This is a sumptuous, large-format book. The pages are spacious and colourful with some of the best quality photographs around. There are more than 300 pictures that have added much to the lovely recipes by Bridget Jones.
The book is, as it says, about seasonal cooking and so is divided into the four seasons, but each of those is divided into other sections. Bridget has a comprehensive introduction to each season, which tempts the reader with all that the changing availability of produce has to offer.
Spring Cooking has Asparagus with Lemon Sauce in the Young and Crisp section. We find Spring Vegetable Omelette in Light and Fresh, Guinea Fowl with Baby Vegetables is in Tender and Tasty and Rhubarb and Meringue Pie is under Sweet and Tart. All the other sections have different but equally evocative titles.
Each recipe is well illustrated, clearly written and takes advantage of the best local produce. That isn’t to say that Bridget has avoided imported products, but she has used those to complement the main ingredient. She encourages us to use fresh and in season produce which is therefore more reasonably priced.
There are lots of classic recipes like Smoked Mackerel Pate, and Lemon Tart, and the book loses nothing by their inclusion, but there are many original recipes that are simple and different. Cod and Bean Stew with Paprika is lovely and you could always substitute another white fish. Pasta with Slow Cooked Onions has got to be a winner, and cheap as well!
There are plenty of recipes for vegetarians or those of us who don’t eat much meat. Casserole with Harvest Vegetables, Spinach and Wild Mushroom Soufflé are just a couple of the many examples. I was pleased to find a recipe for Jerusalem Artichokes with Bacon. That makes a change from the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup which is the more typical cookbook offering.
Seasonal Home Cooking is a broad-based cookbook that is gorgeous to look at but is equally the sort of book that you will use. That is, after all, the most important reason to buy a cookbook. I think it’s very good value for money and deserves to become a classic of its type.
Seasonal Home Cooking
Author: Bridget Jones
Published by: Apple Press
ISBN 978 1 84543 265 2
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018