shelves of the cool depths of the pantry and end each and every perfect day with a little pousse-café of our own invention.
The downside of this idyllic existence, of course, would be either a vast numbers of various staff needed – where do you get a dairy maid these days? – or that we wouldn’t really have time to enjoy a second as we would be running what would be, in fact, a really inefficient farm. But it’s nice to dream.
A Country Cook’s Kitchen is a book for those who want to dream, but there are also plenty of recipes for those who don’t want to take quite such a back to basics approach to their food. So, for example, there is a recipe for how to make ricotta. But you don’t need to make your own to make the baked ricotta cheesecake.
The book covers five main areas: baking, dairy, preserving, bottling and liqueurs, and curing and potting. Each section has an introduction page, which gives notes on ingredients, equipment and techniques. The recipes I’m like the look of include: baguettes, crumpets, individual game pies, homemade mascarpone, rich vanilla ice cream, lavender and lemon jelly, green tomato chutney (a childhood favourite), aromatic spiced pears, dill pickles, salt beef, and potted crabmeat.
This is not a book for someone looking for daily inspiration for quick and easy suppers. However, for those who fancy spending a weekend creating something more involved, more authentic, then it’s well worth having checking out. I’m sure you don’t even need a country kitchen, and can get nearly all the ingredients from a supermarket.
Fuss Free Rating
A Country Cook’s Kitchen by Alison Walker: ***1/2
A Country Cook’s Kitchen is published by Jackie Small, cover price £25
Thank you for my review copy.