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Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many

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I had concerns that this would be a book for those upper tier foodies who love to talk about food and restaurants but never actually cook from a recipe book but here are a bunch of comforting recipes written with love often like Hopkinson and Slater referring to family meals of old. Lee made his bones under Simon Hopkinson and Alastair Little, among the architects of the renaissance in modern British cooking. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. But has traveled and cooked widely, citing influences from cooks in many places and generously, happily folding them into his repertoire. A wider, shallower cake shaped and cooked in a cast-iron skillet or frying pan is as delicious as those cooked in hatted moulds.

In many ways, this is rather an old fashioned book, harking back to, and reminiscent of the books of Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and even Julia Child and he wears those influences on his sleeve. The chop goes wonderfully with so much, from olive oil, mash or potato and celeriac gratin to green beans, asparagus, peas, courgettes, Jerusalem artichokes or chicory. Like his cooking, Lee’s long (very long) awaited first book, the gorgeous Cooking: Simply and Well, For One or Many, with photos by Elena Heatherwick and illustrations by John Broadley, is authoritative, substantial, witty, romantic, beautifully presented and completely moreish. Anybody who has seen Jeremy Lee judge on the Great British Menu, or on one of his other rare TV appearances will know him to be a great raconteur, in addition to being a great cook. They’re filled with books about food, from nouvelle cuisine pioneer Michel Guérard to current London pastry sensation Ravneet Gill.We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Not only is it superbly produced as you’d expect from 4th Estate (beautiful typography and paper and binding, smells devine - though no bookmarks : ( Photography is less than 50% too which is a shame)The great and good in food are all gushing about this book and as part of food’s upper tier it’s no surprise to see this praise for Mr Lee. Despite his slow start, in the end Lee over-delivered with his manuscript, and some favourite recipes were lost to the editing process. Lightly oil and season the skin side of the sardines, then lay them in the onion pan, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes, until the flesh turns pale.

Warm, gregarious, solicitous, the very life and soul, this irrepressible Scotsman has endeared himself to generations of lucky London diners, first at Terence Conran’s Blueprint Café in the Nineties and Noughties, and for the past decade at the Hart brothers’ magnificent revival of the landmark Quo Vadis, on Dean Street in Soho.

He is a chef in the same lineage as Alistair Little, Rowley Leigh, Fergus Henderson etc; interested in ingredients first and foremost and not swayed by food trends. Those spoilt types, like me, who are fortunate enough to eat occasionally at Quo Vadis will turn immediately to pies (“even the planet must have a crust”), knowing that no one on Earth makes a better one, before checking the index (I’ll save you the bother: it’s pages 144-5) for Lee’s smoked eel sandwich, for my money the greatest thing to appear on any menu (or cookbook page) since, yup, sliced bread.

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