I received this book as a gift from my work colleagues, and it goes to show how well they know me. I've enjoyed every book and article of Nigel Slater's that I have read because of his relaxed writing style, however what I like about his recipes is that they are usually not fussy.
I often find that required ingredients for his recipes are already in the cupboard or easy enough to source at the local shop without costing an arm and a leg. Preparation methods are straight-forward, easy to understand, and easy to remember so that I don't find myself always needing to refer back to the recipes, which makes it more natural to improvise.
Looking at it from an aesthetic point of view, Tender/Volume 1 is beautifully laid out and type set, with richly saturated photographs reminiscent of spanish still life paintings, making it a pleasure to read or flip through.
The book is centred around Nigel Slater's vegetable gardening, and it provides a nice balance of reading (or for gardeners, maybe a top tip or two) and recipes in chapters organised by vegetable. The intro to each chapter has a brief description of the vegetables characteristics in the garden and in the kitchen. This is especially helpful if you're looking for guidance on how to prepare a particular vegetable, without necessarily having to follow a full fledged 'recipe'.
So far, I've tried 'A chowder of mussels and leeks', 'A risotto of leeks and pancetta', 'A stir fry of broccoli...
This book is just so wonderful. It is so great that Nigel is getting the attention and admiration on this site that he deserves.....
The 2 earlier reviews written by Aradhana and DebG really nail what it is that makes this book so exhilarating - in this instance I am merely the back up singer to what they have already written.........it is the tone of his books, the ease with which they read, the gorgeous, gorgeous photographs and the casual simplicity of his food. Aradhana is so on the money when she says that rarely do you need to head to the shops with a lengthy list in order to make his dishes and I agree totally with DebG that this book is a triumph. He makes vegetables the heroes of these recipes and deservedly so.
The thing I love most about Nigel, and I have written this in a review of another of his books, is that it feels as though you are standing alongside him. He really invites you into his kitchen - there is a very tactile nature to his writing and he conveys the sense of smell, taste and flavour better than anyone else whose books I know.
Nigel Slater is one of my favourite writers. His cooking is straightforward, seasonal and full of gutsy flavours, and he writes in a similarly direct style. I probably have most of his books and read online his weekly column in The Observer (UK Sunday paper) – highly recommended. It seems to me that his philosophy is to use great ingredients and allow their flavours to shine through by not messing around with them too much.
This book is a triumph – it describes his journey to gardener over the last 10 years (a typical London city garden) – coupled with many recipes, organised by vegetable. Each chapter includes information on growing and cooking – eg a leek in the garden, a leek in the kitchen. It is a fantastic read – though sadly much too thick to read in bed. The range of recipes is extraordinary, touching on many culinary influences – traditional Brit, French, Mediterranean, Italian, North African, Indian, Asian etc. But all are selected to allow the star qualities of each vegetable to shine through. Wonderful! The book is not vegetarian / vegan – though very many of the recipes are.
There are too many recipes to describe favourites – and the book is relatively new so I have yet to test many. But my husband produced the root vegetable korma a couple of weeks ago and it was a perfect meal for warming up late on a snowy Sunday evening.
This wonderful book now belongs to me and makes me dream of a garden, of planting many varieties of vegetables and of living with the seasons ... so very intriguing are the images - both of photography and of words - of Nigel Slater. It is a book which praises the taking care of details, of patience, of loving what you do - be it as a gardener or a cook. I really love that.
I received my copy a few days ago. In a way this oeuvre is a bit overwhelming- for now I am very content to just go through the pages and enjoy it. But I had to make this incredible chocolate beetroot cake. And some eggplant recipes sure will follow soon...
There isn't much more that I can add to what Deb, Kate and Aradhana have already written, other than to empahasise what a fantastic and aesthetically beautiful cookbook this is!
I have a small kitchen garden in the backyard and, like Nigel explains, it truly is a wonderful experience to go out and harvest something, even if it may only be some mixed leaves of a bunch of herbs. I agree with Aradhana that the leek risotto is beautiful dish.
Nigel is a fantastic writer, as well as cook, and it is as much a pleasure to read about his gardening and cooking experience, as it is to cook his recipes.
May I also add that Tender Vol 2 (Fruit) is just as good...even for someone like me, who does not have a sweet tooth!
I don't think I could add anything to what has already been said so well. I spent most of this afternoon poring over it and carrying it around with me from room to room. I find it very seductive (pictures) and feel a kinship with him for his love of gardening. So, I have jumped the gun and made my first recipe. My husband is in Norway and I'm all alone. I ran across A Frangrant Supper for One in the Eggplant section. Very simple, I had all the ingredients. When I took it out of the oven I thought in my case this might be more a meal for two. HA!! I ate it all, scraping the meat from the skin until that was all that was left. It was so satisfying. The hints of garlic, mint, paprika, yogurt all melded perfectly and nothing overpowered the other. Perfect combination.
to read this book- is akin to sitting down with nigel over a cup of strong coffee and a rhubarb tart. his writing and the photography are that intimate.
the cooking and gardening inspiration in this book are palpable. i got courageous and ordered the volume straight off of amazon.uk and was so pleased with the gorgeous blue slip cover.
this heavy treasure sits on my computer table-- all tabbed and ready-- to cook from and inspire.
needless to say-- you won't be sorry for obtaining a copy.
I just received this book, and just wanted to say OH MY GOD! I was not expecting it to be such a large volume (over 600 pages and heavy!), nor was I expecting it to be so beautiful. It is SUCH a work of art. The reviews above do a great job of summing up, and anyways, I prefer to review books after spending a bit of time with them, but I just wanted to add my two cents, for anyone out there on the fence about purchasing this to cook along with the group here for May-June. The beauty of this book is simply overwhelming.
There was a very favorable review on this book in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Sounds like it will be as enjoyable to read as to cook from. Looking forward to receiving my copy!